VENTING!!! Rip-off Labor rates!

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OR VietVet

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Back to the original topic.
If anyone thinks running an automotive shop is easy step up and give it a try, the business is unlike anything else. The overhead is absolutely ridiculous for a legitimate shop before you can open the doors and say you repair vehicles. The cost of access to information is unlike any other industry. The cost of tools and equipment has skyrocketed and the equipment for diagnosing comes with a subscription fee to keep it working. The insurance costs are high when you consider the cost of insuring that expensive equipment and the expensive vehicles being worked on and the liability if something goes wrong.
I'm not defending the shop in the OP's situation, just explaining a little of what it's like to own and operate a legitimate shop and the costs involved. As I stated before if it was my shop I would have avoided the whole situation because of the road it sounds like it's going down.
Almost 30 years ago, back in KC, Mo., I thought about opening a shop. I accounted for all that you listed and then some, because even then, good techs cost money but they were what generated income in that shop. I concluded, unless I went in to hock in a big way, it was gonna take $500k minimum to open a 4 bay shop and allow for a nest egg to ride thru the start up and get customer's in that shop. Now, it would be way more.
 

j91z28d1

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Back to the original topic.
If anyone thinks running an automotive shop is easy step up and give it a try, the business is unlike anything else. The overhead is absolutely ridiculous for a legitimate shop before you can open the doors and say you repair vehicles. The cost of access to information is unlike any other industry. The cost of tools and equipment has skyrocketed and the equipment for diagnosing comes with a subscription fee to keep it working. The insurance costs are high when you consider the cost of insuring that expensive equipment and the expensive vehicles being worked on and the liability if something goes wrong.
I'm not defending the shop in the OP's situation, just explaining a little of what it's like to own and operate a legitimate shop and the costs involved. As I stated before if it was my shop I would have avoided the whole situation because of the road it sounds like it's going down.


I've got a buddy that owns a used car dealership with his brother. they have most of the cars in an indoor showroom. sell for reasonable prices. work lots of hours but make good money and take care of their employees. they are both also car guys and the amount of mostly performance shops, because his cars are new enough they don't normally need repairs, that rip him off and jerk him around on time lines and horrible work blows his mind. he keeps bugging me to come be a tech for him so he can open his own shop in the back of his dealer building. I'm to old to start over and 3 states away. but I have no doubt he would run it well, make good money off it and treat his customers right without ripping anyone off.

it's very doable. but you will need to be picky with what you take in. you gotta know your techs and tell the service writer he's not going to make the money on this one.. send them some place else if you can't handle the work. that's the part I think shops in general can't do. they just see $.
 

j91z28d1

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On a more relevant note. I've changed the fuel pump in my two-door 96 and with a lift and a transmission jack, it's a 45 minute job. You just paid $1,000 to the shop to install a pump you provided. Most likely done badly.

You have all the right in the world to be pissed off because guarantee they never did any Diagnostics in the first place.
 

OR VietVet

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I've got a buddy that owns a used car dealership with his brother. they have most of the cars in an indoor showroom. sell for reasonable prices. work lots of hours but make good money and take care of their employees. they are both also car guys and the amount of mostly performance shops, because his cars are new enough they don't normally need repairs, that rip him off and jerk him around on time lines and horrible work blows his mind. he keeps bugging me to come be a tech for him so he can open his own shop in the back of his dealer building. I'm to old to start over and 3 states away. but I have no doubt he would run it well, make good money off it and treat his customers right without ripping anyone off.

it's very doable. but you will need to be picky with what you take in. you gotta know your techs and tell the service writer he's not going to make the money on this one.. send them some place else if you can't handle the work. that's the part I think shops in general can't do. they just see $.
If I was younger, I would tech full time but I am not. My friend that helped me in my Build Thread, left the guy he was teching at because that guy had broken promises to him two different times that my friend has worked for him. My friend now opened another shop about 12 miles away in a smaller town, with another friend of his who's dad had the shop space and they have three very large bays to work out of and will be adding lifts soon. Because of his friend's dad's contacts, they started out with 3 used car lots using them for "get ready for sale" work and word of mouth. Within 2 months they are BUSY. They don't take on everything because of no lifts yet and some diagnostic equipment limitations. I gave my friend my Tech II to use, free of charge, and when they get lifts in I will have one to use if needed and even may wrench there part time on what I want to work on. Shall see.
 

Mean_Green

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I don't have the capability My mind doesn't work to the level of detail needed. Never did. Good enough may be OK for my own stuff, but it isn't even close when someone is paying you.
 

j91z28d1

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If I was younger, I would tech full time but I am not. My friend that helped me in my Build Thread, left the guy he was teching at because that guy had broken promises to him two different times that my friend has worked for him. My friend now opened another shop about 12 miles away in a smaller town, with another friend of his who's dad had the shop space and they have three very large bays to work out of and will be adding lifts soon. Because of his friend's dad's contacts, they started out with 3 used car lots using them for "get ready for sale" work and word of mouth. Within 2 months they are BUSY. They don't take on everything because of no lifts yet and some diagnostic equipment limitations. I gave my friend my Tech II to use, free of charge, and when they get lifts in I will have one to use if needed and even may wrench there part time on what I want to work on. Shall see.


I believe it... the work is there forsure. the I believe the trick to it is not being in it to get rich. you gotta like being a small business owner and the work that goes with it. do good work, take care of people and yes some times that means you take a lose on a job. but you can be picky and you will have a line of return customers.

don't lie to then about when the car will be ready because your counter guy for some reason just can't tell the truth about anything. they get into this mindset that if I don't tell people what they want to hear money walks out the door. well yeah, but lying to customers isn't going to get them back again.
I worked in a Ford performance shop for a while as a kid.. horrible pay, long hot Florida days. literally temp gun would say the walls where 120deg, even your tools in your tool box would be hot to the touch and some times we wouldn't go home till 8 at night up on a dyno sweating to death. lucky I was very young. it would kill me today and why? because the owners brother in law ran the front counter and was unable to tell the truth. if he just told people the truth, parts either aren't here. we made a mistake and it should be done tomorrow but nope, couldn't do that. lie to them, tell them it will be done in 20mins when it hadn't even been touched yet. customer takes a cab up expecting to drive home only to sit around all day pissed.


horrible run shop and still more business than they knew what to do with.


I learned very quickly it was not the life for me and moved on to well paying hourly maintenance work with benefits and a pension. screw getting worked to the bone for someone else trying to get rich.

honestly I don't even blame the younger generation for not wanting these jobs. 90% of them really are terrible jobs. flat rate by design screws the tech and the customer. no time to repair or t/s anything when the guy next to you is throwing parts at it and making 4h pay for an hours work and when it doesn't fix it, he's got the shady guy up front to lie to the customer that they need another part thrown at it. while the good tech is trying to diagnose stuff and customers can't believe they have to pay for that.
 

OR VietVet

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Yea, I never worked flat rate but knew the drawbacks. Never worked at a dealer and only worked at 1 tire shop, Goodyear for about 3 years. The rest were small mom and pop shops that were 5 days a week and closed on Sat and Sun. I worked for an hourly wage and got bonuses for certain things and I was happy.
 

salisburyv

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I was a service writer at new car dealers for 22 years. The techs would always try me at first to see if i'd go along.... But i didn't work that way. I wanted these people to come back to me over and over, so i always took care of my customers. Ownership was always happy about my work ethic. And so were my customers. I wouldn't/couldnt allow them to throw parts at it. Luckily i had a good knowledge of cars in the first place. My first employer, Subaru sent me to every training seminar they had, it was a lot. But that knowledge was integral to me being successful.
 

iLikeEggs

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Is there a typo there?

I've been told by some shops that they don't want to use customer supplied parts because they can't be sure of the quality and don't want to get into a warranty situation having to redo something because of a poor quality part.
This is absolutely true. Back when I ran big box auto centers (Sears, Montgomery wards), it was more of a liability issue. Though, sometimes exceptions were made in the name of customer service.
 

Frankimuni

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I have a 1999 Chevy Tahoe 2-door that is my pride and joy. I experienced the dreaded gas gauge issue and took it into a supposedly local reputable shop. I had already replaced the air stepper (e.g. gas gauge) in the instrument cluster. They ran some diagnostics and told me the sender unit in the tank was bad. I replaced it approximately 2 years ago and it still had a lifetime warranty. I provided them with my own part and they charged my > $980 to drop the tank and R&R the sender unit.

When I spoke to the manager, I told him I could do this exact same job in my garage myself in about 3-4 hours. Not a fun job, but not that bad, as I did it approximately 3 years ago. He agreed and told me his shop rates are $230 / hr for labor. I'm too busy at my work and didn't have a lot of time to take on this project.

I know that we are known for smoking a lot of weed in Colorado but does anyone else out there think this is absolutely ridiculous? Especially considering that I supplied my own part for the job??? No wonder automotive shops are right up there with insurance companies for being seen as complete crooks. How much does the poor mechanic get of that $230 / hr rate? Maybe $35 / hr? I hope & pray that more shops like this go bankrupt. Next time I will listen to my instincts and do the damn job myself. I'll do a better job than those jokers anyway.
I hear ya. Chevy wanted to charge me $595.00 for a transmission oil and filter change. They said the cost of parts went up. Went on to say the filter is 50.00 and fluid is about 70. The rest was labor. I told them I didn't want to become a partner in the dealership. I found a local mechanic that not only did the transmission work but, also rotated the tires, engine oil and filter change and replaced two exhaust pipe donuts for $495.00. So yeah, Rip Offs from the dealerships are abundant.
 

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