Flat Rate - Variable?

Get new comments by email
You can cancel email alerts at anytime.
Comments (42)

Wrenches in Salt Lake City, Utah

63 months ago

I am new to the industry and recently got a job at a national chain as a technician. The pay is flat rate, except the amount you are paid changes depending on your "productivity". So if you are not like 85% productive, meaning if you don't flag 85% of the hours you are clocked in, you don't actually make your stated flat rate. Is this common, or do most shops pay flat rate regardless of how "productive" you are? My problem is that there simply isn't enough work coming through the door to be "productive" enough. Thanks.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (18) / No (6) Reply - Report abuse

1audigmtech in Morristown, New Jersey

62 months ago

no matter what it takes at least 5 yrs to be good enough to make pour pay steady.quick,upsells,etc.you gotta be willing to take the crap for awhile

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No (16) Reply - Report abuse

K.L. in Sun City Center, Florida

59 months ago

bopittoo@aol.com said: well that is not always true cause with a union dealers syill screw you . but it is in caurt ha been a tech wife for 25 years and Iam taking hubbys check to all the tech school and tell them not a good career buddy a tech makes all the profit for dealer and he craps on him. but yet a tech has to do schooling for the rest of his life you know who makes money service writer and managers it is there job to get you work and they cant do that and dont need as much schooling as you you are young rethink what you want to do but if you like starving keep doing what you are .

Boy i bet them career misleaders at them shcools hate to see your car roll in. Hats off to you to get the word out to them before they drop like 15 grand to end up in this crappy trade. I turned wrenches for 15 years hadda get out, taking some plumbing classes wish I done it long ago.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (12) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

mike in Brunswick, Georgia

59 months ago

agreed to above stated comment

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (6) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Conflagration2100 in North Charleston, South Carolina

58 months ago

Wrenches in Salt Lake City, Utah said: I am new to the industry and recently got a job at a national chain as a technician. The pay is flat rate, except the amount you are paid changes depending on your "productivity". So if you are not like 85% productive, meaning if you don't flag 85% of the hours you are clocked in, you don't actually make your stated flat rate. Is this common, or do most shops pay flat rate regardless of how "productive" you are? My problem is that there simply isn't enough work coming through the door to be "productive" enough. Thanks.

I have been in the Automotive repair industry on and off for more than 35 years,for a majority of that time I was paid straight hourly pay, it's a little less than Flat rate but considering your productivity is the same and at the end of the week you can actually take home a decent paycheck, it's well worth being paid this way. I have made EXCELLENT MONEY for every employer I have worked for in the past and have been paid well for my work as well, up until now companies like AAA CAROLINAS tell you they pay well at $19.00/hr but when it comes down to the facts they want to rip you off and screw you out of time by requesting you do FREE DIAGNOSTICS and FREE OIL CHANGES for customer that they don't want to pay you for, then divide up the quick money work between the lower TECH'S so that they get just enough to barely survive on and to keep them locked into the job, with the management thinking they have no where else to go for work.
My best advice STAY WELL AWAY FROM AAA CAROLINAS and any other place that pays a flat rate.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (9) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Conflagration2100 in North Charleston, South Carolina

58 months ago

K.L. in Sun City Center, Florida said: Boy i bet them career misleaders at them shcools hate to see your car roll in. Hats off to you to get the word out to them before they drop like 15 grand to end up in this crappy trade. I turned wrenches for 15 years hadda get out, taking some plumbing classes wish I done it long ago.

Plumbing classes! Nonsense
I'll tell you everything you need to know be a plumber,
1. HOT ON THE LEFT
2. COLD ON THE RIGHT
3. SH*T FLOWS DOWNHILL
4. DON'T BITE YOUR FINGER NAILS
There you go,
Your now your a Plumber

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (16) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

Bill in Grand Island, New York

36 months ago

Working smart, versus working hard will always have an adverse effect on the ability to produce hours. However; not all repair orders are dispatched in a completely fair system, favoritism has its impact. I had the mentality of trying maximize work per unit even under warranty and had management tell me to back off from finding to many (legitimate)issues per unit. It seems the factory Reps see this a red flag for potential fraud and eating up to many beans for the bean counter.
The major problem with this system is the abuse is more prevalent than the intended outcome. To many times there is the push to cut corners on quality in order to make a certain level of production which leads to a plethora of less than honest practices, from both the techs and the management. I have witnessed first hand, dispatchers withholding job tickets from techs in order to stop them from reaching the next plateau in order to save the dealership money. An example would be a tech crossing the line to the next pay scale by one hour and receiving a substantial increase versus keeping him one hour under. This method is similar to salesman's commission on gross sales where sales managers will block or nix a sale in order to hold back a commission, the only difference is flat rate focuses on labor.
As a method of motivating techs to "Get the lead out" and inspire them to internally develop more efficient work habits, there is some hope of perceivable good.
As long as we due nothing in order to prevent the ills which have plagued this system for decades from continuing on for decades to come, we will never truly understand the definition of "Insanity".

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (9) / No Reply - Report abuse

Big Blue in Waseca, Minnesota

35 months ago

I sold my shop 20 years ago, but back then my techs were the happiest guys around. I paid them a fair hourly rate they could live on, and I offered an alternative pay based on flat rate. Basically, if they were 100% efficient or better, they would make more money on flat rate. Every week, I'd calculate out what each tech would make on their hourly wage and how much they would make on flat rate. Then I'd let them choose which one they wanted that week. Turns out, they always chose the bigger amount.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (9) / No (4) Reply - Report abuse

Bill in Grand Island, New York

35 months ago

Big Blue,
It appears as though you were using this as a means to motivate the techs to work both smarter and more diligent at the same time, which as long as the the objective to maintain honest business practices never wavered this is a awesome way to pay techs.
Were I have issues with some methods or systems of compensation is when those tougher more difficult jobs arise and corners are cut to maximize production.An example would be the Neon head gasket slip and slides. We all know there are times when you can preform the same task on the same model 9 times and the 10th one just bites you. This is why techs need to know they will still be compensated fairly for maintaining professional standards.
I was a heater core guy at a local Ford Lincoln Mercury dealer(which used a combination of hourly and flat rate) we all know how difficult it is to beat the clock on those beauties. The dealer wanted quality over production which allowed me to properly repair the vehicle without a handful of extras and a multitude of rattles. So at least when those dog jobs came through we weren't taking a bath and could still pay the bills.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (8) / No Reply - Report abuse

charlie in Wayne, New Jersey

35 months ago

i've been a tech for 25+yrs [dealers and private garges]flat rate is the pitts. i'm have'n a hard time finding a hour payed job. been ase'd and gm certifed .we all need to get some kind of base pay [hourly] if the repair technician will live.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No Reply - Report abuse

Bill in Grand Island, New York

35 months ago

Well Charlie, until we are all willing to organize and /or unionize to a common goal and hold ourselves accountable to professional standards similar to other industries we will continue to fight this never-ending battle.
So why aren't things changing?? Why aren't industry leaders recognizing this repeating pattern of labor shortages??? Why is the industry spinning its wheels without gaining any momentum??? I am sure we can find a multitude of factors influencing the direction or lack of in which we as a whole are heading. However; until ALL of the players are willing to make a true commitment we will continue until the end of time singing the same tune over and over.
When you look at other occupations and compare the investment in education and equipment required to remain current the automotive industry has to rank as one of the more costly, yet we seem to auction our service(s)to the lowest bidder. How many times have you ever used the services of the other professions and paid attention to the invoice. Take a bicycle,time clock or your lawn mower in for service, call a plumber (I am not denying any man his due)but lets compare and rationalize for a while. I have never seen a flat rate manual in these situations so why should we live and CRY by one, pay us to work our magic.
Where in my opinion the battle of flat rate needs to be fought is at the manufacturer level, but what it would realistically take to accomplish task of that magnitude is beyond the scope of my realm.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (9) / No Reply - Report abuse

nodakaz in Havre, Montana

35 months ago

Conflagration2100 in North Charleston, South Carolina said: Plumbing classes! Nonsense
I'll tell you everything you need to know be a plumber,
1. HOT ON THE LEFT
2. COLD ON THE RIGHT
3. SH*T FLOWS DOWNHILL
4. DON'T BITE YOUR FINGER NAILS
There you go,
Your now your a Plumber

nodakaz don't forget "Payday is Friday"

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

Jeff in Bel Air, Maryland

33 months ago

Charles in Central Square, New York said: I have been flat rate for 20 years at a dealership, and I cant tell you how many times I see the shop hire new guys at a ridiculously low rate and feed them all the easy high hour jobs. Then they always have one too many techs, but it doesn't cost them when theres no work because there is no garuantee. with a 100hr shop rate you would think a master tech could get at least 23 percent. The new guys never stay because they starve to death in the winter. I am completely fed up with the whole situation, I plan on going to work on heavy trucks because they usually are hourly, and even though i am 40 i would rather bust my but on big equipment than try to figure out why theres an intermittent k-can problem on a 100k dollar car for .2 an hour only to get back flagged when the car line rejects the warranty claim because some service writer put in the wrong defect code.

I feel your pain

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No Reply - Report abuse

No Auto Tech in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

33 months ago

PAUL in Minneapolis, Minnesota said: WELL IF YOU ARE A GOOD TECHNICIAN YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO WORK 40 HOURS AND BOOK OUT 60-80 HOURS PER WEEK. YOU NEED TO WORK SMART AND HARD. LOOK FOR OTHER WORK NEEDED ON EACH AND EVERY VEHICLE

A good technician? I would rather say a good ass kisser. You kiss the right ass, you get your gravy. People, the skill is not important any long in this trade.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (17) / No Reply - Report abuse

No Auto Tech in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

33 months ago

Wrenches in Salt Lake City, Utah said: I am new to the industry and recently got a job at a national chain as a technician. The pay is flat rate, except the amount you are paid changes depending on your "productivity". So if you are not like 85% productive, meaning if you don't flag 85% of the hours you are clocked in, you don't actually make your stated flat rate. Is this common, or do most shops pay flat rate regardless of how "productive" you are? My problem is that there simply isn't enough work coming through the door to be "productive" enough. Thanks.

Kid, before you actually jump in and spend 50 grands buying your tool, rethink. Stay far away and do something else.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (14) / No Reply - Report abuse

Rob in Newburgh, Indiana

33 months ago

I've had two phone calls in the last four months from different dealers wanting me to come to work for them. I told both of them "I won't work flat rate". They both tried coming up with all kinds of guarantee's and bonus plans and bla bla bla. When they paused I said again "thanks for your offer but I won't work flat rate."

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (13) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Bill in Grand Island, New York

33 months ago

Although we can work both smart and hard, making sure we remain honest is paramount.Anyone whom has worked in a flat rate system can attest to the pros and cons associated with heavy and light car counts. As I have posted earlier things can be wonderful in the busy season, but during the slower season is when the less than honest practices show their ugly head. If a tech is reasonably well at managing his or her finances then there is a tough decision to be made. If the cash flow averages to a sustainable level through-out the year this system may work for you. In circumstances where a consistent pay check may be more in order then flat rate is not going to make you happy. Another key factor to consider is availability of work in your area, some smaller towns the opportunity to roll your box to a new location are vary limited.
In one respect if a flat rate system is used purely as an incentive to motivate techs to continue their education and remain productive this is great. However; when shops are using this as a means of acquiring cheap labor, then we are being exploited and should stand together to right this wrong.
One of the major problems we face as techs is are lack of bonding together we it comes to common issues. The problems mentioned in these posts are not new nor will they end anytime soon. We as techs should learn to group together or unionize.
I do believe that by instituting national testing and licensing may help to give us some form of bargaining power. Is there any opinions on this one?????

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (16) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

HAL in San Antonio, Texas

31 months ago

COULD THE AUTO BODY INDUSTRY GO BACK TO 45% OR 50% COMMISSON PAY FOR TECH. IF SO WHAT WOID NEED TO HAPPEN

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (5) Reply - Report abuse

HAL in San Antonio, Texas

31 months ago

COULD THE AUTO BODY INDUSTRY GO BACK TO 45% OR 50% COMMISSON PAY FOR TECH. IF SO WHAT WOID NEED TO HAPPEN

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

D in San Diego, California

31 months ago

I was offered a 23 hr flat rate at a Jeep Dealer. All the horror stories I
hear about dealers is not helping. I need work ,so not much of a choice for me other
than Midas or Evens tires. I prob will accept and keep my eye out for a better place.
Slim picking theses days!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No Reply - Report abuse

bill in Grand Island, New York

31 months ago

D,
Good luck in your endeavor. Hopefully the dealer is bringing in their fair share of customer pay work and not just relying on Chrysler warranty work. If the conditions are right and your ambitious the POTENTIAL to make a good living is not out of reach.
I was just traveling to various dealers in the Western New York area and many of the techs I spoke with are crying about the lack of pay orders and the abundance warranty work.

As far as HAL is concerned the industry as a whole is probably far from ever returning to the methods of yesteryear. The first step (I would imagine) would be convincing the insurance companies they need to spend more money to repair vehicles....

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No Reply - Report abuse

HAL in San Antonio, Texas

31 months ago

WHEN I FIRST GOT INTO THE AUTOBODY INDS.32 YEARS AGO, I WAS OFFFRED 45% OF THE BODY REPAIRS . .WE USE TO FLAG MONEY FIGURES FOR EXAMPLE ,IF I FLAGED $1000.00 OF REPAIRS , 45% OF THE THOUSAND WOULD BE MY PAY FOR THE WEEK. A YEAR LATER FLATE RATE CAME INTO THE PICTURE .THE SHOP RATE AT THAT TIME WAS $12.00 BODY REPAIRS AND MY 45% TURN TO $5.40 FLATE RATE. AT THAT MOMENT $5.40 WAS 45% OF $12.00. AYEAR LATER THE SHOP RATE ROSE TO $14.00 AND WE STAYED AT $ 5.40. TO THIS DAY $15.00 FLATERATE HERE IN SANANTONIO IS CONSIDERED MAX. FLATE RATE PAY. THIS IS BELOW 45% OF THE SHOP RATE OF $42.00 THIS IS THE REASON WHY IF THERE WAS ANY THING I COUID DO OR IS THER SOMETHING THA..T CAN BE DONE AGAINST THE INDUSTRY . WAS IT LEGAL FOR THE CHANGE TO OCCURR .

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

fromMinitoKia in Mount Vernon, New York

29 months ago

Charles in Central Square, New York said: I have been flat rate for 20 years at a dealership, and I cant tell you how many times I see the shop hire new guys at a ridiculously low rate and feed them all the easy high hour jobs. Then they always have one too many techs, but it doesn't cost them when theres no work because there is no garuantee. with a 100hr shop rate you would think a master tech could get at least 23 percent. The new guys never stay because they starve to death in the winter. I am completely fed up with the whole situation, I plan on going to work on heavy trucks because they usually are hourly, and even though i am 40 i would rather bust my but on big equipment than try to figure out why theres an intermittent k-can problem on a 100k dollar car for .2 an hour only to get back flagged when the car line rejects the warranty claim because some service writer put in the wrong defect code.

That's a good one and very common.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No Reply - Report abuse

Rob in Newburgh, Indiana

29 months ago

I am 40 also and work on heavy equipment. If you go you will wish you would have sooner. It is less work than working on cars....well less hectic I would say, less stressful and will make you a better mechanic.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (9) / No Reply - Report abuse

deerrunner in Warner Robins, Georgia

28 months ago

were starving to death in warner robins ga! the more i know the less i make. all general motors dealers want is someone who can pass a test and keep up their certifications. they dont care if your bills are late or if you know how to do the job! i was told that as long as i can pass the tests , they dont care if i can do the work. ive had 2 hernia operations and service writers only care if you can tell them when its goin to be ready! i have been at g.m dealers for 26 years and im a master a.s.e. tech. if your the favorite of the shop , you always get work. we are the guys that spend 100,000 dollars in tools to make 40 thous. a year. im lookn for a full time 40hr week 20 an hr job with benefits. i can do the grease monkey thing after my real job

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (7) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

deerrunner in Warner Robins, Georgia

28 months ago

maybe the "star" will get the hint

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Bobber in Canandaigua, New York

27 months ago

Josh in Mckeesport, Pennsylvania said: I work at a Ford Dealership making 12 /h flat rate, I'm new to the field and I'm having a really difficult time making enough to pay my bills, there just is not enough work to go around and my boss keeps hiring people, as well as our $100 an hour labor rate making every customer under the sun go elsewhere for service. This field is going down hill it seems more every day :( I just got the job in February and I'm looking for somewhere else already.. its getting to be very stressful.

Ford has some of the poorest flat rate times. Go to another brand except chrysler and don't look back. Cars are harder to work on yet warranty flat rate keeps getting shorter for all manufacturers. Not fair to techs. This is criminal and I wish there was a lawyer that would take interest in this problem. You are not alone. we are all in the same situation.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (6) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

skidooguy777 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

24 months ago

Wrenches in Salt Lake City, Utah said: I am new to the industry and recently got a job at a national chain as a technician. The pay is flat rate, except the amount you are paid changes depending on your "productivity". So if you are not like 85% productive, meaning if you don't flag 85% of the hours you are clocked in, you don't actually make your stated flat rate. Is this common, or do most shops pay flat rate regardless of how "productive" you are? My problem is that there simply isn't enough work coming through the door to be "productive" enough. Thanks.

First of all Wrenches your flat rate should be fixed regardless of performance, simply because if you do not work you do not get paid on flat rate;go ahead and find a fixed flat rate at a shop with good volume.This is the key to flat rate and you don't have to be dishonest to be successful or an ass kisser(you will see them brown nosing fools though)1.If you work at a dealership there is customer pay and warranty.Customer pay is always more money,these will be either higher mileage 60k + or wear out items TIRES,BATTERIES,BRAKES upsell the tires and an alignment.Test all batteries on a car over 35k you will be shocked how many you'll sell.Brakes pay good,check that cabin air filter every oil change easy .3.Don't be afraid to upsell and if your service adviser sucks at selling talk to the customer your self.Now warranty work pays less if you are not careful it will ruin your check,always run time,document every thing you do,check for TSB's make it a habit,and always run time.Side note here stay off the freaken tool truck you need something and i mean NEED it have him bring to you.basic tools get you by with shop tools,if you borrow it twice buy one.Keep your head up you can do it and make money some are jaded or floor mats been walked all over like a fool.Hell i make 21 an hour now started at 20 and turn 70-80 bi weekly.Don't be afraid to screw up just be prepared to fix it when you do.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (8) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

skidooguy777 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

24 months ago

Bill in Grand Island, New York said: Working smart, versus working hard will always have an adverse effect on the ability to produce hours. However; not all repair orders are dispatched in a completely fair system, favoritism has its impact. I had the mentality of trying maximize work per unit even under warranty and had management tell me to back off from finding to many (legitimate)issues per unit. It seems the factory Reps see this a red flag for potential fraud and eating up to many beans for the bean counter.
The major problem with this system is the abuse is more prevalent than the intended outcome. To many times there is the push to cut corners on quality in order to make a certain level of production which leads to a plethora of less than honest practices, from both the techs and the management. I have witnessed first hand, dispatchers withholding job tickets from techs in order to stop them from reaching the next plateau in order to save the dealership money. An example would be a tech crossing the line to the next pay scale by one hour and receiving a substantial increase versus keeping him one hour under. This method is similar to salesman's commission on gross sales where sales managers will block or nix a sale in order to hold back a commission, the only difference is flat rate focuses on labor .
As a method of motivating techs to "Get the lead out" and inspire them to internally develop more efficient work habits, there is some hope of perceivable good.
As long as we due nothing in order to prevent the ills which have plagued this system for decades from continuing on for decades to come, we will never truly understand the definition of "Insanity".

Well spoken several manufacturers did research hourly vs flat rate and the fix it right the first time was substantially higher for hourly.Not to mention quality and customer satisfaction for the hourly paid techs.but i'll say a good,fast,smart tech could make well over 40 a week.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

Bill in Grand Island, New York

24 months ago

Skidooguy777,

Your point is well taken, whether it is the tool truck or the break room the concept of focusing on efficient work habits is the key with-out a doubt. The subject(s) I am referring too, are with the varied formats with which dispatchers use to feed jobs. I personally have been cheated by several dispatchers and then on the other hand rewarded by others. A system of fair play needs to be developed in which those with superior talents aren't crucified for having trained and prepared themselves to be the best.
Because I was able to replace heater cores without extras in the form of rattles, screws and of course complaints, the dispatch office fed me every one that rolled through the door. Now we all know how detrimental it can be to your paycheck being an evap/ heater core tech at the local Ford Lincoln Mercury dealer. Additionally, I was continually given jobs that were comebacks or nightmares for obscure issues, which generally turned out to be wiring problems. Of course there would be shinny new sensors and other parts installed by guys lapping up the gravy.
So the moral of the story is working smart and hard along with a lot of self study may not always be what it takes to accumulate the most flat rate hours.
I have and will always believe in rewarding those dedicated to being top performers and feel flat rate as a bonus system can be that vehicle(no pun intended), however, when the real tech needs to show up for the "BIG BOY" repairs s/he should be compensated the "BIG BUCKS" and not have to worry about flat rate.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (6) / No Reply - Report abuse

skidooguy777 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

24 months ago

Bill in Grand Island, New York said: Skidooguy777,

Your point is well taken, whether it is the tool truck or the break room the concept of focusing on efficient work habits is the key with-out a doubt. The subject(s) I am referring too, are with the varied formats with which dispatchers use to feed jobs. I personally have been cheated by several dispatchers and then on the other hand rewarded by others. A system of fair play needs to be developed in which those with superior talents aren't crucified for having trained and prepared themselves to be the best.
Because I was able to replace heater cores without extras in the form of rattles, screws and of course complaints, the dispatch office fed me every one that rolled through the door. Now we all know how detrimental it can be to your paycheck being an evap/ heater core tech at the local Ford Lincoln Mercury dealer. Additionally, I was continually given jobs that were comebacks or nightmares for obscure issues, which generally turned out to be wiring problems. Of course there would be shinny new sensors and other parts installed by guys lapping up the gravy.
So the moral of the story is working smart and hard along with a lot of self study may not always be what it takes to accumulate the most flat rate hours.
I have and will always believe in rewarding those dedicated to being top performers and feel flat rate as a bonus system can be that vehicle(no pun intended), however, when the real tech needs to show up for the "BIG BOY" repairs s/he should be compensated the "BIG BUCKS" and not have to worry about flat rate.

Couldn't agree more.I don't enjoy looking across the shop watching tires,front end,brakes,alignments;while i'm stuck working wires and mystery problem 5000 some numb nuts goofed up.Thinking about asking for a weekly guarantee probably 20 hours @ 21.00 and flat rate above and beyond that 20 hours.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No Reply - Report abuse

Bill in Grand Island, New York

24 months ago

Skidooguy777,

Not all dealerships are willing to offer tiered pay plans. The dealers fear having to step -up and pay the long dollar. Similar to selling a vehicle start the initial negotiations higher than expected you can always settle for less.

If you can manage to negotiate a guarantee, along with a bonus incentive, you will be doing really well. Although, I wouldn't get my hopes up too high, go for it, the worst that can happen is you're told "NO."

Good Luck,
Bill

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (7) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Keeble in El Paso, Texas

20 months ago

I'm pretty young myself at only 22, but I will say that I actually enjoy the autobody industry. All my tools are already paid off, and I made about 75k last year.
Now it is hard work and you have to have a good head on your shoulders to knock this stuff out fast and still do a quality repair.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

J Haines in Easton, Massachusetts

19 months ago

I do not like flat rate. With almost 20 years experence as a Volkswagen factory trained technician, I am trying to get out of the business. The dealership I work at wants you there 45 hours a week, but if you only make 30 hours, guess you should have upsold more fuel flushes or tire rotations. Work has been slow and spotty. Managers blame the economy, but my opinion, auto manufactures are making a more reliable product, and people are getting wiser.
Maybe more people lease then buy, relying on free factory maintenance, when its up... get a new one. I have worked at dealerships that use an oddball scale to calculate labor hours, if the job is 4 hours, they charge 5 1/2, 5 hours, charge 7. People might not complain, but they will never go back to that dealer.
I enjoy working on problem cars, CAN issues, blown engines and gearboxes, but, when working on an odd ball issue, with 1/2 the car ripped apart, there's that nagging voice in my head saying "how am i going to get paid for this?". When you repair these cars, and they dont come back, enjoy your 30 hr paycheck that you get on Thursday and is gone by Friday.
One week you make 40, the next 45, then 30 then 29, I see guys burn up sick time and vacation just to get paid.
There is a ton of talent out there, but I feel flat rate doesn't inspire a young guy to learn more. And, I have worked at places where the " top Producers" have a draw in there tool box full of parts that were never installed, including timing belt components. flat rate inspires one to cut corners.
If you read this... thanks, Good luck yo you out there

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (11) / No Reply - Report abuse

curlyomar in Burbank, Illinois

18 months ago

It is time for us to face reality, auto repair is not what it used to be, cars nowadays are sophisticated, with more technology going in them everyday they are soon to become like the space shuttle, where you will need a bachelor's degree in electronics and automotive engineering just to be able to figure things out. Spending 40,000 dollars for one year of automotive knowledge doesn't cut it any more. The pay is terrible in most places, mechanics are not truly appreciated you spend a ton of money just to get a certificate and then you spend another ton buying tools, and getting updates on your scanners, which used to be supplied by the shop and now you have to buy your own , and no training in most shops. All that for a lousy $15-$18 flat rate pay.
I tell you I have done automotive repairs for the past 25 years and I feel sorry for all the new technicians.
My advice to all young people go to school and learn something else the automotive field is no longer profitable.
An electrician invests less than a grand in tools and makes 28-30 dollars an hour. Only mechanics have to invest a fortune just to get paid 15-18 dollars flat rate.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No Reply - Report abuse

GMtech in Lake Villa, Illinois

13 months ago

I wanted to add to this blog because I believe I have something useful to add to it. I work as a GM technician and I have for 15+ years now. I do everything bumper to bumper as well as automatic transmission. I have 100% training in every category and I am extremely good at electrical. Im extremely good at everything. The labor in almost every shop I have work is being fully EXPLOITED. To the highest degree. I struggle every week just cutting short of 40 having to work on all the glorified lube techs rechecks. All of the customer pay jobs go to 11 dollar an hour or less techs (if you even want to call them that.) Cars aren't getting diagnosed properly and management looks at it like its a second chance to bill more money to that car. I get to fix it then and then have to argue for pay on some of the most difficult diagnostics to be done. And then be told I have a bad attitude because I actually care if the customers car is fixed properly for what they were charged for. I got hired in at the lowest dollar amount possible and I have to rebuild transmissions full time. Along with fixing all low mileage warranty electrical concerns that have been around to a few guys in the shop. I can diagnose most every problem in under 30 minutes. Like I said my electrical skills are phenominal. However they are really of no use to me to earn pay for them. The highest paid guy 100k a year I might add rips off every customer he can an management applauds him. Ive seen some of his cars come back within hours after paying 2500 dollars to fix a check light and it returns just minutes after he picks it up. Then they stick him with another 1500 dollar bill and if the customer declines it its ok. On to the next idiot. Im going to make it my life goal to put an end to the flat rate system. Someone posted on this blog "it makes you insane" I couldn't agree more. I love working on cars and Im damn good at it. Probably among the best that anyone could be for general motors.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (4) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

GMtech in Lake Villa, Illinois

13 months ago

The flat rate system was designed in the 50's when cars needed regular maintenance like plugs and wires and such. My how times have changed. There is hardly any maintenance any more and most repairs for me at least are nothing but difficult or back breaking. Management cant trust lube techs to do engine work. But customer pay water pumps are ok. As a master tech I don't get this work. Unless it came back overheating because the loobie didn't burp the air out of it. Brakes? What are those. Im not allowed to do brake work due to having to be fully exploited. Lube techs cant do warranty trans work. They can install transmissions though. One of the best paying trans jobs for a trans tech. The straight up R&R. Im not allowed to have those either due to being fully exploited. I sat and watched a lube tech knock out 3 4 wheel brake jobs in one day. That's about 6-7 hours worth of labor I assure you I could of had in by lunch as a master tech. NO im not allowed to have that work. Seeing a subpar tech punch out an easy 50-60 hours every week is disgusting. Then have to be asked "how do I put this serp belt on this truck" Im thinking the next step and I mean nothing negative towards anyone is to hire a bunch of non English speaking immigrants and have them do the job for minimum wage and eventually Ill just be weeded out all together. What will be the need for someone to diagnose cars properly when you can just keep billing them over and over and over and over. Way to go gm. I hope that you corporate scum bags can get your heads out of your asses and realize if you want customer retention it starts and ends and begins and everything in the middle in the service department. Bad service causes customers to go elsewhere. Digruntled extremely low paid exploited employees who dont care about the job at all manifest into losing customers I assure you. Just my two cents.....

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (8) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Bill in Grand Island, New York

11 months ago

Gmtech & J Haines,
As an industry we cheat ourselves from truly gaining ground when we allow ourselves to be manipulated on a daily basis. If the automotive industry would organize, to a common thread implement testing and certification standards to rank and classify technicians according to their ability, the overall scope of things would eventually improve.
In other industries beginner or apprentices are forbidden from performing various tasks unless supervised by an experienced journeyman or prohibited altogether. If the auto industry were to initiate the push to qualify techs and restrain the services they are allowed to provide based on their proven competency this would help to eliminate the backyard and under skilled from entering labor force; which is not only stealing dollars from the wallets of the true professional tech, but is also tarnishing the reputation of the profession and professional.
As long as the main workforce is willing to except these constraints, placed upon them by the dealers, as the norm, the dealers will continue to exploit us. The dealers are looking at the equation in the financial sense of what turns an immediate profit and not what is going to better the individual technician or the industry in the future.

So lets bond together and change the future.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No Reply - Report abuse

Troy in Lincoln, Nebraska

2 months ago

OMG!!!!!!!!! I have been teching for 25 years, started commission at about year 4...never looked back!!! I have seen techs with their shortcuts, struggles and come-backs! There is a very simple cure...I have to make X amount of dollars to pay my bills. You must have the will to WORK!!! You all need to grow 2 things...work ethics and quality of work!!! Grow the frick up....work in a productive manner...make damn good money!!!!!

I have owned my own shop for 7 years, had 22 employees and still struggle to find help with good work ethics!!!!!!!!!! Problem with people these days, they think they should put in 3 hours work and get paid for 8!!!!!!!! I spend about 25 hours a week in the shop wrenching and bill out between 30 to 35 hours a week. But I am different than the 22 employees I have had, I come to work to WORK!!! Why don't all of you try that and see what kind of money can be made!!!!!!!!! Bunch of wanna be Techs that are nothing but crybabies!!!!!!!!!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

Rob in Newburgh, Indiana

2 months ago

Turning 30-35 hours a week? I would be looking for another job. I agree with you though on lack of work ethic with people these days. I also think people lack pride in their work. Just as we can't stereotype all flat rate facilities as bad you can't stereotype all people that don't like flat rate as being lazy and bad techs.

You cannot dispute that most warranty times are flawed. Aside from the fact that the tech is paid less for the manufacturers bad quality.
Some regular labor rates are flawed, and can go both ways.

My experience with dealerships is they employ too many techs, so instead of 4 techs turning 40 to 70 hours a week they have 7 techs turning 15-35 hours a week.

The people I know that work flat rate have a wife with a good job so they don't need the pay, or make nicey, nicey with the service writer so they get "fed" while the others stand around.

Good technicians, and mechanics are a dying breed. We should have to pay a union to negotiate our wages for us. Stand your ground, have a pay level you will accept, and it will all work out in the end.

The employers will eventually realize that it will cost them less money to employ a good tech making higher wages then an average tech at less pay.

Then it's a win win, and the average techs can go work in a factory that requires no skill or knowledge.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Rob in Newburgh, Indiana

2 months ago

Rob in Newburgh, Indiana said: Turning 30-35 hours a week? I would be looking for another job. I agree with you though on lack of work ethic with people these days. I also think people lack pride in their work. Just as we can't stereotype all flat rate facilities as bad you can't stereotype all people that don't like flat rate as being lazy and bad techs.

You cannot dispute that most warranty times are flawed. Aside from the fact that the tech is paid less for the manufacturers bad quality.
Some regular labor rates are flawed, and can go both ways.

My experience with dealerships is they employ too many techs, so instead of 4 techs turning 40 to 70 hours a week they have 7 techs turning 15-35 hours a week.

The people I know that work flat rate have a wife with a good job so they don't need the pay, or make nicey, nicey with the service writer so they get "fed" while the others stand around.

Good technicians, and mechanics are a dying breed. We shouldn't have to pay a union to negotiate our wages for us. Stand your ground, have a pay level you will accept, and it will all work out in the end.

The employers will eventually realize that it will cost them less money to employ a good tech making higher wages then an average tech at less pay.

Then it's a win win, and the average techs can go work in a factory that requires no skill or knowledge.

edited

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Troy in Lincoln, Nebraska

2 months ago

Like I said...I am back in the shop working 25 hours a week and turning 30-35 hours. I am a shop owner, could I charge my customers more hours for what I do? Yes, But its about charging a fair price.

Before I owned my own shop I worked at a dealership 40 hours a week and averaged 55 to 60 a week.

Choose where you work...a job interview isn't just for the employer. Its your career, take charge. But if you think the only place you can make money is in a dealership your crazy. I always made more money in the private shops!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

» Sign in or create an account to comment on this topic.