how much to charge

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Jan 8, 2009
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conneaut ohio
Hi guys I work on other peoples cars alot out of my barn not in it (no room) so I'm a backyard mech as known on other forums and I was wondering if there is a place on line to figure even roughly the time that might be involve and or how much to charge? If I buy a labor guide I'll have to make up for that cost and I do this stuff to help people out $$ wise I mean I charge $20 for a brake job for front or rear plus pads, shoes etc. And grease it while I'm there
 

JHZR2

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I'd charge real time. You cannot be more honest than charging exactly the time you took.
 
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$20 for a brake job, whats your address ? Maybe $20-25 per hour labor would be a 'fair' price to charge your friends, neighbors and relatives to work on their car if they bring all the necessary parts.
 

speer

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[quote=LT4 Vette]$20 for a brake job, whats your address ? I'm in Conneaut Ohio "Thats plus parts"
 

speer

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 Originally Posted By: JHZR2
I'd charge real time. You cannot be more honest than charging exactly the time you took.
Ya but then I won't be able to take my time and cover all the bases like I do. I'd feel guilty so I'd rush
 
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I'm in the same situation so I ask them to go to real mechanics. And I mean it, I don't need the money or aggravation. They call me back saying I can't do it, they want $xxx. I generally agree to do it for half that and they love it! A perk for my clients is they can usually be found on the side of the road so they don't have to pay for a tow on top of everything else! I know someone who was quoted $200+ for a new thermostat in their 2002 hyundai elantra, I thought it was some special engineering disaster... nope. Just have to move the airbox and intake plastic out of the way. Did that one for less than half price.
 

speer

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Onnce in awhile I call a local garage and see what they charge and under cut them
 
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Nov 22, 2004
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Texas
I do a lot of side work myself. Basically I have all the same tools as a GM dealer including the Tech 2 and other diagnostic tools. Therefore, I charge enough to cover my expenses yet am still cheaper than the dealer while providing MUCH better service. I thrive on perfection and cleanliness in my work. So, what I normally do is charge for the Tech 2 diagnosis $50 and then I look up the repair procedures (same things I have posted or emailed others on this forum to help them) to see what all the repair is about and figure how long it'll take me. I base my rate on $40/hr plus parts. Another way I do it is when a person comes to me and says such and such a shop wants $500 to do the job. I will just cut it back to like $350 and be done with it. Of course, I have also done a lot of jobs for a case of beer (with the owner helping!)and many for free. I like helping people and teaching people to work on their cars as it is rewarding too.
 
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 Originally Posted By: Pablo
How much is liability insurance?
Thank you so much Pablo. That was priceless. No way anyone can undercut that statement.
 

JHZR2

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 Originally Posted By: speer
 Originally Posted By: JHZR2
I'd charge real time. You cannot be more honest than charging exactly the time you took.
Ya but then I won't be able to take my time and cover all the bases like I do. I'd feel guilty so I'd rush
Well than take your actual time, multiply by a fair rate for your area, and then divide by two. You're giving something away, effectively for free if you undercharge for the service... no matter how you cut it. Great that youre doing this service for folks - Im sure many appreciate it. Just don't undercut yourself too much.
 
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What Pablo said. Even with the best of intentions, you're bound to get blamed for something...
 
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pablo is correct. gotta be careful doing side work nowadays. you could really lose a lot under some circumstances. i do a lot on the side too, i just look at any given job and quote a flat rate for labor. if it's a job i really don't wanna do, just quote it high.
 
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One day a brake job will go wrong, and that barn won't be yours anymore. Why not get a quote from your insurance agent? (Or are mechanics bonded?) At least then you'll know what to charge...
 
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dont do side jobs anymore except for trusted friends and family. i refuse to let them help, last time i let someone help they forgot to put rings on a piston. took forever to figure out why one hole had no compression.
 
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Of course you're free to charge whatever your customers will pay but when I was still wrenching I used to charge 1/2 the dealers door rate for side jobs plus about a 10% mark up on parts. I'm a licensed and certified master tech with 20+ years experience though. When I was younger my house garage was filled every night.
 
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