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Hourly rates for mechanics not in line with supply/demand

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Jan 20, 2006.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    I am scratching my head because the laws of supply and demand don't appear to working within this industry.

    About a year ago I replaced the high pressure line on my Nissan and I took it to a local garage for an evacuation & recharge. The mechanic who did the work & I were talking and he is paid on a commission basis. Basically, if the "book" says a job should take an hour then he gets 40% of the hourly rate for that task. If there is no work to do, which he indicated was the case a lot of the time, he gets nothing.

    Last summer, we had a break down. I noticed one mechanic was sitting around with nothing to do. He was just sitting there for nearly two hours while another mechanic worked on my truck.

    Last night, I was dropping the '98 F-150 off for some work and the manager of the place indicated that it was slow and they would have no problem getting my truck finished the next day.

    So my question is, with all this extra capacity on the supply side of the equation, why is a mechanic able to bring in $93.50 per book hour????

    I decided to buy a new F-150 rather than another used one and the repair costs were a major factor. If mechanics rates were something closer to say $50/book hour I may have leaned towards another used truck.

    What is going on within this industry?

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. kirk brown

    kirk brown LawnSite Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 164

    i`m a ford tech in ontario.
    the door rate is 95$ per hour and they pay me 21$ per hour on flat rate.
    the whole sys. is bad hence my switching to lawn care.
    flat rate only encourages rip offs and customer disatisfaction.
  3. lawnmaniac883

    lawnmaniac883 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,613

    Ok, a good friend of mine has been a mechanic for his entire life and I will attempt to make this explanation clearer for you. In some shops, they have a repair price book of sorts, this is like the kelley blue book of repairs if you will. Now, lets say the book says the repair should take X amount of hours and the mechanic completes the task in Y amount of hours, he gets paid for the X amount of hours regardles. Say a transmission servicing in the book says it will take 1 hour, the mechanic completes this task in 20 minutes, he gets paid for the one hour the book said it will take.

    This is how most mom/pop shops operate and it is fair to everyone, the mechanic gets the money he should and you get back on the road faster.

    Hope this is a better description for ya.
  4. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Dude, I understand the way they work with book hours. That is not my concern. My concern is that there are mechanics all over town sitting around with nothing to do but yet, they want $90+ per hour. Why don't they do what the lawn boys are doing and start dropping prices for fear of the customer taking the work to the next garage?

    How are these small operators able to all stand so united on this hourly rate when they all need more work?

    DFW Area Landscaper

    CLARK LAWN LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,526

    because they are flat rate it does not cost the owner anything if the employee's are just standing there for 8 hours a days.and if all the dealers know they need to make $90/hr they know you will pay it or not get your car fixed. and remember most dealer work is warrenty so the manufacurer pays it.if the lawnboys would all get together and do this we would all make much more money
  6. Shadetree Ltd

    Shadetree Ltd LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 390

    I wasn't going to respond, but...

    It is the same with almost all other tradesman. You will find that plumbers, electricians, carpenters and so on VALUE themselves, their tools, education and experience and usually charge going rates that are similar to each other. "lawn boys" are a dime a dozen that don't value themselves. There are thousands of landscape companies, horticulturalists and arborists that make good money by charging what they are worth. Your concern is that your entire business plan is the exact opposite of this model. Devalue your service but make up for it in volume.

  7. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Posts: 4,909

    Mechanic - Skilled trained schooled professional

    Lawn boy - Someone laid off from one job with a few bucks to buy a mower and is now a "contractor"
  8. lawnmaniac883

    lawnmaniac883 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,613

    DFW, if you know you are worth 90$, and someone is only willing to pay lets say 50, why work for them? These guys work hard when they have work, and get paid as they should. After all the training/tools they have paid for, why would they want to go push a mower for 1/8th what they deserve.

    CLARK LAWN LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,526

    thats what is happening in the lawn service all over people will work for no money just so that the guy down the street wont get the job for what it should cost.alot of us on her have been through alot of training and seminars and have alot more invested in equipment. if more people got the attitude of either i make a livable wage on a job or im not going to do it we would all be better off
  10. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,563

    the reason why is becuase they figure they will work X hours per year... they need to bring in X dollars per year... that leads to the $90.00/hr rate...


    they need to gross $90K/ year per employee...
    they average 1K hours billable per year per employee..... that means they get to charge $90.00/hr...

    alo t of this comes from that " book" you are refering to... it is the factory warranty work reimbursement book.... and those figures are also for areas up north where labor unions have the wages up very high... so that's where a lot of those rates start.

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