Labor charges-by the hour or by the job?

I’ve always paid for labor charges by the hour, but I recently moved and went to an auto shop that charges by the job type. Has anyone heard of this? How do you know what’s reasonable for a job type. Example, they replaced the low oil plan gasket in my 1996 Toyota Corolla and charged $481 for labor.

easiest thing to do is call around and see what the same exact job would have cost elsewhere. Most price quotes include estimated “book” time and hourly labor charges, resulting in a total price for labor, anyway.

Some mshops use the Motor or other manual flat rate for a typical task. The mechanic can beat this and usually shares the extra profit with the shop. Some years ago I had a starter replaced on a Ford Granada. Since I had the flat rate book, I knew the number of hours; the Ford dealer charged me more hours, since he claimed it was “extra difficult” since I had the 351 V8. Pure BS, in my opinion. If you pay a flat rate you don’t have to pay extra for a slow mechanic.

It’s best to get the figure beforehand on the estimate. I prefer flat, fixed rate.

Shops do both. You can win or lose with either depending on the job and the person. The book is an engineered standard of the time that it should take to do the job. By the hour you just pay no matter how slow the person is.

I posted something, but it was way off the mark.