Auto Repair Shop
Auto Repair: HOW DO They Screw Up An Oil Change?
"It's about beating the time clock." This estimate comes from a sensible old service administrator, advising me on how to increase my income as a flat-rate technician. If you've ever wondered why your car doesn't get set correctly, or your entire concerns weren't resolved, you can blame, partly, the flat-rate pay framework.
Flat-rate simply means that your auto mechanic is paid a flat fee for a specific repair, regardless of how long the repair actually needs. In other words, if your vehicle needs a water pump, which compensates two hours of labor, and the auto technician completes the work in one hour, he gets payed for two.
In theory, this may work to your advantage. If the work takes longer, you still pay just the "predetermined" labor amount. THEORETICALLY, not reality!
The flat-rate pay structure was created to drive productivity. It is rather effective. The flat-rate pay system stimulates technicians to work solid, but it generally does not promote quality.
In terms of getting your car fixed accurately, the flat-rate pay structure has disastrous effects. Flat-rate technicians are constantly looking for shortcuts to conquer the clock to be able to maximize the number of hours they expenses. Experienced flat-rate technicians can bill from 16 to 50 time within an 8 hour day.
It's these shortcuts and the breakneck velocity at which chiseled rate technicians work that result in some of the most idiotic mistakes. Inside the rapid-fire pace of the shop I've witnessed technicians start engines with no olive oil. I've seen transmissions slipped, smashing into little portions onto the shop floor. And I've seen automobiles driven right through bay doors--all in the name of "beating the clock."
Flat-rate technicians can get quite complex with shortcuts. The best was the execution of any 6-foot-long 2-by-4, that was located under the engine unit for support while a motor unit support was removed. It made a job predetermined to adopt 1.5 hours achievable in twenty minutes. A win-win, right? The technician makes extra money; you get your vehicle back faster.
Actually, oftentimes the placement of this 2-by-4 broken the oil pan. Moreover, it induced the car, your vehicle, to balance precariously 6 toes in the air, while the technician manipulated the car lift to gain access to your engine support.
This tactic was abruptly discontinued whenever a technician's 2-by-4 snapped creating the car to crash nasal area down onto the concrete floor.
Sometimes the shortcuts create very subtle disruptions, which create problems overtime. A quick example: a car had its transmitting serviced with a new filtration, gasket, and smooth. During the process, the technician could save time by bending the transmitting dipstick tube just a bit, to be able to obtain the transmission pan out faster. The automobile was reassembled, and the specialist re-bent the pipe back to place and off it went--no concerns....
Six months later, the automobile returned with an intermittent misfire. The engine unit wasn't working on all cylinders. After extensive diagnostics, it was uncovered that the transmitting dipstick tube got chaffed through the engine harness, intermittently grounding out an injector. Hmm, that's bizarre. Don't usually note that.
The high-speed environment and the next shortcuts illustrate the devastating effects of the flat-rate, sales-driven pay composition on the quality of car repairs.
No think about even an engine oil change gets screwed up!
The poor quality of work prompted by the flat rate pay framework is disconcerting enough. Alas, it doesn't stop here. The negative effects of flat-rate get exponentially even worse, as it starts "wide" the entranceway to rip you off!