The Difference Between Labor Rate and A Mechanic’s Wages

I often see memes encouraging young people to consider trade school over college. It’s true that these tradesmen are needed and that a lot of them make good money. I usually comment, “Yes, a lot of these trades pay well, but auto repair doesn’t.” 

“But my mechanic makes $60 an hour!” is the response.

“No, they don’t. Far less, actually.”

“So, why does my invoice say that the labor is $60/hour?” they retort. 

Ah, the confusion. I’ve had conversations with many people with this misunderstanding. Let me clear it up for you. Labor rate and a mechanics wage are two different things. 

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How I Knew it Was Time to Replace My Vehicle

We regularly discuss whether a client should fix or replace their vehicle. Many of these clients mention its value per Kelly Blue Book (KBB) or Edmunds when making this decision. While market value comes into play when looking to buy a vehicle, it doesn’t really account for much when looking at whether keeping the vehicle and repairing it makes more financial sense.

One example is my car–I drove a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am with 200k miles on it. I was trying to figure out if it was worth repairing while I saved up to buy a newer vehicle. I was getting to the point where I didn’t know what repairs were coming up, the chance of breaking down on the side of the road, and what could put me or my passengers at risk in the case of an accident. Being an older vehicle, and my first car, I hadn’t done much past doing emergent repairs and oil changes since I didn’t know better, so I had Andrew inspect it.

The findings were absolutely shocking; the vehicle had many leaks, blown struts, overdue maintenance, and the frame had rust rot. After doing some estimating, I found that in order to put my car in a good place mechanically (excluding all needed body work), I was looking at repair costs of up to $11,500!

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Is This Worth Calling My Mechanic?

Our family’s 1994 Toyota Corolla has a few quirks, but has been a reliable vehicle overall. Having been around vehicles so much over the years, I have a unique peace of mind about driving a vehicle of any age. Why? Because I’m educated about what’s normal, what’s not, and what to do if there is a problem. You can have the same peace of mind.

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Is Your Mechanic Treating You Fairly?

Fair is being told the truth even if it’s not good news.

Fair is clear communication.

Fair is meeting a high standard of excellence.

Fair is knowing you are getting good value for your money.

Fair is seeing actions align with words.

Fair is being treated with respect.

It doesn’t matter if your mechanic is great at fixing cars if you don’t feel like you are being treated fairly. I can’t count the number of times a person, especially a woman, has come into our shop with a tale or two of feeling like they’ve been taken advantage of by an auto repair shop. There are many ways people have been treated unfairly by auto repair shops but I want to focus on what being fair should look like. 

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You Get What You Pay For

What is your reaction when you see a business advertise a “quality” service or product? For me personally, a claim of quality doesn’t influence my purchasing decision. I wonder if it’s just a marketing ploy. I want to experience the quality, or hear about other’s experiences, before I trust in the claim. 

Quality is a value our shop strives for, but we don’t want you to take our word for it. We want you to experience it for yourself. 

So, the question really is, how do you know if an auto repair shop truly meets a quality standard? 

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Is Your Mechanic Being Honest?

I was talking with a friend the other day about her latest car repair experience. Her vehicle had broken down and was towed to the shop AAA recommended. After testing and evaluation, some inexpensive parts, and labor to fix the car, they received a bill for about $1,000. She was shocked that after only a couple new bolts it cost that much. She was under the impression the invoice said two mechanics made $50 an hour each for the job. There were only a few inexpensive parts, so why did it cost so much!?

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How to Build Trust With Your Auto Mechanic

Cheryl hung up the phone and thought about what she should do. She wasn’t sure the woman from the repair shop was giving her the right information. Did she really need to have all that work done? Struts, shocks, control arms, an alignment and tires? It seemed excessive. 

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Take Ownership of Your Auto Repair

It’s common to be uneasy about having your vehicle serviced. Shop practices vary widely so it’s hard to know what to expect. Not surprisingly, many people have their guard up.

With too many negative experiences you can lose hope. Maybe you expect “the list” or pressure tactics. Maybe you assume that no-one will look out for you so you must look out for yourself.

Maybe you’d be relieved just to find a shop that will  find and fix the problem the first time, charge fairly, and treat you well.

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The Car Repair That Turned Into A Job

It all started when my car didn’t. Quite literally. My car wouldn’t start. I was at a rehearsal for a dance show when I turned to my friend and asked, “Do you have any recommendations for a mechanic?”

Her face lit up and she grabbed her bag. She reached in and as she pulled her hand out, the bag exploded in a cloud of business cards.

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Owning a Family Business

The risk was big. The statistics were against us. A mechanic may be a strong mechanic but can often be a weak businessman. Andrew knows his stuff when it comes to the cars and won’t claim to be a great businessman. He is like one of our son’s favorite books – The Little Engine that Could. Andrew is committed to rise to the summit no matter the effort. 

Andrew’s perseverance is largely why he’s built a solid reputation as a knowledgeable mechanic – Andrew won’t rest until he is confident in how to fix it right the first time. A vehicle returning for the same problem is not an option. He won’t have it, and it shows in the miniscule percentage of vehicle come-backs we’ve seen since we opened in 2015. 

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