Niagara Gazette

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August 15, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: Determining the price of auto repair

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — SHOP OVERHEAD

• Physical plant: Regardless of size, a shop has expenses that have to be paid by the work generated. Such things as rent or mortgage, electricity, heat and air conditioning, water, maintenance and repair to the building, equipment maintenance, etc.

• Number of trained/certified techs: Good trained service personnel costs money, period. Usually techs are classified as “A”, “B”, or “C” techs. The more high-grade techs in a shop, the more it costs to pay them. In order to attract a high-grade technician these days, shops have to pay a good hourly rate or weekly salary. In addition, health insurance and other benefits such as a company car often go into the package to attract the class “A” technician.

• Tech training: Auto technicians have to go to school on a regular basis to keep up with new automotive technology. Without this training, techs cannot repair vehicles in the “book time” allotted for a particular service operation (not to mention the occasional “headache” job that comes along that every tech in town has had his/her hands on without success). A repair shop usually pays for this training.

• Equipment and information systems: In order to work on today’s cars a shop must have state-of-the-art equipment. Hand held scanners, diagnostic software, and lab scopes analyze vehicular datastreams in an effort to extract critical info for accurate vehicle repair. Other equipment such as vehicle lifts, floor jacks, lubrication equipment and the likes are necessary to operate a shop efficiently and effectively. Due to the ever-changing landscape of vehicular information/technology, up-to-date information systems are necessary to address specific problems. Without such info, techs cannot deliver accurate repairs. Regular costly info updates are a necessary part of running a successful auto repair shop.

• Parts inventory: In order for a shop to turn around a broad spectrum of work in an acceptable amount of time, it must have a large enough parts inventory on hand. Given the number of different years, makes, and models of vehicles on the road, parts inventory must be quite broad and inclusive. This costs money to maintain and that cost is reflected in auto repair pricing.

As you can see, there’s a lot more that goes into auto repair pricing than parts and labor.

‘Til next time ... Keep Rollin’

“America’s Car Show” with Tom Torbjornsen airs 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. Saturday on WBBZ-TV.

"America's Car Show" with Tom Torbjornsen airs 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. Saturday on WBBZ-TV.

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