EP60 | Is It Time to Go to a Pro Shop for Your Build?

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Episode Description

There are some whose expertise when it comes to D.I.Y. vehicle modification, accessorizing, and maintenance is so advanced that they could probably get a job at most pro shops for the price of asking. For most of us, however, our D.I.Y. skills have their boundaries, and there comes a time when we must look to a competent pro shop to assist us with whatever work we’re doing to our overland/adventure vehicle.

When that time comes, we hope that everything we’ve packed into this episode will help you get the results you want. Whether you’re making major modifications, doing some light accessorizing, or just having routine maintenance performed, we’ve brought our top pro, Josh Hull, Manager at Dark Horse Customs in Bozeman, Montana, onto the podcast to share his insight and offer tips on everything from identifying a top-tier pro shop to learning how to communicate more effectively with its technicians.

Dark Horse Customs is XOVERLAND’s go-to pro shop that has assisted us with our own unique vehicle builds for over a decade now. That’s why we’re excited and grateful to have their top guy on our podcast to discuss everything related to getting professional work of any kind done to your vehicle.

Jimmy Lewis and co-host, Leah Heffelfinger, sit down for a deep dive with Josh into this subject, even using their own vehicles and experiences as case scenarios to provide examples of what it looks like to go through the process of working with a pro.

Here are just some of the topics we cover in this episode:

  • How do you know you’ve found a top-tier shop? What are the red flags to look out for when it comes to selecting a pro shop to work with?
  • Modification? Accessory? What’s the difference?
  • When should you involve a pro shop? What types of modifications are risky to install for the average D.I.Y. vehicle owner?
  • Why it may actually save you money to order your accessories through a pro shop rather than buying them elsewhere.
  • Will a pro shop look over my D.I.Y. work to ensure the work has been done correctly?

Don’t find yourself wasting money and time when trying to work with a pro shop to build your dream overland/adventure vehicle. Join us for this unique episode and gain insight and knowledge from one of the best in the business to learn how to do it right the first time.

Detailed Episode Summary

Part 1 (1:30-11:01) Welcome Josh Hull of Dark Horse Customs in Bozeman: We welcome Josh Hull, Sales Manager of Dark Horse Customs in Bozeman, Montana onto the podcast and introduce our topic of learning how to more effectively communicate with your pro-shop whether you’re modifying or accessorizing your vehicle or simply getting maintenance work done. Jimmy, Josh, and Leah discuss “Pro-Shop Anxiety” and how to move past that stage into a place of confidence in expressing your wants and needs with a shop professional.

Part 2 (11:01-22:41) Should You Order Your Accessories and Parts Through a Shop or Find Them Yourself and Bring Them In? Josh explains some of the reasons for buying new parts and accessories through the shop you’ll be using rather than finding them yourself and bringing them into the shop for the techs to install. Josh also explains why some of the best deals on vehicle accessories you may find may be through your shop and why buying your parts and accessories through a shop may be the best option even if you’re doing a D.I.Y. install.

Part 3 (22:42-30:41) Working with a Pro Shop to Build a Vehicle That’s the Best Fit for the Experience/Adventure You Want to Have: Jimmy explains the approach taken by Courtney and Riley Casey of Ambition Strikes of envisioning the trip/experience they want to have and then building their vehicle to suit that experience. Josh explains the benefits of knowing what you’d like to do with your vehicle before building it and how a Pro-Shop can help you design a vehicle to suit your needs if you have a particular experience/use-case in mind.

Our Podcast Episode with Ambition Strikes

Part 4 (30:42-34:14) What’s Safe to Do Yourself and When Should You Hire a Pro? Josh explains some basics about building and modifying vehicles when it comes to safety and why it may be a good idea to work with a pro shop for certain types of work such as electrical and some high-tension mechanical items. Josh shares how most pro shops will be happy to check over your D.I.Y. work and the benefits of that service.

Part 5 (34:15-39:01) XOVERLAND Podcast Co-Host, Leah Heffelfinger, Discusses the Upcoming Work Being Done to Her Truck by Dark Horse Customs: At the time we recorded this podcast, our co-host, Leah Heffelfinger, is on her way to deliver her Toyota Tundra and Four Wheel Camper to Dark Horse Customs for repair work and accessorizing. Josh and Leah go through a real-time interaction as customer and technician.

Part 6 (39:01-46:12) Is there a Difference Between a Pro Shop that Builds and Accessorizes Vehicles and a Shop that Does Service, Repair, and Maintenance Work? How Do You Find a High-Quality Shop? Josh explains the differences among pro shops and how a shop like Dark Horse Customs differs from a shop that does basic maintenance and repair work. Josh explains what to look for in terms of customary labor rates for differing types of shop work and a strategy for finding a top-tier pro shop to have any kind of work done on your vehicle.

Top National Shops Mentioned in this Podcast

Part 7 (46:13-55:31) Pro Tips on Educating Yourself as a Pro-Shop Customer and for D.I.Y. Projects: Josh provides some tips for how to learn about your vehicle and educate yourself about truck building and even D.I.Y. projects. Jimmy and Josh discuss other “Green Lights” for recognizing when you’re working with a top-tier shop. Josh shares best practices and effective strategies for working with your pro shop to achieve your vehicle-building goals.

Extra Resources Mentioned in this Part of the Episode:

XOVERLAND Q&A Podcast featuring tips on Overland/Adventure Vehicle Building

Part 8 (55:32-End) What is the Difference Between a Vehicle “Accessory” and a “Modification”? More Communication Tips, and an Amazing Custom Overland Vehicle Build: Josh explains the difference between an “Accessory” and a “modification” and when the two may be one and the same, offers a few more tips for communicating with a pro, and shares a story about an amazing custom overland build currently underway at Dark Horse Customs.

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