Originally Posted by gearheadslife
and this is the down side of a flatrate shop working on anything other than latemodel wrecks
You are so right about flat rate shops, even on late model cars the customer needs to be aware...Flat rate is fine if the technician is more concerned about quality than a pay check, but, as is the case with many people, greed takes over and quality goes down.
I made a lot of money when I worked flat rate as a painter, but I sure felt sorry for the guys in the prep department.
For example, in the late 80's and early 90's, Ford had a re-call on their paint work, especially on trucks. They where peeling and Ford paid private body shops to strip the trucks to bare metal and repaint them the factory color, (any body work was extra to the customer). Ford paid between 24 and 32 hours to completely strip and paint a truck, complete. The painter, would get between 30% and 40% of the time allowed (depending on the shop). So when you do the math, I would get paid between 7 and up to 12 hours to paint a truck. I had 2 down draft paint booth's, both with a bake cycle and in 3 to 3 1/2 hours I could bring in up to 20 payable hours. The guys in the prep department would get a maximum of 20 hours to strip, final prep and mask a vehicle. Not fair, but that was the way it was. After several weeks, the prep quality dropped, (the guys couldn't possibly do a quality job of getting the truck ready to paint in a maximum of 20 hours). I had to send trucks back to the prep line and this caused friction between myself and the prep department.
We talked it over with management and it was agreed that the prep department would be on straight time when doing a Ford warranty job and I dropped my flat rate by 10% so the shop could continue to do Ford warranty and remain profitable. The quality improved, moral was restored and the customer's got what they expected.
In so many shops where the flat rate system is used...the biggest concern a customer should have is consistent quality. When an insurance company does an appraisal on collision work, they want to give the technician the least amount of time as possible to save the insurance company money. The cost of replacing parts are predetermined by manuals that give standard times, but when panels need to be repaired and not replaced, this is where the conflict comes in as they are more educated "guesstamits" than standards and the technician with questionable standards may try and meet or beat the allotted times, giving way to, in some cases, less than professional repairs.
Straight time shops afford their technicians the time to more readily do quality work. If a repair calls for 6 hours to repair the damage and the technician takes 8, the technician gets paid for 8 hours and the shop loses, if he does the same repair in 4 hours, he gets paid for 4 hours and the shop keeps the profit. A good technician should be able to beat the repair order times in most cases and still do quality work. It's often the greed factor that takes over some technician's mind set in flat rate shops that lowers the quality of the workmanship.
For the people in the trade, I'm sure I don't need to explain this, this rant is more for the people not in the trade so they understand the difference.