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Aftermarket parts VS. Genuine. False economy or good deal?

Lorainfurniture

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This may cause a bit of a stir with you guys, but Ill discuss it anyway.   Some of you are staunch users of genuine, OE, brand name appliance parts.  I am not one of those people.  Appliance parts is an expense in my business second only to labor.  My rough guesstimate is that I spend about $50,000 a year on parts. If I used exclusively genuine, new parts that figure could easily go up 20%.  Perhaps even more. 

Control boards: 

You can go new, genuine, and pay $200 for it +$60 core, or you can buy direct from core centric (or others) for $98, no core charge.  Sounds like a no brainer eh?  Well, its more complicated than just money.  

1. The defect rate is definitely higher than new.  I have purchased hundreds, and hundreds of reconditioned boards form core centric.  I would say that 1 in 50 will go bad within 30 days, or be bad out of the box.   I can honestly say that I can't remember EVER buying a new board from Servall that was bad out of the box.  

2. You are charging your customer "new board" money.  I was having a moral dilemma with this one for a while.  I was able to find a great solution to this.  Guarantee your work parts+labor for 1 year.  Chances are that you will never hear from them again, I have only had 2 call backs that were in the 60day-1 year timeframe.  The bottom line is this: You are offering your customer MORE than what they would get with a "new" board, and you get to make more money. 

3. The core charge.  I, like many of you, have had north of $500 is core money sitting in your van.  That sucks.  Buying a refurbished board saves that dilemma.  Its all about keeping more money in your pocket!  

 

Non-complicated generic parts:

Lets talk about the Direct drive lid switch part # 3949247.  I use at least 3 a week, between COD calls and my shop.  They cost $16.29 at Servall, I get them generic for $2.20. That is a savings of over $14!  I have been using this switch for about 2 years, and I have installed a few hundred, at least.  I have had ONE fail me.  It wasn't even broken, the casting was filled on one of the mounting holes.  If you calculate $14 x the 300 or so I have used so far, you will conclude that I have saved myself over $4200.   I can apply the same thing to couplings

285753: servall: 6.89, generic $1.50.  

285785 14.50, generic  $6.50 

3363394 15.60, generic $6

Im not even going to tell you how much a complete duet water pump costs.  (hint: its less than $20) 

 

Id like to mention one part specifically, GE gas oven thermostat WB20K8.  You can get it at servall for $86, or you can buy it from ERP for about $65. I know, its only $20.  The thing is this:  Both of those parts are made by the some company, Harper Wyman  They are the EXACTLY the same part. one comes in a bag, one in a box.  

 

I have used many hundreds of these parts, and find them to be as good, or better than genuine.  Again, you will get the very rare premature failure, but its more like 1 in a hundred with this stuff.  If you are using this stuff by the dozen, it makes sense for you financially to use it.  

Electricky complicated stuff like sensors and door locks. 

Quite frankly I don't use them.  I had a bad experience with some VMW lid locks that were dirt cheap, like $16.  Problem is that none of them worked.  I don't use that many of them, so the saving is not that much to me.   Ref sensors are dirt cheap for genuine, so I would rather buy those.   I will eventually warm up to them again. It takes time. 

 

Conclusion: 

There is a time and place for generic parts. I genuinely believe that there are some aftermarket companies that truly want to make a good product, and want to end the monopoly that is OEM.   Some companies are out there selling cheap junk.  You have to try out a company, or a line of parts before you buy in bulk.  For me its worth the slight aggravation based on how much extra money it puts in my pocket every year.   Ultimately you should do what you think is best for you and your business.  

 



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Great post, Eugene.

No---I don't think it will cause a stir---because all options should be considered in our business.

Like you---we had a used appliance operation back in the 80s. Took a lot of work to juggle both service and sales (and delivery/installation) at the same time. Which is why we are now predominately service---although within the last 24 months I re-started doing reconditioned sales on a small scale (mostly LG).

Back in the day---before the digital generation---it made perfect sense to consider using parts grafted from donor appliances as well as new generic parts.

Some of the brands that were common at the time were:

Westward (bought out by GE and became Gemline)

Robertshaw (primarily range/oven)

Harper Wyman 

Chromalox

Johnson Controls

The inventory purchased from these manufacturer/suppliers were used for both service and sales.

Today not so. There's limited cross-referencing for digital appliances 

My opinion is that for service---it makes sense to use OEM almost exclusively.

For used/reconditioned appliance sales---using generic (or good used) replacement parts makes perfect business sense.

I have a very large inventory of new and used LG appliance parts. 

If we have an LG washer that needs bearings---we'll replace those with OEM. But if the front tub cover has been damaged (hole from tub contact)---this is replaced with a used part that we have in stock. 

If the Main Board is defective/failed---we'll replace that with a used board if we have one in stock..

 

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Supco is garbage, generic dryer door switches are trash too. I guess like some things they are ok but for the most part I don't use them. To each his own as I won't tell you how to run your business. 

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My answer is: it depends.

In the case of flat bar oven ignitors I buy the least expensive Norton manufactured units available. Things like dryer gas valve coils, dryer TOD, and other fuses and limits I have had good luck with aftermarket and the savings is substantial over OEM. 

For the most part I use OEM parts and pass the cost on to the customer.

 

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Lorainfurniture

Posted

20 hours ago, AlboGator said:

Supco is garbage

I didn't even realize they made anything other than filter/dryers.    Brands like ERP, and this one other company I deal with- China direct. They only make about 100 parts, and they are all good quality, with maybe one or 2 exceptions. 

 

10 hours ago, Thirstytech said:

For the most part I use OEM parts and pass the cost on to the customer.

I don't do this intentionally, but it seems to work out this way for me as well.  With the exception of me using reconditioned boards,  most of the other stuff in my car is genuine parts.  

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I use mostly aftermarket on in shop repairs. Most high use items that you listed I also use aftermarket. I tend toward OEM mostly on items that are only available as OEM such as most boards and timers. For my sales business, it would be another $10k per year out of pocket to go completely OEM. I reuse good used parts regularly as well.

I don't think it's worth paying more when there isn't a noticeable difference in quality. I've never had a repair call in which a customer asked me if the part I was using was OEM. They typically just want to know I'm fixing their machine and that I'm doing it cost effectively. 

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Aftermarket whirlpool direct drive pumps are better than the original,.  But whirlpool dryer elements and thermal fuses did not last for me. 

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mikeyjd

Posted (edited)

8 minutes ago, evaappliance said:

Aftermarket whirlpool direct drive pumps are better than the original,.  But whirlpool dryer elements and thermal fuses did not last for me. 

It seems likely that thad would vary quite a bit depending on where it's made. I've used around 500 aftermarket thermal fuses without any failing at a noticeable rate. I don't do as many electric dryers so my experience on  dryer elements is somewhat limited. I keep a new one in the truck for repairs (I've used 2 that I can remember). Timers fail on electric dryers more than the element so I've got about 20 good used original dryer elements at all times for in shop repairs.

Edited by mikeyjd

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BoardFruit

Posted (edited)

We are working on a high quality, made in the USA, aftermarket control solution.  The OEM parts monopoly is murderous, and the board repair companies are making too much money to care about the quality of their service.  It kills me to think of all the perfectly good (non bio-degradable) material that ends up in the scrapyard because cheap electronics go NLA within a few years of the manufacture date.

Edited by BoardFruit

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sounds great to me !!   open to any options at this point !!!!

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Another big deal is core charges, and the hassle of keeping up with the cores, model & serial number of the unit it came off of !   The companies sure have a way of adding more work for techs and less profit !   Example, frigidaire freezer board, $56. Core $50 .  Are they crazy ? 

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I tend to specifically use OEM parts on all my repairs.  I truly believe we as independent appliance repair companies , owe it to our customers to give them the best  quality in repairs and parts.   we owe it to the customer to give them the service they deserve and value for the repair costs. Your only asking for trouble with aftermarket parts collectively in the long run. Non wise parts are definitely an inferior part and it short changes  everyone in this industry as a whole at some point I believe. The pro's do not out weight the cons.  I charge industry standard prices and the customer deserves industry standard parts.  Its the right thing to do in my opinion and experience. I truly believe that if you practice this , then there's a good chance that your FCC stays an FCC  and your customers will call you back for their other appliances.  Again this is my company policy and opinion and I don't say this as criticism towards any one.  We all have a right to run our companies the way we want, feel , and know what works best for ourselves.

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On 10/31/2016 at 4:34 PM, BoardFruit said:

board repair companies are making too much money to care about the quality of their service

Ahhh, sounds like you're taking a shot at them and makes you sound like a salesman. 

41 minutes ago, darren412 said:

I tend to specifically use OEM parts on all my repairs.  I truly believe we as independent appliance repair companies , owe it to our customers to give them the best  quality in repairs and parts.   we owe it to the customer to give them the service they deserve and value for the repair costs. Your only asking for trouble with aftermarket parts collectively in the long run. Non wise parts are definitely an inferior part and it short changes  everyone in this industry as a whole at some point I believe. The pro's do not out weight the cons.  I charge industry standard prices and the customer deserves industry standard parts.  Its the right thing to do in my opinion and experience. I truly believe that if you practice this , then there's a good chance that your FCC stays an FCC  and your customers will call you back for their other appliances.  Again this is my company policy and opinion and I don't say this as criticism towards any one.  We all have a right to run our companies the way we want, feel , and know what works best for ourselves.

Couldn't agree more. If you're using shit parts how do you differentiate yourself from your shit part? "I paid him to fix it and it lasted a year, I'll just buy a new one next time" is what you're left with there. Used appliances may be different but even then it depends on your market and it depends on what you are working on. Direct drive, no excuse. Parts are cheap enough. Charge accordingly, do a top notch job. You can't do a top notch job with aftermarket parts. 

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How about I paid him to fix it and it lasted 3 months !   They will not only not call you back but will buy the new one and then every legitimate tech out there that's not a parts changing monkey , and uses tech sheets for diagnosis , gets a bad rap. 

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Lorainfurniture

Posted

On 11/10/2016 at 11:07 PM, AlboGator said:

You can't do a top notch job with aftermarket parts. 

Some aftermarket parts are actually built better than their OE counterparts.   Obviously I completely disagree with your statement.  

Lets look at the Whirlpool duet water pump 280187. Your cost at servall about $95.  I can buy a brand new duet for around $500.  The water pump is certainly not 20% the cost of the machine. 

How much do you think that part cost to make? I would wager you that it is less than $10.  That leaves $85 of profit to be made for the manufacture and the distributer. 

I buy this part direct from china , and the part is BETTER quality than the OE version, and its $22. 

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5 hours ago, Lorainfurniture said:

Some aftermarket parts are actually built better than their OE counterparts.

I've never seen ANY aftermarket part that was better than oe. I have changed many that were changed "just a year ago" by someone else that were knock offs.

However I will use Samsung or LG pump motors when I can because I agree that the mfg is just screwing us on the price. What's the difference? I don't know but I feel pretty good about knowing I can get 5 years out of a samsung or lg pump and the others are about the same. Frigidaire pumps do seem to hold up very well though, at least the atf models did. 

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