Mechanical Workshop Hrly rates at dealerships...Fair or what???

Submitted: Saturday, Oct 18, 2014 at 20:48
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My neighbour was stressed out at what he was charged at one of our local Holden dealerships, to find a loss of power issue with his 2.8l Isuzu powered Rodeo...The first 4hrs of fault finding found a issue with the boost from the turbo it was low.!?...Turns out the waste gate was seized, a normal sort of problem when the Kms get close to the 300,000km mark... Now he was told maybe able to fix or a new turbo was the answer, luckily they fixed the waste gate issue,..But!!!.the thing still has little turbo boost, consequently no power at mid speed, So What a Croc!...a week later...$150 hr charged!,....when making a phone call to see what was happening you had to leave a message to the service manager, and a reply was a hr later!...another Croc!,...Beginning to see why some people have know respect for dealerships!

Oh! and to top it off he was told to take it back the following
week so they can have another look!!.

Cheers Axle
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Reply By: TTTSA - Saturday, Oct 18, 2014 at 21:06

Saturday, Oct 18, 2014 at 21:06
I wouldn't pay a dealership $60.00 an hour but happily pay my local mechanic $100.00 an hour. He has had his own mechanic workshop for 40yrs and is still as busy as ever.
AnswerID: 540520

Follow Up By: Axle - Saturday, Oct 18, 2014 at 21:19

Saturday, Oct 18, 2014 at 21:19
I'm the same way mate!....Look I'm don't like to rubbish dealer work shops,..But they are just sooooo inefficient at times and have no real experience on problems encounted on some of the vehiclesthey sell apart from code reading, which doesn't always tell the right story!.

Cheers Axle
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Reply By: olcoolone - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 09:11

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 09:11
Have to agree with TTTSA...... around the $100 mark is what is classed as industry acceptable, many dealership use apprentices to carry out the majority of work and only have a few senior technicians to oversee the work.

These apprentices are charged out by so called "job placement agencies" for around $10 an hour dues to the BIG incentives these job placement agencies get from the government.

We have been approached many times to take on their apprentices but refuse to for the simple fact many of these apprentices have not got their heart and sole in the profession and only look at it as a way of getting off the dole and in many cases being forced to do it by family or social security.

Back when I started you wanted to do a trade in a given field because you were passionate about the industry and all it involved.

In my main industry of heavy mechanical/electrical the going rate is around the $120-$140 per hour for field service as it is more a specilised field..... for light vehicles in our workshop it's around the $100 per hour mark.

So yes $150 per hour is quite steep and you friend would have a good chance of fighting it and getting it reduced.

The issue with dealerships these days is profit derived from new car sales is down, new car sales in general is down for many and to keep there large overheads in shape the only income they can make is through their workshop....... it's called survival for many.

But like everything your friend did not have to use them and it was you friends choice.

But then it comes to the other side of the fact..... we get so many mums and dads customers asking us our hourly rate, then they base who gets the job from that..... it's not a real good way of getting quality work done by trained experienced people...... a workshop who charges out 3/4 of our hourly rate may not have the capable staff, training, the equipment or the quality of the end it may take them twice as long to diagnose and repair a fault so in the end the customer is paying more then if the came to use in the first place.

Many seem to be experts on what the job involves, how long it should take and what they should be charged.

QUOTE"Oh! and to top it off he was told to take it back the following
week so they can have another look!!."

That means very little, in some instances not every part of a fault can be repaired on the first occasion or it may of developed another fault that wasn't present when they did the original work...... it could also be something as simple as a new part they fitted failed or a workmanship issue....... yes just like you others can a do make mistakes occasionally.

So does that mean if you had surgery and complications set in after the surgery..... the surgeon is not very good at his profession...... or your TV failed again after having it repaired..... the service tech is not competent...... have tiling or painting done at home and the tile or paint starts lifting in a small section...... is it a sign of a bad tiler or painter.

The answer to all above is NO.

But with automobiles the customer expects the mechanic to get it right the first time every time...... if they don't then according to them the mechanic should change his/her job to something like flipping burgers at the local HJ.......... yes things customers forget.

No matter how perfect we our selves are...... we should be considerate to those who are not as perfect as our selves.

The biggest thing is how the act and address the new problem and how the customer gets treated.

AnswerID: 540533

Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 09:38

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 09:38
Here is the reality of labour costs.

Any good tradesman on wages will be earning at least $30 to $40 an hour..factor in holiday pay, sick leave, superanuation, other benifits and administrative overheads involved in employing the man and the real cost of wages runs at about 1.5 times the wages $45 to $60 an hour....this is before actual business costs like rent are factored.

Very few low overhead independent tradesmen will be charging out at less than $80....$100 an hour is about the go these days.

Put a tradesman into a high margin, high overhead business like a car dealer or branded 4wd shop and the labour rate has to be at least $120 an hour.

Remember someone has to pay for the Prime location, tiled floors, big signage, the electricity to run all those signs and bright lights, company cars, all those commissions and bonuses and dry cleaning all those suits....and remember the bloke who owns that dealership did not get a fancy house, a big boat and the latest model cars for his wife & daughter by operating a charity.

So $150 an hour is hardly a surprise.

This is why in over 30 years of owning vehicles....I have never, not once had any work done by a dealer.
You will always get better value from a good independent workshop... a bloke who relies on his reasonable rates, sound reputation and good service for his living.

AnswerID: 540534

Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 17:09

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 17:09

Your "reality" of labour costs is somewhat conservative.
The typical cost in Australia of maintaining an employee in a properly run business is currently closer to double the value of their gross wage. Possibly more.

To the paid wages, when the overheads of providing a work-station, utilities, training, OH&S requirements, Worker's Compensation Insurance, superannuation and a myriad of other costs are added, the outgoing soars.

Then there are the overheads of the company itself. Administration staff wages, cleaning, maintenance, property rent, insurance, utilities, accounting, taxation, plant leasing, vehicles, tools, depreciation..... the list goes on seemingly forever! Add a bit for pilfering.

Of course, the company owners are entitled to take a little profit and some return on their original investment.

Then, on top of all these costs, out of 365 days of the year, when the weekends, public holidays and the various leaves are deducted, each employee is only available to work for 212 days. That is 58% of the time.

Who would really want to be an employer in Australia?

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 21:54

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 21:54
Note that i said real cost of wages...before business costs.

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Reply By: 19738662 - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 09:41

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 09:41
Took vehicle into local Mitsubishi dealer in Victoria we had been complaining to two dealers on our trip about a noise in the rear of the vehicle. The dealer in QLD blamed the tyres,road noise & subsequently could not find anything wrong. The dealer in Darwin suggested that we were hearing things & they could not locate any problem. Back to Victoria noise progressively gets worse,local mechanic stated he can hear a noise but doesn't know what problem is. So,into Mitsubishi agent ......problem found rear wheel bearing!!! Now very noisy.....vehicle NOT covered by 5 year warranty 3 mths out of same!! Quoted over $900 by Mitsubishi agent @ $149:00 p/h. When asking the service manager why would it take 3.5 hrs to replace wheel bearing I was told the bearings have to be "pressed" into place and a very delicate job!!! Our local mechanic $80 p/h fitted part and charged $420...labour and parts!! As for wheel bearing to be "pressed into place"....the unit is a one piece....old in!!! I asked Mitsubishi Australia Limited for assistance with the bill and was told...."Out of used non genuine part so basically.....bad luck" There was no mention of a "non genuine part" !!! I guess MMAL assumed that a non genuine part was used from the total amount of the bill.....after all the MMAL part was $387!!
AnswerID: 540535

Follow Up By: MARIC - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 11:31

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 11:31
Albany WA
Toyota, VW, Mazda Rover all around $150

Mt Barker two independent workshops with more knowledge $90
The Touareg I used to own had a faulty courtsey light switch and oil sensor faulty... throw away and replace ... $2000
Prior to that it was going into limp mode was informed it was diagnosed with a faulty turbo $4000, I asked if they had physically checked it ... oh no, oh turbo ok must be a blocked diesel particular filter paid up a $1000 and no car for a week.
Collected car on Thurs pm drove home ok, wife drove it to work next day also ok driving home from work ...back to limp mode.
Saturday morning I popped the bonnet and low behold the intercooler hose was off. I cleaned the joint put it together and it went like a rocket afterwards.
I rang the dealership on Monday morning and low behold they didn't want to know me, I informed them I have it all on video for further action.

Phew thats the most two finger typing I have done
Cheers all
It is only when you see mosquito land on your testicles that you find another way to solve problems without violence

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Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 11:14

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 11:14
They don't nickname them "stealerships" for nothing. Don't select your repairer by their fancy advertising, or their fancy new workshop, or the by their super-friendly workshop manager - select a business such as a small independent workshop, with 1, 2, or 3 people in it, who have fully qualified repair skills and a reputation for quality repairs and fault finding. They generally charge a lot less than the dealerships, and they don't have the three levels of management obfuscation that dealerships have.

I know a pretty young girl of 18 who got a job with the local Holden dealer, relocating their new and used cars and being a general workshop go-fer.
She came out with stories of numerous dealer mechanics regularly smoking dope all day long, watching porn on computers, and hassling any females that came within the workshop vicinity - when they were supposed to be working and repairing and maintaining vehicles.

She complained about the workshop gorillas behaviour to the workshop manager, and nothing changed in 6 mths. So, she left their employment, because she said it was the most toxic behaviour work environment she had encountered. Her story isn't a standout, I have had numerous people tell me similar stories from personal experience.

I knew a bloke who would fly into a rage if he saw soft porn girlie posters in the workshop area. His argument was, "I'm paying them $X per hr to fix my vehicle, not to be distracted by looking at soft porn!!".
AnswerID: 540540

Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 11:35

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 11:35
Ah Ron, it doesn't just happen in the bigger workshops........
Some years back at Christmas, I called into a country garage for petrol.
The owner handed me a calendar with a pretty picture on it. Then he whispered "Come back when the wife is not with you and I'll give you one for the workshop"! I didn't get back....... anyway, it was probably not a Pirelli calendar. Besides, she wasn't my wife, well not yet!

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Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 11:58

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 11:58
Allan - Yeah, but remember, in the "filthy" workshop calendars in those days, the girls still wore frilly knickers! LOL

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 12:05

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 12:05
Ron don't tar all dealerships with the same brush....... many places offer poor workmanship with no after sales support....... most of them vanish in the first 2-5 years after opening but some don't.

QUTOE"She came out with stories of numerous dealer mechanics regularly smoking dope all day long, watching porn on computers, and hassling any females that came within the workshop vicinity - when they were supposed to be working and repairing and maintaining vehicles."

Ron don't know where you have been hiding all your life....... this isn't a problem for just the dealerships, it's a problem in most industries big and small.

As for calenders on the walls...... you really can't gauge the ethics, professionalism and workmanship based on something on the wall, your mate had no right to make ill-informed comments and judgement.

It use to be all the rage years ago form many male dominated industries to display such calenders...... now it if frowned upon in a workplace.

So for some reason you have managed to mention issues that are in many workplaces but you have seemed to emphasis it as a dealership issue only........ so far from the truth.
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 11:23

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 11:23
I am certainly not an apologist for dealer service, however it would seem that Toyota, for one, are addressing the issue of routine service pricing.
My new Aurion is offered scheduled service at a "Capped Price" of $130 for its first 4 years. As that includes "all genuine parts, labour and fluids required for each standard scheduled service" it seems reasonable.
It does also carry an implicit advantage that there can be no dispute, in the event of a warranty claim, that the vehicle has been maintained and serviced "in accordance with Toyota's instructions". A challenge to this proviso could arise if the service were carried out by a non-approved service centre.

Mind you, once the vehicle is out-of-warranty, it is another matter altogether.

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Reply By: Rangiephil - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 11:24

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 11:24
My record for attempted rip off was a BMW dealer North Of Sydney . I was buying some parts and enquired about the price of a Service 1 on my E36 M3.
The bloke sat at his computer and tapped away for 5 minutes , then came back with $1100.
Now a Service1 is essentiially an oil and filter change and check over, so about $900 overcharge. I said thanks very much after asking was that for a service 2 with tappet adjustment as I thought he had misheard me. The only difference between an M3 and a lowly 318i is from a service point of view is the shim tappets.
I also asked about a set of brake pads and was quoted $450. I said no not the discs, just the pads. I later found out through research that the M3 has the same brakes as a 5 series and I got pads from the OEM supplier to BMW for about $120.
I Guess the majority of BMW buyers buy now on a maintained lease and don't care , but the rip off gets to breathtaking levels.

Regards Philip A
AnswerID: 540542

Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 12:16

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 12:16
Phil - The horror stories about the cost of maintaining luxury European cars is the major reason why the car yards are full of relatively cheap (compared to original new price) 5 to 7 yr old Beemers, Audis, Citroens, et al.

I've had a bloke whinge to me about a minor brake overhaul on a Beemer that ran to over $2500.
I've just bought all the brake parts to overhaul the brakes on my WB Holden 1 tonner - new disc caliper seal kits, new caliper pistons, new disc pads, new rear drums, new rear shoes and new wheel cylinders - and the whole lot came to less than $400.

Just bought new front disc rotors for the missus' Camry - $53 for both rotors.
Yes, they're all aftermarket parts, but they are Australian brands backed with warranty and Australian-controlled QC.

One can try and refute the lower cost of aftermarket parts by saying they nearly all come from China. That's true - but many Euro car owners would be stunned by the amount of Chinese components in their new cars, too!

Best of the lot is a friend of the missus who owns a Citroen C4. The remote fell apart in her hand. Citroen want - wait for it - $800 for a replacement remote!
The electrics portion of the remote was O.K. - it was just the plastic case and button that had fallen apart.

I did a quick hunt and found her a new replacement case on eBay for $25 from the U.K. - and her hubby, being a mechanical sort of bloke, took the guts of the old remote and installed it in the new case, and it's back to like-new.

I've spent a large part of my life searching for ways to beat parts and repair rorts, and it's incredible what you can save with some effort.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 17:16

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 17:16
Yes, my Land Rover remote went flat and the battery is hard wired in. Land Rover wanted $700 odd to replace the remote and reprogram for my car. I flipped the case open and re-soldered a new $2.50 battery then glued the case back together...problem solved. Who designs a remote that can go flat a have to be thrown away?
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 17:25

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 17:25
But Mike, that was Land Rover's demands, not your dealer's.
I would do as you did, and I have, but would you really be happy with a mechanic prising open your sealed electronic remote, soldering in a new battery, than gluing it all together in some fashion? So it looks as good as new? I think not!

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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 17:38

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 17:38
I'd go to 5 bucks if they did it? :-)
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 17:40

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 17:40
Including the battery?

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Reply By: Member-George (WA) - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 13:02

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 13:02
One reason dealerships miss out on returning customers. Our local Toyota dealer charges $165 p/h for service work. How can they justify that ?
But when you look at their luxurious premises and buildings with lots of staff running around. I guess they need to charge such "over the top" rates to pay for all this. That is why I go to our local mechanic who does an excellent job and gives good service and advice.
AnswerID: 540547

Follow Up By: Steve - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 22:24

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 22:24
hey George, somebody has to pay for their showroom renovations every 3 years.

Most dealerships are offering capped service prices now but they come out of the purchase price.

Not sure about the last financial year but the previous two, record new car sales were were achieved across the board two years running
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 09:04

Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 09:04
Actually it's only a small percentage who will not return to a dealership for servicing whilst there car is under warranty.

If it was the case 10-20 service techs in there workshop would be out of a job..... so there must be a far few return customers.
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Reply By: 19738662 - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 13:17

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 13:17
A few years ago I made the mistake of putting Victoria's greatest Blue Heeler in our vehicle because she always wants to be with me and if I don't take her in the vehicle she actually sulks & when I get home she ignores me!!! (Only wish the wife was like that!!!) anyway dog decided not to stay on the back seat when I unfastened her harness and jumped into the front to bark at another dog that was passing bye. In so doing my dog scratched the leather centre console lid with her nails....oh well I will just have to replace it. When we bought the car there was a large scratch on the glovebox lid. The dealer promised to replace it when the vehicle came in for service. Sometime down the track we had vehicle serviced and reminded the service manager about the glove box lid. When we got in the vehicle to drive home the glove box lid had not been replaced. So I spoke to the service manager who got the mechanic who serviced our car to replace the lid. The mechanic came out and told us the lid had been replaced and what was our beef!!! The mechanic had replaced the centre console lid & not the glove box lid....price of centre console leather lid.....$800!!! I asked him if he could replace the glovebox lid next service!!!!
AnswerID: 540548

Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 13:39

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 13:39
The cost of interior trim is one of the biggest gripes for many people - but in many cases, trim levels and finishes are numerous, resulting in a large multitude of trim parts that need to be held by the distributor.

As a result, trim parts prices are horrendous for nearly all vehicles. Add in regular design changes (even during the same models), and you have a mind-boggling number of part combinations.

The worst item I came across was windscreen wipers for an earlier Hilux where Toyota had changed the design, no less than THREE times just in one year!

In the case of trim, you are generally advised that trim items are no longer stocked for your model after as little as 5 years. Sometimes its 10 yrs, but not often.
FollowupID: 826433

Follow Up By: TTTSA - Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 21:23

Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 21:23
We need to be able to supply Toyota, Holden and Ford with parts for 10 years. Unless they decide to do a an all time buy.
FollowupID: 826509

Reply By: TomH - Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 22:57

Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 at 22:57
I got a big scratch on the VW emblem on front grille of my Passat 3 weeks from new It unfortunately is the radar unit for cruise and city braking.
Asked for price to replace it $368 I said I dont want the whole unit He said just as well because thats just FOR THE PLASTIC COVER.
I said how much is the unit He said I didnt want to know.

Anyway some cutter and the electric buff and I can hardly see it now.

Had a rattle in wifes Polo. Left it till first service and was told rattles had to be notified quicker than that They then offered to look at for $148.50 an hour.

I took it home paid $30 on ERWIN downloaded the manual and pulled it to pieces myself.
AnswerID: 540570

Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 02:20

Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 02:20
News Item: This has just popped up.

Motorists to pay more for car servicing under new regulations

And this:Hyundai introduces lifetime capped-price servicing.

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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 09:22

Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 09:22
G'day Allan,

You beat me to this as I was reading the paper this morning and came across the article.

It doesn't bode well for the little guy and car owners. Maybe I'll hang onto mine for a while.

Kind regards
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 10:00

Monday, Oct 20, 2014 at 10:00
Very topical

Was listening to ABC 702 this morning and this came up..... sounds very much like anti-competitive behavior .....

“The new code has so many loopholes and so many exclusions as to make it utterly worthless,” said Mr McKellar.

“It is a complete con. They’re putting forward the appearance they’re doing the right thing but if you dig into the detail it heavily restricts what is available (to independent repairers).”

"But in Australia the car industry has been accused of locking motorists into dealership servicing programs."
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