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Auto repair shop: how much profit on parts is enough?

gliddenralston

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#41
Oh, so you were a thief. Got it. Shoulda just said so.
We bid all our work against other contractors so just think what they were trying to make, we made what the market would pay, if we didn't bid right we lost the jobs...I'm definitely not a thief, doctors and lawyers are thieves!
 

hammerhead

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#42
I guess I should have said building contractors...I know I was one for 40 yrs...even just a self employed carpenter doing small jobs should be making $55 hr plus mark up...if ur not ur very good at it.
I'm good at what I do but don't charge that much. Then again, I should by plying my trade as a business. My work vehicle is my car atm. Arthritis keeps me on the ground so it's been working out
 

hammerhead

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#43
We bid all our work against other contractors so just think what they were trying to make, we made what the market would pay, if we didn't bid right we lost the jobs...
Brings me back to doing fed funded rehabs. Low balling everywhere. Sometimes l'd be better off not getting the work. I think the agencies rehab specialists that would go over the bids used the Means book for estimating.
 

newmisty

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#44
We bid all our work against other contractors so just think what they were trying to make, we made what the market would pay, if we didn't bid right we lost the jobs...I'm definitely not a thief, doctors and lawyers are thieves!
So what were you actually saying in your first post?
 

hoarder

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#45
Auto mechanic work is very problematic. If they do bid jobs, they have to charge you for all the problems they might find. They don't have xray vision so they have to anticipate what they might find. They can't really do it all hourly either, as you have no way of knowing how many hours they really spent, because customers are not allowed in the shop due to insurance policies. making an agreement to pay a mechanic by the hour until it's fixed is like signing a blank check. If they do everything based on the flat rate manual, they still have to spend time diagnosing what the problems are and they aren't going to do that for free if you decide not to have the work done. Then they have to put it back together. Also, there are lot of scenarios not covered by the flat rate, like every bolt seized due to rust, for example. There are many jobs that the flat rate book simply does not even attempt to address, like finding an electrical short. When the service writer tells the customer what it will cost, he has a lot of "what ifs" in the back of his mind, plus he has to charge you for all the "what ifs" he didn't think of on the last job he lost money on.
If you bought all the parts to assemble a brand new car that sells for 25 grand, the parts bill from the dealer will be over 200 grand. Dealer item parts are often unjustifiably overpriced. The shop labor to assemble that 25K car would be well over 25K.
You have to look at it this way...mechanics are trying to compete with mass production, which is usually not possible.

Don't buy fancy electronic vehicles you can't fix yourself and you won't have to deal with mechanic shops.
 
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hammerhead

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#46
Auto mechanic work is very problematic. If they do bid jobs, they have to charge you for all the problems they might find. They don't have xray vision so they have to anticipate what they might find. They can't really do it all hourly either, as you have no way of knowing how many hours they really spent, because customers are not allowed in the shop due to insurance policies. making an agreement to pay a mechanic by the hour until it's fixed is like signing a blank check. If they do everything based on the flat rate manual, they still have to spend time diagnosing what the problems are and they aren't going to do that for free if you decide not to have the work done. Then they have to put it back together. Also, there are lot of scenarios not covered by the flat rate, like every bolt seized due to rust, for example.
If you bought all the parts to assemble a brand new car that sells for 25 grand, the parts bill from the dealer will be over 200 grand. Dealer item parts are often unjustifiably overpriced. The shop labor to assemble that 25K car would be well over 25K.
You have to look at it this way...mechanics are trying to compete with mass production, which is usually not possible.

Don't buy fancy electronic vehicles you can't fix yourself and you won't have to deal with mechanic shops.
The smaller shop mechanics in our town use the same computer estimating software. One that I use usually comes in cheaper. He's about a week out on getting to a vehicle.
 

hoarder

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#47
The smaller shop mechanics in our town use the same computer estimating software. One that I use usually comes in cheaper. He's about a week out on getting to a vehicle.
The software only knows what it was programmed with.
 

gliddenralston

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#48
So what were you actually saying in your first post?
let's just remove carpenter, because even at the $55hr I quoted working 40 hrs week is 114k a year gross, pay taxes and all the other overhead ur maybe netting $60/65k and then u have all ur other personal bills, house, children, food ect. So yeah you won't get wealthy even at 55 ...but you will wear your body out and that's expensive...sorry if I stepped on any toes...I'm sure u guys work really hard for your money, construction is not easy.
 
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gliddenralston

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#49
I'm good at what I do but don't charge that much. Then again, I should by plying my trade as a business. My work vehicle is my car atm. Arthritis keeps me on the ground so it's been working out
I hear ya, that's why u need to make as much as possible...my body is shot also, sometimes I wonder if the money I made was worth it...my brother worked factory all his life, when he punched out he was done for the day, l couldn't go home at 3:15 in the afternoon worry free, and he doesn't have all the pain I got
 

Fatrat

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#50
Worst part is, I paid a dealership to replace a timing belt on a Prism(Corolla), assholes didn't do it and 6 months later I was paying another dealer in another state to do it...I could have filed in small claims court, but I would have had to travel back to the first state, fuckers.
 

hoarder

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#52
Worst part is, I paid a dealership to replace a timing belt on a Prism(Corolla), assholes didn't do it and 6 months later I was paying another dealer in another state to do it...I could have filed in small claims court, but I would have had to travel back to the first state, fuckers.
There are lots of preventative maintenance jobs like that which can be "pencil-whipped". Buyer beware. A timing belt might go 180K miles. What kills timing chains and belts is rapid acceleration/deceleration. A light foot or all highway miles might get twice the recommended replacement interval.
I was real busy when it was time to do the first timing belt on my Tundra (interference engine) so I gave a mechanic an antique wood burning cookstove (that I paid $400 for) to do mine and I bought all the parts. This winter I will replace it myself at 190000 miles now that I have my shop set up.
 

Scorpio

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#53
yes, but not everyone wants to work on their vehicles,
and not everyone can. A timing belt replacement isn't bad if you have good mechanical aptitude and the want to.

Some simply want a fair price from someone to do it while they do their own thing to make dough. They don't have a day, 2 days whatever to commit to a project like that as the cost is greater being down then up and doing their thing.

As everyone states, there is a vast difference in trust and capability of mechanic shops.
Not to mention their burden they need to cover.

For instance, a sears would have a massive burden that they have to send to mother ship. Another is Meineke. A guy under contract with Meineke can end up sending 18% of Gross revenue to mother ship, and they take it out of the operators checking account asap. They of course don't care about other vendors or other, they are going to get paid.

So it all depends on what the shop has for a 'cover' factor in many cases, and you can bet that any chains or other have massive 'covers' as mother ship is really really thirsty.
 

edsl48

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#54
Not carpenter or Mechanic, but HVAC. Our shop now charges 100% markup on parts up to $1000, then 80% after that. I do not want to work 100 hour weeks. If we were to lower our prices I would be doing that. My theory is you can either pay our prices for the best out there, fix it your self, shop around for a better price (usually means a worse job, but not all the time) then pay for us to come fix it (happens all the time) , or deal with not having it working.

Man us youth can win. We get bitched about none of us wanting to work. Then when we work our asses off and get into the trades we are thievs for making too much money.
That takes me to an earlier question I asked; what do the dealers charge for the same repair being they have the right tools. the right know how and the right place to do it?
 

newmisty

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#55
That takes me to an earlier question I asked; what do the dealers charge for the same repair being they have the right tools. the right know how and the right place to do it?
Dealers/mechanics typically go by what the "book" says for time regardless of how long it takes. So a 2hr job will get charged out at 6hrs etc. regardless of having special tools or not.
 

GOLDBRIX

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#56
That takes me to an earlier question I asked; what do the dealers charge for the same repair being they have the right tools. the right know how and the right place to do it?
Last posted labor rate I saw at a dealership was $150.00 per hour, but they offered $19.95 oil changes too.(WTF) So I say they charge what they want, when they want.
I just found out a dealer doubles Part Costs that come from their manufacturer. Say "OXPAR" charges the dealer $300.00 for the "OXPAR" part the dealer turns around and charges the customer $600.00 for the part whether the dealer installs it or the customer takes it with him.

That is my experience this year. YMMV
 

Someone_else

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#57
A timing belt replacement isn't bad if you have good mechanical aptitude and the want to.
I refuse to buy a vehicle with a timing belt. When I bought my first Saturn, I verified that it had a timing chain. And again on my second Saturn car. And again with my Toyota RAV4. I asked, "timing belt or chain" and he responded, "chain". I replied, "Correct answer". Timing belts are stupid, evil, wrong, and should be subject to laws that make the manufacturer liable to any and every possible expense due to the inherent defects of the design, FOREVER.
 

GOLDBRIX

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#58
Timing belts are stupid, evil, wrong, and should be subject to laws that make the manufacturer liable to any and every possible expense due to the inherent defects of the design, FOREVER.
Uncle Sam allows them for the weight reduction / gas mileage regulations.
 

tigerwillow1

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#60
I refuse to buy a vehicle with a timing belt. When I bought my first Saturn, I verified that it had a timing chain. And again on my second Saturn car. And again with my Toyota RAV4. I asked, "timing belt or chain" and he responded, "chain". I replied, "Correct answer". Timing belts are stupid, evil, wrong, and should be subject to laws that make the manufacturer liable to any and every possible expense due to the inherent defects of the design, FOREVER.
I'm a bit familiar with some VW/Audi timing chain engines. At around 100k miles or so, the chain has to be replaced usually because tensioner or chain guide wear. Chain is in the back of the engine, so engine generally has to come out for access. On the other hand, we have a Honda Fit that uses a chain and I havent heard any horror stories about it. I think an easy to replace timing belt is ok. Not to bad on some Subaru and older 4-cylinder VW/Audi engines. On the other hand, it's a pretty dang tough job on some engines.
 

hammerhead

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#61
One really smart man tried to get a friends vehicle running by replacing the timing belt. Took him a few trips to get it all apart, left for a few days and when he came back, he put it all back together. Fecking thing wouldn't start. So as they were gathering his tools, someone stumbles across a timing belt box. Can anyone guess what was in that box? Sorry, no hints.
 

hoarder

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#62
Dealers/mechanics typically go by what the "book" says for time regardless of how long it takes. So a 2hr job will get charged out at 6hrs etc. regardless of having special tools or not.
The flat rate doesn't work that way. The time it takes to do a job is calculated by timing several mechanics actually doing it. And they do it in well equipped shops with hydraulic lifts. If a mechanic works on everything and in a dark poorly equipped shop on a creeper, he seldom beats the flat rate unless he cheats. If he works at a dealer and doesn't have to work on 30 different makes and models he learns all the short cuts, memorizes all the procedures and usually beats the clock. The flat rate is what has made criminals out of so many mechanics because they get paid according to how the customer is billed. If they were simply paid by the hour there would be no incentive to steal.
 

newmisty

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#63
The flat rate doesn't work that way. The time it takes to do a job is calculated by timing several mechanics actually doing it. And they do it in well equipped shops with hydraulic lifts. If a mechanic works on everything and in a dark poorly equipped shop on a creeper, he seldom beats the flat rate unless he cheats. If he works at a dealer and doesn't have to work on 30 different makes and models he learns all the short cuts, memorizes all the procedures and usually beats the clock. The flat rate is what has made criminals out of so many mechanics because they get paid according to how the customer is billed. If they were simply paid by the hour there would be no incentive to steal.
It works that way indeed in at least someplaces as I've seen it first hand. Computer spits out a number of hrs it should take to do the job and of course it's figured so that the mechanic won't run over that. Sometimes the descrepancy is huge.
 

DodgebyDave

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#66
Flat Rate Time is determined by the individual car makers. Yes we cut corners.

Yes we try to milk you for every dollar that we can.

feel better now that you know?

Now pay your fucking bill or enjoy knowing that you are helping the environment by walking or whatever!
 

D-FENZ

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#67
How much profit on parts is enough?

Whatever the only two interested parties- the buyers and the sellers- agree to.
 

hoarder

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#68
How much profit on parts is enough?

Whatever the only two interested parties- the buyers and the sellers- agree to.
The buyers of auto parts are desperate and often on foot. Most will agree to pay anything no matter how outrageous.
 

DodgebyDave

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#69
quite often those afoot neglected basic service and it bit them on the ass, leaving themselves at my mercy.

bwah.

there aren't many sweeter things to hear than "I will do anything if you can fix that". Giggle!
 

silver solution

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#70
Odds are I could have got the timing belt changed for couple hundred in my area. Last one I had changed on my mr2 was like less than hundred bucks but it was guy down the road from me. Truthfully a rock some how got in there and destroyed the belt. I was pissed thought he did something wrong. It was rock or something off road. It is odd little car. So there went 100 plus bucks again.
 

silver solution

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#73
I guess I should have said building contractors...I know I was one for 40 yrs...even just a self employed carpenter doing small jobs should be making $55 hr plus mark up...if ur not ur very good at it.
I had my roof fixed for like 75 bucks labor. I has to buy metal plus some plywood he brought the 2 by 4s. He was there most all the day. Older man good guy.
 

silver solution

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#74
Had a noise in my V-6 Honda that lasted for several miles after cold start, did not sound good at all. My previous shop pissed me off badly so I tried a new shop. They diagnosed the problem as coming from the timing belt tensioner and since the car was due for a new timing belt, I said go ahead. Especially since a failed timing belt on this vehicle equals a destroyed motor and I had been planning to do it anyway. I knew that the job was running $1100-$1200 on average per google and the shop gave me a quote in that range. Then the phone calls began: you have to flush the cooling system, you need to replace the plugs (100K miles so I said OK), you need to clean the induction system ($300!!??, f**k NO!). End result, slightly over $2 grand.

BTW-I would NOT have done this job myself. Plugs, yeah, valve timing, no.

In addition to a $200 diagnostic fee and $150 to "flush cooling system":

Looking through the bill, they charged me $300 for 6 plugs installed, including $30/each + tax for 6 NGK 92924's, which I can pick up at my local Advance Auto Parts for $10.24 each. I could have done this myself for $63 parts and an hour's work at most. And that's because the rear bank is hard to reach.

They also charged me $705 + tax for a Gates TCKWP329 which contains a timing belt, idlers & tensioners and water pump, a kit which I can buy online for $140 to $170.

I understand that an auto shop isn't going to sell you parts for the same amount that they paid but marking it up 300-400-500%? Is there any control on what they can charge for a part?

I was deeply involved with a project at work and not really paying attention to this shop but I'm pissed at them and especially at myself at allowing them to get so far out of control at what should have been a $1150 job. My wife's car is also a V-6 Honda which will need a timing belt in the next year.

At least the car is running like new, which, if you've ever driven a Honda V-6, is saying something.
You might want to think about trading her Honda in? I have sweet older lady friend that loves Honda. I can't remember her talking about that engine. What is the problem with that engine?
My dad always said if they will not put in a steel belt the car is cheaply made. I would have him with me looking at pricy cars. He would call them junk:-)
 

kiffertom

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#75
i cant believe how much people pay to have their cars repaired. the least expensive shop in my town charges $95 an hour. rover and some dealers are $125+. if the guy is an independent the government gets half of the labor charge. a timing belt on my v6 honda costs $500 to replace including parts. if you do some repairs yourself look at www.rockauto.com
 

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#76
carpenters, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, with a little effort you can avoid these thieves for the most part...doctors, lawyers, dentist you can avoid these theives too but you'll have to take care of yourself and stay out of trouble.
Cement finishers are honest , loyal , and trustworthy...

My patience is shot and at my age I despise wrenching on cars..

I will change the wiper blades , add air to tires , and maybe install an air filter unless I have to buy the special tool to open the housing...

What’s up with all these special tools?..

I thought about changing plugs in my old Cadillac until I figured out I would just about have to pull the motor to do that.

My old tuneup kit consisted of points , plugs , rotor cap and bug , condenser , a timing light , 9/16 and 1/2 inch wrenches and BAM!...235 , 283 , 327 , 390 , took less than an hour...
 

wallew

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#77
TomD,
What is excessive? The fact that you did not have to replace the engine, you might consider that an excessive expense?

I DID. 05 Excursion with V10. We were out of town in Denver when the engine had a timing chain let go (current speculation on my part). My out of pocket costs, after all was said and done? You don't want to know, BUT WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY more than $2k...

So count your blessings, do your maintenance on time and don't complain about it (too much).

If you don't want repair bills, buy a NEW car. Me? I LIKE my 05 Excursion. Now it has a new motor, I'm probably good for another ten years. OR NOT, we will see
 

Joe King

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#78

TomD

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#79
TomD,
What is excessive? The fact that you did not have to replace the engine, you might consider that an excessive expense?
That had to hurt. The belt replacement on my car was scheduled maintenance but with your result as the penalty for ignoring it.

It's fairly rare for a timing chain to fail. I sold a mid-80's Toyota truck to a carpenter who worked for me and who proceeded to put over 600,000 miles on the truck with no major motor work.

My major gripe in the original post was the repair shop charging me 3 to 5 times for parts what I could have bought them for.
 

kiffertom

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#80
That had to hurt. The belt replacement on my car was scheduled maintenance but with your result as the penalty for ignoring it.

It's fairly rare for a timing chain to fail. I sold a mid-80's Toyota truck to a carpenter who worked for me and who proceeded to put over 600,000 miles on the truck with no major motor work.

My major gripe in the original post was the repair shop charging me 3 to 5 times for parts what I could have bought them for.
go to a hospital and see how much those cocksuckers mark shit up! 9 dollars for an aspirin?