This specialized area of auto repair is confusing in it's appropriateness and marketing strategies. If you take the low low pricing involved with the service, you would think that most other shops are charging too much. The reality is that in auto repair you always pay for what you get. The question you have to ask yourself is do you really want a cheap brake job.
Brake specialists are competant and have value in their segment of the repair businesses. If you use these services you can expect a good job. My problem with most of them is their marketing strategies. If you advertise a price for a service and that price depends on certain variables, it is misleading. For instance. Low price ads for brakes have fine print saying metallic brake pads are slightly higher. Most of todays autos HAVE metallic pads. Some low ball prices do not include machine work on brake drums or brake rotors. You should always re-surface drums and rotors. I understand the offer of low price but it gives the impression that shops who do the right job with the right parts are charging too much.
Specialty segments of auto repair are OK, by my standards, if the product they offer is how they make their money. If low cost brake service can pay the bills, I'm all for the customer getting this outstanding value. However there are mechanics to pay and overhead costs that make this value un-likely. If they make more money because of volume of work than the job may be done without proper attention to quality. If they make more money because of deep discounts in parts cost, than you may get substandard parts.
Brake materials are purchased in many grades and vary greatly in price. Just in one brake parts line there can be as many as four or five different quality brake pads for a given application. Do you get to choose? There is also an attempt to get away from asbestos materials, are you given this choice? Does the shop use noise isolators and noise suppressor compounds? Warrantees in brake service are also suspect as far as being truthful and worth additonal cost. If you can simply purchase more miles from a set of brakes this should tip you off to some kind of racket. If a 30,000 mile brake job is less than a 40,000 mile brake job shouldn't you ask yourself what is the difference? I say you are just paying more up front for the same service. In general you should expect slightly less mileage than you got from your original set of brakes. This is acceptable. Most warrantees that go beyond this basic warrantee will have a clause in them excluding the cost of bringing the braking system up to standard. This additional cost will almost always pertain to hydralic system service that is not included in the original service. Always remember, in auto repair you always get what you pay for.Use your common sense.JM