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I don't know if this is the proper place to post this, but do any of you who run flat rate shops do backflagging?

 

For instance, in September I did a tire rotation (pays 0.3) and then the car came back in yesterday for tires, first time back since the tire rotation in 7 months. One of the lug nuts was stripped, according to another tech who was doing the tires. The shop charges and pays 1 hour to replace a stud. So my total hours for the week got deducted by 1. Despite the whole fact that there is no way to even prove I was the last one to actually touch them (and that no one else in the shop has ever had a problem with wheels I put on, just this one tech, three times now). I had to give up an hour of pay to pay the technician who replaced the stud an hour.

 

Just wondering if any other shops do this...and I guess, is it even legal?

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While we do hold techs accountable for their work, it must be a clear cut case of negligence. When we get a comeback we never assume someone or something (a part failure) is the cause until we have assessed the situation. In order words, is it a part failure, a tech error, a lack of training issue or miscommunication from service advisor to tech? Only then will we determine the fault.

It is rare that we hold a tech financially responsible and we never back flag. And we always defer to the tech’s position for any gray area, and your case is very gray.

 

Here’s how we handle an “obvious tech error”. We simply calculate the loss and ask, (that’s right ask), the tech how he or she can make up any time that we can agree that will help to offset the cost of the comeback.

 

One thing that I can tell you, we track all comebacks and if the comebacks get too out of hand, we train and educate and if that does not work, we terminate.

 

Being an x-tech, I always give my techs the benefit of the doubt.

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I see, that seems much more reasonable. This wasn't a comeback. The person was last in, in September when I did a tire rotation. Then they came in this week for new tires and that is when one of the lug nuts stripped out. They (the service manager and tech) stated that since I was the last one to touch the car when it was here, it must have been something I did since I had the wheels off. They didn't even check to see if he had been elsewhere. They simply told the tech to fix it and deducted 1 hour from my total flagged hours for the week. Which is disappointing because I was on pace to beat my best week (50, would have been 50.9 without this).

 

In the 7 months I have been in the dealership (and industry) I can list all my comebacks.

 

- Brakes squeaking on a brake job I did nearly 6 months prior (squeak just started according to customer and ended up being caused by the brakes having a lot of sand in them and needed cleaning, no fault in my prep or installation). If I hadn't been there that day they would have paid someone 1.0 hours to clean them and docked me the 1.0 hours. I even tried to fight this, saying I should be paid, because my work is warrantied and nothing I do can stop the car from driving through sandy roads in the winter.

 

- Car came back today, supposedly I only finger tightened the oil drain plug. I guess it's possible, but I have never forgotten stuff like that before.

 

Those are my only comebacks. Then there is 3 lug nuts stripped (including the one discussed here), all 3 of them were found by this tech, no other techs have ever had this issue with any car I took and put wheels on with (plus I have the 100 ft. lb torque stick from SO that the dealership requires we all have). None of those were comebacks, just cars coming in for their next service when they were found.

 

The only other complaints I have gotten, is when I first started, I left a grease stain on the door handle and I did tires that the customer requested he keep the old tires so he could try to sell them and he said he was in a rush and had to be out by 10. I wasn't thinking and put the tires into his compact car where I could, two in the backseat and two in the trunk, but I didn't put them in bags and sand got in his car.

 

That's all in the span of 7 months, and I feel those are very minor and learning experiences. I have not repeated any of them and apologized for them personally when they happened.

 

I can tell you that I have less comebacks in those 7 months than all the other techs, so I don't feel like I am a chronic issue. I just feel like the whole point of owning a company is that you assume a lot of the liability and in minor instances like these lug nuts, where you cannot even guarantee I was the last one to have the wheels off that I should not lose 33.00 (3 hours times my 11.00 rate) for work that I was paid 9.90 total for.

Edited by ADealerTech

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You make great points. For us we consider any situation where the customer has to return, or if there is some sort of quality issue, a comeback. So, if a customer complains about a grease stain, for us it's a comeback.

 

I am a business owner, and I do accept the responsibility of understanding that things can and will go wrong. However, the people who work for me must come to the understanding that what they do has a direct impact on the profitability of the company, which impacts their continued employment and pay structure. Now, with that said, I am not out to harm a tech’s pay, especially when you factor in all the money that techs makes for the company on a consistent basis.

 

We track productivity, tech bonuses and comebacks and each tech will get a performance report with those 3 numbers each month. If a tech has no comebacks in a given month, that techs get a $25.00 bonus as a reward. When I first starting doing this, I was amazed that the very first number the tech looks at is his comeback number, and if it's zero, you can see a smile on his face.

 

Techs do not make mistakes because they want to, it can be sloppiness, which I will not stand for. But, if you have the right people working for, things can be worked out.

 

This is a touchy subject and again you bring up great points. The balance between holding techs accountable and punishment is not easy. I prefer to reward the behavior I want and help when things go wrong.

 

Lastly, I make mistakes too, no one is perfect. The differences, no one but me hold me accountable. And you can bet that I do!

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I don't know if this is the proper place to post this, but do any of you who run flat rate shops do backflagging?

 

For instance, in September I did a tire rotation (pays 0.3) and then the car came back in yesterday for tires, first time back since the tire rotation in 7 months. One of the lug nuts was stripped, according to another tech who was doing the tires. The shop charges and pays 1 hour to replace a stud. So my total hours for the week got deducted by 1. Despite the whole fact that there is no way to even prove I was the last one to actually touch them (and that no one else in the shop has ever had a problem with wheels I put on, just this one tech, three times now). I had to give up an hour of pay to pay the technician who replaced the stud an hour.

 

Just wondering if any other shops do this...and I guess, is it even legal?

 

 

Back flagging is illegal in RI and most other states as well. Also if your dealer is not paying for your computer based training contact me. Another large RI Import dealer had to pay me for some back flagging I had records for and my training they forced me to do. Go see Helen Gage over at the department of labor and training.

 

 

The reason why Techs are abused by dealers is because WE ALLOW IT.. Your better off if you get out of flat rate and find a good shop that pays a salary or hourly or go fleet like I did

 

BTW 11 a hour flat rate is HORRIBLE. In 2000 my first job flat rate with 1 year in the business was 15 a hour. You are supplying and buying your own tools your basically worse off than making minimum wage. Sorry I am not trying to insult you at all just want to help.

Edited by Formerdealertech

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I agree with the the above post, call the department of labor for your state and they will fix the problem. That should have never happened and is just a dealer abusing their workforce.

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