Shop rate and job estimate


#1

Anybody have a shop rate (hourly) for the Northeast? Time estimate for replacement of a ball joint and exhaust piece on a 1990 Camry? Neighbor feels he was “ripped-off” for $150 labor for the above. I think that it is reasonable labor for replaceing an exhaust piece and replacement of a ball joint. (He supplied his own parts) Thanks. Rocketman


#2

The best shop you are going to find will actually be one that looks like a hole in the wall. It looks like a hole in the wall because the owner is keeping his overhead/expenses low. Chain shops have too much overhead and they cut corners on the employee expense. Look for a shop that seems consistently busy but looks like crap. That shop will probably be owned and operated by a mechanic who has already made a name for himself among his peers, and charges a cheaper shop rate because he has minimal overhead and keeps his shop rate low because he doesn’t have to rely on chance business.


#3

I think it depends where you go and in more than one way. A Toyota dealer will charge by the book, no matter how long it takes. A private garage probably charges actual time, rounded to the quarter or half hour. At a dealer and maybe an indie, $75 per hour does not sound outrageous, and the book time could be about 2 hours for the work described. It’s not clear what exhaust piece was replaced, so it’s hard to guess on that part.


#4

It’s probably about right. The northeast and west coasts will have higher labor rates. One can usually figure book time of approx. 1.2 to 1.5 hours on a ball joint and wrestling with stuck exhaust parts can be anything depending on how rusty and how much the air chisel and torch come into play.
If the neighbor was given the estimate up front then he has no reason to complain.


#5

Seacoast NH is $60-$90/hr for a decent Indy. Sounds reasonable to me.


#6

A ball joint is a known part, but the other one seems to be a thingy. Too non-specific. The price is good for most doohickies.


#7

I think it depends where you go and in more than one way. A Toyota dealer will charge by the book, no matter how long it takes. A private garage probably charges actual time, rounded to the quarter or half hour.

In the past 30 years I’ve only seen ONE shop charge by the actualy job…Private or dealer…they pretty much all charge by the book these days.


#8

Sorry . . . I had to ask him . . . it was the down pipe after the manifold before the CAT. I thought that $150 was reasonable for replacement of an exhaust piece and replacement of a ball joint. It was an independent shop . . . and the estimate was under $200, so I figure it was about right. Thanks guys! Rocketman


#9

No shop will charge actual time. There is no profit in that. If a job in a motor or mitchell guide charges 2 hours and a tech gets it done in 1 hour THATS PROFIT!!!


#10

That logic is totally lame. Your saying a shop that is to lazy or doesn’t have enough common sense to clean or take the trash out is the best. Any shop owner that has made a name for himself will have a certain amount of pride oe integrity and know a presentable shop will invite customers. In my job related travels I went to a shop in central IL. that had engines in wheelbarrows and wheelchairs with 2 foot weeds out front. I gaurantee you that shops like that don’t know any more that the next guy without even saying anything about the latest repair news or TSB’s.


#11

He didn’t say dirty, he said hole in the wall, which to me implies small, utilitarian, and not in a high-rent location. My mechanic’s shop is old and the office isn’t too fancy, but he keeps the place clean. He also charges a reasonable labor rate and has customers that have been going to him for more than 30 years.

Rocketman, in Syracuse, NY, my independent mechanic charges $50/hour for labor. Going by OK’s estimate on time, that sounds about right to me, especially if his labor rate was a bit higher.


#12

He got a doggoned fair price. I’d ask him where he got his work done and go there.

I assume he’s never done any work on cars?