The Anatomy of The Bill
We all know that repairing a vehicle can be expensive, and a question I get from time to time has to do with how billing is done. Most reputable repair shops take three things into consideration when it comes to the bill a customer receives.
The first is the labor rate. That’s determined by the shop’s per-hour labor rate. The industry refers to this as “book time” which is the average amount of time needed to complete a particular repair or maintenance job. The standard is set by the highly-trained factory technician. There is leeway to allow for a less-experienced professional, which creates a window of an acceptable timeframe. Ultimately, the technician is responsible for completing the work within that window. Nationally, typical hourly rates range from $80-$150.
The second part of your bill: parts. And yes, auto repair shops do mark up the price of parts. It’s part of how they stay in business. The typical markup is 30 percent. On other hand, this gives reputable repair shops the ability to provide a warranty for their repair work. The type of part also determines the price. For example, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) are usually the highest priced. After that, prices tend to go down for the parts in the aftermarket category. In this category, there are two or three tiers of aftermarket parts, separated by the level of quality of the part. The last category in parts is used ones. Prices will vary, depending on supply and demand, and if applicable, mileage.
Additional costs you can expect more often than not help cover what we call “support” expenses, like cleaning solutions, replacement fluids and shop rags. These are usually built into the price of doing the job. Other costs you would like see itemized relate to recycling and disposal fees for things like fluids and oil.
And lastly, the cost of doing business. This isn’t passed on directly to the customer. But consider this: running a shop today is expensive, with modern technology, sophisticated equipment and software, well-trained technicians, and basics like floor jacks and car lifts. Many shops also have their own inventory, and if you consider the number of parts needed to keep a vehicle running spread across the many makes, models and years….it’s easy to realize keeping inventory is expensive.
Any time you have a question about your bill, be sure to ask! Any reputable shop professional will be more than happy to answer your questions.