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Analysis Paralysis?


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Shops need to get paid for diagnostic time. Why is it that I speak to so many shop owners who have a fear charging for what they are worth? If I hear one more time that it only took his tech 20 minutes to diagnose a faulty O2 sensor or if the customer agrees to the repair they remove the analysis charge, I just may shoot someone!

 

Shop owners have NO problem selling 1.2 hrs for replacing front brake pads and rotors on a Honda Civic which takes most techs about 15 minutes, but struggle with charging diagnostic time???? What about all the years of training, cost of diagnostic tools, updates, Alldata, Mitchell, IATN, Identifix, Factory web sites, etc. Factor those costs into your analysis time and you’ll see it’s not just the 20 minutes it took to find the faulty O2, but years of training and ten’s of thousands of dollars of investment.

 

Who among fellow shop owners is as frustrated over this as I am?

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Shops need to get paid for diagnostic time. Why is it that I speak to so many shop owners who have a fear charging for what they are worth? If I hear one more time that it only took his tech 20 minutes to diagnose a faulty O2 sensor or if the customer agrees to the repair they remove the analysis charge, I just may shoot someone!

 

Shop owners have NO problem selling 1.2 hrs for replacing front brake pads and rotors on a Honda Civic which takes most techs about 15 minutes, but struggle with charging diagnostic time???? What about all the years of training, cost of diagnostic tools, updates, Alldata, Mitchell, IATN, Identifix, Factory web sites, etc. Factor those costs into your analysis time and you’ll see it’s not just the 20 minutes it took to find the faulty O2, but years of training and ten’s of thousands of dollars of investment.

 

Who among fellow shop owners is as frustrated over this as I am?

 

Well, of course you are correct. But, the issue has more to do with competition and economic pressures than anything else. We do retain testing charges in almost all cases, but they are lower than what they should be...less than we charged in the 90's. The typical shop around here runs at 50% to 75% capacity. Many advertise that testing is free if they do the repair. We adjust to the demands of the market. We are seeing the complexity of the vehicles driving more cars our way, although this was supposed to be our huge advantage 20 years ago. The market in the future many demand that most testing is very inexpensive, if not free.

 

We concentrate on the bottom line...the overall GP...to get where we need to go. I suggest that all shop owners do the same and not spend too much time worrying about individual segments, whether that is testing, parts, labor, or anything else.

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Most shops put their best tech (which is usually the highest paid tech) on tough diagnostic work. Shops also spend tons of money on equipment and education. What this means is that if the labor dollars don’t match the time and investment for that tech to work on a particular diagnostic job, the shop losses big time.

 

I agree with you that we need to look at the bottom line and not micromanage our business. But, as we see more and more hi-tech systems enter our shops, we will no doubt see an increase in labor time devoted to hi-tech analysis. Much of the profitable work we did 20 years ago is no longer required on the modern automobile and shops find it hard to fill the bays. Times are changing.

 

I believe that if the customer is approached correctly, you can get paid a decent price for diagnostic work. We are becoming specialists and need to be compensated for that.

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  • 10 months later...

You just summed up the entire problem with this industry. We all need to be on the same page, but we are not. How in the world could a shop misdiagnose a weak fuel for seized calipers! That's the other problem, incompetence.

 

The ASA (Automotive Service Association) just gave AutoZone an award for excellance in customer service. What a joke. I canceled my membership with the ASA.

 

We charge for diagnostic time and honestly don't really care what _______ shop is doing. I'm growing, is _________ ?????

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  • 1 year later...

Shops need to get paid for diagnostic time. Why is it that I speak to so many shop owners who have a fear charging for what they are worth? If I hear one more time that it only took his tech 20 minutes to diagnose a faulty O2 sensor or if the customer agrees to the repair they remove the analysis charge, I just may shoot someone!

 

Shop owners have NO problem selling 1.2 hrs for replacing front brake pads and rotors on a Honda Civic which takes most techs about 15 minutes, but struggle with charging diagnostic time???? What about all the years of training, cost of diagnostic tools, updates, Alldata, Mitchell, IATN, Identifix, Factory web sites, etc. Factor those costs into your analysis time and you’ll see it’s not just the 20 minutes it took to find the faulty O2, but years of training and ten’s of thousands of dollars of investment.

 

Who among fellow shop owners is as frustrated over this as I am?

 

 

It is very prevelant in my economic area and it makes billing almost impossiable. I break my diagnostics into .5 hours segements. We usually charge .5 hours to do a quick trouble shoot and then break diagnostics into further increments based on the problems we find in teh initial .5 hour inspection.

 

Unfortunately companies like autozone are devaluing our bussiness and Its is very very fustrating.

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I remind my customers not to under pay the people in their live that solve problems for them or it will cost them.There is no free ride.Keep fixing your car for free and you will be riding the bus. I also know that the real profit is in tracing the source of the problem fast. That is getting harder to do a a general repair shop that has to try to get payroll from whatever roll's in. I still focus on my side of the street. I don't want everyone's business just several thousand people that at any one time support me,pray for and refer me.

 

Happy Mothers day B)

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  • 1 year later...

I think some customer education is needed for sure, so many people have this belief that you plug in your scanner, press a few buttons and wala, it tells you exactly what to do. I simply explain to my customers that the scanner only gives you information, it is up to the tech to decipher this information to track it to the actual problem. I often use o2s as an example, so often I have cars come in from another shop with lean codes on both banks and what you know they have replaced both o2s sensors when the problem is something else. This helps the customer understand that a proper diagnosis is worth paying for as the car is fixed right the first time and only the needed part(s) have been changed. I also explain the difference between a $100 code reader and what I use.

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After spending time and money at everywhere else and the problem is still there....the customer tells me he/she is broke but can i take a look to see what's wrong for free like -------- does. The truth is many people cannot afford my help anymore after they have wasted the money elsewhere.

B)

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