I read all your posts on that previous thread and couldn't agree with you more. Keep this in mind as you read this post: I own a body shop and a garage here in Houston and my family has been in this business for just over 31 years. My opinion here reflects both the views of a shop owner and a DIYer.
On the subject of changing the springs:
1. You NEED the right tools. When you have the right
tools, danger is never COMPLETELY eliminated, but
tremendously reduced. You need common sense. I have
changed springs in my life that sometimes a spring
compressor will NEVER work. Here, you just have to use
a little brains and come up with a way to do the job
while minimizing the danger potential as much as
2. I changed all four of my springs in my 92 400E in
just over an hour and a half. And thats only because
it was my first time doing it on this car. I had
access to a car lift, air tools, and a transmission
jack, which made the job quicker and safer.
Like MBDOC said, what you are CHARGED for isn't usually how
long it takes. Labor times are defined in a book or in a computer. They are defined by the average tech doing the job with the correct tools. Keep in mind, when you pay $72/hour at the shop, the tech dosn't ACTUALLY get $72/hour. Sometimes he may get half that. The rest of the money is figured into shop expenses, etc. My greatest competition is the local Dealerships. For all the "big" jobs, I charge time by the book. If the tech can do it in less, I'll take a little time off the labor, and let the customer know that I did this. This keeps my customers happy and my bays full. Also, most independent shops don't charge as much per hour as the dealership.