Dealer labor hours - Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon
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post #1 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 09:14 AM Thread Starter
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Dealer labor hours

I always wonder how mechanics calculate the hours to do a job. For instance, Subaru wanted $700 to change spark plugs on the wife’s Crosstrek, saying that it is a three hour job. I just did it myself (with you tube) help in 32 minutes.
Maybe they should get rid of their service manuals and subscribe to the internet.
Fuzzy math and a lack of candor places them on a level with politicians...

I have never seen that at a Chevy dealer, maybe it is just the yuppie dealers.
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Last edited by T/J; 04-14-2019 at 09:17 AM.
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post #2 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 09:27 AM
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Dealers use a "Flat Rate" manual that determines the average time to complete a job. If the technician takes longer, the dealer loses, if the tech takes less time, the dealer wins. Guess which way the times are slanted?
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post #3 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 09:43 AM
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I always wonder how mechanics calculate the hours to do a job. For instance, Subaru wanted $700 to change spark plugs on the wifeís Crosstrek, saying that it is a three hour job. I just did it myself (with you tube) help in 32 minutes.
Maybe they should get rid of their service manuals and subscribe to the internet.
Fuzzy math and a lack of candor places them on a level with politicians...

I have never seen that at a Chevy dealer, maybe it is just the yuppie dealers.
your Subaru dealer is a thief,if you can do the job in 32 minutes why can he?
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post #4 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 09:45 AM
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I can see rounding up so 30 minutes is 1 hour, or even 1 hour and 15 minutes is 2 hours, but 6 times up lift in time to do a job should be illegal. I mean if i can make it 3 hours why not 5, if it is just an arbitrary number with no real tie back to time. I had a hemi engine in my jeep that was cheaper for spark plug change.

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post #5 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 01:26 PM
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The Chevy dealership Iíve been going to to 5 years has always been reasonable when it comes to doing work an any of my vehicles. He has a flat rate per hour, about $50 if I remember correctly. If there needs to be additional work addressed he calls first. Never a surprise when I show up to get my vehicle. I know this isnít true for everyoneís dealer. You just need to keep checking out all the dealerships until you find a good one.

The last time I went to get my wheels changed I showed up at 8 AM with a dozen donuts. Will it help getting better service? Who knows. But I did see a dozen smiles!

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post #6 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 01:42 PM
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Dealers use a "Flat Rate" manual that determines the average time to complete a job. If the technician takes longer, the dealer loses, if the tech takes less time, the dealer wins. Guess which way the times are slanted?



Flat Rate times are not slanted at all. A experienced wrench well make the flat rate time most of the time, some time he beats it, some times he doesn't. He may learn shortcuts, he may learn not to use shortcuts.
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post #7 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 01:48 PM
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The Chevy dealership Iíve been going to to 5 years has always been reasonable when it comes to doing work an any of my vehicles. He has a flat rate per hour, about $50 if I remember correctly. If there needs to be additional work addressed he calls first. Never a surprise when I show up to get my vehicle. I know this isnít true for everyoneís dealer. You just need to keep checking out all the dealerships until you find a good one.

The last time I went to get my wheels changed I showed up at 8 AM with a dozen donuts. Will it help getting better service? Who knows. But I did see a dozen smiles!

Gusto!
$50 an hour?! This must have been in the 80s or 90s ?? Most are over $100 now. Around here it's $120 something for Chevys, Cadillac will be higher, Benz and BMW will be higher too.

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post #8 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by GeorgeT451 View Post
Dealers use a "Flat Rate" manual that determines the average time to complete a job. If the technician takes longer, the dealer loses, if the tech takes less time, the dealer wins. Guess which way the times are slanted?
As far as I know the manuals are pretty spot on. Dealers vary too. Some dealers eat the cost if the mechanic takes more than the allotted time, but others make the mechanic eat the time.
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post #9 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 02:13 PM
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Dealers use a "Flat Rate" manual that determines the average time to complete a job. If the technician takes longer, the dealer loses, if the tech takes less time, the dealer wins. Guess which way the times are slanted?
Yes it's a flat rate. I think the only time they are really "slanted" will be when they are dishonest. Either flat out lying or charging time on something twice or just making stuff up.

For example. Charging to change a hose during a water pump when the hose has to be removed anyway. That kind of thing.

I don't think the dealers will ever really be a loser on flat rate. The tech sure can, but I bet it kind of evens out. Some jobs take longer than the book, some go faster. The dealer always gets their flat rate money though....

I've learned some short-cuts that could take hours off of a job, but there are very few of those.

I'm thankful I never had to work on commission, that would stress me out and I think it pushes some to be dishonest. I have some stories about lazy/dishonest techs.
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post #10 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 02:13 PM
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The last time I went to get my wheels changed I showed up at 8 AM with a dozen donuts. Will it help getting better service? Who knows. But I did see a dozen smiles!

Gusto!
The dealership I have been going to for service so far has been really pretty darn good. Very happy with the work so far and will continue to go to them. I bought the truck at a dealer more than an hour from where I live and the delivery experience was not so good, so right away I knew along with the distance I would not be bringing the truck there for service. Yes I bought it there because of price and inventory. There is a dealer in town about 5 miles away as well that after reading all the negative reviews I decided not to go to. The dealer I have been going to had great reviews and is only about 12 miles away so distance not really an issue.

I plan on letting them do all the service work on this truck, which is a big step for me cause I'm so anal about it being done right I like to do it myself. For my next visit there I'm planning the same strategy as MaineMan above. Very common way to be civil and reward good service...I like it! I will also if going the GM route with a future vehicle purchase give them the first chance to sell me a new one.
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post #11 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 02:40 PM
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I can see rounding up so 30 minutes is 1 hour, or even 1 hour and 15 minutes is 2 hours, but 6 times up lift in time to do a job should be illegal. I mean if i can make it 3 hours why not 5, if it is just an arbitrary number with no real tie back to time. I had a hemi engine in my jeep that was cheaper for spark plug change.

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Actually book time is in hours and 1/10ths. They almost always will get an hour minimum out of you though.

There are lots of things that go on in shops that should be illegal, I think I would call it grand theft or even fraud. But law enforcement looks at it like civil matters. So good luck suing the experts I guess.

In all fairness though, lots of times people don't understand the process of a technical job and think they are getting hosed but really aren't. But man at $125 an hour it always hurts!

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post #12 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 02:49 PM
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your Subaru dealer is a thief,if you can do the job in 32 minutes why can he?
Some Subarus require disconnecting a motor mount to get to one or two of the plugs. I had an independent mechanic quote be over $400 and was surprised when the dealer only quoted about $200. I traded it in though before doing either. The plug life is only 60,000 miles.
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post #13 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 03:34 PM
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I needed some work done on the lift mechanism on my popup camper. Dealer quoted equivalent of 3 hiurs. But he couldn't get to it for 60 days. So, I was not able to find a utube on how to work on it, but did find some exploded views. Took me 90 minutes. If I had to do the same work again, 30 minutes top. I figured out that a nut driver in my drill ( one size fit all) would have save me 20 minutes by itself. Knowing how it went together and worked now, piece of cake.

I remember removing the instrument panel from my 78 LTD II. First time took an hour to remove and replace. Second time 15 minutes.
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post #14 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 03:36 PM
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Probably should search a bit, but is there a good utube ideology on spark plug replacement on the 2015 and 2016 V6?

Would like to have a feel for it before I dive in. I have never changed plugs where the coil is mounted on each plug.

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post #15 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 03:56 PM
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The flat rate is done by factory techs they determine the proper repair methods and then put a time on it.

The dealers set the labor per hour normally based on competitive brands and area.

The mechanics play the game of trying to be flat rate. See they get paid only for the time the specified flat rate is. If the get it done in half the time they win if the take twice the time they lose not the dealer.

Many techs will work more than one job so if they have to wait on parts the keep working on another job. A good tech can make more than 8 hours of work a day. But they also risk making less if they run into issues.

Short cut are always found to sav3 time on many operations.

Good example was on the 1965 GTO to install a tach at the dealer. The block off plate too too long to remove by the factory instruction. The techs would just bust it out and reach from the front to unscrew then install from behind. It would cut time in half.
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post #16 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 04:49 PM
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My sister in law has a 2003 Mercedes with a retractable top that won't go back up and the dealer gave her a estimate of ( are you ready) $30,000 to fix it. she has had it at a lot of other places but nobody seems to know what's wrong with it.
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post #17 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 05:00 PM
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For $30,000, I would drive it in on a sunny day and trade for a new one.
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post #18 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 05:30 PM
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Without getting into a huge argument/debate on it I'll just say this. You're paying for the years not the minutes. If a mechanic can "beat the book" it's usually because he has done it many times and has come up with workarounds to make it faster. Remember that mechanics have to continually train and learn the new systems on new cars (some of which can have 30 and more computers and systems) and no 2 models are exactly the same let alone different brands etc. Also remember that 90% of mechanics have to purchase their own tools to do the job, and sometimes this includes specialty tools that may only get used once a year...or even once. Sometimes at a cost to them of several hundred dollars. The tool investment is never ending. I myself have over $160,000 invested in tools and still find myself purchasing things from time to time (I work in an independent shop on all makes and models).

Cheap isnt always better and you get what you pay for most of the time. You wouldn't trust heart surgery to a cut-rate doctor, why trust your safety and others on the road to a cut-rate "mechanic"

/rant
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post #19 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 05:30 PM
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For $30,000, I would drive it in on a sunny day and trade for a new one.
That's what she is doing drives it on sunny days with no rain insight.
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post #20 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 05:45 PM
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Might note flat rate also is why when you get your car back and some of th e screws are missing too.

A good tech can cut time a bad or less experienced rep can make mistakes. Then it cost him more time and money as he will not get paid on a come back.
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