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Flat Rate Auto Repairs

Flat rate auto repairs are the standard at most repair shops. The price that we pay as customers are basically made up of two elements: parts and labor. In most cases labor is determined on a flat rate scale based on a standard estimate of how long that type of repair should take to complete. It has nothing to do with whether the job actually takes that long. The mechanic performing the work may take longer or not as long as the estimated time, but this makes no difference in the cost of the job.

The idea of flat rate auto repairs is to motivate mechanics to do their work quickly and accurately. They can make more money by getting more work done in a day, but they only get paid for a job once, and if there is a “comeback” as it is called in the industry and the car comes back a second time for the same repair, that mechanic will not get paid for it again. So, flat rate repairs tend to promote fast, high quality service work on the part of the men and women completing the repairs on vehicles.

How Flat Rates are Calculated

Flat rate auto repairs are based on a standard assumption about how long a job should take, and they are calculated down to the tenth of an hour. For example, if a labor rate is $90.00 per hour and a job pays out at 1.3 hours, the shop rate for the job is $117.00. These rates vary based on many different factors, including the make and model year of the vehicle, its engine size, and other variables which could include any damage done since the initial driving test preparations from a while before.

Different shops and different geographical areas might also have their own different labor rates as well, and there is not just one set rate for the entire country. Labor rates do not take into consideration the expense of tools that might be needed to do the job or anything like that, either; and in this business mechanics are expected to have most of their own tools, with the exception of a few of the larger ticket items which the shop will usually supply for everyone to share.

Flat Rate vs. Actual Time

Paying flat rate instead of paying for actual time spent on the job is beneficial for the customer in a couple different ways. First of all, it ensures that we get a fair price for the job and that we don’t end up paying more than we ought to because the mechanic struggled or milked the clock to make more money. Most of the time mechanics that have been around a while and that have the nicest tools can beat the flat rate, so they can bill many hours per week and make good money without ever having that temptation. We get the job done fast and we know that we’re getting a good deal thanks to the flat rate system. The best technicians learn as they go to get faster at the job and make the most of the flat rate method of pay.

Get the most of your auto shop experience by choosing a great shop to work with, one that has a good reputation. Make sure to find out if there are warranties offered and whether any discounts might be applied to the price if you are an auto club member or if you have any other such connections. Get a written estimate on all flat rate auto repairs and make sure you get a fair price on the work being performed on your vehicle.


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