Just read your “honesty is the best policy” column and heartily agree with it… however, would you please address the use of Flat rate manuals to bill for the time it will take to accomplish ‘every conceivable repair’ for each make and model automobile. The manuals list the repair time billable by tenths of an hour. For example, replacing front struts on a particular model will be listed as a 1.2 hour job. The OFFICE staff will take the shop labor rate of $85 or $95 or more, times the hour rate of 1.2 to obtain the labor cost for the work done for any repair. “The problem is, that any mechanic that fails to consistently BEAT the flat rate manual will soon find himself out of job.” In other words, shops consistently over-bill for labor costs. THIS, IT SEEMS TO ME, IS A SORT OF COLLUSION TO SET PRICES. … AND ON THE OTHER HAND, IS SNEAKY WAY TO MAXIMIZE PROFIT BY BILLING VIA THE RATE MANUAL WHEN THE MECHANIC IS ACTUALLY USING LESS TIME THAN IS LISTED IN THE MANUAL TO COMPLETE A TASK. This is also a way in which shop bonuses for various managers and even mechanics is calculated… In other words how can the public have faith in an industry that on the face of it, is corrupt.