Auto Repair Shop
Auto Repair: How Can They Screw Up An Olive oil Change?
"It's all about beating the time." This price comes from a wise old service director, advising me about how to increase my income as a flat-rate tech. If you've ever wondered why your car doesn't get set correctly, or all of your concerns weren't addressed, you can blame, partly, the flat-rate pay structure.
Flat-rate simply means that your auto mechanic is paid a flat fee for a specific repair, regardless of how long the repair actually calls for. In other words, if your vehicle needs a water pump, which compensates two hours of labor, and the auto technician completes the work in one hour, he gets payed for two.
In theory, this may work to your advantage. If the job takes longer, you'll still only pay the "predetermined" labor amount. In THEORY, not reality!
The flat-rate pay framework was created to drive productivity. It's very effective. The flat-rate pay system promotes technicians to work solid, but it does not promote quality.
In terms of getting your car set properly, the flat-rate pay composition has disastrous results. Flat-rate technicians are constantly looking for shortcuts to beat the clock in order to maximize the amount of hours they invoice. Experienced flat-rate technicians can bill anywhere from 16 to 50 hours in an 8 hour day.
It's these shortcuts and the breakneck quickness at which toned rate technicians work that bring about some of the most idiotic mistakes. In the rapid-fire pace of the shop I've witnessed technicians start motors with no petrol. I've seen transmissions fell, smashing into little pieces onto the shop floor. And I've seen cars 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 your 6-foot-long 2-by-4, which was positioned under the engine for support while a motor mount was removed. It made employment predetermined to take 1.5 time achievable in twenty minutes. A win-win, right? The tech makes extra cash; you get your car back faster.
Actually, oftentimes the keeping this 2-by-4 ruined the oil pan. Moreover, it triggered the car, your car, to balance precariously 6 legs in the air, as the technician manipulated the automobile lift to access your engine support.
This plan was abruptly discontinued when a technician's 2-by-4 snapped causing the automobile to crash nostril down onto the concrete floor.
Sometimes the shortcuts create very refined disturbances, which create problems overtime. An instant example: a car had its transmitting serviced with a new filter, gasket, and smooth. During the treatment, the technician was able to save time by twisting the transmission dipstick tube just a little, in order to obtain the transmission skillet out faster. The vehicle was reassembled, and the tech re-bent the tube back to place and off it went--no worries....
Half a year later, the vehicle delivered with an intermittent misfire. The engine wasn't working on all cylinders. After extensive diagnostics, it was uncovered that the transmission dipstick tube acquired chaffed through the engine funnel, intermittently grounding out an injector. Hmm, that's strange. Don't usually observe that.
The high-speed environment and the next shortcuts illustrate the devastating ramifications of the flat-rate, sales-driven pay composition on the quality of car repairs.
No surprise even an essential oil change gets screwed up!
The poor quality of work inspired by the smooth rate pay framework is disconcerting enough. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop here. The negative effects of flat-rate get exponentially more serious, as it starts "wide" the entranceway to rip you off!