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Auto Garage related- huge labor charges why not lumpsum

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Hi everyone

It always come in my mind that in USA/Canada/EU labor rates are per hour, I understand that there are government defined laws to enforce labor rates per hour which is good i support this, unlike where i am located right now or back in my home country India

Let us talk labor rates related to a car workshop

From a car owner point of view why not charge him a lumpsum amount for the given problem and thereby opening opportunities to give discount, most of the times spare parts are cheap but the labor rates are huge thereby giving a setback to the car owner

For example to replace the AC evaporator the whole dashboard needs to be pulled out which will give a huge blow to your pocket

Is it mandatory to do like this? can it not be a lumpsum? for example to replace a started motor you will be charged x amount rather than giving a breakdown that spare part would be x and labor charge would be y which in most cases y would be much higher than the spare part itself, can it not reach an equilibrium?


Now let us talk from the garage owner point of view

In which i have no idea however can make an educated guess work, if i am the owner and i hire few mechanics i will give them a monthly salary? i study that the pay is bi weekly or maybe weekly but at the end of year it doesn't matter when it comes to financials isn't it? or the technicians would have to be paid per hour? so if they are smoking a cigarette or drinking coffee they are not earning money? which i believe is not fair once they are in your garage they should get paid regardless of the work, they should return to their families with bread and milk and not empty handed

Moving forward, lets say i end up hiring mechanics at a monthly salary so the labor charges which i am going to charge from the customers would give me freedom to decide how much to charge based on experience and market study etc. and not just simple hours required for the job multiplied by a given rate

And lastly, i believe that it is the returning customer which makes a successful business, what do you think?


Just want to discuss all the views, since maybe in the near future i might be looking to open a garage in Canada

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Shops in the US use a guide book that says a given repair takes X hours. So the book says dash thing mentiomed takes 11 hours. At X dollars per hour, lets just say $100 then you are looking at $1100 plus the part. Say the part is $200. They quote you $1300 for the $1100 plus the $200. 

Now the shop I use would quote $1300 but if the job ends up taking 12 hours they don't charge me more. However if it takes less time they give a discount. 

Many shops charge a fee to diagnose the issue, even if you tell them "hey my radiator has a leak around the filler hole"…… Now a shop that charges the fee then adds the cost of the repair is one I avoid. One my work uses charged my company $75 to say a light bulb was out. Then they charged $75 to say the radiator leaks at the petcock even though when I dropped ioff the company vehicle I told them about the bulb and where the radiator was leaking. Then they charged $400 to fix the light bulb and $1100 to fix the radiator in addition to the two diagnosis fees. My personal shop would have dropped the dianosis fees. And that's why I keep going back. 

Many shops pay the mechanic a given wage then a commision on the jobs they perform. That can lead to the mechanic taking shortcuts to get jobs done faster so they can squeeze in more jobs in a day. Or it can lead to competition among employees or both.  


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