Quantcast
Jump to content

Start LLC for $0 at IncFile


Start LLC for $0 at IncFile


Start LLC for $0 at IncFile

Why Are Some Shops Afraid of Charging for Analysis?


Recommended Posts

Sometimes I feel like I’m alone on a deserted island. I charge for diagnostic analysis. Why? Because I know what cost is to buy the tools, equipment, information systems, training and pay a technician to professionally and accurately diagnosis a check engine light, air bag, ABS or any other complicated problem. But, I feel a lot of shops are willing to give this up in hopes to get the work. In my opinion all they are doing is digging themselves in a hole.

 

And, I have heard all the reasons:

“If the customer gives me the job, I waive the analysis”.

“I package the analysis into the repair, so the customer does not see the diag charges”

“I will lose customers if I charge analysis”

And the best yet: “It only took me 10 minutes to diag the O2 sensor, so I can’t charge diag labor”.

 

Waiving the analysis is the same as a doctor waiving the x-rays and blood tests. They don’t do it, we should not either. I will also challenge those who “package” the analysis into the repair. You mean to tell me that after taking 1 hour to find a faulty mass air sensor, you will add the 1 hour to the 5 minutes it takes to install a new mass air? Come on, we all know the truth.

 

And let’s address the 10 minutes it took to find the failed O2 sensor. Did it really take 10 minutes? NO, it took years of training, years of experience, the investment in the right equipment and the investment in the right information systems. Why we sometimes diminish what we are truly worth is amazing. No other profession does that.

 

Sorry for being so tough on this topic, but business is hard enough these days and people question everything. If shops don’t realize what they are giving up, it makes it bad for all of us.

 

Please tell me what you think. Agree? Disagree? Or any other thoughts....

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Flash Sale + Social Proof


Flash Sale + Social Proof


Flash Sale + Social Proof

Joe, you are not alone. I charge for analysis, always. We have to get paid for our time and our professional knowlege. What takes us a few minutes, may take others much more time. Should we sell ourselves short for this?? Heck no. We educate our customers on how, and why, they are paying for diagnosis and inspections ahead of time, makes life easier for me and my employees.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've probably lost more jobs at the front desk because I charge to "look" at a car. I mainly do electronics and not motor related repairs. All my equipment dollars are in scanners, meters, scopes..etc... they ain't cheap.

 

I feel if I lose a job because they don't want to pay for diagnostics well... to friggin bad.

Some people believe that the diagnostic time is an open ticket to spend their money to look for the problem. I don't know where that idea comes from, maybe because they couldn't figure it out that must mean that it's going to take me "hours" to figure it out. Not true... and it's hard to convince them otherwise.

 

Here's a perfect example of a diagnostic routine I get into.

Customer comes in and wants it diagnosed. I tell them it's 65 bucks to do that. 25 bucks if all they want is codes read and a description of the possible related areas of the code solution. Most of the time they'll want it diagnosed.

 

I diagnose it. Let's say it turns out to be a blown fuse. I'll charge them 10 bucks to change the fuse.

On their work order it will say:

Diagnsotics 65.00

Repair cost 10.00

Total owed 75.00

 

Seems to work in most cases. But I still get the occasional... "It was only a fuse, well I'm not paying for the diagnostics then." Too bad, I've got the car... and when these type of people act that way I already know... they're never coming back.

 

I'm with you Joe, I don't give it away free. It's part of my service... it's my x-ray, it's my consulation fee. Ya don't like it... hit the road.

 

I've tried lower the diagnostics on slower times of the year, and quite frankly it doesn't help. If they are willing to have it diagnosed they'll pay for it... IF they don't think it's worthy to pay for diagnostics it doesn't matter how much it costs... they'll walk right back out the door. Never to been seen again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All great comments from everyone. I guess what we are fighting is the public's perception of the value of paying for diagnostic labor. My question is; how did this perception start in the first place? Let me give you my opinion: Shop owners giving diag away because the truly don't know how to charge for it, AutoZone and other part companies promoting Free Check Engine light diag and lack of education on the part of consumers (they don't know the complexity involved in cars today).

 

The other day a customer, a Doctor, got upset at the diag fee I charge to locate an EVAP leak. This is what he said, “You want to charge me $149.00 to analyze my check engine light?" I shot back at him at told him, "The analysis is free when YOU stop charging for x-rays and blood tests!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I too charge for diagnosis. I don't charge enough most times but I always try to anticipate how long it will take to figure out a problem. Like Gonzo wrote, it's a good way to pre-qualify the customer type. I struggle from time to time with diagnosis but I usually figure it out in a timely fashion, that's why I don't charge enough, I try to empathize and charge what it "should take" to figure out that problem, not what it took me. Part of my dilemma is that I'm a one man shop and get interrupted and have to "Get back in the groove" so my 3 hours maybe should have only taken 1.5. That is in no way the fault of the customer or their car so I feel they should not be responsible for the inefficiencies of my business.

 

Like many have said, I lose consumers at the front desk. If they don't want to pay I don't do the work. I had one just last week, wanted to know if I had free inspections. I asked what I would be inspecting,he said his car wasn't running right. I told him the equipment, information and education to competently "inspect" or more accurately diagnose his problem was not free so I had to charge for my use of it for his benefit. He decided he didn't want me to find the problem for him, apparently he would keep going to the parts store and throwing parts at it until he ran out of money.

 

I wonder if part of the reason why the consumer doesn't value our time, skill, equipment and commitment is because we make it look too easy. Or maybe why they value the medical testing more is because they are personally, physically involved where with their car it's behind-the-scenes. With medical, they feel the pin-prick, they see the massive, expensive MRI, there is big drama with the x-ray and the tech running off to the radiation free zone, etc. With their car, they drop it off and come back when it's done. No muss, no fuss, no pain, except in the wallet.

 

But unfortunately as long as there are low-ball, low grade low-equipped shops out there doing it for cheap, we will never achieve the level of respect or compensation that our years of masochism deserve.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I too charge for diagnosis. I don't charge enough most times but I always try to anticipate how long it will take to figure out a problem. Like Gonzo wrote, it's a good way to pre-qualify the customer type. I struggle from time to time with diagnosis but I usually figure it out in a timely fashion, that's why I don't charge enough, I try to empathize and charge what it "should take" to figure out that problem, not what it took me. Part of my dilemma is that I'm a one man shop and get interrupted and have to "Get back in the groove" so my 3 hours maybe should have only taken 1.5. That is in no way the fault of the customer or their car so I feel they should not be responsible for the inefficiencies of my business.

 

Like many have said, I lose consumers at the front desk. If they don't want to pay I don't do the work. I had one just last week, wanted to know if I had free inspections. I asked what I would be inspecting,he said his car wasn't running right. I told him the equipment, information and education to competently "inspect" or more accurately diagnose his problem was not free so I had to charge for my use of it for his benefit. He decided he didn't want me to find the problem for him, apparently he would keep going to the parts store and throwing parts at it until he ran out of money.

 

I wonder if part of the reason why the consumer doesn't value our time, skill, equipment and commitment is because we make it look too easy. Or maybe why they value the medical testing more is because they are personally, physically involved where with their car it's behind-the-scenes. With medical, they feel the pin-prick, they see the massive, expensive MRI, there is big drama with the x-ray and the tech running off to the radiation free zone, etc. With their car, they drop it off and come back when it's done. No muss, no fuss, no pain, except in the wallet.

 

But unfortunately as long as there are low-ball, low grade low-equipped shops out there doing it for cheap, we will never achieve the level of respect or compensation that our years of masochism deserve.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 years later...

I'm surprised this topic went dead. 8 years later and I still struggle every single day with "but you take the diagnostic charge off of the repair if I fix it, right?" or the one that burns me up is "________ (insert competitor down the road) only charges $50 to diagnose it but not if he fixes it". Where do we go with that? Again the AutoZone mindset of everything is free and easy. How do we combat this mindset that has been created by these huge corporations catering to the DIY's? And we feel that we must jump on board because we can't advertise like them to change the mindset. Now - 8 years later - multiply that with the parts pricing ability on every customers phone, and Youtube where even the most difficult repair is done in 30 minutes or less with tools you have around the house.....where is this industry headed? I know some of you are blessed, but in the vast majority of the blue collar and lower income areas, it is truly almost impossible to make an honest living in this business. It wasn't the same 30 years ago when I decided college wasn't necessary.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

25 minutes ago, GENUINE said:

I'm surprised this topic went dead. 8 years later and I still struggle every single day with "but you take the diagnostic charge off of the repair if I fix it, right?" or the one that burns me up is "________ (insert competitor down the road) only charges $50 to diagnose it but not if he fixes it". Where do we go with that? Again the AutoZone mindset of everything is free and easy. How do we combat this mindset that has been created by these huge corporations catering to the DIY's? And we feel that we must jump on board because we can't advertise like them to change the mindset. Now - 8 years later - multiply that with the parts pricing ability on every customers phone, and Youtube where even the most difficult repair is done in 30 minutes or less with tools you have around the house.....where is this industry headed? I know some of you are blessed, but in the vast majority of the blue collar and lower income areas, it is truly almost impossible to make an honest living in this business. It wasn't the same 30 years ago when I decided college wasn't necessary.

Wow, I understand your frustration and right there with you. And I hear the same things you do.  The reality is that things will not change until the vast amount of shop owners stop and truly understand what they need to earn a profiit. The Auto Repair Shop owner are the hardest working people on this planet, and I am one of them. I wish and pray that we can earn what we deserve. 

Parts are another issue. The world has changed and getting your gross profit on parts the way you once did is a thing of the past.  Shop Owners, listen, the only way to remain in business and earn a profit is through labor. 

We will win this mindset when we all realize that labor drives our business. Plumbers, electricians and other trades learned this years ago. When willl we? 

And, by the way...this topic is far from dead. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I keep it short and nice. I tell people I have to pay the technician for his time spent working and testing for the correct repair needed to your vehicle. If I don’t pay him, he wouldn’t work here. I haven’t got any bad mouthing from it, but sometimes they just say OK thank you and hang up.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When customers balk at a diagnostic fee, I just tell them the diagnosis is usually the most time consuming part of the job.  I use the analogy that  if the car was brought in for an evap leak and I spend the time to smoke test it and find a leaking gas cap, I still need to be paid for the diagnostic time not just the time it takes to replace the gas cap.  I charge an hour for driveability  and electrical diagnosis($99.00) and a half hour for other stuff.  If someone doesn't want to pay the fee, they're probably going to be a pain in the butt about the repair cost as well.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We hear all too often that the "other shop they went to, does not charge for diagnostic testing" or "waives the diag if the customer agrees to do the work" 

This may have happened years ago, but I really can't see this has common any more.  Shop owners know the costs of complicated diagnostic testing. And shop owners know that 2 hours of testing has no part profit, so in order to maintain your hourly gross profit, you need to charge. And depending on your labor structure, many shops use a multi-tier labor rate to offset those jobs that have little to no parts for a particular job. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, Joe Marconi said:

We hear all too often that the "other shop they went to, does not charge for diagnostic testing" or "waives the diag if the customer agrees to do the work"

I have always wanted to ask this customer, "And did they fix the problem?  If so why are you here?"  Because you know that the shop either did NOT waive the fee or they didn't fix the problem or they don't want to deal with this customer any longer. 

 

I have also wanted to ask the customer who asks me if I do "Free Inspections" if they are willing to work at their job and not get paid for it.  If you think about it, the customer is really our boss, on an average day we will have 2 or 3 or 5 "bosses".  What they are telling us here is that they want us to do work for them for free.  But let their boss ask them to come in and work for an hour or two and not get paid for it and what do you think their answer will be?

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/16/2020 at 1:47 PM, PherBag said:

I keep it short and nice. I tell people I have to pay the technician for his time spent working and testing for the correct repair needed to your vehicle. If I don’t pay him, he wouldn’t work here. I haven’t got any bad mouthing from it, but sometimes they just say OK thank you and hang up.

We charge full labor for diagnostics as we have seen full vehicle diagnosis with test drives and other in bay testing surpass the 4 hour mark for accurate assessments. We occasionally get a complaint or a "Can't you remove the charge", we hold the line.

"We are sorry but the amount of tools and time it takes to properly inspect vehicles, does not allow us to perform this service free of charge."

Our most recent full system diagnosis had 3 hours on the lift, followed by one minor repair to get the vehicle driving, followed by 1.25 hours of driving for all monitors to run.  Then a reevaluation of codes that returned, what they are indicating, and another 1+ hour(s) of lift time diagnosing them.  Throughout the diagnosis we used the scanner for 2 hours at minimum.  We will use the volt meter at minimum and possibly the scope.  All tools that cost us a lot of money and some of which require subscriptions to stay up to date.

We'll be all into this particular example for 6 hours.  If they get all the work done, we can and usually provide a fairer rate for diagnosis considering their support.  If they get nothing, They pay full rate and have our entire process documented, and available to them digitally to take anywhere else and bargain on their time.

I've had one person really cause a problem over the last 3 years over this practice.  He was warned prior that we do not assess vehicles for free and there is no "standard" charge to do so.  So I don't lose an ounce of sleep over it.

I used to be the guy that allowed diagnostics to leave uncharged, not since I learned how much time we spend diagnosing and inspecting.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@CAR_AutoReports With all due respect can I ask how you can run the clock and then hand them the bill?

I am not saying you are doing anything wrong or shouldn't do as you do, I like how you do it.  But do you just have the customer sign a blank check or do you have them approve a couple hours and then have them approve more time as needed?  Here in Michigan we have to have a signed work order authorizing a certain amount and if we exceed that amount we must have verified approval of an additional amount.  Unlike a plumber or carpenter or doctor we can't just do the work, hand the bill and expect to get paid regardless of what the amount is.  If we want to charge for 6 hours we must either write the estimate/work order at the outset or get approval along the way.  I'm just wondering how you handle the approval process if there is one.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't "run the clock".  Every circumstance is different.

To help customers understand, I document everything I do from start to finish, just like we track our time.

That means every test we perform, I attach its result and label what I did to test any given part and why.

Since each circumstance is different, we try to make the most of our time.  We request up to 2 hours and will work up to 3, assuming the third hour is on us.

If we need more than that... we send the customer the information and then call them to review it.  Ask them if they want us to keep going or if they will figure things out differently.

 

Strange thing happens.  When you treat someone like a friend and respect their hard earned money, they have no problems paying for the service they are receiving.

 

So, we work insanely hard at being accurate, fair, and professional at everything we do. 

Our customers notice and don't mind paying... because they feel what we provide, is worth paying for. 

It didn't happen overnight and it was a really long road here, but I'll never run any other service business in this lifetime with any other mindset.
 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi all! Lots of interesting scenarios unfolding here, and most all are very valid. BUT, all work great in a perfect world. As someone above stated, "until techs all get on board like plumbers, electricians etc"...THAT is the key! In a community where ALL the shops abide by this policy - charging fairly for their diag time - it works great. But unfortunately, especially in low income areas, it just doesn't work that way. AUTOZONE becomes the diagnostic place and any guy on the street will attempt to replace any part they say is needed. When all that fails (and we all know it will) THEN they end up on my door, broke, angry, and expecting me to gladly pick up the pieces! Now, in addition to the original problem, I have to address all of the other stuff that someone has done.  It's the nature of the beast trying to operate a legit business in poorer neighborhoods. So sometimes it's easier to play their game, agree to "include it in the cost of repair" and not have to deal with the jack legs getting in there first. Truly it is a lose lose. A reminder to the wise when thinking about getting in this business.....LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION has never been truer!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, GENUINE said:

Hi all! Lots of interesting scenarios unfolding here, and most all are very valid. BUT, all work great in a perfect world. As someone above stated, "until techs all get on board like plumbers, electricians etc"...THAT is the key! In a community where ALL the shops abide by this policy - charging fairly for their diag time - it works great. But unfortunately, especially in low income areas, it just doesn't work that way. AUTOZONE becomes the diagnostic place and any guy on the street will attempt to replace any part they say is needed. When all that fails (and we all know it will) THEN they end up on my door, broke, angry, and expecting me to gladly pick up the pieces! Now, in addition to the original problem, I have to address all of the other stuff that someone has done.  It's the nature of the beast trying to operate a legit business in poorer neighborhoods. So sometimes it's easier to play their game, agree to "include it in the cost of repair" and not have to deal with the jack legs getting in there first. Truly it is a lose lose. A reminder to the wise when thinking about getting in this business.....LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION has never been truer!

We have a fair amount of customers that are very budget conscious.  We just treat them like people and help them make the best decisions based on whatever they can afford.  Even if they can't afford anything.

The ones who understand what you do for them, become your biggest advocates without you ever knowing. 

The ones who don't, never return and likely aren't a good customer base for you anyway.

To make you feel better... I started here "So sometimes it's easier to play their game, agree to "include it in the cost of repair" and not have to deal with the jack legs getting in there first. "... and worked my way up slowly to where I am.  We all have to start somewhere.

One you built up the trust, where customers aren't wondering if you're taking advantage of them all the time... the pricing part gradually becomes easier.  It's just never "easy". 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, CAR_AutoReports said:

I don't "run the clock".  Every circumstance is different.

To help customers understand, I document everything I do from start to finish, just like we track our time.

That means every test we perform, I attach its result and label what I did to test any given part and why.

Since each circumstance is different, we try to make the most of our time.  We request up to 2 hours and will work up to 3, assuming the third hour is on us.

If we need more than that... we send the customer the information and then call them to review it.  Ask them if they want us to keep going or if they will figure things out differently.

 

Strange thing happens.  When you treat someone like a friend and respect their hard earned money, they have no problems paying for the service they are receiving.

 

So, we work insanely hard at being accurate, fair, and professional at everything we do. 

Our customers notice and don't mind paying... because they feel what we provide, is worth paying for. 

It didn't happen overnight and it was a really long road here, but I'll never run any other service business in this lifetime with any other mindset.
 

I like a lot of what you wrote.  From the way you structured your scenario that I replied to, it sounded like you did all that work and then handed them the bill.  I couldn't figure out at what points you contacted the customer for additional approval.  For my misunderstanding I apologize, but I NEVER intended any disrespect.

 

I agree that documentation and explanation are key.  My best customer is the educated customer.  Not college or higher learning, but the one who is aware of what I have done, what needs to be done and why it needs to be done to achieve their objective of a safe and reliable car.  I feel it is my job to educate them on these topics so they can make an educated decision that hopefully is the best decision for them and their family.  So documentation is key. 

You really caught my eye with your line, "When you treat someone like a friend and respect their hard earned money..." because that is exactly how I treat my customers.  I work hard for my money and demand value for what I spend.  I expect to provide the same to my customers.  And above all, I fully realize that I am spending my customer's money when I recommend a repair.  I understand Genuine's position and I fought the same fight, people claimed they didn't have any money.  And during the recession or the beginning months of the year, that is true, many people are barely getting by.  But building a relationship, if you can, is the key.  Out of 100 customers through the door, you might only retain 20 and only 10 become long-term customers.  But building relationships and adamantly demanding honesty, knowing when to turn down a job because it's not "right" is the best way to conduct business I believe.

 

We all hear, "But I'm going to be selling the car soon," as a ploy to get us to 'band-aid' a repair.  What happens when we do? A year later the customer comes back with, "But you just FIXED it."  But did you really fix it or did you just band-aid it so they could sell the car like they swore they were going to do?  Or you put the cheapest part on because anything was better than the bad on that was on the car.  One year warranty you tell them but that won't matter because they are going to sell the car.  Two years later they come back, "But you just put that on, now it's bad again.  I shouldn't have to pay for it again because YOU put a cheap part on."  It took me about 3 years to finally figure out how to call the "But I'm selling it" customer a liar without being offensive and to REFUSE to do anything but, "The right job, the right way, at a fair and honest price."  Now when I hear that line, unless there is literally a For Sale sign in the window, I do NOT believe it and I NEVER compromise my quality and integrity in order to meet their expected low price point.  I have built a reputation and most of my customers simply say, "Fix it, I trust you."  But that is of course after I explain, what went wrong, why it needs THIS specific repair and how much it will cost.

But the bottom line is, I hope you did not feel that I was disrespecting you, or if you did that you understand now that I was not.  I just didn't know where in your scenario you made your calls for additional time and repairs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, TheTrustedMechanic said:

I like a lot of what you wrote.  From the way you structured your scenario that I replied to, it sounded like you did all that work and then handed them the bill.  I couldn't figure out at what points you contacted the customer for additional approval.  For my misunderstanding I apologize, but I NEVER intended any disrespect.

 

I agree that documentation and explanation are key.  My best customer is the educated customer.  Not college or higher learning, but the one who is aware of what I have done, what needs to be done and why it needs to be done to achieve their objective of a safe and reliable car.  I feel it is my job to educate them on these topics so they can make an educated decision that hopefully is the best decision for them and their family.  So documentation is key. 

You really caught my eye with your line, "When you treat someone like a friend and respect their hard earned money..." because that is exactly how I treat my customers.  I work hard for my money and demand value for what I spend.  I expect to provide the same to my customers.  And above all, I fully realize that I am spending my customer's money when I recommend a repair.  I understand Genuine's position and I fought the same fight, people claimed they didn't have any money.  And during the recession or the beginning months of the year, that is true, many people are barely getting by.  But building a relationship, if you can, is the key.  Out of 100 customers through the door, you might only retain 20 and only 10 become long-term customers.  But building relationships and adamantly demanding honesty, knowing when to turn down a job because it's not "right" is the best way to conduct business I believe.

 

We all hear, "But I'm going to be selling the car soon," as a ploy to get us to 'band-aid' a repair.  What happens when we do? A year later the customer comes back with, "But you just FIXED it."  But did you really fix it or did you just band-aid it so they could sell the car like they swore they were going to do?  Or you put the cheapest part on because anything was better than the bad on that was on the car.  One year warranty you tell them but that won't matter because they are going to sell the car.  Two years later they come back, "But you just put that on, now it's bad again.  I shouldn't have to pay for it again because YOU put a cheap part on."  It took me about 3 years to finally figure out how to call the "But I'm selling it" customer a liar without being offensive and to REFUSE to do anything but, "The right job, the right way, at a fair and honest price."  Now when I hear that line, unless there is literally a For Sale sign in the window, I do NOT believe it and I NEVER compromise my quality and integrity in order to meet their expected low price point.  I have built a reputation and most of my customers simply say, "Fix it, I trust you."  But that is of course after I explain, what went wrong, why it needs THIS specific repair and how much it will cost.

But the bottom line is, I hope you did not feel that I was disrespecting you, or if you did that you understand now that I was not.  I just didn't know where in your scenario you made your calls for additional time and repairs.

We're far from that, I took 0 offense to what you said and just look to provide a medium for discussion.  We all do what we need to do to survive, but I think more often than not we all do the same things at different times in our career and how it was executed... depends on the outcome.

 

To your point, we're really upfront with new customers that we do not work for free and there will be a charge to look at their vehicle.  We literally give them the keys and state "This is how long it takes us to do X, we need to do X first and then move onto Y, which requires Z time.  It is impossible to predict if we will need more time at this stage, but we can only promise to be fair and forthcoming in everything we do. We understand this might not suit your needs, but we're always here should you need it."

When you say that because you mean it and not because it's a sell line, people will open their minds to the idea of trusting you.

Once you give them a reason to solidify that trust by doing exactly as you said... you change the conversion from 2 in 10 customers to 4 in 10 customer becoming life long customers.

I really just want to reiterate to everyone that the basis for my success started when I treated every single customer as I would expect to be treated in that scenario.  It doesn't mean I didn't lose my cool or make a mistake or I didn't perform a service for free to make it up to someone... It means I set my goal and I did everything in my power every single day to achieve it.

Ultimately, years of free training provided by a local vendor.... made me open my eyes.  But I still had to do the leg work.

 

Just remember everyone:

A thorough vehicle inspection takes no less than 45 minutes.

  • Full code scan: 10 minutes on a $4000+ piece of equipment, with monthly updating costs.
  • Test drive?:15 mins min, depending on customer concern
  • Lift and wheels off: 15-20 mins
  • Document findings: text, photo 10 mins
  • Build estimate: 5 minutes to 3 hours.

The fastest at their craft and process can do that in 45 minutes.

It;s likely closer to an hour from start to finish depending on exact needs.

Would you call your plumber and electrician, that pays you for your service at your shop, and expect them to do the equivalent for free?

Why should you?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just had one yesterday...

Why are you charging me $230 just to look at my car?

Well, the technician had your car on the lift for 1.5 hours identifying all types of problems or safety issues.

The service advisor then spends at least 1 hour researching and putting together your estimate and communicating everything to you.

 

So we have ~3 hours of work into your vehicle and have provided a comprehensive estimate with labor times, parts and part numbers.  You can now take this information and make an educated decision on whether or not your vehicle is worth fixing.  Information you didn't have when you dropped the car off for "low brake pedal".

You were also charged for 2 hours when we spent much closer to 3.

Do you show up at work and work 3 hours for free every day?

 

**Silence falls over the room**

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seems like this has been the topic of discussion at dinner many nights around here.  We've owned our family business over 25 years and I struggle more with this than any other issue at work,  basically MY day is diagnosing, test driving w/customers,  figuring out noises yada yada yada basically for free just so I can set my techs up with parts replacement the rest of the day, sad but true.  My adage is always 'if we are not putting parts in cars, we are not making money!'  And so it is in our very blue collar community, now if I pull codes and know it needs smoking or much further diag time then I will def get a set amount for said time and because of the time I have already put into their car, usually there is no resistance.  I can't help but constantly go back to licensing, and yes ASE has done a formidable job but let's face it when their light is on or it's misfiring it's always 'how much' not 'are you ASE certified?'....  I've just made peace with it all  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Md65 said:

Seems like this has been the topic of discussion at dinner many nights around here.  We've owned our family business over 25 years and I struggle more with this than any other issue at work,  basically MY day is diagnosing, test driving w/customers,  figuring out noises yada yada yada basically for free just so I can set my techs up with parts replacement the rest of the day, sad but true.  My adage is always 'if we are not putting parts in cars, we are not making money!'  And so it is in our very blue collar community, now if I pull codes and know it needs smoking or much further diag time then I will def get a set amount for said time and because of the time I have already put into their car, usually there is no resistance.  I can't help but constantly go back to licensing, and yes ASE has done a formidable job but let's face it when their light is on or it's misfiring it's always 'how much' not 'are you ASE certified?'....  I've just made peace with it all  

One thing to consider, more and more jobs these days are jobs that have no parts included. Take all the labor time your dad spends testing, with no labor dollars brought into the shop. The auto repair and service world has changed and we need to change with it. While I agree with you that we need to  bring a higher level benchmark into this industy, the fact remains that we are behind when it comes to labor.  The future is here and to remain in business will require a financial demand the likes we have never seen before.  And the only way to invest in our future is to ensure we are getting paid the labor we deserve and work so hard for. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"You mean to tell me that after taking 1 hour to find a faulty mass air sensor, you will add the 1 hour to the 5 minutes it takes to install a new mass air? Come on, we all know the truth."
Original Content From:

For us......yes. How often do we find the diagnostic process results in a 5 minute fix? For us its alot of the time. Also after performing and charging for the diagnosis we have had customers fail at attempting the repair themseves and blame our "diagnosis". So we moved away from the label diagnosis and started calling it a repair procedure. Customer calls in and ask how much to diagnose an overheating concern we explain that repair starts at $97.50 and once it begins they will owe that fee along with any additional charges they agree to in order to complete the repair. Customer says they only want the diag we tell them we are not interested.....we are here to maintain and fix vehicles not diagnose things for other people to fix. We also feel its bad practice to make repairs based on others "diagnosis" if you are confident they correctly assessed the issue you should let them make the repair. More than once we have made a repair "diagged" by the dealer only to find it wasnt the needed repair leaving the customer unsure who to hold accountable.

Edited by mastertechlex
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We charge for Diagnostics,period.If questioned we state;"If you tell us which parts you want replaced,we can make you an Estimate,otherwise we must charge you for our time in locating your vehicles troubles"

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Read my negative fb or Google reviews they are all because I charged someone to "just look" at their car. That's why people are shy to do it. I charge for diagnosis. My doctor charges me for it. My dentist charges me for it. My electrician charges me for it. Every professional on earth charges for their expertise. I do the same. Toughen up folks. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/15/2020 at 7:53 PM, alfredauto said:

Read my negative fb or Google reviews they are all because I charged someone to "just look" at their car. That's why people are shy to do it. I charge for diagnosis. My doctor charges me for it. My dentist charges me for it. My electrician charges me for it. Every professional on earth charges for their expertise. I do the same. Toughen up folks. 

AutoZone doesn't!!! LOL (That's the tiresome refrain around here) I've said it before, AZ has done more damage to the automotive repair industry than anything else in the last 30 years. Hatred for this company pales when describing my feelings for them.....

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like I had to tell my best friend/bookkeeper, her job has VALUE! Our services have tremendous value, we earn it and deserve it.  We're providing a valuable service because the customer can't do this. And like the others said, there is equipment, specialty equipment that wasn't cheap to purchase.  The ONLY thing I retract is the brake inspection charge, and only if we do the work right then & there.  Other than that, everything that needs diagnosing gets charge accordingly.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

The problem is everyone thinks pulling a code is diagnostics.  So we don't use that word. We can pull a code and change whatever part they request with no result guarantees.  Or we can do TESTING to find your problem just like your doctor. TESTING starts at $ and depending on how many tests need done it may be more. . Most of the time people choose TESTING over guessing. If they say auto zone or whatever parts store diagnosed it , then I just inform them they just pulled a code pointing to a system. And ask if they check for corrosion or if a mouse ate a wire. 10 years in business and don't have any problem charging for testing.  Even a test drive & brake inspection is no problem.  Transparency through documentation and proper communication is key. BILL FOR TEST. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Similar Topics

    • By Joe Marconi
      I will never forget the day when a customer, who didn't like the price, took cash out of his pocket, crumbled up the cash, and threw the money at me. 
      This customer clearly crossed the line, in my opinion. 
      Before I tell the rest of this "true" story, I would like to hear from you: How would you have handled this situation? 
       

    • By Joe Marconi
      Before I started my auto repair shop, I worked for a Ford Dealer way back in the late 1970s, and my goal before leaving that dealership was to become an A-rated Master Tech. Their definition, at that time, was that a Tech had to be able to repair everything and anything from bumper to bumper.  Is that definition even possible? Can someone become proficient in every area of automotive service, repair, testing, and diagnosis? 
      About 10 years ago, I hired a technician that grew up in Greece. He was trained in one area of the automotive; Undercar. He was highly skilled in brakes, suspension, steering, wheel alignment, wheel balance, axles any issues or problems related to undercar. He was the best in his class, and I considered him an A-rated Master tech....in that area.
      With technology changing at light speed these days. Is it time for techs to specialize or narrow their scope of skills? 
       

       
       
       
       
    • By carmcapriotto
      Watch the Episode on YouTube
      Rachel Spencer, Spencer’s Auto Repair, Krum, Texas. Rachel’s Previous Episodes HERE
      Dale Warmuth, Leon's Car Care Center, Eureka, CA
      Key Talking Points
      Attention to detail- committed to customers, feels like home, purse hooks, lotion, indicates the quality of the shop.  Clean, functional and responsible, and attentive  Employees share responsibilities with their employees restroom Cleaning- checking on the bathroom several times a day than cleaning it in the evening Lighting and paint are key areas to update quickly, and quality toilet paper  You have 1 opportunity to make a first-class experience  
      Connect with the Podcast
       
      Aftermarket Radio Network
      Subscribe on YouTube
      Visit us on the Web
      Follow on Facebook
      Become an Insider
      Buy me a coffee
      Important Books
      Check out today's partners:
      More Time. More Profit. Shop-Ware Shop Management getshopware.com

      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By Joe Marconi
      Having been a shop owner for 41 years, I have lived through many economic swings, both good and bad.  I can tell you that increases in prices, from gas to food to new car prices, can prove to be a good thing for auto repair shops. 
      People tend to tighten their belts during tough economic times, but also understand that they need their cars in the best shape they can be to save on fuel and save on costly breakdowns. 
      How can you help your customers save on fuel costs and focus on preventive maintenance?  
    • Heavy Duty Parts Fleetcross
    • By Joe Marconi
      When it comes to advertising, there is an endless list of strategies.  And, it appears, that everyone has a different strategy and opinion about what works and what doesn't.  
      So, the question is: What's Your Most Effective Form of Advertising? 


  • Our Sponsors


Grammarly Writing Support


The #1 Writing Tool


Grammarly Writing Support

×
×
  • Create New...