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#1 fullsizeblazin

 
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Posted 28 February 2017 - 08:06 PM

Well I am quickly approaching my 4 year anniversary from being freed from the stealership/flat rate world. For those of you that are left behind: has anything improved, or has it gotten worse as I presume it has? With the cars that I am seeing, they sure are adding more electronics in place of things that should be manually operated, like gear shifts and ignitions. When I see this stuff, I just think to myself how horrible the warranty times are to fix the junk and how there must be lots of recalls and TSBs to get it to work half ass.

When I look at job ads online, basically every dealer in my state is hiring techs and lots of other positions. I can almost guarantee the pay rate per flat rate hour has either stayed the same or decreased while the warranty/customer pay times have dropped like a ball. For the sake of those still in the trenches, I hope you have seen some improvement.

#2 von schlieffen

 
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Posted 01 March 2017 - 05:05 PM

We were very busy last year with recalls and the OEM's certification requirements for technicians performing them got much more stringent. As a result, they were trying pretty hard to recruit techs from other dealers. We ended up with a few new guys but nobody with any real ability. As of now, I would say 75% or more of our work is warranty or recall, and most of the rest is prepaid maintenance. Very little actual customer pay work. Despite this I had a very good year in 2016, but it does seem we have too many mouths to feed in the shop at this point. The usual seasonal dip seemed to be quite a bit worse than usual this year as a result. The skills gap is also growing between the newcomers who now don't have a clue (even though they hold expensive tech school diplomas), and those who have been around the block for a while. Due to management's stupidity I don't see this getting any better any time soon. The company cries poor but brings in C-techs with zero experience at around $25/hr, who promise to obtain the needed certifications, but then never do because they're too dumb to pass a test, or are fearful of the "hard" jobs they might start getting. Makes no sense to me. As far as warranty times go, most are achievable, but barely. A few recalls actually pay well but these are the ones that cause arguments about who gets them. Most others, if you half-ass them and rush, you can do it in the allotted time. It seems like if you hold the right manufacturer certifications, it isn't a bad time to be a dealer tech, as those certifications are really in demand. If you don't, you're stuck doing the dumb shit, listening for squeaks and rattles, etc. I don't mind the flat rate aspect of it these days, but that's assuming there is a 40-hour guarantee to fall back on. I wouldn't be so optimistic if I worked at a place without that.



#3 JDTECH

 
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Posted 01 March 2017 - 07:31 PM

Well I don't work for a dealership, but from my friends that work there they all tell me it is warranty & recalls. The thing they bitch the most about is diagnostic time. The most they can get is .2 or .3. According to them they are dealing with not only the traditional problems, but there are a slew of other problems. Like the nav screen goes blank, GPS doesn't work, Radio makes noise and all the other bullshit electrical problems that goes wrong with all of this unneeded stuff. Not a lot of money to make there. Although I don't work at the dealership, I still see there TSB's. The last one I did I had to flash a module and it took 45 minutes including road test. TSB paid .2. In the TSB it stated to hook up at battery supply to the vehicle because it could take up to 40 minutes to complete. .2? go figure...

           On the independent side, it the same circus different clowns. I will tell you it seems to be getting worse. The gravy hogs that haven't kept up are making the shop look bad. With advancement in auto repair & diagnosic these guys are very far behind. I use to laugh when I saw there write ups, but now I get pissed. These guys know nothing. Remember the saying "you don't know what you don't know?"  One of our Rhodes scholars got a CEL with a P0420 last week. He sold a tail pipe because there was a small leak in it. He said & I quote "any exhaust leak in the system can cause this code." You guessed it, it came back on Monday. It need a converter..... New driveability tech that we hired a month ago. You know this type of person, smooth talker, can fix anything by looking at the vehicle without any testing and hasn't had a comeback in 20 years. Gets and GM vehicle with a evap leak. 10 minutes I see him underneath the car with his nose up in there walking around underneath it for 10 minutes. I go over there and ask him what he is doing. He says he is smelling for the evap leak. I remind him where the smoke machine is.  He says he doesn't use a smoke machine because his nose is very sensitive and can find any evap leak this way. I almost fell over when he said that. He then sells a gas cap, it came back a week later. I found the vent valve not closing.....The skill gap is getting bigger & bigger by the day. My guess in 10 years 1/2 of the shops, dealers and chain stores will shut down. BTW when are they going to stop putting up a parts chain store on every corner?

 

 



#4 Karrpilot

 
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Posted 01 March 2017 - 08:40 PM

We just hired a guy with Cadillac dealership experience. What he tells me is pretty much what I already knew. That the dealers today are hiring anybody right out of highschool. Many of them with only the basic auto shop classes under their belts. At least those guys didn't waste well over $30K on a worthless UTI, Lincoln Tech, or a Wyo Tech slice of toilet paper that's commonly called a graduation certificate.

 

He also said that the auto mechanics union is a complete joke. I ran into that 12 years ago with the last bend over contract. The one where the dealers ramrodded the Saturday service down the throats of the techs, had the health insurance decimated, and later, took a 3 year wage freeze. Along with forcing us into the free multi-point inspection forms to fill out. With each and every recall and warranty ticket we snagged. Customer pay? What is that?

 

Until this profession is finally looked upon as a trade, don't think for a moment it's going to get any better. I also see that TSB labor times. 0.4 to do a reflash is on the generous side. That's for only one module. Yesterday, I had to reflash one of our fleet vehicles. By the time I got our laptop updated, found the file, hooked up the vehicle, did the work, and a road test, it was well over an hour. Luckily, I wasn't paid flat rape to do it...........


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#5 Cooters94

 
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Posted 02 March 2017 - 02:51 PM

I'm almost 2 years at the county now. it's a good gig, the boss can be a jerk, but thats anywhere you go. Its a gravy job, i come in and fix what i can and go home. no bullshit. i do at times wonder about going back to the indy or possibly a dealer for the money, but i never want to go on flat rate again. i do feel like automotive technology is passing me by. we have training every now and then, but its not enough.



#6 Mike N

 
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Posted 02 March 2017 - 07:05 PM

I mounted tires today for .4 while the hourly guy did inspections and wallet flushes.

 

I'm an ASE Master tech with 30 years in the same shop and I've been dumbed down to head tire changer.


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#7 Karrpilot

 
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Posted 04 March 2017 - 05:05 PM

Mike, was that 0.4 for the tires a complete set? Back in the day of the Firestone tire debacle, Ford was only paying us 1.0 to do all 5 tires. I would have liked to see a clown from FMC do that on a Chicago vehicle. Between trying to find the missing wheel lock key, wrestling with a spare tire winch that had never been down, and getting a set of 75 series tires to bead up on aftermarket wide rims, good luck with that. Eventually, us journeymen made the apprentices do it.

 

I remember some retard from FMC corporate telling us that this was a golden opportunity for us to upsell. Easy multi-point inspection time. Right. We actually had customers pissed off at us. They were getting a complete set of tires installed for FREE. What part of FREE didn't they understand? Most customers only want to return back to the dealer when they are ready to purchase another vehicle. And most don't want to even under those circumstances.


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#8 Mike N

 
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Posted 04 March 2017 - 05:19 PM

Yes KP, that .4 was for all four mounted, balanced and new valve stems. If I got paid 1.0 for that, I'd do tires all day long and leave the .3 lof/rotate tickets for everyone else.


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#9 L1Tech

 
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Posted 04 March 2017 - 10:11 PM

Yes KP, that .4 was for all four mounted, balanced and new valve stems. If I got paid 1.0 for that, I'd do tires all day long and leave the .3 lof/rotate tickets for everyone else.

 

And I thought I was getting screwed working at an independent being paid .8 to mount four tires. Fortunately we don't stock tires and don't sell very many.

 

We get paid a whopping .2 for a rotate: that's right, 12 minutes to pull the vehicle in, hunt for the missing wheel lock key, beat on the aluminum wheels that are welded onto the hubs by corrosion, grind the 1/2" of corrosion from the mating surfaces on the wheels, rotate, dick around retraining the stupid TPMS sensors, and then road test.

 

Needless to say, I leave bullshit jobs like that to the hourly paid apprentice whenever possible.


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#10 Karrpilot

 
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Posted 05 March 2017 - 08:50 AM

If you guys can believe this, we were paid an hour to do an LOF and a tire rotate. This did not include a wheel balance either. Up until the late 1990's, when Ford started to ramrod their fast lube and quick lane concepts down the dealership's throats. So before that happened, I was more than willing to fully check out a vehicle during a service. I upsold like crazy, and made money even if the customer didn't buy anything.

 

Another thing that we had was an etched in stone lunch hour. Noon until 1:00 pm. Monday-Friday. The service advisors knew it. You need service work done during this time? Here were your options. Come back later, make an appointment, or wait until 1:00. Even for a head lamp bulb. This I liked. The dealership is not going to be staking in the For Sale sign into the earth over 1 or 2 lost pissed off customers.

 

When that quicky no wait concept got started, along with the free inspections and plunging labor times, that was when it started getting ugly. Throw in your Saturday shift, and the tool boxes started to roll out the door. Now look at the quality and knowledge of the hired help these days. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.


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#11 Mike N

 
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Posted 05 March 2017 - 01:45 PM


We get paid a whopping .2 for a rotate: that's right, 12 minutes to pull the vehicle in, hunt for the missing wheel lock key, beat on the aluminum wheels that are welded onto the hubs by corrosion, grind the 1/2" of corrosion from the mating surfaces on the wheels, rotate, dick around retraining the stupid TPMS sensors, and then road test.

 

Needless to say, I leave bullshit jobs like that to the hourly paid apprentice whenever possible.

 

We get .0 for a rotate and .2 for rotate & balance.

 

I would leave that for the hourly guys, but out of the three of them, only one would do it. The other two think they're God's gift to the shop and claim that "they don't get paid" for it, so they refuse to do them. Management coddles these two so they pass the shit on to the two flat rate guys and the two goobers stand around playing on their phones instead. 

 

Well, my 30 year anniversary at this shop is Thursday, April 13th. I have a second interview in the next week or so at a good independent shop.... and it looks promising. If all goes well, my last day at the day care I currently work at will be Friday, April 14th. Goodbye flat rate.


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#12 ok44

 
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Posted 06 March 2017 - 10:05 PM

Zero for a rotate and .2 for balancing all four? Wow. I thought things were bad when I  bailed on the flat rate system some years ago but that is flat disgusting.

 

And somewhere some snide little Yuppie in management who has never touched a tool in his life is probably getting a bonus for coming up with that BS.



#13 LarryEC

 
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Posted 07 March 2017 - 06:49 AM

The company cries poor but brings in C-techs with zero experience at around $25/hr, who promise to obtain the needed certifications, but then never do because they're too dumb to pass a test, or are fearful of the "hard" jobs they might start getting.


What the (four letter word). I'd kill for $25/hr.

#14 LarryEC

 
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Posted 07 March 2017 - 07:04 AM

One of our Rhodes scholars got a CEL with a P0420 last week. He sold a tail pipe because there was a small leak in it. He said & I quote "any exhaust leak in the system can cause this code." You guessed it, it came back on Monday. It need a converter..... New driveability tech that we hired a month ago. You know this type of person, smooth talker, can fix anything by looking at the vehicle without any testing and hasn't had a comeback in 20 years. Gets and GM vehicle with a evap leak. 10 minutes I see him underneath the car with his nose up in there walking around underneath it for 10 minutes. I go over there and ask him what he is doing. He says he is smelling for the evap leak. I remind him where the smoke machine is.  He says he doesn't use a smoke machine because his nose is very sensitive and can find any evap leak this way. I almost fell over when he said that.


Loooooooooool. Why does your boss hire these guys? Entertainment? I'm sure they're not making him any money with all the comebacks and wasted time.

#15 LarryEC

 
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Posted 07 March 2017 - 07:33 AM

We get paid a whopping .2 for a rotate: that's right, 12 minutes to pull the vehicle in, hunt for the missing wheel lock key, beat on the aluminum wheels that are welded onto the hubs by corrosion, grind the 1/2" of corrosion from the mating surfaces on the wheels, rotate, dick around retraining the stupid TPMS sensors, and then road test.


.2 ... I wouldn't even grind the corrosion or mess with the TPMS or road test. (four letter word) that.

#16 fullsizeblazin

 
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Posted 07 March 2017 - 08:21 AM

Loooooooooool. Why does your boss hire these guys? Entertainment? I'm sure they're not making him any money with all the comebacks and wasted time.


Funny thing is, that guy works at an independent for now. He will eventually go back to a stealership and be regarded as a golden god for his "hour flagging ability". I don't know how many of those "I can diag Evap leaks just by smelling for fumes" kinds of "super techs" I've seen over the years. Legends in their own mind.

That's also the Same "tech" that keeps the brake lathe and trans flush machine in his bay. Has the biggest snap on tool box that is empty... has the service managers name on his knee pads...

#17 von schlieffen

 
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Posted 08 March 2017 - 04:49 PM

Those labor times mentioned above are criminal. Even our 0.4 for a rotate and 0.4 per tire mounted/balanced isn't exactly generous, considering all the stuff that can go wrong- aftermarket wheels, wheel locks, beads that won't seat, etc. I don't get excited about doing tires, period.



#18 Karrpilot

 
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Posted 11 March 2017 - 01:43 PM

And it's not as if doing tires has gotten any easier. Although we do have a Rotary tire lift, many shops do not. Nor will they. Too expensive. Yeah, right. And a mechanic's back injury is any cheaper.

 

That tire lift is sweet. Only problem is too many guys needing it all at once, and trying to get it across the shop floor.


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#19 Deeks

 
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Posted 12 March 2017 - 01:37 AM

As technology increases the tech's wages will decrease ... Moore's other law. We now have a $110k (CDN $ + taxes) vehicle that has a big 'iPad' screen in the middle of the dash and an OLED organic instrument display and that's it so if the network or one of the modules link to these two components goes down so do your displays, audio control, climate control and sometimes the ability to even start the vehicle. Of coarse as expected due to the IT cost of tech support and constant software re-writes the warranty times are rarely more than .7 to fault trace anything and almost always result in e-mail tag with the tech hot line (no phone calling allowed). Said vehicle has a master computer, 5 domain controllers, it's own ethernet network (it appears as an IP address in the scan tool) a USB network, CAN HI, LOW and MID and LIN networks plus 2 separate SRS networks and they are all talking at once so you can see what sort of network collision problems will arise with a system such as this. Anything goes wrong and there is usually no less than 40 DTCs which you have to sift through to isolate the problem.

 

The latest recall is to replace the IC curtain bolts (11 each side) which involves removing the headliner. Now under the VSTG warranty times headliner removal pays 4.1 hrs but because Volvo f'd up and ... I quote .... "the IC retaining bolts may break within 48 hrs of installation and must be checked before vehicle delivery so a stop delivery is in effect until the bolts are replaced" .... now this would not be a bad job except they are only going to pay 2.1 Hrs for the recall !!! On top of that these are M4 so if they are broken or break removing them then your drilling them out for .1 each without drilling into or dimpling the outer body sheet metal !

 

This POS XC-90 had as of my record keeping 116 recall/issues after only one year after initial release and now we are at about 145 and counting and it won't end soon. And of coarse the turds who buy these vehicles have zero patience as does management after they have raped them in the finance office and are now trying to save their own asses so every owner is a Platinum service client and two owners who foolishly bought ones in the first 10,000 made traded them in for newer ones as they had far too many issues with them.

 

Fortunately thanks to an insurance settlement for a vehicle accident where I got rear ended at high speed while sitting in a traffic line up I can walk away from this shit when I feel like it ... or at least limp away :( on top of that I'm 4.5 years from retirement age so I don't much give a shite about this stuff anymore but from the so called techs I deal with now and those who come by seeking an apprenticeship I can honestly say this trade is in for a major crash very soon. I pity the unknowing clients.



#20 L1Tech

 
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Posted 12 March 2017 - 02:59 AM

"I'm 4.5 years from retirement age so I don't much give a shite about this stuff anymore but from the so called techs I deal with now and those who come by seeking an apprenticeship I can honestly say this trade is in for a major crash very soon. I pity the unknowing clients."

 
 
Personally, I can't wait for the crash. I'm sitting back and waiting for the day when there's nobody left to fix these vehicles because the greed of the industry has driven everyone with any competence out of it. Without people around to fix things, transportation in this country would grind to a halt very quickly and when it happens maybe they will learn to respect us and stop trying to pay fast food wages for highly skilled work. I'll enjoy watching it; I don't give a shit, my car runs. 

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