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Date: Sun, 25 May 2003 12:34:54 -0400
From: 'nuther Bob <>
Subject: Re: Puzzled by a SAAB dealer's cliam of billings convention

On Sun, 25 May 2003 10:08:40 -0500, "Walt Kienzle" <> wrote: >You were indeed "taken for a ride", but the service advisor was also correct >in stating that this is a common practice. Yep. >BTW, $81 per hour is a great rate. The >Saab dealers I have checked in my area (suburban Chicago), get between $95 >and $100 per hour. About $85 in New England. >The quoted time is called "book time" because there is a book that gives the >standard times required to complete a job. or "flat rate". I like to call it "fat rate". > It is necessary to do it this >way because most of the repair shops employ union labor, and having the >employees report their time by this method is part of the contract. No union issues around here, but all shops still use flat rate. >Don't feel like they singled you out on this practice. Nope, they cheat everyone equally. >they do it to the manufacturers for warranty >work too. Most manufacturers smartened up years ago. There is a flat rate book for customer work, and then a book of what the factory will pay for warranty work. Guess what: warranty times are about half of customer flat rates. That's another reason shops don't really like warranty work. You can see this yourself if you check some TSB's or the factory manuals ( They list two times for many jobs. FWIW, mechanics often complain that the warranty times are too short to even get the job done, particularly with Ford. Of course, you don't hear them howling when they do 16 hours of customer work in an 8 hour day. Bob

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