Why is Auto Repair Expensive?
Red Rock Auto and Cycle is proud to introduce our newest team member, a 30 year plus European automotive technician. Mark Fordham. So for you European car drivers like Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi, stop in or call (928) 282-4988 and get your vehicle serviced soon.
UNDERSTANDING LABOR CHARGES
When you see a line item for "labor" on your repair estimate or bill, there are two factors that go into it.
The first is the shop's "per-hour labor rate." The second is "book time."
A shop's labor rate is the hourly rate it charges for work.
The term "book time" refers to the average amount of time it takes to perform a particular automotive repair or maintenance job. This is a number that's set based on how long it takes a factory mechanic (or "technician," as is the common industry parlance) to do the job, but with a modifier applied in order to establish a more realistic time that a less trained technician might take. It's the automotive tech's responsibility to complete the job within that "book time" window, though sometimes repairs take longer or can be performed quicker.
Shop labor rates vary with the geographic area of the country and are competitive within a particular area.
Labor rates typically run $80-$150 per hour nationwide.
A shop that specializes in a particular area usually charges higher labor rates for their service than a general service shop.
KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON
What's not often passed onto the consumer are the costs of running a shop, which in this modern age, can be pricey.
Regardless of size, a shop has expenses that have to be paid by the work generated. There are the obvious ones, like the rent, electricity, heat and other utilities.
But there are also substantial costs for equipment and technology.
In order to work on today's cars a shop must have state-of-the-art scanners, diagnostic software, and lab scopes to analyze vehicular data streams in an effort to extract critical information for accurate vehicle repair. This type of equipment is outrageous and has to continually be updated which also costs a small fortune. Without such info, techs cannot deliver accurate repairs. Other equipment such as vehicle lifts, floor jacks, lubrication equipment and the likes are necessary to operate a shop efficiently and effectively.
Good trained service personnel costs money, period.
Usually techs are classified as "A", "B", or "C" techs, and the more high-grade techs in a shop, the more it costs to pay them. In order to attract a high-grade technician these days, shops have to pay a good hourly rate or weekly salary. In addition, health insurance and other benefits, like vacation time often go into the package to attract the class "A" technician.
These technicians have to go to school on a regular basis to keep up with new automotive technology.
Without this training, techs cannot repair vehicles in the "book time" allotted for a particular service operation. (Not to mention the occasional "headache" job that comes along that every tech in town has had his/her hands on without success.) We pay for this training in order to repair your vehicle correctly, in a reasonable amount of time and at a reasonable cost.
Many shops carry their own parts inventory.
Given the number of different years, makes, and models of vehicles on the road, this inventory must be broad. Sitting on this inventory is not cheap.
As you can see, there's a lot more that goes into auto repair pricing than parts and labor.