Nobody around here uses a flat rate table because they are notorious for being wrong. Corrosion is the factor that ruins the level playing field. Replacing manifolds on one 7.4 Merc may take 2.5 hours, but another set on a different, but the same model boat may take 2.5 days.............
Every shop and dealer uses a punch card system and the customer just buys the man-hours his job actually requires. If you ask for a quote, it usually knocks your socks off foe the same reason......the service guys are going to cover themselves in case yours is one of the bad ones.
Chesapeake Bay, Middle River/Frog Mortar Creek MD.
1999 270 DA
Twin 4.3s W/Alpa I Gen II's
Re: marine labor guide/times
Frank, so glad to hear from you on this one, (didn't expect you to be the first) but that's all the better. So if a man ask's to have his exhaust manifolds, risers, elbows, gaskets and all attaching hardware (clamps,bolts,nuts,studs,ect.) replaced, he should not expect to be able to get a complete, comprehensive and conclusive quote on having this work done? For sure, i understand that the chances of having rusted, broken, sized, and otherwise downright nasty hardware to deal with would be the case, but shouldn't that be a situation where the customer should be called and advised of the additional work/parts that need to be done/added to complete the job?
Last edited by techmitch; 10-08-2010 at 12:53 AM.
Reason: /parts /added
We use Spader labor time guide, which quotes suggested "flat rate" labor times for particular jobs, however it is far from inclusive, and does not account for any difficulty in accessing the components or overlap in labor times ie replacing manifolds "and" risers "and" elbows etc.
A good repair shop should be able to provide a reasonably accurate quote after looking at the boat. And as far as our shop is concerned, as a Sea Ray Dealer we quote flat labor times. For instance if the customer is quoted 25 hours to replace an engine, thats exactly what he's charged, regardless if it takes the technician 23 hours or 30 hours.
The exception to that would be if there were unforseen complications.
Most customers here are expecting quotes now before authorizing virtually any repair. Could be a local thing, or it most likely is a product of the economy and the fact that our dealer is on the coast when most of the boat owners are hundreds of miles inland and the dealer requires credit card payment as soon as the work is completed which can be several weeks before the owner is back on his boat.
This a is a large Sea Ray dealer with 9 technicians. They use 2 service writers. The service writer can only quote a worst case scenario when he is asked for a quote . Your example is a good one. Customer calls and wants a quote on riser replacement. The service writer knows that on the Gulf coast that if the boat is 5+ years old that manifolds will also most likely be necessary, that is explained and the customer when he is quoted the cost for replacing the risers. The customer is called when the mechanic starts working on the boat and then he is updated if they see or find anything beyond the scope of the authorized work. The customer makes the decision when the cost exceeds the quote and the dealer does the work for the time the quoted or actual time, whichever is less. The dealer also calls the customer before charging you for the repair and goes over the work order to be sure you understand what was done. In 20+ years with them, I have never been "surprised" by a sweep the floor invoice.
I should add that this is an excellent dealership, not the cheapest in town, but they fix things right the first time and they never leave your boat in a mess with greasy fingerprints on it.
It all comes down to open, honest communication between the customer and the shop. As long as neither is expecting to get "something for nothing", it usually works out OK.
When I ask my shop for an "estimate", we have a discussion regarding the expected scope of work, and if it's something I don't want to tackle myself, I turn them loose on it. They understand how important it is to me, and how much I appreciate the work they do. I have not been disappointed yet.