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Old 02-08-2001, 03:57 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: charlotte hall md.
Posts: 248
Are MB Technicians Paid Enough?

Le benz back up Enough to read what I said Good techs where worth.In my many decades on this earth.I have seen the good the bad the ugly.I have run some Automobile dealerships in my time.I have gone so far as to invite a so called tech outside so we could discuss that techs ability.I do not need some pup pontificating on what I think.A friend that currently owns a dealership told me the otherday that there is a shortage of at least 60,ooo techs in the country.keep the froeydian analisis to yourself I will not read your mind do not try to read mine.Michael

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Old 02-08-2001, 04:41 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: At the Birkebeiner
Posts: 3,822
I think that some frustration with dealer practices is evident.
That call is probably true for those on this forum. I have a crazy theory why this is so. The following is just wild speculation!

Most people who visit dealer service depts. have newer cars.

Most new car customers haven't seen the horrors (or pleasures, depending on which side of the fence you prefer) of owning an older Benz.

Most new car customers take their cars in for A or B service and not much more.

Most of these people know nothing about cars.

It's all covered under warranty anyway plus they get free coffee and croissants while watching CNN.

Or they can use one of the executive cubicles and get their email and faxin' done.

Most of them get a nice E-class loaner.

They leave happy.

They send the customer response card in rating the service department the best in the world. Straight A's across the board from the fresh ground gourmet coffee made with bottled water to the croissants from the New French Bakery, although, some say that it would have been a good idea to offer both, sweet and low AND equal.

Then there's a whole other class of Benz owner who isn't privy to the treatment stated above. Those who show up with greazy fingers and a broken part under their arms. You know who you are so own up. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the dealers don't see much of us so they think everything's hunky-dory and go upon their merry ways. Never again do they think about the poor guy who walked in and needed some real help. Perhaps if we would say something to them they would listen up.

Hey! only MHO.


[Edited by kuan on 02-08-2001 at 04:47 PM]
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Old 02-08-2001, 04:49 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 474
Certified Techs:

Should Jason and myself bother with general automobile tech programs or just begin an extensive search for an apprenticeship at a dealership?


1989 300CE - 269,000 km
1994 SL600 - 59,000 km
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Old 02-08-2001, 07:03 PM
Posts: n/a
Go for the apprenticeship! Get in the field and play ball before you fork over thousands in education and realize what a mistake it was. I am VERY glad I worked for a dealer BEFORE going to school, boy would I have hated myself for spending a few years in school only to find out what I learned in a year on the job. You will not have a problem finding a job, there are shortages everywhere for bottom end jobs-lube techs, car washers, etc. Most will not sign the apprenticeship papers untill you work a few months and are deemed worthy of funding for a program (it costs them). Good luck!
On another note, I do agree the service advisors DO NOT KNOW what they are doing. At this particular VW dealer over six advisors have walked in a year (or fired), and they were DUMB! But then again, they were asked to work 12 hour days at substandard wages ($20-25k a year, 12 hours a day, CDN funds, few or no benefits). Again, pay is key, but I do not feel that the dealer would have to raise the hourly rate to pay the techs and advisors a couple more per hour, just open their wallets!
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Old 02-08-2001, 08:50 PM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Suwanee, GA, USA
Posts: 4,712
When I read this thread, I knew that it would grow!

We hired a tech from a dealer that was used to turning 60-70 hours a week at the dealer. When he came to the independent life, his hours dropped to about 40 hours a week. Once he said to me, I have never worked this hard for this little.

On the independent level, we can't afford to over charge. From what I learned from this tech, at the dealer, this is the normal. They use their pen to generate as much time as their tools. This was a powerfull learning tool for me. I started looking at the repair bills from the dealers and found some reasons that his hours dropped.

They charged .7 to test drive the car. We do this for free. They charge .2 for EACH bulb to replace. We do this for free. Diff service is extra at the EZ service, we do this included in the EZ price....The list is very long!

I still turn 60-70 hours a week, every week. Why? I don't take coffee or cigarette breaks. I don't stand and BS alot either. I just work. Plain and simple. I diagnose the car correctly and fix it in a timely manner.

OH yeah, his comeback rate was at least 10%, mine is .5% I think.

He is no longer with us, went back to the dealer to work less and get paid more. This is a fine policy with me, I'm just glad I don't own a new Mercedes that he services.

Sorry to whom this may offend. It is not meant that you all are this way, or that we independents are all straight. I have seen my fair share of the crooked ones. I just wanted to share something that did happen to me. Nothing more.

Donnie Drummonds
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Old 02-09-2001, 12:21 AM
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Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
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Benzmac, Your description of that experience seems to me to be right on the nose.

I have a client with a 3 month old C Class and the cars entire computer failed. She took it in, they replaced everything but the computer and took over 4 weeks to do it. They call her to have her come pick up the car, and its still doing the exact same thing. The Service advisor tells her what they replaced, and the computer was not on the list and when she took it in she told them the computer was on the fritz, but rather than replace it, they replaced every gauge in the car and everything else, radio, air con controls, command system and all, only to find out later that it was the computer as she had told them 4 weeks earlier.

They had the car for another week to replace the computer.

So essentially she has a car she has owned for 4 months, but driven for only 3.

The dealer seems to have spent a lot of time repairing things that didn't need repair because of two things, miscommunication between service advisor and tech, and improper diagnostics.

It takes talent to be a true technician, and every tech I have seen on this forum has the talent, the ambition, and the know how, with that extra sixth sense about things that make all the difference.

If every tech out there was like you guys, you'd see less new car sales because all the old cars would still be on the road.

Keep up the good work, you deserve everything that you have, and everything you have coming to you with all your hard work. its going to pay off for you whether spiritualy or financially.

I say you are not considered rich because of how much money you have. You are rich if your life is fullfilled by doing what you love, following your heart, and going after your dreams.

'92 300CE - Sold
2004 C240 - 744 - C7 Wheels - Android Radio
2002 C320 - 816 - Sport Wagon
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Old 02-09-2001, 01:01 AM
Posts: n/a
Shyne and Jason,

For what its worth;

1) Get involved in racing, preferably German car racing!
2) Go get an Mechanical Engineering Degree (borrow if you have to, everyone else does), you will not regret it in the long run as you will be able to steer your own path more than you might imagine.
3) Find like minded people so you can start your own business doing what YOU WANT! I do not pretend to know of the obstacles in doing this in Canada!

Are there "Tuner" shops in your area? Sounds like a direction to take if you don't want to relocate. Start small and grow at a natural pace, but don't rush things. You will figure it out in time.

Follow your Heart first, then your Mind! In essence, do what makes you Happy.

Hope this helps,

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Old 02-09-2001, 11:33 PM
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 1,937

Well, there's not too much more I can add to this thread. Except....

Unfortunately, some of the techs at the dealerships who are making the big bucks are the ones who are the butchers and cut tons of corners just to make a buck. The dealers know it goes on but ignore it completely because those guys are their big money makers. The guys who struggle and bang their heads against the wall for hours on a problem are the ones who get screwed (believe me, I know). Matter of fact, I got so fed up with seeing this at the dealership, that I have since gone back to Precision Motorcars (independent MB shop in Cincinnati). Like Steve, I stick with this profession because I love Mercedes automobiles and wouldn't trade what I do for any other job in the world (well, ok, I could think of one or two jobs) but I go into work happy every day and that's what counts. Keep those vintage MBs rolling!
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Old 02-10-2001, 09:48 AM
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Location: Vernon, CT
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The situation that Alon described is probably very common among all makes of vehicles. Dealerships love "swapping boxes" under warranty because they can charge it to the manufacture. Unfortunately nobody is being taught, or taking the time to learn, how to repair something, just remove and replace. I am an Avionics Technician in the Air Force. The first aircraft I worked on was the B-52 Bomber. That is so old, the last one was made in 1961. So the wiring on this aircraft was old and brittle, so electrical problems were common. You learned real quick how to properly troubleshoot and repair things. Now I work on a newer aircraft, a KC-10. This is a military version of a DC-10. On this aircraft there is little in way of wiring problems, just faulty computers, "boxes", or indicators. Anyone coming into the Air Force and working first on a KC-10 or even newer, C-17 will only learn how to swap "boxes".
I think this relates to the car repair industry today. Everything is made to be removed and replaced. It saves time and money for them, but nobody learns how to actually repair anything. It will probably get to the point where you won't even need a screw driver or wrench to work on a car. Everything will be taken out by quick release latches. Everything now, to me at least, is just black box engineering.
1999 MB SL500 (110,000 mi)
2004 Volvo V70 2.5T (220,000 mi)
2014 Tesla Model S 85 (136,000 mi)
MBCA member
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Old 02-10-2001, 07:32 PM
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: KS.
Posts: 477
Being an independant tech is all I've ever done for a living....been paid flate rate nearly my whole career.

Now, I could tell you all of my thoughts on this subject, but this would end up being a huge post..........So-I'll try to keep it brief.

Next time you think that your tech makes too much, ask him where he lives & go see his home.

I hear the crying & moaning about how much repairs cost from people every day.
What I still don't get is WHY,,,,WHY do they b!@# at me about it?
Did I make them buy the car? NO!

Do I use their car every day? NO!

Am I the one who is neglecting to do the proper maintenance? NO

Did I engineer or build the car? NO

Did I break the car? NO

Did I make up the prices of the parts from thin air? NO

NO, all I do is fix the g**d@#n things.
That's it, you bring it to me broken, and I can fix it.

Now, back to looking at your tech's home.....
Would you trade your house for your tech's? I didn't think so!

Funny how I have folks that make more in a week than I EARN in a month,yet they behave like I'm trying to swindle them out of their last dime!

If I could do something else and still support my family,(yeah we have families to support too!), I wouldn't walk away from this business,,,,,,,,,,, I'D RUN!!!
I'd run away, lauging hysterically!

The problem with the industry is that most good techs share my feelings!
Being under paid isn't even at the top of the complaint list. It is actually down after feeling unapreciated, and not respected for their skill & knowledge levels.

I'm not saying it is all bad.I still have the occaisonal "really nice" customer, who'll bring cookies or send a thank you note, for the services we provide. I even have a few that are very trusting & pleasant to do business with. The problem is that there are sooo few of them.

Repairing the cars is the easy part. Trying to find reasons to do it for folks who treat you like crap,,,,that's what makes it hard.
Especially when I have to write about 20gs worth of checks every month, just to be able to unlock my doors in the morning and turn on my "open" sign.

independant MBZ tech since 1981
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Old 02-11-2001, 02:05 AM
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Walnut,CA,USA
Posts: 554
Your 100% right we are Technician not a Magician......
by the way we don't work for FREE !!if you don't know me I'll fix for you because I have
the family to feed.
MB STARS Master Guild Technician,17 years MB tech
14 years independent shop owner
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Old 02-11-2001, 10:54 AM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
With this thread I could quickly forget where I am. The technician networks I participate in could fill books with rants about the abuse we take working for the public.

Boy, should you here the comparisons to doctors. Many a tech has expressed how unfair it is that a doctor gets paid for testing without results, care without expectations, combacks as further revenue, and getting paid to "practice" medicine.

Can you imagine how insulting it is to have someone ask if I charge to diagnose a problem.
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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Old 11-03-2004, 08:52 PM
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Location: USA
Posts: 403

Would anyone have any idea what the salary range is for techs here in Canada?

I have spoken to my highschool auto class teacher. His brother in law is a MB tech. The teacher mentioned that MB pays his borther in law about $28/h CDN. He has been at MB for about 2 years.
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Old 11-03-2004, 11:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Indpls.,IN. USA
Posts: 84
Technician Pay

E300D, I remember talking to a Canadian student in Chicago at Bosch technical school a few years ago and an interesting part of their pay system was that they can only charge a flat hourly rate. This has something to do with the laws in Canada. In the US most shops work on a flat rate system, This system assigns a specific time to a given repair. Lets say a water pump replacement on a E320 would be specified to take 3.5 hours, then that's what the tech would get paid. If the tech has done a few of these water pumps before and has learned a few short-cuts or is just really working fast and accurately that day, he might get the job done in lets say 2.5 hours. He still would get paid for the 3.5 hrs that the job called for. This system can be widely abused or it can be honestly and faithfully followed. I have to say that I've seen it work both ways. Over the years I have often have been able to average 55-60 hours of paid work in a 40 hour week. This, I think is considered a good efficiency rate for a quality tech. Several years ago I considered going to work for the local MB dealer who offered me $12 an hour, while they were charging $80 an hour. I couldn't see how I could make a good living at that pay, but they assured me that their top techs averaged over 80 hours a week. That would approach $1000 a week. The killer is that the dealer would charge $6400 to pay a tech $960, plus some benefits of course.
I guess that if a tech in Canada were to make $28 an hour and get paid for 40 hours then the pay becomes equal. The other part is that he probably still is turning out 55-60 hours worth of work in the US systems scale. I would have to say that if an average tech could make $50K a year in a clean, organized, friendly shop that would be a pretty good living. I'm sure that many a college educated person would consider that a good raise from what they're making. Good Luck in your pursuits
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Old 11-04-2004, 12:03 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 599
Very interesting topic. I would like to encourage shop owners, as well as technicians, to define what a "good technician" is with respect to the automotive repair industry today.

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