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To ttap or not to ttap?


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eurobink 
Copper - Posts: 55
Copper spacespace
Joined: September 06, 2007
Location: Florida, United States
Posted: September 07, 2007 at 8:57 PM / IP Logged  
really? why?
f150fan 
Copper - Posts: 95
Copper spacespace
Joined: October 28, 2006
Location: Ohio, United States
Posted: September 07, 2007 at 9:30 PM / IP Logged  
This is always going to be difficult topic for people to agree on. I normally just ignore these topics but for some reason I have felt compelled to respond to this one. Let me start out by saying that if I need to make a connection in a tight place where I cannot solder for safety reasons, I have no problem using the occasional t-tap.
However, I do prefer to solder and I require all of my guys that work for me to solder (unless it is just not possible) and I do this for a couple of reasons. The first is that it sets my two shops apart from the competition, I feel that it gives us a more professional edge. The second reason we solder is that I know that the connection will last for as long as my customer owns their vehicle. I know that this is not the cheapest method but then again my goal is not to be the cheapest shop in town but to provide the best sales/service/installation at a fair price for both me and my customers.
I said before that in some instances I have no problem with t-taps. Let me go on further and explain some instances where I feel that t-taps absolutely should not be used: on larger guage wire than the t-tap was designed for, anywhere on the vehicle that will have even the slightest possibility of being exposed to the elements(underhood, under car, etc.), any connection in the vehicle that needs to be stealth.
Eurobink, it looks like you are from Florida so you may not have see the same results that I see in Ohio from exposure to the elements. In the winter there is road salt everywhere that gets in every nook and cranny of the vehicles up here. I have seen fuel injector wires, trailer connections, and tail light connections broke in two from having t-taps installed and the weather gets to the connection. It does not take long for the wire to corrode and become brittle. In these cases we solder and heat shrink(when possible) or use 3M super33 to wrap all of our connections. The hottest it gets here is around 100 and I will agree with you that the tape can get a little hard to work with when it gets really hot( I am sure that you know this better than me).
Let me just finish by saying that the biggest fear that I have with a topic like this is that someone with little or no experience will read a thread like this and justify using t-taps without taking the time to consider whether or not it is the best connection method in the given circumstance.
     
swerks 
Copper - Posts: 224
Copper spacespace
Joined: January 12, 2003
Location: Canada
Posted: September 07, 2007 at 9:38 PM / IP Logged  
In my opinion t taps take just as long if not longer than soldering I do super duty fords in under 30 mins completely soldered in my record is 16 minutes. solder and 3m are the only way to go, i use a bluepoint cordless butane iron which reaches temps of up to 1300F never had a problem soldering outdoors in -20C and colder, but i guess when it comes to tools you get what you pay for
Steve Sverdahl
Swerksound Auto Electric
Red Deer Alberta
JWorm 
Platinum - Posts: 2,208
Platinum spacespace
Joined: December 11, 2002
Location: New Hampshire, United States
Posted: September 07, 2007 at 9:48 PM / IP Logged  
eurobink wrote:
most of my career i have been in detroit.. very very cold.. installs done outside many times.. there were times when my butane solder would not even heat up enough to even burn my hand.. 
Butane irons are crap. They just don't get hot enough.
eurobink wrote:

When you are competing with other shops on price, time is of the essence, no room for soldering.

when you have 8 alarms waiting, some with rs, to get done.. soldering is out.. they are also bringing you the special ad you posted that saves them money.. u must hurry, but you also must be cautious.

How about competing on quality, instead of price? I worked at the same shop for 7+ years. We competed on quality, not price. I always listened to my boss explain to customers why we were more $, and when he was done they would almost always book the appointment. Lifetime warranty, neat and tidy install, hidden (if it was security), and soldered connections. Would you rather do 8 installs a day making $75 profit on each, or 4 cars and make $150 on each? You may lose some of the cheapo customers to the hack shop down the street that can beat you on price, but they aren't the type of customer you want anyways.
eurobink 
Copper - Posts: 55
Copper spacespace
Joined: September 06, 2007
Location: Florida, United States
Posted: September 07, 2007 at 9:54 PM / IP Logged  

f150fan wrote:
Eurobink, it looks like you are from Florida so you may not have see the same results that I see in Ohio from exposure to the elements. In the winter there is road salt everywhere that gets in every nook and cranny of the vehicles up here. I have seen fuel injector wires, trailer connections, and tail light connections broke in two from having t-taps installed and the weather gets to the connection. It does not take long for the wire to corrode and become brittle. In these cases we solder and heat shrink(when possible) or use 3M super33 to wrap all of our connections. The hottest it gets here is around 100 and I will agree with you that the tape can get a little hard to work with when it gets really hot( I am sure that you know this better than me).
Let me just finish by saying that the biggest fear that I have with a topic like this is that someone with little or no experience will read a thread like this and justify using t-taps without taking the time to consider whether or not it is the best connection method in the given circumstance.
     

I have been in florida only 6 years, most my experience is from detroit, so yes.. i have seen the elements.. lived in them most my life.

i do agree with you 100% with the last statement..  didn't think of that.. TTAPS are not to be used by just anyone.. took me a long time to learn their proper application.  Proper application means using the correct connector for the correct wire size... I was against them just like everyone here, till i took a 4 month assignment after closing a store to make my move to florida, and a shop in detroit insisted on it.. they were part of a chain of 24 stores..

as an employee.. and not the boss.. i did as told.. made many mistakes.. many comebacks..  but that was my fault.. just like improper technique of a soldering gun could cause bad connections... today.. ill tap anything  thats tap-able without even thinking and have no comebacks...  this thread was sparked by a customer badgering an installer for supposedly destroying his vehicle.. and the assumption was the installer used improper installation techniques.. everthing i read there was unfounded.  My point was layoff the installer..

chadwa2003 
Copper - Posts: 353
Copper spacespace
Joined: January 08, 2005
Location: Canada
Posted: September 07, 2007 at 10:15 PM / IP Logged  
JWorm wrote:
eurobink wrote:
most of my career i have been in detroit.. very very cold.. installs done outside many times.. there were times when my butane solder would not even heat up enough to even burn my hand.. 
Butane irons are crap. They just don't get hot enough.
eurobink wrote:

When you are competing with other shops on price, time is of the essence, no room for soldering.

when you have 8 alarms waiting, some with rs, to get done.. soldering is out.. they are also bringing you the special ad you posted that saves them money.. u must hurry, but you also must be cautious.

How about competing on quality, instead of price? I worked at the same shop for 7+ years. We competed on quality, not price. I always listened to my boss explain to customers why we were more $, and when he was done they would almost always book the appointment. Lifetime warranty, neat and tidy install, hidden (if it was security), and soldered connections. Would you rather do 8 installs a day making $75 profit on each, or 4 cars and make $150 on each? You may lose some of the cheapo customers to the hack shop down the street that can beat you on price, but they aren't the type of customer you want anyways.
You only lose those cheapo customers temporarily because when they go down the street to the hack shop and there car doesn't start 2 months or even 2 weeks down the road they then will call the professionals to fix it. We have customers like that all the time, the usually leave cause they don't like the price then we end of seeing them a few weeks later. And I also definately think t-taps are out of the question, especially for security in no way can you have a clean install with them.
eurobink 
Copper - Posts: 55
Copper spacespace
Joined: September 06, 2007
Location: Florida, United States
Posted: September 07, 2007 at 10:30 PM / IP Logged  

wow, 2 pages on ttaps..interesting

its nice if you have the luxury of being able to wait for the next customer who may pay your price.. come see us in tampa and drop your techniques here.. you will learn quickly as i did, those practices do not go very far.

event tint.. in michigan we would get $230 for a basic 4door car..

down here.. $79 to $129.. and here they use the better film to prevent fading.. Miami is even worse... What works in your area does not work everywhere.. thats business planning 101..

working for someone and struggling to make your own paycheck are not the same animal.. if you have deep pockets.. once again, you have the luxury of time..  every shop down here is switching gears to different industries for extra income... well, i havent polled evryone,... but from the major players, yes.. im friends with them..

"You only lose those cheapo customers temporarily because when they go down the street to the hack shop and there car doesn't start 2 months or even 2 weeks down the road they then will call the professionals to fix it. " 

if you ever get a shop of your own, you will retract that statement very fast.

Look at car audio sector...

Mobile electronics labeled it as ... 'what was high-fi is now low-fi'  mass merchants crippled local shops.. manufactures that saw potential profits there, dropped the mom n pop shop for walmart or BB..     it's price price price...

chinese trade jumped ridiculous numbers.. nothing like this 'Mr 12volt' in history of our industry has happened.. to educate consumers is very costly.. im sure a cost none of your bosses are willing to absorb.

I do agree with your thought process of quality over quantity.. then again, there is the food industry.. just because i agree with you guys on how it should be, doesnt make it so.

f150fan 
Copper - Posts: 95
Copper spacespace
Joined: October 28, 2006
Location: Ohio, United States
Posted: September 07, 2007 at 10:32 PM / IP Logged  
JWorm wrote:
How about competing on quality, instead of price? I worked at the same shop for 7+ years. We competed on quality, not price. I always listened to my boss explain to customers why we were more $, and when he was done they would almost always book the appointment. Lifetime warranty, neat and tidy install, hidden (if it was security), and soldered connections. Would you rather do 8 installs a day making $75 profit on each, or 4 cars and make $150 on each? You may lose some of the cheapo customers to the hack shop down the street that can beat you on price, but they aren't the type of customer you want anyways.
It doesnt seem like to many people care about quality anymore but some still do. The customer is in your store because they want to buy, they just need to be educated as to why you are their best choice.
The only way to compete and make money in a price market is to offer items not sold by your competitors. You also have to ask for the sell and be good at upselling. Be creative, you would be amazed at what you can make money on and what you can sell.
eurobink 
Copper - Posts: 55
Copper spacespace
Joined: September 06, 2007
Location: Florida, United States
Posted: September 07, 2007 at 10:48 PM / IP Logged  

who said i was makin $75 per install.. i wont touch a car for less than $100.. 8 installs.. well i better not 'boast' but 8 cars is a very very healthy day for profits.. well into mid 3digits minimum... i agree, many dont care about quality.. i eduacte most my customers.. always have.. but it just doesnt exactly make the register ring...

i have competitors selling complete garbage and they are busy.. i have a very low return ratio. and if it wasnt for offering a certain brand.. i would have none

KPierson 
Platinum - Posts: 3,526
Platinum spaceThis member consistently provides reliable informationspace
Joined: April 14, 2005
Location: Ohio, United States
Posted: September 08, 2007 at 12:13 AM / IP Logged  

Every installer has their 'style'.  If your style is using TTaps and your return rate is low why even question what other people are doing?  It sounds like you are set on using TTaps from a time saving perspective, so keep doing what works for you.

As a business owner you have other interests and other factors to consider.  I, myself, would never take a 'commission' based install job because I didn't like feeling rushed with a customers car.  I was the only one at any of the 3 shops I worked at who metered every wire on every alarm/rs I did, even the GM cars that have the same colors year after year after year.

You will never convince me that TTaps provide a better connections then soldering, but I have no problems believing that TTaps are easier to use, especially when doing 8 cars a day.

Kevin Pierson
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