Our Forum members compare notes on labour times… and whether they’re accurate or way off.

  • Is it just me, or do labour times seem to be off. It seems either you win large, or your lose real bad. I’ve also noticed that when you compare Mitchell and Alldata, a lot of times they’re not even close. Case in point: On a 2003 Mercedes Benz ML 500, cam sensor pays 0.6. It sits at the front, in the open. One bolt and its out. Crank sensor pays 0.6. It’s at the back in the trans bell housing. No way is it coming out the top! This is just one example of some seriously messed up times.
  • I remember when I was a mere youth, my cousin Al had a shiny new Motor Vehicle Mechanic certificate… and he complained about labour times back then. That was in the 70s. Twas always thus.
  • Working on these premium vehicles at the dealer level, we use multiple op-codes for many parts to gain access and only in a few instances does the corporate office deny the time claims. You’re best to survey the job first and forma quote based on the multiple operations required. If your shop’s SO-SA is not quoting this way, then you’re probably losing money.
  • Alldata and Mitchell don’t always include access time. For example, the time for Chrysler Town and Country blower motors is for after the dash has been removed… They just forget to mention that. There are lots of other examples. You just have to pay attention to the job at hand when you look up the times. I’ve always had service advisors that would come to me with the estimate to make sure nothing was missed. If yours don’t, they should.
  • These are labour guides… the operative word being guide. They rarely account for worn or seized parts. It’s too bad that dealerships and chains are still using it as law when they estimate. I’ve got a question though. Do you dealer guys get a say if the quote for the labour is extremely low Can you refuse the job if it’s not profitable
  • One problem is that the service advisors create the work orders prior to the tech seeing it. So it could be quoted out low even before the car comes in the door. The second is when our work orders are created in the shop, the advisor creates the estimate and labour times are added using Mitchell or Alldata. So the tech has very little input to the times. It seems that a lot of general and front-end repairs are OK, but when it comes to the electrical side, the times are wrong because of work that was not built into the equation (like the dash needing to be removed first). We can go back and complain or try to sell the right times, but by that time the customer is already upset. So you might lose the job anyway.
  • As GM techs, if we notice that a time is low, we need to fill out a labour time request. On warranty work, labour times are sometimes calculated low because they know we are doing the same job over and over. After two or three times, you actually start to gain time. As for worn or seized parts, that’s where punch clocks are needed. You punch out when you get to a seized part, and find out how much time the customer is willing to authorize. Punch back in, and when the seized part is freed up, you do another off and on punch. Now we know how long the regular work took. This is reality in the flat-rate world.

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