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      11-06-2010, 11:06 AM   #105
I ask the questions you're afraid to ask.
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Drives: 335xi
Join Date: Sep 2009
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Originally Posted by ENINTY View Post
Your analogy is not valid in this case. You are using an example of labor-hour contract where it is agreed that the Lawyer bills by the hour. Lawyers bill by the hour because in most cases they do not know exactly what they are getting into as the case progresses. The price for the battery registration is quoted from the dealer as the price for the job. The dealer gave the basis of the price by telling the customer the labor to do the work was 1.7 hours. It's called a "basis of estimate". The price of the job is determined by multiplying the 1.7 hours times the shop rate posted on the wall of the service department. The argument has been that the 1.7 hours was deemed too much because jsublime thinks knows the actual time for the battery registration to be completed is around 5 minutes (he does know it is less than 1.7 hours –which is a valid point). What I pointed out was that the job is not just 5 minutes for the tech to do the work, and the dealer as other labor costs outside of the Tech's effort that has to be covered either in the number of hours charged for the job, in the labor rate charged, or a combination of both.

In the auto repair business the book-rate for a particular repair is ALWAYS over estimated. Every professional auto mechanic tries to (and usually does) beat the book hour estimate because he gets paid by the job, not hourly, and the more jobs he can do in a day makes him more money. The reason for this is because not every repair goes as planned and the car may need to come back in for additional (repair-warranty) work on the repair job that the mechanic then has to do for free (because he was already paid for the job). There is no way you’d ever go to a mechanic and agree to pay him by the hour to make a repair on your car; it is why professional auto repair facilities quote you an estimated price for the job. It is why the auto insurance industry instilled the “book rate” concept for repairs, because the insurance company can’t control the cost of the repair if the mechanic is charging by the hour.

I'm not saying the dealer is not probably making a good deal of profit on the battery registration, because he is. I'm not trying to justify it either; I'm mererly trying to explain it. One of the vary reasons I bought my BT scan tool was so I could register the battery in my car when the time comes to replace it.
That is technically incorrect. The mechanic gets paid by the hour - the shop gets paid by the job.

The problem is that many shops are just plain stupid or don't explain the pricing properly.

If the dealer tells me that a repair will cost me $170 then I can decide if that is worth it to me. If they tell me that it'll cost 1.7 hours @$100 an hour then I can understand that too.

I understand the book rate too, but it is hard to justify a 1.7 hour book rate when they hand the car back to you 15 minutes later.