October 16, 2015 at 12:10 am #4843
I have a Medium and Heavy Duty Truck repair shop. What is considered a reasonable amount of time to start a diagnosis?
I understand the industry standard recommends 1 hr. to start with but what are other shops doing?
October 16, 2015 at 9:37 am #14299
As a technician I worked on smaller cars, Honda specifically. My shop charged 0.6hrs for initial diagnosis time. I think 1hr is a little more fair to the technicians, especially since you can roll a little of that diagnosis time into the repair if you need to.
October 16, 2015 at 9:38 am #14300
We start with .75 but that is just the basics and we almost always upsell for further testing and confirmation purposes. We have found that asking for more up front can often cause customer dissatisfaction. Customer’s don’t understand or accept the fact that we have to charge for diagnosis but that doesn’t change the fact we have to charge for this, so quite frankly, we play the game. .75 initial testing. Once that step is done, we call the customer with what we know and tell them further testing is needed to confirm our suspicions and then we’ll often charge another .5 to 1.25. We also will often add .5 to the repair which also helps cover our diagnostic costs.
October 16, 2015 at 10:07 am #14301
I agree with Dick. If you set your initial diagnosis too high you are going to scare people off. If you have a good closing ratio it does not matter. You need to just have quick and effective communication, make sure that the amount of time that the technician initially spends does not exceed what is allocated. You don’t need to have a complete diagnosis within the initial time allotted, just a direction of which way it is going.You may have more success in giving away your preliminary diagnosis (to the customer, would still compensate tech, 0.5) to obtain more work than fighting for a customer to see value in paying for something they do not understand or want early on.
Curtis Andrew Massoll
Detroit Garage Auto Family – Founder and CEO
Curt's Service – Partner
Hamburg Garage – President
Farmington Garage – President
Bosch Car Service – National Council Member
AutoCare Association – CCPN & YANG Council Member
October 16, 2015 at 10:51 pm #14303
vdepotParticipantThis is the hardest line to walk. We try to call it check out time and ask for more time to track down not only the problem but the cause of the problem. Its not working so well. Electrical problems are getting so complex that we need to make sure we are selling the correct module or we get killed. Check out this video its the best description on how modern fuel systems work. https://youtu.be/2DW4xReqKsE
October 20, 2015 at 8:35 am #14307
We have a different approach, we charge 1 hour for diag, but we let the customer know, if the repairs are done by us, we ‘roll’ that diag into the repair cost. I have a couple of very good ‘ole school’ technicians that other shops used to send over customers for diag, then they do the repair. This practice stopped that in it’s tracks. On electrical/diesel diag, if the problem is found fast, we still get the hour, helps make up the losses to the techs.
October 20, 2015 at 9:27 am #14308
First of all, after attending a Witt Class, we quit calling it “Diagnostic Time” and changed that to “Testing”. People do seem to grasp that before we can change a component (or fix a broken/corroded wiring harness) we must do some testing – just like a Doctor before an operation. As a sometimes still tech./shop owner I know that .5 doesn’t accomplish much, and we tell them that .5 might find the problem, but it might only find out how much more testing we need to do. And if they are scared off that is fine – they probably aren’t our customers anyway. My guys have time (while many of their peers are home watching TV) and I have money invested in Classes and Equipment to help us be proficient at TESTING. We deserve to make that back somewhere. If that first .5 doesn’t find it – an additional .5 usually narrows it right down…
October 20, 2015 at 5:07 pm #14311
Well I’m using Automotive Expert software which asks if I want to add diagnostic time to the estimate, usually .5. That works great if it was a quick and easy diag for a specific component which is to be replaced. I’ll add an hour for more involved testing, and times for specific tests like compression testing etc where needed. If the repair is declined, I ask for a minimum of one hour, because I just cant give it away to the DIYer who is only looking for a diagnosis. I guess my biggest gripe here is that too many components, especially those located under the dash just are not accessible for easy testing, and that time can add up pretty quickly. Then, you have warranty companies that only want to pay a flat .5 regardless of the issue. I can spend that much time and then some just finding the right harness connector
October 22, 2015 at 2:23 am #14313
I work for a motorcycle dealer. Most motorcycle shops charge 1.0 hr diagnostic plus the repair. Customers ask if we waive this if we work on it and I tell them no. I also tell them that this is the time we spent finding the problem so I can not give it away for free. I then tell them that if another shop says they are going to apply it to the repair they will most likely charge you more for the same repair as they are not going to give it away for free either. Most customers accept this answer.
October 25, 2015 at 12:25 pm #14319
Well, I’ll offer my opinion…..
I don’t talk “diagnostics” and I never talk time. I talk money. We charge for “testing, inspection and if needed, partial disassembly of the vehicle as necessary to follow the directed repair process.” I then ask for a “call if over” number. The customer knows how much is in their bank account… and they know how much is left on the credit card and they know how much they are willing to spend to return the family chariot to good health. They gave me the first buying signal when they drove up to my door… and the second when they asked me to troubleshoot and repair their car. I might say something like “we will begin with a series of tests to identify the root cause of your concern and follow those results to their logical end. Since at this point I don’t have a clear indication of the problem, how about this; I’ll call you if the testing and repair exceed $250.00… would that be ok with you?” You’d be amazed how often the customer will upsell themselves by saying something like “well, it’s got to be fixed… just call me if it’s going to be over $500.00.” This gives the tech sufficient time to delve deep if need be and if we get if fixed for $200 we look like a hero. If it looks like it’s going to run heavy, we call with a detailed report, complete with pictures to support the request for more money. Obviously these numbers are general… you’ll have to adjust them for your market. Here’s the deal… the MOST expensive time you sell is testing and inspection because there are no parts attached to that time (unless the repairs proceed from the results) and you often have to have the most expensive equipment and tech on the job. That inventory… time… is the most perishable inventory in any business and the hardest to accurately track. High tech time has to sell for the equivalent of both the time and the lost parts pull-through and every second has to be collected.
October 27, 2015 at 11:49 am #14321
What a great discussion!
We do a combination of the above. We will do a “scan & go” (just read and document the codes) if that is all the customer is looking for. That equates to .5 We will generally quote between $60 and $170 for any MIL. This gives the tech room for minor additional testing if required. For electrical trouble shooting, we will generally start with 2 hours time. By the way, time is only used for this discussion. With any diagnostic testing, we quote $$$, NOT time. Time is a way to help us manage our labor inventory.
It is going to get harder and harder to find quality diagnostic techs. As that ‘commodity’ gets scarcer and scarcer, the price will need to be adjusted as needed.
October 27, 2015 at 3:19 pm #14325
We do not use diagnostic time – Testing Time – We ask for $60.00 to $160.00 , We do not talk Hours .
If it is something after all the facts Been to Three shops – In pieces – Back yarder working on-Etc., As well as a high end Import we may ask for $300.00 Dollar ok. We have a high closer rate at this practice.
Thanks Dan R.
January 16, 2018 at 8:07 pm #33095
We do blocks $149.87. The tech spends .7 gets paid for 1 hour at 35.00 per hour shop makes 114.87 for .7 hrs. spent working on the car. We will usually know what is wrong by that time if we have to go deeper we ask for another block or we tell them what individual test we may need to do and how much it costs.
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