Auto Repair Financing
Auto Repair: How Can They Screw Up An Petrol Change?
"It's about beating the time." This estimate comes from a wise old service director, advising me on how to maximize my income as a flat-rate technician. If you have ever wondered why your vehicle doesn't get fixed correctly, or all your concerns weren't attended to, you can blame, in part, the flat-rate pay composition.
Flat-rate simply means that your auto technician is paid a flat fee for a specific repair, regardless of how long the repair actually needs. In other words, if your vehicle needs a water pump, which compensates two hours of labor, and the auto technician completes the job in one hour, he gets paid for two.
In theory, this may work to your advantage. If the job takes longer, you still only pay the "predetermined" labor amount. In THEORY, not reality!
The flat-rate pay composition is designed to drive productivity. It is rather effective. The flat-rate pay system stimulates technicians to work hard and fast, but it does not promote quality.
In terms to getting your car fixed appropriately, the flat-rate pay composition has disastrous effects. Flat-rate technicians are constantly looking for shortcuts to overcome the clock to be able to maximize the amount of hours they invoice. Experienced flat-rate technicians can costs from 16 to 50 time in an 8 hour day.
It's these shortcuts and the breakneck speed at which toned rate technicians work that cause some of the most idiotic mistakes. In the rapid-fire pace of any shop I've witnessed technicians start motors with no petrol. I've seen transmissions dropped, smashing into little items onto the shop floor. And I've seen vehicles driven right through bay doors--all in the name of "beating the clock."
Flat-rate technicians can get quite sophisticated with shortcuts. My favorite was the implementation of 6-foot-long 2-by-4, which was put under the engine unit for support while a motor unit mount was removed. It made a job predetermined for taking 1.5 hours achievable in twenty minutes. A win-win, right? The specialist makes extra money; you get your vehicle back faster.
Actually, oftentimes the placement of this 2-by-4 ruined the oil pan. Moreover, it induced the car, your vehicle, to balance precariously 6 ft in the air, as the technician manipulated the car lift to gain access to your engine support.
This tactic was abruptly discontinued when a technician's 2-by-4 snapped triggering the car to crash nose down onto the concrete floor.
Sometimes the shortcuts create very delicate disruptions, which create problems overtime. A quick example: a vehicle had its transmission serviced with a fresh filtration system, gasket, and liquid. During the process, the technician could save time by bending the transmission dipstick tube just a bit, in order to receive the transmission pan out faster. The vehicle was reassembled, and the tech re-bent the tube back to place and off it went--no worries....
Six months later, the vehicle delivered with an intermittent misfire. The engine motor wasn't jogging on all cylinders. After comprehensive diagnostics, it was found out that the transmission dipstick tube experienced chaffed through the engine motor harness, intermittently grounding out an injector. Hmm, that's strange. Don't usually note that.
The high-speed environment and the next shortcuts illustrate the devastating effects of the flat-rate, sales-driven pay composition on the quality of car repairs.
No surprise even an oil change gets screwed up!
The poor quality of work urged by the chiseled rate pay framework is disconcerting enough. Unfortunately, it generally does not stop here. The negative effects of flat-rate get exponentially even worse, as it starts "wide" the door to rip you off!