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[Podcast] Labor Rates: A Function of the Business Not the Market [THA 187]

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Brian Gillis is the Chief You Net Results Strategist, with 25+ years experience in auto shop operations, hiring, recruiting, systems, processes, multi-store experience, and employee training.

More about Brian Gillis…

  • 25+ Years owning and operating auto repair shops in Texas, Georgia and Colorado, multi-unit stores
  • Hired and Trained over 2000 staff members
  • Budgeting and Profits Brian’s Specialty
  • Smooth as silk with customers

Brian's previous episodes are HERE.

Bob Greenwood is one of 150 Worldwide AMI approved instructors. He has created Business Management development courses for aftermarket shop employers/managers, Jobbers and Jobber Sales representatives which are recognized as being the most comprehensive, industry-specific courses of their kind in North America. His courses address the creation of measurable bottom-line profitability and not just developing activity to keep busy, by covering the very detailed nuts and bolts issues that are required to be clearly understood by every level of the industry if an independent shop is going to financially prosper and enjoy a professional future. Bob’s previous episodes are HERE.

Link to Automotive Aftermarket E-Learning Centre Ltd. (AAEC) HERE.

Key Talking Points:

  • Must know your true cost of doing business to set your labor rate.
  • Know your numbers. Always review them.
  • Multiple labor rates are needed today. One catch-all labor rate will not support the sustained profits necessary to survive
  • Minimally you need three labor rates:Maintenance Rate 
  • Diagnostic Rate
  • Re-Flash Rate
  • Additional to consider  Fluid Installation Rate
  • Tire Inflation Rate
  • Do not look down the street to set yours. Understand your business
  • A formula is necessary. See below slidesCost Per Billed Hour Formula (CPBH)
  • Bob. Technicians wages need to be expensed not put into the cost of goods for his formulas to work
  • You may have a productivity problem, and the formula will help you determine that
  •  The only way you can lower your cost per billed hour is to increase the number of hours you bill.The industry is stuck on sales and activity but should be measuring productivity
  • You may have big sales gains, but have little profit to show as a percent of sales
  • Labor rates on diesel and fleets should be different  
  • Rethinking labor rates are critical because when parts are not sold in conjunction with labor you will be making less money at your standard labor rate
  • See slide on show notes page: Setting Your Door Rate for the three basic rates. Below shows two different formulas to discover your three labor ratesMaintenance Door Rate4.5 Times Top Technicians Basic Hourly Wage
  • 85% times your CPBH
  • Diagnostic Door Rate5.35 Times Top Technicians Basic Hourly Wage
  • 125% Times Your CPBH
  • ReFlash Door Rate6 Times Top Technician-Basic Hourly Wage
  • 135% Times your CPBH
  • We are in a knowledge base business, and we must be paid to cover your costs to obtain and sustain that knowledge
  • The Cost Per Billed Hour (CPBH) reflects your efficiencyIf you are inefficient, your cost per billed hour is going to be higher
  • If you are efficient, your cost per billed hour is going to be lower
  • You’ve got to understand your numbers inside and out today
  • Bob recommends twice a year review of labor rates and CPBH
  • Your labor rate should respect the competency of your team
  • You also need to understand the average billed hours per Repair Order (RO)It helps you see how easy it would be to raise your labor rate
  • How many diag hours should we bill vs maintenance hoursMeasure this.
  • Bob suggests today: 25% of your maintenance hours should be diag hoursIf you bill 100 hours of maintenance, you should also have 25 hours of diag billing
  • Diag hours are when you interpret or analyze informationTest driving you are analyzing
  • Scope time is analyzing
  • Consider using a labor matrix on your shop management system
  • Bill decided years ago to be the cheapest shop in town that has the highest prices. Job was done right the first time
  • He tasks his technicians to recommend the labor time it is going to take to do the job right
  • We need to be courageous enough to charge what we are worth and have a conversation with your customers: why.
  • We work on one of most complicated vehicles that man has ever created
  • Labor is the future focus. Your labor rate reflects the value proposition you bring to the tableSafe, reliable, and efficient is what you do for your customer. It requires skills that you need to keep up on.
  • Calibration Labor Rate will need to be calculated as an additional rate necessary as you consider doing calibrations.
  • We are a knowledge-based business. The trade days are gone this is a profession. Bob Greenwood
  • Once you know CPBH, you can calculate your gross margin on every RO
  • If you have a pure labor job you quote the job. Take the cost per billed hours times 20%
  • Become client-focused; use quality parts.Your labor rates will reflect your quality
  • Always consider the investment you must be making, which will require monies; therefore you need to be paid for what you do at the rate that allows you to invest.





















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This episode is brought to you by Shop-Ware Shop Management. It’s time to run your business at its fullest potential with the industry’s leading technology. Shop-Ware Shop Management will increase your efficiency with lightning-fast workflows, help your staff capture more sales every day, and create very happy customers who promote your business. Shops running Shop-Ware have More Time and generate More Profit—join them! Schedule a free live demonstration and find out how 30 minutes can transform your shop at getshopware.com





This episode is brought to you buy Shop Marketing Pros. Your guides are Kim and Brian Walker with a rich history as shop owners and industry veterans. When someone searches for a shop, who are they finding? Your competitors? It should be you! The good people over at Shop Marketing Pros know how to drive website traffic and make Google work for you! www.shopmarketingpros.com

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         1 comment
      Have I got your attention? Great.
      Let me start by saying that I believe in giving praise when deserved and letting employees know when they dropped the ball. However, the truth is that no one enjoys being reprimanded or told they messed up.  
      The question is, what is the appropriate balance between the right amount of praise and the right amount of critical feedback? According to studies done by Harvard Business School, the ratio of praise to critical feedback should be about 6:1 – Six praises for every critical feedback. I am not sure if I agree with that.
      From personal experience, I would recommend a lot more praise. The exact ratio doesn’t matter. What’s important is that before you consider giving critical feedback, ensure you have given that employee a lot of recent praise. If not, whatever you are trying to get through to an employee, will fall on deaf ears.
      When you do have to give critical feedback, remember a few things:
      Focus on the issue or behavior; never attack the person, and remain calm in your actions and words Ask the employee for feedback, their side of the story Speak to the employee in private Address the issue soon after it happens; never wait Don’t rely on second-hand information; it’s always better if you have experienced the situation yourself that you want to correct Have an open discussion and find things that both of you can agree upon Have an action plan moving forward that the employee can take ownership of Use the experience as a learning tool Make sure you bring up positive attributes about them Remember, you don’t want the employee to be angry or upset with you; you want them to reflect on the situation and what can be improved. One last thing. Everyone makes mistakes. We need to be mindful of this.
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