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I'm not so sure about the last quote. Didn't we hear that when obdii took over? No one will be able to afford the complex diagnostic equipment, etc... I actually think it is getting easier and less expensive to purchase diagnostic equipment that was before off limits to DIY'ers. This also leads to the "I know what is wrong, just replace the (insert part name here) for me, it'll just take a few minutes and shouldn't cost me more than $10. Here, I already bought the part.

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I'm not so sure about the last quote. Didn't we hear that when obdii took over? No one will be able to afford the complex diagnostic equipment, etc... I actually think it is getting easier and less expensive to purchase diagnostic equipment that was before off limits to DIY'ers. This also leads to the "I know what is wrong, just replace the (insert part name here) for me, it'll just take a few minutes and shouldn't cost me more than $10. Here, I already bought the part.

Amen brother. I don't feel so alone now

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While I agree that the people that throw parts at a problem just because the code reader "says to" can become good customers, there are also those that will throw one part at a problem and it will go away. Those people won't be in your shop anytime soon. I might say that it's closer to 50% of the time it's not a sensor causing the problem. The most common sensor code is probably related to O2 sensors and generally it's because the sensor has gotten slow or the heater is shot. I think it basically comes down to this: the gravy jobs won't be as plentiful, but the difficult to diagnose will be. Which goes back to the article about charging for diagnostic work. We need to be careful not to minimize the value of diagnostics as apposed to "code reading". The information needs to be put out there that the "computer" doesn't tell you what part to replace, it just tells you the values the computer is getting are outside of the expected parameters. That can be caused by a bad sensor, poor connections, bad wiring, etc... There needs to be a consumer advocate group (notice I didn't say shop owners group or industry group) that is not into bashing repair shops but will explain exactly what you are getting when you pay for diagnostics and what you get with a "free diagnostic check". That would push more people to our doors and away from the autozones of the world.

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While I agree that the people that throw parts at a problem just because the code reader "says to" can become good customers, there are also those that will throw one part at a problem and it will go away. Those people won't be in your shop anytime soon. I might say that it's closer to 50% of the time it's not a sensor causing the problem. The most common sensor code is probably related to O2 sensors and generally it's because the sensor has gotten slow or the heater is shot. I think it basically comes down to this: the gravy jobs won't be as plentiful, but the difficult to diagnose will be. Which goes back to the article about charging for diagnostic work. We need to be careful not to minimize the value of diagnostics as apposed to "code reading". The information needs to be put out there that the "computer" doesn't tell you what part to replace, it just tells you the values the computer is getting are outside of the expected parameters. That can be caused by a bad sensor, poor connections, bad wiring, etc... There needs to be a consumer advocate group (notice I didn't say shop owners group or industry group) that is not into bashing repair shops but will explain exactly what you are getting when you pay for diagnostics and what you get with a "free diagnostic check". That would push more people to our doors and away from the autozones of the world.

 

 

Since I was the guy that wrote the article about diagnostics... I guess I'll put another two cents into the conversation.

 

Yes, charge for diagnostics, No I don't think the "REAL" scanners are getting cheaper... just those (@#!&**@!) code readers. Which as everyone has mentioned... only give you a direction not an answer.

 

However, I'm finding more and more DIY'rs want to "self diagnose"... had one the other day... "All I want is a thermostat put in." I wanted to diagnose why it needed one... I was assuming it was overheating... but nope, nadda, I'm a stupid mechanic and I don't know anything more than to unscrew a couple of bolts. So I did, in the mean time the lady wanted an oil change... and of course "I brought my own parts" So the whole job was a wash... wasn't worth the time to do.

 

When I finished the thermostat, and put it up in the air for the oil change... I had to dodge the leaking radiator fluid..... I pulled the car around front, told the lady... we didn't diagnose this problem for you... I only did what you wanted me to do...

 

Which was fine with her... ... ... ... I never told her about the radiator, I had her sign off on the invoice about "not resposible" and left it at that...

 

If they are going to argue about having you diagnose it... and they are so damned sure that they know more than me... well, then, I'll play dumb mechanic... and your results... WILL VARY... the old saying never try to be your own lawyer should also include being your own mechanic.

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I agree with you one hundred percent. I have customers try that all the time. When you explain the damages that can occur from an improperly diagnosed system they think you are just trying to make more money. Case in point: I had a Ford Escape in my shop with a blown egr valve. I told them that back pressure from a clogged cat caused the valve to blow and that there was an underlying problem that cause the cat to clog. I explained to them that if i replaced the cat and did not diagnose the issue that the cat will clog again and next time they may not have the luck of an 80 dollar part go out. It may be a connecting rod. Well the car came back a few days later. All that work had to be redone.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         3 comments
      Got your attention? Good. The truth is, there is no such thing as the perfect technician pay plan. There are countless ways to create any pay plan. I’ve heard all the claims and opinions, and to be honest, it’s getting a little frustrating. Claims that an hourly paid pay plan cannot motivate. That flat rate is the only way to truly get the most production from your technicians. And then there’s the hybrid performance-based pay plan that many claim is the best.
      At a recent industry event, a shop owner from the Midwest boasted about his flat-rate techs and insisted that this pay plan should be adopted by all shops across the country. When I informed him that in states like New York, you cannot pay flat-rate, he was shocked. “Then how do you motivate your techs” he asked me.
      I remember the day in 1986 when I hired the best technician who ever worked for me in my 41 years as an automotive shop owner. We’ll call him Hal. When Hal reviewed my pay plan for him, and the incentive bonus document, he stared at it for a minute, looked up, and said, “Joe, this looks good, but here’s what I want.” He then wrote on top of the document the weekly salary he wanted. It was a BIG number. He went on to say, “Joe, I need to take home a certain amount of money. I have a home, a wife, two kids, and my Harly Davidson. I will work hard and produce for you. I don’t need an incentive bonus to do my work.” And he did, for the next 30 years, until the day he retired.
      Everyone is entitled to their opinion. So, here’s mine. Money is a motivator, but not the only motivator, and not the best motivator either. We have all heard this scenario, “She quit ABC Auto Center, to get a job at XYZ Auto Repair, and she’s making less money now at XYZ!” We all know that people don’t leave companies, they leave the people they work for or work with.
      With all this said, I do believe that an incentive-based pay plan can work. However, I also believe that a technician must be paid a very good base wage that is commensurate with their ability, experience, and certifications. I also believe that in addition to money, there needs to be a great benefits package. But the icing on the cake in any pay plan is the culture, mission, and vision of the company, which takes strong leadership. And let’s not forget that motivation also comes from praise, recognition, respect, and when technicians know that their work matters.
      Rather than looking for that elusive perfect pay plan, sit down with your technician. Find out what motivates them. What their goals are. Why do they get out of bed in the morning? When you tie their goals with your goals, you will have one powerful pay plan.
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