Our current shop labor rate is $70 per actual labor hour of time expended on your car. If you check around, you'll find that most shops won't advertise their hourly labor rate and that we are on the low end of the hourly labor rate range for shops in this area.
All work performed in our shop is estimated, calculated and accounted for using industry standard labor guides, as a guide, in determining the time needed for any given task or estimate. We don't flat-rate our work and we also don't bill for time not directly related to your repairs or services.
For example: If a labor guide says that an average technician, in an average shop, equipped with the proper tools and training, can perform a widget overhaul in 4.2 hours, but it actually takes 5.9 hours, minus breaks, lunch and such, the shop billing would still reflect a 4.2 labor hour task completion time.
That's a good example of how flat rate can work for you, but our experience is that it usually doesn't work out that way. Here's how flat rate often works against the consumer. Let's say the same technician, under the same conditions, has overhauled dozens of widgets and knows all the shortcuts and all the ways to "beat the clock" and actually gets it done in 2.1 hours. You still get billed for the 4.2 hours and the technician is still paid for 4.2 hours of work.
You see, "beating the clock" becomes the primary objective, as opposed to the quality of the work performed, and that isn't good when quality is your first priority as it is for us. I've eaten many labor hours over the years that went over estimate, in the interest of producing good, reliable, quality work while staying within the estimated costs. I won't turn out any vehicle work that I'm not completely comfortable putting my own family in, because that's what I think consumers rightfully expect and deserve.
We give, what I believe, is the fairest billing of actual time, accounting for the many variables like condition of the vehicle, age of the vehicle, labor guide errors, availability of parts and sourcing repair parts, etc. Most of our workorders come out at, or below, the labor times stated in the labor guides and more often than not, I beat my own estimates for repairs.
Here's another useful resource for evaluating a shop for your repair work: AAA Guide To Auto Repair
Washington State law is mostly silent on the topic of labor billing, profit margins, estimation methods and how repairs can be charged, so the free market is largely buyer beware in that respect.
However, there are a few aspects that might be worth knowing about in regards to shop obligations when written estimates are requested.
Further information can be found at the links below.
Washington State Attorney General: Auto Repair law
Washington Attorney General: Auto Repair Brochure
Washington RCW 46.71: Automotive Repair
I'll add more consumer resources as time permits that will help you to make an informed shop selection decision.
Auto Computer & Electronics, LLC