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Discussion Starter #1
You'd think I'd learn my lesson. But no, one of my rear drums is locking up way too early. I had a shop do some work on the rear brake lines and figured I'd take it back there. Even if it needs new shoes and wheel cylinders I figure parts and 2 hours labor would run $150. What was I smoking? Does anyone even know where I can buy $40 shoes and $42 wheel cylinders for a 9-inch rear end? And the guy doing the work has been at this 20 years, but it took him 2 hours to put new shoes and cylinders on a 9 inch rear. He's only done it what, 500 times if he's been at this 20 years. If you are going to charge $150/hr labor, just say it, don't hide behind some 'book' that all jobs are quoted from. Has anyone ever said, 'Wow, I'm glad they have that book or they would have charged me 3 times the labor.' Such a crock. It cost me $300 for a new set of shoes and a pair of wheel cylinders. $35 worth of parts at AutoZone. Yes they quoted me 250 and I ok'ed while I was at work, but I was kinda busy at the time and didn't do the math in my head. Sue me, ya'll and your book are still a rip off. For another $100 I could have gotten the explorer disk system and put the on myself. I guess that will wait a while now.
 

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Don't take this the wrong way, John, but what business are you in?

If I had a nickel for each time I heard "how much cheaper it would be if I brought my own parts" or "I could do the work myself cheaper" I would be all set for retirement.

The fact of the matter is that the job costs what the job costs. The business owner needs to markup parts and set labor rates at a level that will pay his overhead and provide a satisfactory ROI.

I darn well know I can go to the supermarket and buy a real nice 10oz steak for $3, take it home and fire up the grill instead of paying $21.95 at the restaurant, yet I still occasionally go out to eat. The same applies to the repair shop. As a matter of fact, if the restaurant burns my steak, I get a new one, if I burn mine, I chew a little more.

As an aside, I think 2 hours labor to replace rear shoes, wheel cylinders and bleed the system is quite fair.
 

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$150/hr for a shop rate is insane... There isn't one shop in this area that charges more than $70 for each hour of labor.

As far as the "booK" goes - It's most often nowadays a program called All-Data that tracks how much a job is "supposed" to cost, an average time, etc... I believe it is co-authored by the wonderful people at the B.A.R.

Just for kicks, I asked a buddy of mine to look in All-Data for your car's information and sure enough, for the job you qouted (Rear drum brake service consisting of shoe and hardware replacement) was 2.2 hours. If you had your drums turned, that's another .5 hours according to All-Data. At your shop's EXORBITANT rate, $300+ sounds fine.

And I agree with Bart. I love the steak analogy - My father has used it many times.

You can either pay more, but once, or you can pay often, but less...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
If I had a nickel for each time I heard "how much cheaper it would be if I brought my own parts" or "I could do the work myself cheaper" I would be all set for retirement.
You hear that from mechanics a lot. I'm pretty sure you brush it off as a bunch of cheapskates. But is there any chance there’s a flaw in your system? If I go to AutoZone and ask for a wheel cylinder, they are going to have the part in stock and charge me $8.99. A mechanic charges $42.99. How could you not question something like that? I finally found out why today, after giving the mechanic grief. That’s the dist. built in cost if the part goes bad and they have to refund the labor on the warranted swap. Why don't you just post it on the board?

Labor $65/hr
book fee 2x
~$30 per part warrantee fee

That would bring in a lot of customers, wouldn't it? But it is the truth, and you wouldn't get any questions.

But you’re not getting the nickels either, so I doubt we'll see any improvement.

BTW, I'm a software developer and I did some time in the business college. This stuff about ROI and overhead is a smoke screen; mechanics couldn't get away with telling people what they are really paying for labor, so they pack it into parts and this 'book'. Most people don't know any better and the rest of us are just 'cheapskates'.
 

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I used to run a Midas shop, been gone 12 years now. Rants like this is why.
I was called up about a master cylinder, gave the price, and was told well that master cylinder is only $29.00 at the parts store. I told the guy, " ask them how much it will be to put in on, bleed the brakes and test drive it too".
Folks, if you don't like mechanics, you are all welcome to take the bus to work.
 

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I've got a college education and about .25M in equipment and I charge 55.00 per hour. What's the going rate for a software developer?

No offense, but I think you're cheap and the shop owner should have fired your butt right on out...

I never take that crap from customers.....if they want a quote, I give them an accurate one; if they want to niggle, they're out the door, never to darken it again.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
OK at AutoZone
2 * 8.99 * 40% = 21.18 wheel cylinders
1 * 14.99 * 40% = 20.99 shoes
2.2 * 65 = 143 shop posted rate

Total = 185.17

Where's the extra $115, oh, in the parts.

2 * 42 = 84 - 22 = 62 wheel cylinders
1 * 40 - 20 = 20 shoes

/* The rest is tax and chem. fees I have not qualm with that*/

So now we have 143 + 82(labor built into the parts incase of warrantee; even though they have the same warrantee as the AutoZone parts) = 112.50\hr.

Not 150, I was fired up when I wrote that. But 112.50 is still excessive. If they just posted it on the board, it would have never come up.

And the stake comparison is one of the biggest logical fallacies ever. It’s a straw man and it has no relevance to the topic. I despise hearing it. :: No offence.
 

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I'm not a mechanic, but I think you just have to look at the bottom line and not try to break the charges down into "hourly rates". Most of the time, I would not do the same job for the amount of money they charge. Of course, it would take me three times as long to do the same job. The main thing to me is that they do the work right, and actually replace the parts that they charged me for. Before I started doing my own, I was charged for brake rotors that were not really replaced. I also was charged for a new fuel pump one time and later found out that it had not been changed.

Luckily, I have found a good, honest mechanic now who does reasonably priced work. I'm going to hang onto him. Honesty seems to be rare in the car repair business, but I guess that applies equally to most businesses these days.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It's not 55/hr, but it only takes about 3k in hardware.

I never take that crap from customers
Sounds like the guy today at the shop. I walked in, looked at the bill and said "Wow, didn't expect the parts to cost so much." His immediate reply was "You want me to go take them off the car?" in an indigent tone. That's how the ball got rolling. Is that how you 'Don't take crap' from customers? His next question was "Where could you get them cheaper?" My response "AutoZone, across the street." Then it was a big discussion about wrong parts and bore sizes. Finally he admits its labor packed into the parts. Cannot argue with that, I paid and left. Why did he go off so quickly, why wasn't his first answer the honest correct one, why the excuses? I've seen this at so many mechanics. Just say it, I have to cover 2 to 3 times the labor I'm showing you and I’ve packed it in where most people won’t notice.

I doubt you have any problems being honest with your customers.

BTW I may be cheap on occasion, but I doubt you got to where you are today on $22 stakes every night. ;)
 

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i've recently bought an auto repair shop. i'm not the mechanic, but as the owner, i prepare all of the tickets. i go by the book for a number of reasons. the "book" protects the consumer.

first, i have a mechanic with over 30 years of experience. he can often do a job that call for 2 hours labor in 1 hour. it would be easy to say that i should charge for 1 hour, but a guy with 30 years of experience doesn't exactly work for minimum wage.

second, there are some jobs that call for 2 hours by the book, but take 3 hours. i still charge for 2 hours. would you want me to charge 3 hours because we hit a snag? it goes both ways.

i get my parts at jobber rates. i mark the parts up 30%. the list is 50% or higher. i think 30% is fair and most of the time it's cheaper than the customer can buy them over the counter. everyone is better off.

if your mechanic is overpriced, change mechanics. the best way to determine that is to get competitive bids. i don't think twice about losing a job because i'm not the cheapest. i go by the book and let the chips fall where they may.
 

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Wow, didn't expect the parts to cost so much

I bet he hears that almost everytime someone looks at the work order, and he almost expects to hear it... Kinda like when someone says, "Hot enough for ya?" on a 100 degree day, only more insulting
 

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As a government sub-contractor, we must maintain meticulous records of all our labor charging. Even though I'm exempt, I work on several concurrent programs under individual contracts and must justify all my time. As such, it is ILLEGAL for me to fudge my time. I cannot over / under charge any of my programs. Even if there is work that is required on an over-run project, I cannot charge the time to another program.

One Compliance training course we are required to take is entitled "Ethics in Labor Charging". To get their point across, it compares labor charging in an auto repair shop. The foreman has several cars in for repair. One repair he underestimated the repair cost when he quoted the customer. Another repair he overestimated the repair when the mechanic found a very simple fix. He figured he'd make up the money he lost on the overbid with the money he'd make on the job he underbid.
 

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BTW, I'm a software developer and I did some time in the business college. This stuff about ROI and overhead is a smoke screen
you go on to say that your rate isn't $55/hour, but you work with only $3k in equipment. any industry that can generate the kind of return on investment as the dot com industry did without commensurate investment is short-lived. how many programmers are looking for work these days. taking a couple classes in economics makes you no more an economist than a cobol classes makes me a programmer. roi is far from a smoke screen. it's what make our capitalist economy what it is. and the "stake" analogy is relevant, even if you don't spell steak correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You're correct, I'm no economist. But I do understand the importance of ROI and overhead. I may have made my point poorly.

I'm not sure where you’re going with the rate/equipment part. The 3k in equipment was a joke; I was just comparing my computer to what is likely a large CNC machine. The company I work for has a much larger investment.

One of the reasons so many programmers are looking for work is precisely that they take a few classes then consider themselves programmers. We've tried to hire people, but no qualified applicants show up.

The steak analogy may be relevant, but if you are going to rag someone's spelling, please capitalize your sentences correctly.
 

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i think jmoffett said it all. i spent 2 yrs going to school to learn the automotive trade. it cost me 2,ooo dollars. garages pay top dollar for mechinics, and have to cover expences. there a places yhat are crooks, just do your home work. the bottem line is do i want to do the job or is it worth the money to save time and agravation.
 

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... please capitalize your sentences correctly...
Looking back at all your posts in this very thread, you're quite hypocritical to make THAT sort of statement. I can go back one page and count HOW MANY missing grammatical necessities? 10 or 15? Maybe more.

How about we admit that my grammar is better than yours, but admit that you got burned on the labor deal? That sounds good.

And for being so darned inflammatory, you might want to consider standing up for your own point a little more. You said,

The steak analogy may be relevant...
But just hours ago you said,

...And the stake[sic] comparison is one of the biggest logical fallacies ever...

So it's either a logical fallacy (straw man) or it isn't. By saying that his analogy is now relevant, you are undermining yourself. Why?

Besides, you were wrong to begin with. His "stake" analogy, if incorrect, would not have been a straw man fallacy, but rather more simply, a false analogy, a different but equally important logical fallacy.

An example of a straw man fallacy would be something like this:

A husband and wife are arguing about taking out the trash.

Husband: "It's your turn to wash the car!
Wife: "But I washed the car last week! Next you'll insist on washing the car every day."
Husband: "I never said anything about washing the car every day, you just want me to look bad at work..."

Basically put, a straw man fallacy goes like this:

I.) Person 1 has Position A
II.) Person B presents Position B (A skewed version of A)
III.) Person B undermines Position B, therefore...
IV.) Therefore, position A is flawed.

One can see how this fallacy is so pervasive. Undermining a skewed or modified position in place of attempting to argue the actual position solves absolutely nothing.

I hope this cleared things up in the logical fallacy arena. Might I suggest a lower divison Philosophy course to brush up? :p

And don't bother wasting your time looking through my post for a grammar or spelling mistake because you won't find one. :: From now on, why not stick to arguing about car parts and the expenses associated with them as opposed to bringing in grammar? I haven't done that in a long time, simply because people here do not like it. And I can't blame them! It's very frustratin'!
 

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I am not a mechanic, but have done drum brakes more times than I care to count. I will say this: You have to ask yourself why, if the parts are under $40, didn't you just do it yourself. The answer would be either
a. I don't have the time
b. I don't have the ambition
c. I don't have the knowledge
d. Any or all of the above

My point is simply, there is some reason that you did not do it yourself and therefore you agreed to pay someone else to do it for you. You knew going in that it would be $250. I can see your beef at having to pay $50 more ($300) unless there was additional work that was found later.

You are a professional person. If you owned an auto shop, had to pay insurance, payroll, rent or mortgage, taxes, etc. do you think that you would do that job for $250? I know that I wouldn't.

The auto repair industry is just as competetive as any other. They know you are free to take the car down the road to another place for a better price.

Myself, I work on my own car for the most part. I know a mechanic near the office that I take my wifes car to (not worth my time to work on it). I have had him look at my Mustang when I couldn't figure something out. He is honest, he is good. And he is not cheap. But sometimes (and this is one of them) you get what you pay for.

Just my .02

Frank
 

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I do alot of side jobs for people and chasing parts down for some times takes longer than doing the job itself. I don't mark up parts and most of my work is for people I know so the prices are more than fair for them. Many times I get upset because things don't go the way they should and I eat it.

I am sure the shop has the parts delivered. It never hurst to get a price up front. I always say if I could do brake jobs for a living I would be a rich man. They are easy to do.

I would have been upset with the price tag also but that is because I know I can do the work myself and I am sure you feel the same way.
 

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I was in the auto service trade for 10 yrs,and currently own a motorsports related service business, personally I think the guy was ripped off, but thats just an opinion. If it had been me, when the guy asked if I wanted the stuff taken off I would have said YES!! At the worst I would have cost Me $40 to have it towed home and would have been worth it. BUT he may have balked and cut some off the cost. I dont care what kind of arguement you use theres no reason to gouge customers. Ive got a friend with a VERY reputable local shop.. in the last 2 years hes really been jackin prices up on people...problem is the words out, and his once super succesful shop is struggling. 3 out of every 5 of his old customers that I see say its gotten too pricey and have gone elsewhere. I dont care what anyone says about their business expenses and cutomer billing, If 1 customer thinks its expensive, other will too the word will travel and they'll find someone cheaper.... Is the quality of work as good? Who knows but the bill is lower and thats all that matters to most people... So heres the Dillema, do you make your prices reasonable do quality work and stay so busy you can hardly keep up...OR do you stick it up the customers a$$ every chance you get and pray they come back tomorrow?? I think its a simple answer, apparenly others dont.
 

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When I was going through school, I worked at a small engine repair shop for minimum wage (but the hours were very flexible). To the customer, though, my time was worth $45 an hour, and yes, quite a few balked at this. The mechanic unless he owned the shop is not making that salary. If he had a price ahead of time and then charged more, the rant is understandable. That is my only qualm with these shops.
-Brian
 
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