8 cylinder front engine iconic vehicle
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By Crumpler
#122307
Ok. I was sent a link today of a BAT sale by a friend.

The car is a very fine example of a late model 928, manual with low miles. It looks great and the car is still priced a little low in the bidding IMHO.

This is where I get fuzzy because the maintenance records are there too. Unrelated to the car and sale:
there’s an invoice north of 12k.
Ok, it’s a lot of different things that were addressed and done by a premier shop on the West coast.
Sure.
Now I will objectively say that the shop owner has lectured me for years indirectly, that his job is an art and everyone else are just glorified parts replacers, but that’s beside the point in question gentlemen.

It looks like the car presented to the shop for a post purchase inspection? High idle found, smoke tested and Diagnosed with a bad O2 sensor and a couple of vacuum leaks. Ok.
Still not running great, knock sensors retarding performance. Ok. Custom aftermarket fuel lines on the way out, made by shop in question. Sure, happy accident.
Then bad TPS.
Then buttoned up, it has trouble starting and running. Then diagnosed with bad LH.
Yes, I will admit to being a smart ass. But he brings it out in people.
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By worf
#122408
I’m not sure I get it. Your post here that is.

You saw my post on that auction.

Had that ‘90 been drug to me I would likely have done all that work too and some stuff Greg’s folks missed.

There are a handful of things every 928 needs now if it hasn’t been done (fuel lines, etc.)
There are ‘87+ specific failure modes (LH, etc.)
There are ‘89+ specific failure modes (in-tank pump, etc.)
There are ‘90+ specific failure modes (PSD, etc.)
There are ‘91+ specific failure modes (Rear liners, etc.)

All these known modes (as appropriate to MY) need to be dealt with in order for a 928 to be reasonably reliable. And all that is what I know is needed (absent records to the contrary) without even looking at it.

Most people have no patience for a car that breaks every time they drive it.

What, besides Gregs’s personality, is giving you a conniption?
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By Crumpler
#122420
80% is my problem with Greg’s personality, guilty as charged there.
Sure to sort this car ain’t cheap.

But, yes, I was secretly hoping you or Sean would take the bait. Just so a pro could speak on the labor charges.

I guess the 20% that irritated me was if you (ie me as shadetree wrench) look at that invoice it feels like overlapping labor charges.
There’s a post purchase inspection fee which I feel like falls under the “ I’ve crawled through this car, this is what you need”.
Then a diagnosis fee. This involved know good MAF and brains.
Then labor for each system component on at least what I consider top end work. Then 1100.00 to break down top end. Then labor to replace fuel lines when he’s already got them right in front of him because he charged to get down to them, etc.

I might, if I was doing this, not charge the client for the distilled water. But that’s me ;)

Ok, I’ll take my lumps now.
Give me the pro version of this story.
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By worf
#122605
Crumpler wrote: Wed Dec 15, 2021 12:49 pm I guess the 20% that irritated me was if you (ie me as shadetree wrench) look at that invoice it feels like overlapping labor charges.
Ah. Ok. A specific irritation I can work with...

One thing to consider right off is that once you have more than "you" working on 928s (any car really) you can't just bill straight time. If that doesn't make intuitive sense then let me know.

So... you have to use book time, book time with modifications based upon experience, and/or just "set" labor charges for tasks for which no book time exists or which aren't reflective of actual average labor. (I'm pretty sure book time for 928s wasn't updated after 1979 except for "new" tasks due to new equipment (e.g. PSD, etc.)

Crumpler wrote: Wed Dec 15, 2021 12:49 pm There’s a post purchase inspection fee which I feel like falls under the “ I’ve crawled through this car, this is what you need”.
You've seen my PPI doc right? (If not, link is in my signature.) If you go methodically through that and do everything including crank-end play on an automatic, it can take 10 to 12 hours and that doesn't include any supporting documentation you want to produce for the client.

Last time I did a full inspection it took 8.42 hours (5-speed) and the write-up required 8.02 hours and resulted in a 19 page report where about 1/3 of the "paper" was included pictures. (7 MB PDF.) I also went through 20 years of service records as part of that and documented "notable" items.

What would be a fair charge for my 16.44 hours?

In the case of the BaT GB invoice, there were corrections made to findings en passant with the inspection. So, was that work free? Or added to a "set" labor fee for inspection?

Crumpler wrote: Wed Dec 15, 2021 12:49 pm Then a diagnosis fee. This involved know good MAF and brains.
Actually, reading the description - this involved effort in diagnosis and then swapping-in MAF and brains to attempt to confirm and/or gather more data.

Now, some of the diagnostic 'findings' are interesting because I would have found them during my inspection.

I'm pretty sure GB's shop rate is close to $200/hr (you can thank California for at least $50 of that).

So, if we add up the labor for the first page then, assuming shop rate between $150 and $200 that's 6.3 to 8.4 hours of labor.

Does that seem excessive for what's described?

It's basically a "day" of work. Do you think you could have done what was described yourself, in a day, on a 928 you'd never seen before? Probably you could have. What would you want to charge for that day of work?

Crumpler wrote: Wed Dec 15, 2021 12:49 pm Then labor for each system component on at least what I consider top end work. Then 1100.00 to break down top end. Then labor to replace fuel lines when he’s already got them right in front of him because he charged to get down to them, etc.
So, I saw that too. There are a number of ways to look at those labor charges and descriptions. One thing for sure is that the labor is NOT based upon the actual time required. So, these charges are very likely "list" based.

Without having been a fly on the wall - and since the invoice is as best a high-level summary - you can't know for certain what was the order of operations. They might have done the fuel lines and then the intake. That would have been the wrong order. But, what you don't know is if that is actually the order in which it was done. The invoice implies it.

Maybe they did do it in the wrong order. If they did, then you can't be sure that they didn't discount the labor for the intake R&R because of the 'wrong' order.

One thing I note is that there was almost no labor charge to replace the in-tank pump and external fuel filter. The in-tank pump can be a serious bitch and takes a couple of hours even in the best case. It looks to me like they did that almost for free.

When I add up all the labor in the first invoice (exclusive of the inspection first page) I get $5535 which is 27.7 to 36.9 hours of labor based upon 150-200 shop rate.

Given the descriptions of work that labor range seems about right off the top of my head.

So... in the end... you have to pay your employees, pay for premises, taxes, yada, yada, and you have to charge your clients enough money to show at least $1 profit after you've paid yourself a wage of some sort.

Since you can't charge straight time for each of your "wrenches" you have to come up with some sort of "flat rate" schedule for most tasks. Dealers are notorious for charging flat rate for every part as if it was the only part replaced regardless of common labor for other parts.

So, looking at charges like $90 for knock sensor replacement, you have to know that that charge is based upon "intake already removed" so GB is at least trying to base "set" charges on savings from common labor.

So, unless I was a fly on the wall, or the invoice was "blow-by-blow" there's a level of opacity that precludes some conclusions. In the end though, I look at the described work, back out the labor time, and it looks about right.

Crumpler wrote: Wed Dec 15, 2021 12:49 pm I might, if I was doing this, not charge the client for the distilled water. But that’s me ;)
Would you not document it for the client? If not then won't your client complain that you used tap water? Or the wrong coolant mix? If GB hadn't listed it then you would surely have noticed that the wrong mix was installed or that the client was charged for pre-mix (and therefore more.)

If you are going to document then why not charge at least actual out-of-pocket cost?

If you charge JUST what you paid for it, then you are actually losing money on it. Someone had to go to the store and buy it. That took time. If you had to pay for that person's time then you're loosing money and won't be in business too long...

... unless you increase your shop rate to cover that kind of overhead. What about the time you spent working up the parts list, getting the stuff ordered, receiving it, checking it, marking contents against the order, etc? How does that get paid for?

($2.25 for distilled water is a 'nice' markup. It's $1.04 at the store here. But, someone has to get it, it takes up shelf space (rent) so you can't argue that it shouldn't be marked up. You can argue about how much it's marked up, but not that it should be.)

One thing that is difficult is the methodology for dispersing overhead between parts and labor. How much effort (overhead) are you willing to spend to make that accounting make sense from all angles? Or, do you just WAG it and at the end of the year figure out how much you - as the business owner - made? Then when you realize that you made $10/hr on 60 hour weeks you decide that perhaps you should charge for the distilled water and figure out where else you can do "cost recovery."

Crumpler wrote: Wed Dec 15, 2021 12:49 pm Ok, I’ll take my lumps now.
Give me the pro version of this story.
No lumps really. For the most part they are questions that arise because you have insight that people that don't work on their 928s don't.

All in all, yes there are some questions. But, when I look at "the whole" the expended labor looks "about right" given certain assumptions.

If you spend non-trivial time looking at service records for 928s I think you would find that GB's invoices are an island of competent sanity in an otherwise insane and incompetent world. Sure, you can poke at them and maybe you'll get a drop of blood here and there. But, I can show you invoices (many) that would make your head explode with fury. (For example: the GT that was the subject of the inspection for which I detailed labor above, spent three years going to and from the shop to have A/C o-rings replaced. One. At. A. Time. (Yes, slightly kidding, but only slightly.))

I can't tell you how many 928 records I've seen where the intake was R&R'd three or four times in the course of a couple of years to replace the next failed part. That "inspected" GT got its cam covers removed for the fourth time because it wasn't done right after the first time. (They last 15-20 years, so a 30-year old GT would be on its third set.)

If you look at my invoices you would certainly come away with the feeling that I am insane. My "invoice" for that GB work would have probably run to at least 15 pages and that doesn't count itemization of parts. But, you would have been dead certain about the order in which the tasks were done.
Last edited by worf on Thu Dec 16, 2021 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By Stepson
#122677
When I picked up my GTS from California, it had ALWAYS been serviced by the same LA dealership. It had a small coolant leak on the passenger side of the engine compartment. I looked at the voluminous stack of receipts and found that the coolant reservoir had been replaced twice by dealership. The leak was under the reservoir. I pulled the reservoir and found that even though the reservoir had been replaced twice, the dealership had never touched the hoses under the reservoir. Why? Because they weren't leaking at the time. The dealership gets paid for each time they touch the reservoir.

You or I , working on our own cars, or the preferred known 928 mechanics, will perform WYAIT repairs to minimize the time spent not driving the car for the you or I, or because correcting potential problems ahead of time generally keeps customers happier.

If you are paying for a mechanic, You're not just paying to fix your car, you are paying for the knowledge learned on all the cars that have been fixed leading up to your car.
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By Crumpler
#122756
Understood, that's a detailed explanation that I can appreciate.
I don't have to itemize much at work, which is probably a blessing. We've moved away from it and more towards flat rates -- which is weird for things like broken leg = x dollars, etc.

I will recant the 20% and I will give him another 23% goodwill for having to deal with small business headaches and overhead.
We are down to 57% of my swipe at him due to his personality disorder, lol .
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By Stepson
#122852
Crumpler wrote: Thu Dec 16, 2021 6:16 pm We are down to 57% of my swipe at him due to his personality disorder
I always told the stadium personnel that reported to me that I would support any decisions they made to the nth degree if those decisions had explanations, but there could be absolutely no explanation for Rudeness.
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By Bertrand Daoust
#123001
One of his last "great" citation:

"I'm weary of home "people with tools" working on their cars, that's my entire shop."

Ain't no professional mecanic (that's for sure!) but I always try to do my best when I work on my car.
Up to now, I've been able to own my dream car for the past fifteen years.
I'm sure I'm not the only one in this situation.
I would be very happy to have a specialist like few here in my back yard to help me in case of bigger problems, but it's not the case.
So thanks to OR and all it's great members for all the help and support here. :thumbup:
There is good ones on the other site too!

But there is others that... Oh well, are not easy to follow and understand... And appreciate.
My two cents.
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