Hourly Rates

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Hourly Rates

#1 Unread post by biff » Sat Sep 30, 2006 11:33 pm

What kind of rates are you all seeing at your dealerships and shops?
The dealerships out here are between 70 and 85 dollars an hour! I think that's nuts. There are no bike shops around so we are at the mercy of the dealerships..... :frusty:
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Re: Hourly Rates

#2 Unread post by Skier » Sat Sep 30, 2006 11:51 pm

VulcanNasty wrote:What kind of rates are you all seeing at your dealerships and shops?
The dealerships out here are between 70 and 85 dollars an hour! I think that's nuts. There are no bike shops around so we are at the mercy of the dealerships..... :frusty:
I'm not at the mercy of any shops for any work short of machine work, so I don't know what the three local shops charge. I can tell you why they charge so much: they have special training your average motorcycle mechanic probably doesn't have. They also have access to a large network of other techs who work on the same things day in and day out. You pay for their knowledge, which makes the tech's time more valuable.
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#3 Unread post by biff » Sun Oct 01, 2006 12:05 am

B.S. they charge that much because they know we can't go anywere else. I need to get a front tire mounted, and they are calling this a 1.0hr job. I turned wrenches for 3yrs and we could bust a whole truck in an hour.
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#4 Unread post by Shiv » Sun Oct 01, 2006 1:09 am

Indeed, they have the market cornered and are exploiting it.

You pay doctors for their knowledge, you pay mechanics to fix your bike.

Basic stuff shouldn't leave you with 3/4 of your limbs.



Now, advanced crap (like rebuilding an engine) sure, I can see that.
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#5 Unread post by Sev » Sun Oct 01, 2006 1:12 am

On a truck, if you "fudge" up on a wheel you dent a rim, or run off the road.

If you "fudge" up a wheel on a bike... you'll be very lucky if your customer doesn't dump the bike. So the mechanic needs to be certain that the job he did was perfect, otherwise you the customer might be laying on the side of the road, because your brake failed to engage. Or because the axle bearings are wrecked, or because a cotter pin is missing.

However, if you are a mechanic, capable - as you said - of being able to pull apart a truck in a hour you should be able to easily change and balance your own tire. Everything carries right over from a truck to a bike, but you only need to balance the wheel in the static plane.

Now... why does it cost so much? Well up here there is a masive labour shortage. As in Alberta needs about 200,000 more workers or labourers. So if you have skills like the ability to service and repair a motorcycle then you carry with you a high value. Especially when teenagers are making $15 an hour working at a donut shop.

Average mechanic is making between $25 and $35 an hour, to which you need to add costs like, rent, heat, electricity, bike lifts, other electronics, specialised tools, and the models sitting on the floor.

Yes, part of the reason the prices for maintenance are so high is because they can charge that much. But like was said above there are very few people willing to do the work, and there are fewer still who are good at it. So with more and more bikes ending up on the street, the value of the knowledge the bike mechanic has inceases.
Of course I'm generalizing from a single example here, but everyone does that. At least I do.

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#6 Unread post by rapidblue » Sun Oct 01, 2006 2:04 am

wow sev, yer just getting all smart and stuff with that there fancy school dealy yer goin to. :laughing:
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#7 Unread post by Sev » Sun Oct 01, 2006 2:15 am

It just bothers me when someone says something like, "they shouldn't be charging me this much, because I can do the same work in 1/4 the time." Then do the work in 1/4 the time and save yourself the money. There is nothing about a tire change that you cannot do yourself with ease (and a little training). This includes balancing the tire.

The thing is, if they trusted their own work it wouldn't be an issue. But they want a professional to work on their bikes... just don't want to pay for the training that makes them a professional.
Of course I'm generalizing from a single example here, but everyone does that. At least I do.

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#8 Unread post by ofblong » Sun Oct 01, 2006 2:17 am

Sevulturus wrote:It just bothers me when someone says something like, "they shouldn't be charging me this much, because I can do the same work in 1/4 the time." Then do the work in 1/4 the time and save yourself the money. There is nothing about a tire change that you cannot do yourself with ease (and a little training). This includes balancing the tire.

The thing is, if they trusted their own work it wouldn't be an issue. But they want a professional to work on their bikes... just don't want to pay for the training that makes them a professional.
thats why I do all my own work except for the tires. I dont trust myself in balancing tires because I dont know how to properly do it. I could, however, bring it to my uncle who has the equipment and would do it for free but then that would require a 14 hour trip lol.
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#9 Unread post by Seca Girl » Sun Oct 01, 2006 2:55 am

Sevulturus wrote:It just bothers me when someone says something like, "they shouldn't be charging me this much, because I can do the same work in 1/4 the time."
I think most people have a problem with the factory flat rate charts.

It's like the joke about the lawyer that died at 35, he asked St. Peter why he died so young. St. Peter checked his book and said "we checked your time sheets and thought you were 105 years old." :frusty:

If shops charged on a "real-hours" basis, there wouldn't be such hate. You can justify the flat rate charts seven ways to Sunday, but that's the main thing that upsets people.
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#10 Unread post by ofblong » Sun Oct 01, 2006 5:03 am

Seca Girl wrote:
Sevulturus wrote:It just bothers me when someone says something like, "they shouldn't be charging me this much, because I can do the same work in 1/4 the time."
I think most people have a problem with the factory flat rate charts.

It's like the joke about the lawyer that died at 35, he asked St. Peter why he died so young. St. Peter checked his book and said "we checked your time sheets and thought you were 105 years old." :frusty:

If shops charged on a "real-hours" basis, there wouldn't be such hate. You can justify the flat rate charts seven ways to Sunday, but that's the main thing that upsets people.
very true. Just like when I had the tires replaced on my mini van (hey its done for free when you buy the tires). they told me I needed my front brakes replaced (Duh I already new that at the time and I knew they were going to try and CON me into paying up for the service). They said 3 hours to replace the brakes and that would be $190 for the labor. WTF took me a total of 45 minutes to replace the front pads and at the time I was making $20/hr so it cost me $15 to replace my brake pads myself. The only reason it took me 45 minutes, however, is it was the first time replacing the pads on a GM vehicle. Only did it on Fords before this time lol.
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#11 Unread post by Loonette » Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:54 am

You also have to factor in liability costs. A dealership/shop has to pay into accident insurance for employees, as well as money to cover damages when things don't go well. I'm learning to a lot of work for myself on my bike, but if there's a job that I don't want to do, or that I don't feel I'm qualified to do, I'm happy to pay someone else's rates - that way if they screw things up, they're the ones who will have to make it right.

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#12 Unread post by Sev » Sun Oct 01, 2006 10:51 am

Seca Girl wrote:
Sevulturus wrote:It just bothers me when someone says something like, "they shouldn't be charging me this much, because I can do the same work in 1/4 the time."
I think most people have a problem with the factory flat rate charts.

It's like the joke about the lawyer that died at 35, he asked St. Peter why he died so young. St. Peter checked his book and said "we checked your time sheets and thought you were 105 years old." :frusty:

If shops charged on a "real-hours" basis, there wouldn't be such hate. You can justify the flat rate charts seven ways to Sunday, but that's the main thing that upsets people.
A typical motorcycle mechanic works at 60-90% efficiency when charging flat rate. This means that if a job should take 1 hour, it will end up taking him 1.1 to 1.4 hours to complete the job. Because like said above it needs to be perfect. Who eats the extra time? The mechanic.

HOWEVER, the complaint was NOT about flat rate charges. It was about shop rate charges, and considering the fact that at the end of the year if a shop is making $2000 to $3000 profit it is doing very well, I fail to see how it can be seen as sticking it to the customer. And remember this is net profit after all expenses are paid out, AND includes not only repairs/service, but parts and new bike sales.



If you want to balance your tire, all you need is the wheel, the axle, and a way to suspend the wheel from the axle so it is perfectly level (eg between the back of two chairs). Then simply spin the tire and record the heaviest spot. Do this three times, then add a small amount of weight opposite it. Continue to do this until the tire can be stopped at any point, and not spin (this means there are no heavy spots).

It is important to only add weight to one spot (you can move it around the circumferance of the wheel). But if you adds some here and some there and some there you're just cancelling out weight you've already put on. Make sure to keep the weight as close to the center of the rim as possible.

Using this method (and a little patience) I was able to balance a wheel to within 1/64th of an ounce. A typical electronic balancer will get you to within 1/4 ounce. But it only takes 2 minutes.


All in all I think people just like to gripe.
Of course I'm generalizing from a single example here, but everyone does that. At least I do.

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#13 Unread post by oldschoolorange » Sun Oct 01, 2006 11:26 am

Working at dealerships myself, Car and Heavy truck, the rates were diffrent for the general mechanical and electrical repairs at the car shop. At the truck dealership I am currently at the labor rate is $103.50 an hour. Yes that is expensive but the work is done right by people who routinly go on training courses and all the work is backed by a minimum of 1 yr no charge warranty.

That being said, yes the dealership does make money, however where the dealership gets screwed is they have to have a minimum amount of parts in stock ( I think around the $200,000 mark ) And I can assure you that that does not buy you very much, so you have a massive amount of overhead. Secondly what a job pays to warranty is usualy half of the hours of what is the normal customer charge, they dont loose their shirts on it but they don't get rich either.


Hey sev I might send you a pm in a few days about work in your neck of the woods
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#14 Unread post by BAJACRUISER » Sun Oct 01, 2006 11:58 am

Here in Mexico is cheaper the mechanics work...... To change a front tire is about 15 to 20 dls......
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#15 Unread post by Seca Girl » Sun Oct 01, 2006 4:34 pm

Sevulturus wrote:A typical motorcycle mechanic works at 60-90% efficiency when charging flat rate. This means that if a job should take 1 hour, it will end up taking him 1.1 to 1.4 hours to complete the job. Because like said above it needs to be perfect. Who eats the extra time? The mechanic.
When I worked at a GM dealership in high school, if the mechanics didn't beat flat rate on a regular basis they were out the door. 12 hrs billing in 8 was the average.

So do cars have optimistic flat rate charts, and bikes dont? Are bike mechs slower on average? You're only getting one side of the story in wrench shcool? Who knows?
Sevulturus wrote:HOWEVER, the complaint was NOT about flat rate charges. It was about shop rate charges, and considering the fact that at the end of the year if a shop is making $2000 to $3000 profit it is doing very well, I fail to see how it can be seen as sticking it to the customer. And remember this is net profit after all expenses are paid out, AND includes not only repairs/service, but parts and new bike sales.
Assuming a solely-owned shop, that included a regular paycheck to the owner, regardless of if he works there or not. Because otherwise I'm pretty sure that he couldn't feed his family on $3K/yr. No one would run a business for that little. Since he's the owner, that salary might be larger than you'd expect.

Now if it's a corporate-owned stealership (a growing trend here in the US) where a company owns several shops, and might be owned by an even larger company, all bets are off. And they're going to milk every penny out of the customers. Don't get a bike not under warranty anywhere near these places.

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#16 Unread post by Koss » Sun Oct 01, 2006 4:57 pm

Ive worked both flat rate and hourly... and of couse as a technician I like flat rate way more. Sure, I may get more money at the end of the week compaired to being payed salary, but I also work harder for that money.

Now I can only speak for the U.S., but we have Labor guides here. They are "suppose" to keep shops from ripping off their customers, or we get in trouble big time. Of course there will always be cheaters, but it stinks when the good guys get the bad name for it too. These labor guides are created by a panel of mechanics and those looking out for our citizens. We are suppose to stictly follow the guidelines within the labor guide.

If the job says it requires an hour of work to be completed in a sastifactory manner, that only means that its understood that your average Joe can do it in an hour. Some may take less, some may take more.

No matter what, if I were to be given a job that flagges for one hour, and I do something silly that takes me longer. Its my fault, comes out of my pocket because of the loss of time, and I can't get onto any other jobs until I get that vehicle out of here. We can't call up the customer and tell them hey, Jonny over here put your brakes on backwards, so it took him an extra 20 minutes. Pay up.

But if you can do your brake job in 45 minutes, then great. Same in the field. If your flagging an hour in only half the time. Your only advantage is that you are able to stop working on this vehicle sooner, and start working on another a.s.a.p. (that is if there is something else lined up for you to do).

The labor guide only states a fair amount of time given for a job that an average mechanic who knows what hes doing can accomplish. If that mechanic/technician has the know how or double jointed ability to speed up his process, hussle, and puts in more effort... why should you pay him any less? Is he doing something more than the average mechanic? Heck yea, he has the experience or know how to get the job done faster.

The same outcome is being performed, but in less time? So we should pay the man or woman less for their hard work? Nope dosn't make sense to me. Sure I hate paying high rates for anything, much less vehicle service... but if the person is working hard for their money and giving you quality work... why pay them less?

EDIT: Sorry... I think I just ended up rambling on and on lol... Basically I think the point I want to come across is that Stealerships are Stealerships... sure you pay for what you get... sometimes you get suckered to pay more... but dont take it out on the guy spinning the rachets. Its not like the whole Labor Charge goes directly into their pockets. We only get a small percentage... and we have dangers that might cost us our job, reputation, limbs, life, etc... I say the public needs to set the fire under the actual buisness, and make them cut out their stupid fees, and costs that have nothing to do with the repair or the mechanic in the first place.
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Re: Hourly Rates

#17 Unread post by Koss » Sun Oct 01, 2006 6:14 pm

VulcanNasty wrote: There are no bike shops around so we are at the mercy of the dealerships..... :frusty:
Hrm, actually there are some bike service shops around here. I know some guys I goto class with that work at them, Ill ask around and see what quality shops offer good labor rates for ya.
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#18 Unread post by snwbrdr » Sun Oct 01, 2006 6:43 pm

my mechanic charges $68 an hour, but he really undercharges on the hours he quotes.
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#19 Unread post by Sev » Sun Oct 01, 2006 7:03 pm

Seca Girl wrote:
Sevulturus wrote:A typical motorcycle mechanic works at 60-90% efficiency when charging flat rate. This means that if a job should take 1 hour, it will end up taking him 1.1 to 1.4 hours to complete the job. Because like said above it needs to be perfect. Who eats the extra time? The mechanic.
When I worked at a GM dealership in high school, if the mechanics didn't beat flat rate on a regular basis they were out the door. 12 hrs billing in 8 was the average.

So do cars have optimistic flat rate charts, and bikes dont? Are bike mechs slower on average? You're only getting one side of the story in wrench shcool? Who knows?
Actually, that's average for cars and trucks. They're bigger, easier to get into. Means it's possible to find shortcuts and stuff. On a bike you don't have much choice. I'm telling you, right now, that if you're doing 60-90% it's considered good.

Not to mention the fact that a small mistake on a car doesn't usually lead to it crashing. Your tire blew out... OH GOD! I bent my rim. Not OH GOD, I just highsided at 150mph.

Regardless, that is STILL not the point of his original post. He was complaining about the amount of money he pays per hour to have work done. Not the amount of money that the mechanic makes.
Of course I'm generalizing from a single example here, but everyone does that. At least I do.

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#20 Unread post by NorthernPete » Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:35 pm

You'll pay alot at a dealer regardless, its called free market, they offer a service, they charge what the market dictates. They will keep charging these amounts as long as people are willing to pay. Suck it up or learn to do it yourself.

Shop around and compare prices. Find a place you like and get friendly with the people there. May not get a break on the prices, but you can sit on the new shiney bikes while they work on yours. *LOL*

maybe get a free hat.
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