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Today we are talking Flat Rate. The system that many technicians get paid. There are some pros and some cons to this system. Is it prefect, NO! But it is the system in place, and today we look at many side of the Flat Rate system.

Oh, and sorry about the watermark. I am testing some video editing software. That will be gone on future episodes.

Comments

    • Glen Atchison
      Glen Atchison

      Productivity is a fine line of quality vs quantity.

      about 11 months ago
    • Peter Habegger
      Peter Habegger

      Flat rate is good in theory, but in my experience at a dealership it was not good for me. Often times I would be stuck fixing other peoples' crappy jobs they did previously, plus the new job, and still only get paid for the flat labor it called for in the book. We often would be expected to do extra things for free. If there were modifications to a vehicle that made a certain job more difficult we would still get paid as if the vehicle were factory. It was a constant battle with other people for use of shop tools to get the job done. Most mechanics would not do basic things like take their own used tires out, so to get to the machine I would have to dispose of their tires just to do my job. I could continue writing many, many more things if I wanted to.

      about 11 months ago
    • Jacob T
      Jacob T

      This is my answer to the question asked about the tech stopping what he is doing to talk/help customers. First I think its a good thing to it earns trust and I think that is valuable. I also would say if the same person constantly calls asking for advice and help then maybe address that with a stern conversation about time and how you paid.

      about 1 year ago
    • Strahinja C
      Strahinja C

      The way i check my brake lights and reverse lights is when i go to the coffee shop or grocery store they normally have one of those windows where it reflects...as long as your rear of your car is facing towards it you can see if its working in your rearview mirror

      about 1 year ago
    • Adriel Rowley
      Adriel Rowley

      As a customer in the know (can get at least Mercedes factory flat) I be fine with that, knowing he/she beat the time. But that time that it took longer make it all come out even. With flat, the customer isn't surprised when the actual repair cost is 10 times more than the estimate.
      Better yet, Charles totally like your idea of communicating with the customer that going to take more than when the vehical is new. Having worked on classic Volkswagen that lived in salt environment and diesels, understand. Just keep me in touch is all I ask.
      As for the short answers, now understand the seeming discrepancy between my mechanic wanting to help and not talking. He just wants to work, even if no benefit other than the enjoyment, so like me. Now will just say nothing and if have a question, look online.
      Thank you for another great video jammed full of information.

      about 1 year ago
    • Richard Sherman
      Richard Sherman

      This video his the nail on the head.

      about 1 year ago
    • jawojnicki
      jawojnicki

      You are a PROFESSIONAL mechanic! Why aren't you changing your oil yourself?
      Was this story way back when before you went to school?

      about 1 year ago
    • HumbleMechanic
      HumbleMechanic In reply to jawojnicki

      +jawojnicki I do. I hate doing it. But I do. Lol

      about 1 year ago
    • 7c performance
      7c performance

      I get payed by the hour plus commission and I can bring home some real good money but at the same time if it's slow I bring home less but I works good for me

      about 1 year ago
    • Robert Holm
      Robert Holm

      Do you think lube techs should get flat rate?

      about 1 year ago
    • Illadelphh
      Illadelphh

      i was flat rate in an AAA independent full service shop.. tow in after tow in. diag after diag after diag, very weird problems. hard to diagnose multiple car brands everyday and still make time. Everyday was a hustle to catch back up. That's why i believe that flat rate is best when at a dealer where you can study and know ONE brand.

      about 1 year ago
    • HumbleMechanic
      HumbleMechanic In reply to Illadelphh

      Yeah in that environment I can imagine it being really really hard. I hope you have moved on to something better for your

      about 1 year ago
    • Stefan Brand
      Stefan Brand

      I quit working as a mechanic 2years ago. Sometimes it was just impossible to do everything in the given time limit, for example: A rusted old Jeep Cherokee:

      Full big maintenance (spark plugs, all filters, oil, service interval reset, lubricating joints, checking rusted brake lines, full car check including checking and calculating rust percentage if applicable), full yearly state safety/enviromental friendly check plus officially putting in this data in the PC, ordering parts & washing the car...

      I was also expected to train a freshly new mechanic at the time aswell, which I liked, but didn't get the time for.

      Time given?? Flat 1hour and 8 minutes (flat time for every model/vehicle) from the moment you get the car keys (This was when I worked in a universal shop for a fixed hourly income, still got bashed if you didn't keep up)

      about 2 years ago
    • Andrew Matheney
      Andrew Matheney

      I live in ohio and all the rust and working on cars is a pain in the ass

      about 2 years ago
    • HumbleMechanic
      HumbleMechanic In reply to Andrew Matheney

      +Andrew Matheney i can only imagine. I feel for you guys in the Rust part of the country

      about 2 years ago
    • K Nunn
      K Nunn

      I dont think you really touched on what im going through at my dealership. Beating the times is usually not a problem if you work hard and smart but if you arent getting the work its out of your hands. My work likes to the pack the shop with techs I guess to make sure all the work is going to get done but there just isnt enough work to go around. And then you have the competition, anger and jealously. We are always fighting iver the two laptops or the one inspection bay or alignment rack. Its fucking infuriating and i think most my coworkers feel the same. This to me is short sighted on the companies part yet i still like what i do, so its really a tough pill to swallow not consistently getting paid well for the work we do and what we have to put up with

      about 2 years ago
    • burnout510
      burnout510

      Flat rate in my opinion is an outdated system based on the old grease monkey analogy of guys just swapping parts and changing fluids all day on jobs like brakes, oil changes, suspension, steering etc. Its only good for light work and maintenance. Diagnosing electrical systems, computers, networking, and driveability problems correctly without guessing takes time and flat rate is always a fight against time. Warranty times have been progressively getting worse and it seems like retail is disappearing. I think dealers have a much better chance at developing knowledgeable technicians for the future who actually understand the complex vehicles they are working on today if they get rid of flat rate all together. Straight time encourages technicians to be more thorough and perform a 100% definitive diagnoses and quality repairs.

      about 2 years ago
    • Roman Ash
      Roman Ash

      My techs get paid percentage only! But I offer high percentage and warn them if they do something fishy I'll will reimburse the customer whatever the CUSTOMER feels right out of the techs paycheck! Won service of the year 2016! So it works. Techs rack up 6k and a free car.

      about 2 years ago
    • Jesus Rodriguez
      Jesus Rodriguez In reply to Roman Ash

      wouldnt you be losing money? the more they can get done a day, the more income for you. If they dont care about the time and neither do you then they might just be going slower than average.

      about 2 years ago
    • Roman Ash
      Roman Ash In reply to Roman Ash

      I pay percentage right? they can as much time as they want...

      about 2 years ago
    • Jesus Rodriguez
      Jesus Rodriguez In reply to Roman Ash

      Roman Ash I like your strategy for paying employees. One question though? Do you even track time for their work? Because they can do a great job and the customer will be satisfied because everything was done correctly BUT your employee took 2 hours to finish a 1 hour type job, leaving you on the short end of the stick.

      about 2 years ago
    • Roman Ash
      Roman Ash In reply to Roman Ash

      When you pay well, techs are afraid to lose their job... They sometimes don't appreciate it, and when they get kicked by the customer (and deserve it too), I hit hard. I'm also one of the techs (helps you monitor whats going on) and I pride myself with a best service I can provide. None of the customers know I'm the owner but they still ask for me. So I told the techs, if customers start asking for them I'll bonus nicely. Still doesn't work. Laziness is too common among the youngsters. I can count two or three techs who actually got better than I am. But they were also smart enough to open their own later, So now in a way, we are business partners.

      about 2 years ago
    • KWP
      KWP

      Straight time is a joke. The game becomes how long can you stretch the job out so you don't have to do more work. No thanks.

      about 2 years ago
    • Pat Ewing
      Pat Ewing

      I spoke with a tech after a huge insurance issue after going to Jiffy Lube to get service done on my mk6 GTI on a Sunday (because it was the only place open) and three days later having my car completely breakdown. I can't even remember all of the issues, but in layman's terms the engine was destroyed from whatever the "tech" at Jiffy Lube did. The tech at the VW dealership hooked me up and took more than enough time to explain the situation to me. Ended up being an issue with the oil filter Jiffy Lube installed on the motor, it didn't have a pressure release valve which ended up causing issues internally and ultimately destroying the engine. Jiffy Lube ended up paying for a brand new 2.0 TSI engine for my mk6 GTI and I've gone to this same dealership for general services ever since, and won't even consider going anywhere else.

      So, yes I think taking that extra few minutes to communicate with your customers is highly beneficial for not only the customer and the dealership, but long term for the technician as well!

      about 2 years ago
    • Ronald de Rooij
      Ronald de Rooij

      Generally, the best productivity of labor as a whole is where people get paid by the hour and have job security. Less stress, more commitment to the company you are working for (and vice versa). Numbers do not lie. My father was a car technician and he hated flat rates when he worked in South Africa. He felt it was a breach of trust between the owner of the dealership and him. He got his way. He was not "flat rated". When he had to go back to the Netherlands again, the dealership owner said to him, I am old, you can have the whole company for a price that is easy to afford. Why? Because trust paid off.

      about 2 years ago
    • pbfloyd13
      pbfloyd13

      I work for Mazda, cabin filters are a maintenance item that should be done on a regular basis. For the most part they are simple and easy to change out and flat rate pays almost nothing for it. The cabin air filter on Mazda 3s from it's introduction til aprox 2009 IS A FUCKING PAIN IN THE FUCKING DICK. The first time I had to do one was when I was new to the brand, saw it as previously recommended. It was sold and it took me 90 minutes ( basically the passenger side dash has to come apart the a fuse panel has to be removed, a bracket unbolted, and the 2 piece filter element has to be removed and replaced in an exact way, not to mention you have to clear codes set by removing the previously mentioned fuse panel. All that pays like 0.10 and at best this job takes 30-45 minutes. As a result no tech will recommend or be willing to perform this service item. And the dealership won't change the time and service writers won't make customers pay what it actually costs.

      This kind of issue is an inherent problem with the "flat rate" system.

      about 2 years ago
    • Randizzle Forshizzle
      Randizzle Forshizzle

      I know this video is pretty old but with flat rate pay if a job is completed by 2 techs do they both get the flat rate pay or is it split or did one tech basically work for free? In general how does flate rate pay a two person job.

      about 2 years ago
    • HumbleMechanic
      HumbleMechanic In reply to Randizzle Forshizzle

      +Randizzle Forshizzle typically we would split the total time. So it it pays 8, each get 4.

      about 2 years ago
    • Randizzle Forshizzle
      Randizzle Forshizzle

      My instructor made a comment that I kinda agreed with about customers asking questions. Most techs go to school and pay all this money to get taught in this field. And your knowledge on cars is your worth. And there's nothing wrong with explaining to the customer what's wrong with their vehicle but if they're just calling they might try to find some place cheaper or even attempt to do it themselves and you just lost yourself a job. So helping customers isn't necessarily a bad thing but like you said if you aren't working then you're not getting paid.

      about 2 years ago
    • Roman Ash
      Roman Ash In reply to Randizzle Forshizzle

      Don't you guys charge for diagnose? In my field I do explain the issue but I charge money for that "advise". They damn well know that it's easier to repair than to diagnose in many cases. When I ask my mechanic advise and going to do it myself I tip him, Even though I bring him plenty of business since I have Several cars doing 350 a DAY! Experience is more important than skill in many cases. I had a bad misfire on my bimmer, I was stuck out of town, I went in bmw dealership was about to charge my ass off, I went to a private, 650$ later we still have the issue. I then rent a car, tow this one to my home town mechanic. And I didn't give him the background story just to kind of put my mechanic to a test, (if he suggests the same I would tell I have done it already else where but they may have done a bad job so try). He end up fixing it for 250$ (bad plugs which were BRAND NEW from bmw dealership!!! I serviced it and then went to long road trip)

      about 2 years ago
    • Swarm509
      Swarm509 In reply to Randizzle Forshizzle

      Different field but as a Architectural Technologist (house design) we get clients calling all the time during a project to discuss the design or technical aspects. We charge for this time and most understand that, but we have a few who get upset that we would charge them for a 15 minute conversation or email... except they called 5 times with 15 minutes each time and it adds up.... and takes away from our other projects. As you say our expertise and knowledge and time is our commodity, we have to charge for it to make any sort of income.

      about 2 years ago
    • Noah Kuzel
      Noah Kuzel

      As an green horn, FNG, my initial response to technicians having to answer customer questions, is no. The technician is being paid to turn the wrench that fixes the car. Now should the shop foreman or the shop manager, or even the service writer, yes absolutely. However that requires moving the shop foreman from flat rate to a salary or a commission type of pay based on all the work done for the day, I don't know. It probably wouldn't hurt to have the service writer know how to answer some of the questions too.

      @HumbleMechanic, your a shop foreman now how do you feel about moving to a salaried position or a salaried plus commission that was based on all the production for the shop that day?

      about 2 years ago
    • Noah Kuzel
      Noah Kuzel

      I worked in a shop once where it was minimum wage plus 10 percent commission.

      As an employee, assuming there was no diagnosis work to do, I loved the blended system. I was guaranteed at least enough money to keep me coming in, however I was challenged to be efficient because an extra 3.00 on a tire repair was motivation enough for me to not stand around thumb in butt.

      Because after all these are people's lives and their own busy schedules we are interfering with. In the two weeks I was there I lost count of how many times I had someone come in with a flat tire because we were the closest shop, and how it was on me to diagnose the flat, fix it, balance it, mount it, and get them back on the road heading in the direction they were traveling.

      about 2 years ago
    • James Taylor
      James Taylor

      I like these your videos, probably because you show different point of views and understand and even go as far as to explain your point of view or why someone might have an opposing point of view. I'm in sales so understanding the customers point of view is always my top priority. Just a quick question about flat rate. Is the time on a repair always the same across difference models? You work on VWs so would a changing a valve cover gasket be the same on say 70 bug be the same on say a 2016 touareg? Are disk brakes the same flat rate as drum brakes? Heck I have some cars that are even a pain in the arse to change no matter how many times I have done while it because of where the filter is located, while others I can do in my sleep.

      about 2 years ago
    • Travis Callahan
      Travis Callahan

      I think in the end a technician will be as honest and diligent as his or her work ethics allow regardless of pay. I see the benifets of flat rate. I'm a machinist and when a job comes out it has a time quote that is representative of the amount of money the shop is getting paid to make the part. Machinists get paid hourly so hitting the quote is only as important as the boss hounding you makes it. I try to beat the quotes and I am very good at it but some of the people I have worked with over the years say this magical phrase " it all pays the same". Over the years I've gotten burned out at being one of the few that try to think outside the box to make these numbers work for the company because at the end of the day our success as a whole will be lowered by these clock punchers that don't necessarily give a damn about their trade. It has become more difficult to eek out a profit because of the global market and most notably China getting a lot of work that would otherwise be in shops like the one I work at. I was told by those older and more experienced that shops used to do merit profit sharing if you beat a quote you would get a percentage of the profit. That benefit (at least in my area) has all but vanished. I still work diligently and challenge myself to beat even my last time for a repeat job but it seems like a hallow victory when that job is assigned to another machinist and they get the same pat on the back taking twice or in some cases three times as long. I could see where flat rate would be beneficial to my field as well.

      about 2 years ago
    • halleffect1
      halleffect1

      I have 20yrs experience as an auto tech and do all my own work. my 09 Corolla had a recall notice for possible sticking gas pedal, so i brought the car in. dealer shaved the bottom edge of pedal to prevent possible interference with floor mat, simple mod.
      well, here's my flat rate story- they didn't mention and i didn't authorize a vehicle inspection, but they did one anyway. adviser calls me and says my front brakes, battery and air filter are bad. I declined the work.
      i get my car back and on a hunch in the parking lot, pop the hood to find the air intake not put back together- the filter is just laying in there. I bitched about that and went home. then a week later car won't start, i find the battery terminal is loose. little while later I find a stripped lug nut on driver front wheel side. BTW, nobody has ever touched this car except me before this dealer trip. Then the capper- my driver side CV boot is throwing grease. the reason? large pin-hole leak in the boot. guess what- they don't fail that way.
      All I can guess is this damage was intentional and malicious because the tech did the inspection and had to put the car back together without getting paid.

      about 2 years ago
    • 68CamaroRS/SS
      68CamaroRS/SS In reply to halleffect1

      halleffect1 good because if he messed up an easy job imagine how a hard job would turn out

      about 2 years ago
    • halleffect1
      halleffect1 In reply to halleffect1

      Could have been just that 1 bad apple, and he could have moved on to another shop. but I haven't been back either way.

      about 2 years ago
    • 68CamaroRS/SS
      68CamaroRS/SS In reply to halleffect1

      halleffect1 I'd never go back to that shop again

      about 2 years ago
    • halleffect1
      halleffect1 In reply to halleffect1

      only thing I found up front was the intake. the tech put that back together and scurried off. The other sins weren't uncovered soon enough. And then my word against theirs, losing battle. what also pissed me off is i didn't ask for an inspection anyway.

      about 2 years ago
    • TheRebuilt1
      TheRebuilt1 In reply to halleffect1

      Wow but then again i'm not surprised after turning wrenches for many years. There is always the tech that feels they are owed those hours and customers should go with what service writer recommended and have been at dealerships where that tech> writer relationship drives a lot of bs work. Im surprised you didn't go back to service manager or dealer gm to voice your findings.

      about 2 years ago
    • Reckless entertainment
      Reckless entertainment

      I think base pay+ commission is the best happy medium. I worked at a shop that was hourly and the pay wasn't worth the amount of work we did. They recently changed the pay to base pay plus commission so you could almost make 50% more depending on the amount of work you do. It just gives more incentive to work.

      about 2 years ago
    • EvilJ069
      EvilJ069

      I hate flag hours (AKA flat rate). Not only are the book times vastly conflicting at times, as HM mentioned, but the shop still expects you to do things around the place for free, or how any of the decent paying jobs are given to techs with seniority, while new hires get stuck with changing wiper blades... Or if there aren't any customers, you don't get jack, but they still want you to take out the trash or something

      about 2 years ago
    • 68CamaroRS/SS
      68CamaroRS/SS In reply to EvilJ069

      EvilJ069 I live on a lake on Cape Cod I don't have a lawn...it's a beach front property that I own at the ripe old age of 28 loser...don't you have some Leafy is Here videos to watch??? That will get you far in life

      about 2 years ago
    • 68CamaroRS/SS
      68CamaroRS/SS In reply to EvilJ069

      redauwg911 they wouldn't make it pass 7:30 am at my job...they'd piss their pants after getting yelled at by some 260 lb, tatted, Harley riding, muscle Forman, I've been doing this job since 18 and I've seen many people literally leave crying, but that's what separates the men from the video game playing boys...life comes at you fast...even faster when you're a baby

      about 2 years ago
    • redauwg911
      redauwg911 In reply to EvilJ069

      KMike68Camaro - Like you said, just little snowflake trolls.  They have a lot to learn about life.

      about 2 years ago
    • 68CamaroRS/SS
      68CamaroRS/SS In reply to EvilJ069

      redauwg911 I love how these dumb people think I'm like 60 myself I'm under 30 it's just I was taught to respect my elders and to realize that most older workers are the ones to pass on knowledge...also it's called respect and paying your dues...a older person is 100% in the right to have the choice to pick the easier work if that what he or she wants...the kids have a hard lesson in life and respect to learn...I'd be embarrassed to let a 60 year old man do the difficult job at work while I do the easy work...I'd get smacked so hard by my parents if they saw that...plus I'd just be embarrassed for myself....snowflakes like Evil and Chris need to grab life by the nuts and man up

      about 2 years ago
    • EvilJ069
      EvilJ069 In reply to EvilJ069

      KMike68Camaro I'm 34,you really should respect your elders, I mean after all, I've put a lot more time in on being alive, so you really need to defer to my far more vast experience

      about 2 years ago
    • jpalm32
      jpalm32

      Also an incentive to find problems not there. For those not very ethical, which is common.
      Flat rate is BS! You are at the mercy of factors not under your control, Such as lousey owner.

      about 2 years ago
    • HumbleMechanic
      HumbleMechanic In reply to jpalm32

      In this business and many others, we are always that way.

      about 2 years ago
    • steveinstereo
      steveinstereo

      Great video! This is a hot topic. If shops would switch over to hourly it would be DISASTROUS! They would hire LESS people and load those hired up with MORE work to suck as much value out of them as possible. I know because I've worked hourly before and got completely taken advantage of.

      about 2 years ago