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General VW Discussion This is a place for General VW topics (the company, not your vehicle). General topics about a specific vehicle should be posted in the General TDI Dicussion Forum sections for that vehicle platform. A4, A3 & B4, B5, etc.

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Old April 3rd, 2009, 20:41   #1
Wobbly
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Default VW Service Labor "Time Unit"

What's the conversion between VW allotted labor "time units" and terrestrial time?
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 21:42   #2
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IIRC, 100 TU = 1 hour.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 06:49   #3
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Thanks.

Are VW dealers required to base their labor charges on these times, or are they creative in applying them?
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Old April 4th, 2009, 08:18   #4
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This applies to ANY dealer or repair center. A published labor guide such as Chilton, Motor or Mitchell are GUIDES not the law. A dealer or repair center is an entity which can charge whatever they want. A VW or Toyota or GM Etc. labor guide is for warranty use only. This is what the manufacturer will pay the dealer to perform warranty service. The dealer can use it as a guide on what to charge customers but they do not have to.

I know of only 1 dealer which used the warranty guide and they lost technicians so fast it wasn't funny.They ended up going back to the Motor guide which was generally 20% more generous.

Now before everyone here cries ripoff you have to remember that dealers and repair centers are in business to make money not lose it. They also do not fix cars out of the goodness of their heart. Most technicians get paid flat rate which means they get paid per job. Dealer warranty guides are meant to save the manufacturer money, nothing more. Most of the times are impossible to even break even with. Cash labor is where technicians make money.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 08:35   #5
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Like to add to what hevster said, which is 100% spot on, is that some dealers even of the same brand often change the times considerably and add on extra crap not needed.

For instance, no Volkswagen PM schedule ever has "apply Scotch Guard" to interior fabrics for a 40k service, yet I know of one dealer that did just that, and charged $25 to do so.

Also, strange as it may seem, manufacturers only publish warranty labor times for service, not the standard ones. So while there will me some standardization within the brand for warranty times, there will NOT be any for standard work. Hence the huge differences when you call around fro pricing. Which I think is a waste of time anyways since you rarely know EXACTLY what you are being quoted. This is why I lose some work on timing belt jobs, because a local dealer WILL certainly be cheaper for replacement of JUST a timing belt... and that is all you'll get. You won't get anything else, and you'll need to keep my number handy so I can redo the job properly when it barely runs or won't run at all .
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Old April 4th, 2009, 08:38   #6
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I must ask how many of the people here realse that a good mechanic with a crediable suply of tools has a really large investment in his job. It is not uncommon to find that the mechanics in dealerships have more mony invested in their job than their employer. I find it not uncommon that mechanics will have 100,000 dollars and it is not uncommon to find this number much higher. The Doctor you go to for health problems has only 2 models to be concerned with yet a mechanic has how many? To further put this in perspective a mechanic working in a shop often has more in tools than that Dr has in education and tools to work on you. I have never forgot a customer at a shop I worked in in 1962 wanted to borrow a screwdriver and plires to tighten his tag while I worked on the front end of his car. I noticed that he was poking around in my tools and then I would hear the back door on the car slam shut. After finishing my work I walked back and opened the door and there was a substantial pile of my tools. I removed them and told him to get in the passenger side we were going for a road test. I drove back to the bosses office door and explained the problem to my employer and that further this person was not welcome in my stall. I would work on his car but he would not be with it. Thanks Eric A mechanic for most of my worklife.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 08:42   #7
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Yeah, it is a tough field. Especially when you have to work with so many C and D students that society has thrown you over the last 50 years
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Old April 4th, 2009, 08:43   #8
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So how do the mechanics get paid for diagnostic time on a shop job? (As opposed to a warranty job)
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Old April 4th, 2009, 08:51   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitedog
So how do the mechanics get paid for diagnostic time on a shop job? (As opposed to a warranty job)
Much of that depends on the shop.

Our shop usually charges a straight 1 hour for most diagnostic work relating to driveability, but typically for me, if all I do is plug a scan tool in and do a couple quick checks (for instance a GP fault...easy quick thing to diagnose typically) then I will only allow myself .5 hr. I am probably more honest that most others.

And if it is a BIG job, like for instance last week when a customer needed a chain tensioner on a 1.8t B5, I waived any scan tool diagnostics since she fixed the car and it was a big ($1800+) job, including a couple other minor things.

I probably do more little tidbits for free than I should, but I so enjoy what I do it pays off in other ways.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 09:10   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilhammer
I probably do more little tidbits for free than I should, but I so enjoy what I do it pays off in other ways.
I hear ya.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 09:23   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wobbly
Thanks.

Are VW dealers required to base their labor charges on these times, or are they creative in applying them?
Like others have basically said, shops have to collect sufficient funds to pay techs and run their business.

I've heard that some dealers apply up to a 1.5 factor on the TUs. I think the average customer has little concept of the length of time to do a job but gets offended by high hourly rates. So, from a customer perspecitve, it's better for the shop to charge $90 per hour and 1.5 hours of time than $135 per hour and 1.0 hours labor for the same job.

Bottom line Wobbly, get comparable out-the-door prices for the job being done including parts list and labor. Don't worry about the TUs and labor rates.

Last edited by Plus 3 Golfer; April 4th, 2009 at 10:37.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 09:27   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plus 3 Golfer
...
Bottom line Wobbly, get comparable out-the-door prices for the job being done including parts list and labor. Don't worry about the TUs and labor rates.
And be sure they actually have the ability to perform the job in question correctly. The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after a cheap price is forgotten.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 10:58   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilhammer

I probably do more little tidbits for free than I should, but I so enjoy what I do it pays off in other ways.
To me,this would definitely be repeat business and high praise of the shop to anyone who needs work done on a vehicle.Any mechanic that goes out of his way being honest and upfront gets high praise from me !!!
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Old April 4th, 2009, 11:49   #14
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When I had the dealer do the brake light switch recall on the Jetta, I saw the tech working on it and before he finished he sprayed the door hinges with lube. I saw this through the window and was sure to thank him for it. I think that this was a very good sign of this tech. He never mentioned it, he just did it. It took a minute of his time and he never mentioned it, he just did it because that was his standard. I can appreciate that.

And as a mechanic, I can certainly say that he appreciated me thanking him for it. I know I always appreciated it when people thanked me for the little things I would do for them.

One day a good customer came in and I did something to his tractor, nothing big, I don't think he even took it off of the trailer. BUt I noticed that his rear window (which folds up) was covered in dust. Well, I wrote, "Hi [bob]" on it. He was in the next week and he gave me a funny look, so I went out with towels and window cleaner and washed all of his windows. That speaks more to the relationship than to anything else, but it was a fun day regardless.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 19:23   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitedog
So how do the mechanics get paid for diagnostic time on a shop job? (As opposed to a warranty job)
Sometimes we get nothing. It depends on shop policy. I will always go the extra mile to help out a customer but I do want to get paid for my labors. Believe it or not I have even had customers try to haggle price on side jobs where I was charging $20 an hour. I can't compete with Sears on struts for example using OEM parts. Parts alone cost more than they charge for the whole job. What many do not realize is that their upsell of unneeded items is quite common. When they get out of there that $100 advertised price for struts is now over 1k.
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