Iíd like to chime in here, and meaning not to offend those on either side of this issue ------- I'd like to add some observations as as both a long standing business owner (14 years), and as a owner of 2 MBs. As an MB owner, I donít like the often excessive parts charges by repair shops. The dealer I use is no exception to high pricing for parts. However they are willing to install my supplied parts. They claim it is company policy to do so. I do tell them that if the parts are not to their specification they can install their own. I buy parts from this site and have had any problem reported, except for the occasional wrong part delivered.. BTW the dealer I use is the largest MB dealer in the Seattle area.
Second as a business owner, I like to give my customers a savings whenever possible for the simple reasons that a) it helps makes them happy, b) it saves me paperwork and c) also the inevitable issue of warranty for parts is a non-issue because I donít sell the parts to them. I work with computer electronics, which for the 14 years I have been doing this work are still flaky often enough that I donít want to be obligated to throw away time by offering warranty for parts. Consequently, I buy parts for my customers, using their credit card, at my choice of vendors. The customer gets billed directly, I am certain that the right parts will show up Ė most of the time Ė my scheduling is kept under my control, and the customer saves about 35% on parts. I do get paid for the time it takes to buy the parts.
And even here, if there are some related or unexpected by me parts that need changing during a project I do encourage the shop to use their own so the job can be completed on a timely basis. I donít wish to punish the shop for my desire to save some money by demanding that i buy every part. I also understand the need for them to get the work done quickly.
This being said, IMO any shop charging ~ $90 per hour ought to make enough to pay for the tech, the lights, the taxes, the tools, and everything else and still make a good income unless they are doing something wrong. Techs donít make anywhere near $90 per hour unless they are substantially beating the book rate at which point the shop also makes more than $90 per hour. While there is nothing wrong with adding profit by selling parts, and in fact, it is the American way -- not selling parts will not break a business. Even so the parts *must* come to a minimum specification to be worth the techs time. If a customer can supply OE parts I donít understand why there would be an issue from the shop except for the desire of the shop owner to make more money.
'00 ML320 "Casper"
'92 400E "Stella"