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Labor rate, billing, random question

Discussion in 'In the Office' started by greerco, Oct 4, 2018.

  1. greerco

    greerco Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2014
    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Spencerville
    Hi I am the owner and the only mechanic of a heavy equipment and truck repair business. I offer mobile service and I have a shop I work out of. First and foremost im a mechanic, some how this business I created is doing pretty good after 4 years of some pretty hard knocks. I have some questions and thought this place might be a good spot of answers


    1: When u do a mobile call what is a good rate to charge and do you charge per hour or a rate from the minute you leave your shop until you get back to the shop or ?? for some reason i always feel after a call like i didn't charge enough....

    2: I get a lot of odd jobs that keeps me on the phone and internet doing research and trying to find odd parts and info. What do you charge for that time spent? It can take a day out of the week at times

    3. Im finding it hard to schedule jobs. rarely it seems to go as planned. I tend to get a big engine job in the middle of a bunch of small jobs (on the road) and its a lot of back and fourth (new clients call me, i go because i want the new business but the older clients are waiting, many conflicts like this )...Gotta do the little jobs to keep the cash flow and then at the same time do a big job for a chunk of cash....but theres only one of me. Ive thought about hiring a guy to help but it always goes to **** because the quality of work i can afford to pay for is not the best. I have no real debt but my over head is big for having a shop and mobile services... (a lot of equipment and insurances and rent to pay)

    4. On the mobile side of the business people often laugh at me for the set up i run around in. I have a hard time with the thought of costs involved in running around in big truck all the time, its not cheap. If you go out to do a 3 hour call and you need to travel for 100kms each way to get to the job its going to cost enough in fuel to drive there and use a screw driver and a wrench. Also its physically a lot to drag around the city. But more often then not, recently ive needed a crane or a compressor to help out, ive made do without but....This being said i am set up with a boom truck and larger tool trailer, i just dont need it very often and the cost to keep it parked are enough to question it.

    5: This may be a odd thing to say after all of this, but at times i feel like i wanna just get a job and quit all this. But then i think, what else am i going to do? I could go pull wrenches for someone else but when i was doing that before i was worked to the bone and stressed as all hell. Knowing my boss was making rich off me was a hard thing to swallow when the finical reward wasn't there. Call me confused...i dont know..

    Ive got many ideas and directions id like to take my business but other than the physical side of doing it, i don't know how to get to where i want it to go.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks
     
  2. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Messages:
    2,141
    Location:
    Grass Valley, Ca
    Charge full hours shop to shop plus $1-2.50 per mile shop to shop. The dealerships do it, so should you

    Describe this a little more. I don't usually charge for this service, I feel it is more like advertisement, it helps the customer understand I know what I am doing and can fix things others won't take the time to figure out.

    That is why the dealerships charge as much as they do, got to cover the help. I schedule Tuesdays and Thursdays ahead of time, the rest of the week will fall in with hair on fire calls/overflow, and I leave Monday open as long as possible for office time.
    [/QUOTE]
     
    greerco likes this.
  3. Tractorguy

    Tractorguy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2015
    Messages:
    173
    Location:
    NC
    1: When u do a mobile call what is a good rate to charge and do you charge per hour or a rate from the minute you leave your shop until you get back to the shop or ?? for some reason i always feel after a call like i didn't charge enough....

    I charge from when my truck starts to when I make it home or I split it between customers when doing multiple jobs. Charge the same rate working or driving. If someone brought work to you, you’d be working instead of driving so that’s money lost why charge less. I ad a service accessory fee 8% of my labor in shop and 12% of my labor in field. This goes to overhead costs

    2: I get a lot of odd jobs that keeps me on the phone and internet doing research and trying to find odd parts and info. What do you charge for that time spent? It can take a day out of the week at times

    Going back to work, if your weren’t looking up parts you’d be working all you have to charge is your labor otherwise you’re giving it away. If they don’t like it let them run for parts or get what you need and they’ll see the headache

    3. Im finding it hard to schedule jobs. rarely it seems to go as planned. I tend to get a big engine job in the middle of a bunch of small jobs (on the road) and its a lot of back and fourth (new clients call me, i go because i want the new business but the older clients are waiting, many conflicts like this )...Gotta do the little jobs to keep the cash flow and then at the same time do a big job for a chunk of cash....but theres only one of me. Ive thought about hiring a guy to help but it always goes to **** because the quality of work i can afford to pay for is not the best. I have no real debt but my over head is big for having a shop and mobile services... (a lot of equipment and insurances and rent to pay)

    Small jobs pay more than big jobs, I’m having a hard time with this one too. You can get hemmed up quick. I learned from working at a dealership a small truck with boom can make “quicker” money with less overhead but not be as equipped. But that’s partly why you have a shop in the first place. But I’m losing work because I can’t get to it fast enough.


    5: This may be a odd thing to say after all of this, but at times i feel like i wanna just get a job and quit all this. But then i think, what else am i going to do? I could go pull wrenches for someone else but when i was doing that before i was worked to the bone and stressed as all hell. Knowing my boss was making rich off me was a hard thing to swallow when the finical reward wasn't there. Call me confused...i dont know..

    F that

    Ive got many ideas and directions id like to take my business but other than the physical side of doing it, i don't know how to get to where i want it.

    What is your ultimate goal, if you have something to work towards achieving it will eventually show.

    Thanks[/QUOTE]
     
    greerco likes this.
  4. thepumpguysc

    thepumpguysc Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,614
    Occupation:
    Master Inj.Pump rebuilder
    Location:
    Sunny South Carolina
    I have a question for you..
    Do you ADVERTISE "mobile-on-site" work?? or are u getting "stuck" doing it??
    You have A SHOP for a reason.. if they cant get the equipment TO YOU for some reason, charge for the call.. TIME & MILEAGE..
    THATS the first question I ask my customers.. can u get it to my shop?? IF NOT, its gonna be ALOT MORE expensive..
    & that last sentence makes them think alittle harder..
    THEN comes> well how much more?? I try to price it to where I DONT have to go.. Lol.. $2.00 a mile & FULL labor rate..from "now" until I get back & if they say, When can u get here?..
    Well, that's just "free" money..
    Somebody should pay for when u start packing the truck till it gets un-packed.?? & if they balk at the cost..they were warned..
    Since I've adopted THAT course of action.. my shop time is RARELY interrupted..

    Should u work for someone else?? If your MAKING MONEY & paying the bills.. NO.. nobody ever got rich working for someone else.. Hell, I know guys that do work for someone else & they cant pay their bills..
    None of us got into this "wrench turnin business" thinking we were gonna get rich..
    we mostly just got tired of the B.S.!!! {remember?}
     
  5. Twisted

    Twisted Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Messages:
    379
    Location:
    MN
    One quick thought. If your previous employer was getting rich off of your labor, implement the same policy and get rich off of someone else's labor.
    Now that your are a business owner, are you sure he was really getting rich from your labor?
    Beyond that, good advice here so far.
     
    greerco likes this.
  6. Ct Farmer

    Ct Farmer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2016
    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Exactly what thepumpguy said. Charge them and make it worth your while. They WILL pay because they can't or won,t fix it themselves. Charge something if research time is excessive. Like if you spend a day looking for a $50 part that takes 10 minutes to put in.

    When I worked for a service firm (electronics) we charge the second we left the shop untill we returned at full hourly rate. If you put 4 techs in a car at $90 an hour the customer was paying $360 an hour for us to get there. They needed us and they paid it with few complaints ever. Really added up when you had to fly there.

    Running a wholesale nursery we grow and dig trees for a living. People are always asking us to come and dig or transplant a tree. We did it for awhile, hated it and felt as you do - like we gave it away. So we tripled the rate and set a minimum. If they pay at least we make a buck.

    Point is , if you are giving your time away you won't be happy and won't like what you are doing.
     
  7. AzIron

    AzIron Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2016
    Messages:
    246
    Location:
    Az
    I have heard this from a few guys if your overly busy it's time to raise your prices
     
    StanRUS and old-iron-habit like this.
  8. old-iron-habit

    old-iron-habit Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    Messages:
    3,232
    Occupation:
    Retired Cons't. Supt./Hospitals
    Location:
    Moose Lake, MN

    Very true. If you get every job you go after your rates are to low. A tire truck around here cost us $120.00 an hour point to point and all else is extra. They also don't leave the shop without a credit card number on file. Another thing to consider with new customers that you don't know.
     
    StanRUS likes this.
  9. Numbfingers

    Numbfingers Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2016
    Messages:
    111
    Occupation:
    mechanic
    Location:
    Alaska
    I'm only two years into my mobile repair business but I can tell you that to keep the scheduling part easier as a one man show sometimes you just have to say no to new customers and always be straight up with current customers. Don't say you'll be there in a couple days when you got work stacked up. I've repeatedly had to tell customers it will be 2 weeks, sometimes longer. And they wait, or pay me overtime for a Saturday. Otherwise you'll drive yourself crazy trying to make everyone happy and sacrifice all your personal time.
    I don't drive a standard service truck like a Kenworth, Pete, or F550, and I'm okay with that because my schedule is always 2-3 weeks full, and I haven't turned down any job due to my truck. If your truck works for you and you're always busy, who cares. But, having a crane is pretty handy and saves on the back. Good luck!
     
  10. thepumpguysc

    thepumpguysc Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,614
    Occupation:
    Master Inj.Pump rebuilder
    Location:
    Sunny South Carolina
    Good point Numb!!!!
    Its NOT EASY to say "no".. I use to drive myself crazy "pleasing everyone".. simply because I USE TO only work on weekends.. I had a regular 40 work week & did my own thing on the weekends.. & "HAD TO" fit everybody in, so I thought..
    Come to find out.. they WILL wait if you explain the situation..
    In my case I was saving the customer hundreds & hundreds of $ vs the local fuel shop.. & they knew it.. SO they'd wait..
     
    old-iron-habit and DMiller like this.
  11. thepumpguysc

    thepumpguysc Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,614
    Occupation:
    Master Inj.Pump rebuilder
    Location:
    Sunny South Carolina
    Just to resurrect an old thread,,Heres a good example..
    That tractor w/ the Yanmar engine I was working on>>
    I worked on getting that injector out & fixed for 3 1/2 hours.. I DID MANAGE to get it apart ON the engine..
    But after 3 attempts to fix the nozzle from sticking, I gave up & ordered a new injector PLUS the tool to remove it..{74.00}
    Who pays for me "trying"..?? A whole injector is 88.00 & my labor is 65.00.. I dam sure cant charge the customer for me "trying" for 31/2 hours.!!! {altho some would}
    So I charged him 1 hour, 65.00.. because that's what I would have charged him IF the tip fix worked.. actually it would have been 85.00.. I charge 20.00 to take 1 apart & fix..{ & I did it 3x}
    & I charged him 65.00 to swap out his old injector for the new one..
    So, in a nutshell.. I lost money, if your thinking labor wise.. because I worked on it for 31/2 hrs & charged for 1.. AND.. I bought a tool to do the job.. for 74.00..
    BUT.. and its a BIG BUT.. I can sleep at night.. KNOWING I didn't screw anybody.. {it doesn't exactly pay the electric bill}
     
    Wytruckwrench likes this.
  12. Twisted

    Twisted Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Messages:
    379
    Location:
    MN
    I run into the same situations working in my shop. It is becoming less and less common to be honest.

    Dealers can charge more because they are suppose to have trained mechanics and all of the specialty tools on hand. Unfortunately that is no longer the case. They charge while adding value or not. Some of the worst beatings I have taken have been from dealerships. The last service call from a dealer took two hours. 15 minutes of work with a special tool and 1-3/4 hours reading a book on how to use the tool. Good thing they only charged me $1175 for that trip.

    Point is, you can charge whatever you want if you are honest about the billing. I'll pay $150/hr for good honest work before $50/hr to have some meatball play with my dog for half the day while he is waiting for advice from another tech.
     
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