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  • Inspecting/Testing/ diagnostics charges

    Posted by paulhuffman on May 25, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I am wondering how in these times what kind of actions shops are taking to assure that “diagnostics” are a profitable venture for both the shop and the Tech.

    It seems that we spend an unreasonable amount of time at the counter re-explaning the process and whats going on or just continue on without charging them so we can get onto more profitable work.

    awauto replied 11 years, 4 months ago 12 Members · 13 Replies
  • 13 Replies
  • Tom

    May 25, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    One could write a book on that topic.

    One simple thing that can be done is to use job pricing for all services so that the diagnostics, the labor, the parts, supplies, etc. have just one total amount.

    Maybe you can go into detail about what you are asking and break it into several specific questions.

  • davidpass

    June 15, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    You certainly can write a book about that and many have been written. However. It does start at the counter. When the customer drops the vehicle out, you estimate the diagnostic charges. Whatever is the amount. It is then that they will decide if that is fair and wish to continue. From the beginning they are expecting to pay for diagnostic charges. IHTHY


  • jim ryckman

    December 22, 2012 at 3:25 am

    In addition to agreeing with above posts, Our existing customers


    raise an eyebrow to 1.5 hrs of shop rate for most DX. Thank you


    Schneider” ala 1996 article. A few have been to AZ for free code


    which we will match when pushed……but this is an excellent

    opportunity to up sell real DX of the code once pulled. Most


    who have been recipients of AZ parts that didn’t fix their problem

    utilize us to DX/REPAIR their concerns. Confidence and experience are

    our best tools when presenting the need to accurately DX vs parts

    swapping. New customers are often another story. Our industry gets

    heavy skepticism from newbies so we go REEAALLLL slow. Best wishes

    for 2013 and be sure you get paid for one of your most valuable asset-


  • gene

    December 25, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    We try to use tesing fee, insead of diagnosing. Diagnosing kind of implies that you will fix it for the fee. We do tests: .5 fuel pressure test, .3 smoke test, 1.0 pinpoint wiring test, you ge the idea.

    Gene Morrill

    Certified Automotive Specilaists

  • oldstyle

    January 6, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    I will use my $100 code reader in the driveway to identify the direction we will be going. But I then explain that the clock starts when I bring out the more sophisticated equipment. They get a percieved value, the d/w code pull and I get to define and sell the further diagnostics. If it is the loose gas cap, they don’t get the used and abused feeling.

  • jerseysure

    January 9, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Same thing I do.. I will pull a code with a $300 launch for free. I reveal the code, explain a few possibilities, and secure diagnostic time to pinpoint the problem. The customers often appreciate that they are not being charged “to hook up the computer” so to speak. Obviously most people believe we plug in a computer and it simply tells us what to fix. If I get a large evap leak and the customer seems nervous from the get-go, I may offer to tighten the gas cap, clear the code and have him/her return if/when the light comes back for diagnosis. I feel like the few minutes spent helps secure the job or return business.

  • clarkscarcare

    January 18, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Excellent-shows value, builds trust and you are showing try to help out the customer not just charge them. Also can eliminate “false” codes. Then car in door and you have them.

  • david Graber

    February 10, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    We also do the free “check engine” light check because of AZ that is just down the street. When they ask what will fix it, I give the speech of how it could be anything from a sensor, wiring problem, or even a mechanical problem. Then I explain how we need to do some testing so we can find the cause of the problem without just throwing parts on that could be costly. Then I inform the customer what the cost is per 1/2 hour for testing and have them decide how much time they want us to spend on testing. I use to say by the hour, but charging by the 1/2 hour sounds cheaper in their mine. No body likes doing check engine light problems because it isnt as profitable as doing a brake job, but advertising “free check engine light checks” gets some new customers to your door. Now you can get all their information, and if you get the job for further testing, you also get to do “free” vehicle inspection while you are working on the vehicle for other up-sells.

  • sutton32-aol-com

    February 11, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Not a real big fan of that way. I always feel I will get the bottom feeders and will have a hard time converting. We are all professionals we should get paid right for the work. No bait and switches.

  • david Graber

    February 15, 2013 at 3:45 am

    If done right, you can tell who the bottom feeders are. But I do have some customers who had apear to be bottom feeders and turn out to be great customers. I had some customers who were bottom feeders that I had told in a nice way that maybe they should go look for another repair garage who could give them the type of repairs that they were looking for. ( like using muffler wrap to fix a exhaust leak and a hot dog roll to fix a radiator leak.) The sad part about this is, they had the income of 5 times of what mine income is. I would have not done anything like this years ago. But it is harder to get people to your front door than it was years ago. You have to start thinking outside of the box to get new customers to your door and also to keep your current customers happy. We are dealing with a different type of customer today than we were years ago. Iam not saying you have to give the farm away, but give them a incentive to come to you. Then it is your job to keep them coming back to you. Treat them right, make them feel like they are more than a customer, more like a friend, they will keep coming back to you. Old marketing from years ago dosent always work today. I know Iam one of the highest price garages in town. And that is mostly due to the fact of everybody else dosent know what profit % they need to make to stay profitable. They are to busy lowering their prices to get work. Then they wounder why they are just making ends meet and not having a net profit after overhead and payroll is paid. So I guess you could say Iam “baiting” the customer to come to my front door. And yes, I do sleep very good at night. And also, I do have customers who tell me that I charge more than others, but they keep coming back because they tell my wife and I That we treat them fair and we are honest with them and upfront. They think of use as “friends”.

  • david Graber

    February 15, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Thanks for the reply. And the internet, that’s a another thing that gets me tick off. But that’s for another time.

  • Andrew Tobias

    February 18, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    I too am one of the most expensive in town. I have bottom feeders too. I don’t wish them away, I ask them point blank “why do you come here only for oil changes (or whatever they come in for)?” Most of the time the answer is because they have a shade treeer do the heavy lifting and use us for only the light stuff. I explain to them the reasons why I can’t stay in business with clients like them. It’s a pleasant conversation. Then I tag them in my computer system. Now when they call for their customary service I can’t schedule them for 2 or 3 weeks out at the worst time of day. This way, I don’t tell them not to come back but they know why we can’t work on their car.

    When asked why we are more expensive I tell them. We use quality parts, highly trained quality technicians, we have insurance for them and their cars, we pay health insurance, vacations, retirement plans, we offer after hours service, have free shuttle, and loaner cars. Ask the shade tree guy if he does that. Plus all those benefits to the employees, that the client has from their own employer. Ask them if they would like to forgo benefits so the employer can make more or charge less. I’d like to hear that answer.

    Without education, people don’t understand why my oil change is $29 and my competitors are $11.95.

  • awauto

    March 4, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Andy I feel your pain.These people that compare us to the “at home in the garage” guys are idiots.They have absolutly no overhead and most of the time and completely unqualified to even work on the vehicle.It is really hard for me to stay in the business when a customer comes in and says that ruines the rest of the day.

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