Thursday, March 15, 2007

Singing the Flat Rate Blues

Here's a note that was forwarded to one of our editors by Tony Molla, VP of Communications at ASE. I've deleted the e-mail address for the original writer, because I've not asked if I can show it. But he raises a valid point, and it is one that many technicians have written to me about. However, the majority of technicians that contact me are from independent repair shops. It is interesting to note that this technician works for a new car dealership.

Please let me know your experiences and your expectations. E-mail me at

-----Original Message----- Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 9:48 PMTo: Web MasterSubject: Downward Trends
I am writing only to ask for an article consideration. I believe some research should be done on the downward trend on the manufactures labor times and how they are affecting the quality of automotive repairs. I have been a technician for 25 years, an ASE Master with L1, GM A Tech and Tech with Mercedes, And Volvo and other makes and am finding that we are pressured more and more on CSI and paid less to diagnose and repair, actually the particular high end line I work with now diagnosis is on a pay menu per trouble code (if there is one present), most of which pay nothing anyway. Is this how it is going to be? This is the main reason why Techs rush through diagnosis and incorrectly fix the car causing poor CSI scores and parts audits. The dealership I am working for gets a big chunk of the customer and manufactures dollar, the Techs get only a meager percentage of that and we are always the ones at fault when a car has a repeat problem. Looking around I see more and more frustrated Techs in this industry, they want to be treated with respect and have the pay that is equal to their training and expertise. Plumbers get paid 4 times as much per hour than I do, does that make them more skilled?, Absolutely not. So why are they not willing to pay skilled people for quality work?, because car sales are down due to the brand specific customer does not want to buy that brand anymore because the Tech no longer gets paid to find or repair the problem so the problems with that car never get fixed. Maybe it is more cost effective to just throw parts at it and cross your fingers! I am sure this topic has already raised a few eyebrows over the past few years but the time is now to fix it before the trend hits rock bottom. Thanks, sincerely (name withheld)

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