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Customer questions labor hours charged


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Hello all,

 

We recently had a customer question the amount of hours charged to install a part. The customer insisted that we follow what the "book" calls for and nothing more. When we tried to explain to the customer that the book is not always 100% correct on labor hours. He then questioned our expertise in the field stating that he has a "bunch of amateurs working on his vehicle". Wow, really?

 

Its somewhat unpredictable if a bolt will break off, needs to be retread/retapped,or any additional parts that need to be replaced.

 

 

How would you handle a customer like this?

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I show them repair pal and I'm typically in the middle. Then ask if he'd like me to charge book for installing light bulbs and doing his oil changes? Chances are he's just trying to see what he can get away with. We always give an estimate up front and contact the customer immediately if things appear to be going south. We explain that due to the corrosion or issues found additional time will be required and if they like we could show them the problem prior to making a call. Typically this reinforces that we're honest and won't be shaken by their complaints. We rarely hear anything else about it. If they come in and start out by saying things like "that's to high" or " how do you bill" my efforts with keeping the customer instantly stop. Just explain that we offer a service and warranty which is second to none, and politely explain that the price is the price. We also have a sign on the wall that disclaims that additional labor charges are possible and may be encountered and that they'll be advised prior to the additional charges.

 

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk

 

 

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Don't quote in labor hours. Just quote a price. Quoting hours is a lose-lose. When I work up my quotes I always turn them on the hi-side of hours. That way in can absorb rust issues which happen on 80% of jobs in northeast ohio. It saves me from having to call the customer and adjust the estimate which they hate.

 

Example I did 3.1l gm headgaskrt job last week. I think book was around 12 hours I quoted 14. I had two broken exhaust studs. No big deal, already worked in the price before I even knew about it. No changing if estimate (which they all see as dishonest). Every party is happy.

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We tend to spend way too much time on the oddball customer who wants to prove something or start a fight. Think about all the great customers you had last week that had confidence in you processes and abilities and believed in the value you are marketing. They came and went and they will tell people they got great service at your shop. I know we have to deal with the grouches with an axe to grind, but concentrate on the good guys who appreciate what you and your staff do.

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Hello all,

 

We recently had a customer question the amount of hours charged to install a part. The customer insisted that we follow what the "book" calls for and nothing more. When we tried to explain to the customer that the book is not always 100% correct on labor hours. He then questioned our expertise in the field stating that he has a "bunch of amateurs working on his vehicle". Wow, really?

 

Its somewhat unpredictable if a bolt will break off, needs to be retread/retapped,or any additional parts that need to be replaced.

 

 

How would you handle a customer like this?

Did you quote more than the book calls for? If so, why?

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We tend to spend way too much time on the oddball customer who wants to prove something or start a fight. Think about all the great customers you had last week that had confidence in you processes and abilities and believed in the value you are marketing. They came and went and they will tell people they got great service at your shop. I know we have to deal with the grouches with an axe to grind, but concentrate on the good guys who appreciate what you and your staff do.

 

These are the types that tend to ruin my day because I dwell on the negative (character flaw!). Thanks for this post!

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Did you quote more than the book calls for? If so, why?

 

I am not the OP however my opinion on this and from what I've learned from seasoned vets with great shops is that the original labor guide was built by by Henry Ford to stabilize his costs for warranty work. Labor guides are made for vehicles that are new with no rust, damage or modification issues. They do not account for broken bolts, worn out hardware, customer's stereo systems, choppy modified wiring harnesses etc etc. There are so many variations in labor guides as well. They are what they are, a GUIDE and not a standard every shop should be judged by. Your price quote also includes other factors such as your warranty. There is a reason why many shop management systems allow for labor matrix or some sort of modification to the labor guide percentages. Thats my 2c.

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The customer simply questioned why we "finished the job too fast" compared to what we charged him.

Did your guys spend adequate time on a test drive verifying the repair? Unless you marked it up a few hours we typically consume most of the book time left in paperwork, verifying the repair and test drive.

 

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk

 

 

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         5 comments
      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
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