In the aftermarket automotive world, greed can be a pretty common thing. With Whiteside Customs, I feel it's our duty to make sure consumers know the full story, and that we make every effort to provide make the customer's dreams as affordable as possible. However, there is a profit margin that makes sense. As a business owner we have to calculate not only what it takes to maintain our day to day operation but also what we need to expand our business and be able to release new product.
Now that's just one business model. There are certain vendors in this industry who are completely content selling at a MUCH lower margins - simply because they have very little overhead, don't stock anything and certainly have no idea how to install the part they just sold you. The typical online only retailer, if you will.
Now, is it fair for a installation shop which has 100 times the overhead to try and compete with an online retailer? No. But that's the reality of this business. Competition is GREAT for the consumer as it drives down prices. It is TERRIBLE for vendors simply because it devalues product.
As a consumer myself, I too search for the best value possible. Notice I said "value" and not "price". What do I get for my dollar? I have certainly been in situations when shopping when a local vendor who I trust is a bit higher than some place online. But what am I getting in the end? I know the local vendor has personal experience with the product, and if I have any questions, they're easy to get in touch with. Occassionaly, I'll ask the local guys if they will match an online price. Sometimes they will, sometimes not. But at the end of the day I don't mind paying a bit more for good service.
As far as greed from a mantufacturer standpoint, this is difficult. Manufacturing costs in the US are extremely high. So in most cases, it makes a lot of sense to import product, as long as the product quality does not suffer. The greed comes in when the manufacturer does not disclose the product origin and sells for 300% profit. This happens far more often than most people know. Personally as a consumer and business owner I have no issue with a company using imported parts, as long as it's disclosed.
Point is, be asmart consumer. Do your homework not only about the product you are trying to buy but also the company selling it to you. Don't be afraid to ask questions. And more importantly, don't accept vague answers.