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flat rate automotive Post Review

Great meeting up with these @YouTube Automotive Creators in London yesterday. Mike (Flat Rate Master) Mark (Solid Diagnostics) and Igor (Cars Exposed) https://t.co/BBWV35tQ5F

Check this out: ASE certified Automotive Technician $20-$30hr flat rate pay, busy shop (Davie) Check with seller https://t.co/xceHX81CeE #ads #classified https://t.co/XIQvRnWAyo

Recent survey suggests deep job dissatisfaction & discontent with flat-rate pay among service technicians https://t.co/B90I9OqHR3 @Automotive_News https://t.co/uQF1wZEhc9

Just another day at the office.. I think its horrible greedy dealer groups are petitioning to stay open, keeping flat rate guys in empty shops, thanks NADA #Covid_19 #Automotive #stillwrenching https://t.co/ANOrbQ3tjc

American CEOs make 351 times more than workers. In 1965 it was 15 to one. Folks, this is unsustainable for our economy and democracy.

Automotive Technicians- Tired of Flat Rate Pay? (Burbank) #JobSeekersSA https://t.co/iHvTKuwNRZ

Star Wars Death Star USB Car Charger - Think Geek Star Wars Automotive | $14.50 flat rate shipping on all Canadian Orders https://t.co/b5DurQQ64c

Plymouth 1965 Satellite 1/25th Scale Model Kit - Moebius Models Automotive Models | $14.50 flat rate shipping on all Canadian Orders https://t.co/M3Nwd10cfD

New Job : Automotive Tech Generous flat rate times. Matching retirement program. Modern equipment. Sign https://t.co/fwAn3G6q5U

Officially a flat rate automotive tech🥲

flat rate automotive Q&A Review

Are heavy diesel mechanics paid flat rate like automotive mechanics are?

This will depend on the shop that you work for. My shop is not flat rate pay for mechanics, but my buddy who works down the street at a different shop is paid on a flat rate. It all depends on the employer and how they have their payscales set up.

What's the shadiest thing you've seen a car mechanic do?

I’ve seen some pretty bad stuff in my 40 years wrenching. I worked for a dealership that paid a flat rate as most do. Many times I’d witnessed timing belt jobs not being done yet the customer was still getting charged over a grand per job. Alignments checks where a tire is nudged a bit so it appears it’s needed. After 3 years I quit and have slept a lot better at night since doing so. Sawdust added to the differential to quiet the rear end down I witnessed at another shop I worked at. Oil filters wiped cleaned but not changed. A huge Good Year I worked for was going out of business without informing the technicians until a week before closing. Needless to say, there were a few upset technicians. The day before they closed the techs were literally kicking the rack legs under the car instead of setting them safely and raising the cars. 10 shops in 40 years. Honda, Firestone, Good Year, Chevron, and Sears Auto Center to name a few. Out of the 10 shops, 4 were trustworthy. Not a very good average. Most of these crooked shops are flat rate with incentives to sell jobs that aren’t needed. The technicians are given a bad name. Yet most of the time it's because they are pushed to sell things so the service writer and managers can make their bonuses every month. In other words, shit rolls downhill, and automotive technicians, are at the bottom covered in it. Feel free to edit my writing skills suck. Good luck and hope this helps.

Can an Automotive Technician be paid a salary, or is hourly/flat-rate the only option?

That depends on who is hiring the Automotive Technician. Most techs can make more on flat rate than they can on hourly, and would beat most salaried rates by even more. Unless you need a body on call, and won’t have the work there to keep your tech busy, he would generally prefer the flat rate plan.

How do mortgage lenders view income for flat rate technicians? (Details in post)

my husband is a flat rate automotive technician and is slotted at $19 an hour but makes 70k a year due to being flat rate and having a tremendous amount of work. We are getting ready to buy a house - how would mortgage lenders calculate his income? Based on his W-2s showing his actual income or based on $19 an hour for 40 hours a week? (Even though he earns more)

How are auto mechanics paid? Is it a salary or commission? Or both?

I guess it depends on how you define 'mechanic' and then upon other things. If 'mechanic' means 'service technician', who is an employee of a business that sells automotive repair services, they are sometimes paid hourly, and sometimes they're paid the 'flat rate' meaning their hourly pay times the number of hours the flat rate manual says the job should take. The flat rate manual figures assume that it will take the average mechanic, with average mechanic's tools, "x.x" number of hours to perform a defined repair job on a given year, make, and model of vehicle in average condition. A highly skilled technician with excellent tools can usually get the job done more quickly than the flat rate manual says it should take, especially so if they're lucky enough for the vehicle to be in better than average condition (mostly factoring rust, corrosion, and other deterioration of parts that can complicate a job). The advantage to 'beating flat rate' would be that you can fit one or two more vehicle repairs into a work day and take home a bit more money as a result. Now, if you take your vehicle to an independent shop where the repairman is also the shop owner, he may very well still use the flat rate manual, but he will figure your bill as "x.x" hours times his posted hourly shop charge, of which his pay will be a fraction. The larger shops will generally do this, too, of course, but the shop owner or management will set the pay of the technician. The mechanic who owns his own shop can probably give or take a bit on that if necessary. The important thing to remember about a posted shop charge is that it covers the total costs of running the shop, to include rent, utilities, insurance, hazardous wastes disposal, taxes, costs of tools and equipment (figured as the cost to acquire a piece of equipment, such as a service lift or air compressor, amortized over, say, 40 hours per week for as many weeks as it's expected to be in service) and then the owner/mechanic's profit (his 'pay'). Expenses other than labor are 'overhead' and exist whether there are any customers or not. The idea is to try to always have work to do during each of 40 or more hours during the week and to have each hour pay it's share of those expenses plus the profit and/or pay of the technician making the repair. In my neck of the woods, $80-100 per hour is typical for a shop charge, but the owner and/or actual mechanic is actually only making on the order of 10-20% of that, despite the fact that people often refer to that shop charge as 'labor'. It's a whole lot more than that!

What is the most difficult thing about being an auto mechanic and why?

It sucks. The conditions are horrible and the pay is worse. I’ve worked in Air conditioned shops on high end luxury cars and it still sucked. If you don’t have the luxury of air conditioning it’s even worse. Winter isn’t bad but summer is miserable. You never really get ahead. Some jobs you come out ahead on and make time but others you lose your ass. If there are no cars coming in that need work, guess what? You don’t make any money! You see, mechanics in the US get paid on flat rate which means each job pays a set amount of time. Job A pays 2 hours so if you’re making $25/hr that means you make $50 for doing the job. $50 whether it takes you the 2 hours or whether it takes you 45 minutes or whether it takes you 4 hours due to complications. So yeah, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose but it usually evens out in the end, and that’s frustrating. The entire idea of flat rate is to beat book time but it’s more and more difficult these days. All you do is chase it and wear yourself out. When I was still a mechanic, all the old guys would say they made a lot more money back in the 80s despite having less experience, fewer tools, and less training. They warned me to get out while I still could and I took their advice! Best thing I ever did, besides going to automotive school in the first place. There’s little vacation time, poor health insurance, no 401k and no real opportunity for advancement. My plan all along was to move into management but I found that if you’re good at fixing cars, they want to keep you there because you make them money! You know what would fix it? Get rid of flat rate and make it a salaried job with bonuses and real benefits like every other professional. The current system is antiquated and takes advantage of an old school train of thought that doesn’t apply to the current state of affairs in automotive repair.

How many billable hours can a good car mechanic make per month?

That depends on a few things. One is how fast you are in diagnostics and R and R. How busy the shop you work at. How much corner cutting you plan on doing. How well you know the service writers or I should say how much of their ass you want to kiss. Here’s an example, as an experienced automotive tech with 25+ years while working for a Honda dealership in San Francisco during a slow winter month I bagged 20 hours in a 40 hour week. But in a busy summer month I bagged 118 hours in a 40 hour week. What you have to realize is with flat rate pay you have to decide if your going to be a thorough technician or a corner cutting one that doesn’t do half the work that’s supposed to be done. That’s the problem with flat rate not only does the quality of work suffer, some work isn’t even done. I quit working flat rate because I tend to sleep a lot better at night knowing that the jobs I do now are done with precision and integrity. Good luck and hope this helps.

Do auto mechanics realize they are in a dying industry with the onset of electric vehicles?

Yes I am well aware and why I left the trade when I did because I saw the writing on the wall of what was coming and what that meant for my job. The right to repair in the United States is paramount on an automobile producing pollution. Even though electric cars also produce pollution, because electricity has to come from somewhere right? They do not produce emissions out from the exhaust while you are using it, and so car manufactures are no longer forced to provide open access to an ,OBD ,port that we can all tap into by law. Even in ,Right-To-Repair ,states, it only says that if a car has an OBD port it must be accessible to anyone. It doesn’t say a car has to have an OBD port because electric cars are legally different from conventional automobiles. The ,On-Board Diagnostics Port ,is what provides the mechanic with direct diagnostic information in order to measure emissions but also make repairs, and if you don't force car manufactures to keep the emissions laws on electric cars when we phase out gasoline, we are going to completely ban/phase out the independent repair shop or middle man and that is a very scary thing for this industry. There is simply no way around that. In consequence the auto repairman and I saw it with my own eyes, it's becoming more dependent on the dealership for parts and for information, and they have to pay a hefty price and that is eating into the average wage of mechanics and cost to the customers but now I have to factor in the price of information that is no longer shared with everyone for free. Independent repair shops are taking a big hit. Tesla for example can outright say screw you to making your own repairs and even works around dealerships. It also prevents us from using ,aftermarket parts, on everything, even if the aftermarket part is just as reliable or even more reliable than the OEM. We are banned from doing so and we have to charge the customer more and take a pay cut. Update 6/12/2021: Jason Cromarty, in the comments added a great point. He said car manufacturers don't want people to be able to own the rights to the software that runs these cars, and they want to create a subscriber system where you buy the mechanical asset, which depreciates, and you renew the software license and pay for updates. This way the autos capture the secondary market and control asset usage cradle to grave. Modify the car and it won't work, software invalidated. Welcome to the future. Because most of the work that mechanics now do are warranties from the dealership, the mechanic is no longer paid by the hour for the work that they do. We go buy a ,flat rate ,system, but that flat rate system can sometimes come back to haunt you when you are faced with a difficult repair. Then you are bogged down, you're not paid by the hour, you already don't have any overtime anymore, and you're telling us that we have to pay for access to information that should be our right? Or maybe you don’t even allow us to obtain that information at all? It also encourages us to rush on your repair to make any real money. That is one of the largest reasons why I am against push to move our vehicles over to an all electric force, while we raise the gas tax as we lose infrastructure spending and ban gasoline engines. I feel this is only going to raise costs for the consumer, and make it impossible for you to repair your vehicle on your own, while providing a questionable benefit to the environment if you factor in emissions from power plants that produce the electricity that you are using up. We know this is happening because Tesla already does this. In fact John Deer tractors have been doing this for many decades and screwing over farmers. This will be very profitable for the automobile manufacturers but this will hurt the daily commuters like me the worker and you the customer. “I quit being a tech a long time ago due to changes in the industry. When I was hired originally in the 1970’s it was 50/50 of billed labor. By 1983 I was ASE master working at Georgia dealership (no longer 50/50 but great money) making $13.50 an hour, but could turn 100+ hours in a week due to gravy services if I made a deal with service writer to work late a couple of nights a week and handle a few painful warranty jobs no one wanted. Yes some other techs complained about the work I got, but they would not stay late and do the warranty. The world changed around 1990 and flat rate did not keep up with shop rate, warranty times were cut and I was down to mid 40 hour range a week and quit the dealership and went to independent shop and things improved a bit was back to 50 hours a week. Unfortunately the independent shops in the area saw a slow down in work in the mid 90’s so back to dealership and even worse than before. By the time I walked away from the automotive field in 2000 I could not consistently even turn 35 hours a week. I made more in 1984 as a mechanic than I did 15 years later in 1999 and that was in actual money not adjusted, that is how badly today’s blue collar tradesmen are being screwed compared to the 1970's.” — Rick Martin (Atlanta, GA) Just ask any independent mechanic or bodyman, and most of them were making more money 30 years ago than they are making today and there is a very real reason for that. It's been the slow removal of consumer rights over the last decades from big insurance and dealerships when it comes to automotive repair, and some autos manufactures even want to bypass the independent dealership. A lot of people are speculating on whether mechanics should unionize to protect their future rights. Electric cars will be the final nail in the coffin that was the independent repair shop and aftermarket world of automobiles. Should the largest billionaires really be in control and monopolize the cars we drive? Just like the television and refrigerator repairman, electric vehicles are not being made to be repaired. When they die they will die. That’s the way the economy is going in the next decades out. This will naturally eliminate another category of blue collar jobs from the last century. Update 7/09/21: Great interview with Steve Wozniak discussing the same issue we face with an ever growing economy based on micro computers.

Can I make six figures as an automotive mechanic?

You might, but you will be giving a lot of it back for tool, PPE, and family insurance costs. It really depends on which car line you’re working for, as well. I remember Honda techs making close to 100 flat rate hours per week, including warranty work, which pays far less than non-warranty. Honda customers love paying for dealer customer pay services, like brakes, etc. Ford, on the other hand,makes beating the flat rate warranty times nearly impossible, and those customers have a lot of cheaper alternatives that do quality repair and maintenance work.