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  #16  
Old 03-24-2002, 06:49 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Baton Rouge
Posts: 485
The labor that I have quoted was straight from alldata , now we do have our own labor charges and I can admit sometimes we do change labor times cause labor is too high or low , but thats why we are independents ( we make our own choices) . I dont remember the last time I charged 5.3 for just a waterpump. Now when it comes to diagnosis (electrical) I do punch time and to me that is fair. On the 30% mark up , well something has to pay for shipping , paying someone to do inventory every year and all the labels ,boxes , shelves and everything else required for inventory.Some people think that we see every dime well actually we see 25 cents of every dollar that rolls through the shop. Try to make a living like that. Just a little reality check for those of you who have never ran or owned a shop.
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Mercedes Technician 7 Years (retired to Hyundai)
2000 Dodge Durango
98 Mazda truck
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  #17  
Old 03-24-2002, 06:58 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
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Folks are in business to make money. The “rate” at which they are paid determines the pay for all. Ask our Webmaster or Benzmac about what kind of investment you have to build a shop, stock it, and then spend money for advertising, labor, and customer satisfaction items. It is not hard to figure out there is a real need for charging folks a chunk of change. And yes, the rates are supposed to permit the shop to profit. Get over it.

Personally, I want my mechanic to be happy and competent in their work. If so, ultimately I’ll be able to spend more times with my customers and less time screwing around at their shop due to the need for repeat work. If this means that I have to pay 5 hours for what I might think is a 2 hour job, I may be upset for about a day and then let it go.

There are an awful lot of folks who use every spending session as exercise an in anger mis-management. Some are outright jealous of those they pay. That means the problem is with the person spending the money; not the one making it.

After all, how many folks reading this thread ever discount their employer because of slow work or unexpected problems or having to do something more than once, or sometimes, just to be nice? Hmmmmmm? No, an employee wants their guaranteed “flat” hourly or salary rate. That’s also part of being in business, but you NEVER see the typical employee offer a discount. If you don’t pay your employees, they won’t even show up. After all, everything that goes wrong at work is all the employer’s fault, right? Why then, are car repair folks somehow perceived to be except from sometimes charging more, and sometimes giving the customer an exceptionally good deal, while most of the time charging a flat, and admittedly profit making rate? Again, folks are in business to make money.
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  #18  
Old 03-24-2002, 07:42 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Baton Rouge
Posts: 485
Labenz I tip my hat at you, you have hit a point that all of us here have been trying to make. Thank you. After all us (technicians @ owners ) will never be millionaires. The only thing I am in this buisness for is that I have been working on cars for 16 years ( 6) professionaly. I love my job , I love the cars and I love making my customers happy. My boss and everyone that works with me knows , the day I dont like my job anymore I will quit and do something else I will love. I am only 26 , I plan on working on these cars the rest of my life, how long will you own your car? I hope for a long time .I always help my customers when they want to do something themeselves. This site is probably the best around that mercedes owners can go on to get help. Everytime I hear someone opening a new shop I salute them for having the guts to jump into this crazy industry, I plan on having mine soon in the next 2 years . Saving money now for it .When I do I will run it the best I can but my technicians will be paid very well cause they have family's too. Thats my 2 cents
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2000 Dodge Durango
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  #19  
Old 03-24-2002, 09:19 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
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With that attitude, I'm sure you'll be successful. You love your work, and it shows in your posts. You like making customers happy, and this is ultimately a people business.

Good luck!
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #20  
Old 03-24-2002, 10:49 PM
realneal
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Avoiding Customer Dissatisfaction

I'll second suginami's post--I previously mentioned that I have tried the dealer and three independents in the last ten years.

The dealer was greedy and the techs that did the work couldn't care less about quality. Perhaps it was more of a morale problem there.

The independents mostly did not seem to understand business--in that being fair with customers is what promotes customer loyalty. Charging for parts not replaced, using old parts while charging for new, lying to customers over trivial matters, I've seen it all. I believe those independents were not completely dishonest, but they put themselves in that position because of incompetent business practices. Few, if any, businesses get ahead by a policy of dishonesty.

Customers should understand when the labor for a remove and replace job seems high, especially when the shop points out the particular difficulties when the customer pays the bill. If the customer complains, that is his perogative and if he does not come back, so be it. As stated before in this thread, those things happen.

Naturally, customers should be made aware of the nature of troubleshooting, and the technician should keep him informed, but diagnosis is always tough to call, making the policy of customer confidence all the more critical. My business uses an escalation policy to involve more skilled staff and the attention of management if progress is not made within a particular time frame. This is more for the customer's confidence than for the efficient use of staff, but it is also a good policy to avoid excessive charges when a tech has a bad day.
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  #21  
Old 03-24-2002, 11:17 PM
Jackd
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I will also agree that shops need to make money to stay open and make a decent living out of it.
But looking at the price differential between a Benz dealer ($90.00/hour in our neck of the woods) and $45.00/per hour for my independant mechanic (who worked for 15 years at a MBenz dealership) make me very hesitant to visit the dealer. Sure, they have a nice clean waiting room with free coffee, lavish building and uniformed employees. They can also brag about having the cleanest shop floor short of the local hospital. All that costs money for which I am not ready to pay for. What I want when I get my car to the shop is competent repair and fair price done by someone who knows what he is doing. If it takes 4 hours, he'll charge me for 4 hours, even if the book says it should be 6 hours. If it takes 8 hours, he'll charge me for 8 hours, and that's allright with me. I like to pay what it actually costs, including a fair profit margin.
JackD
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  #22  
Old 03-25-2002, 01:44 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,508
I think both of my indie mechanics charged $65.00 / hr.
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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