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April 1st, 2006, 01:11 PM   #1
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How much is a good mechanic worth

In the following case I will describe one who was not worth 40.00/hr. A guy I know asked me about rebuilding the top end on his Honda 350X. It had lost compression and was real noisy. I quoted him 200.00 off the top of my head, calculating 4 hrs at 50.00 hr. He said he'd think about it. Weeks passed, and one day he came by with the 350X in the back of his truck. He had the labor done by some hayseed he'd been referred to by another hayseed, and allowed this guy to do the work because he only charged 35.oo/hr. It was smoking like a locomotive, ticking like big ben and would barely pull itself. When this hapless customer took the bike back to the "reasonable" mechanic, he was told that the rings hadn't seated, and the loud tick was the valve lash, claiming that the customer had never heard it before because the valves were too tight. After the other mechanic refused to make it right, the customer asked me to disassemble it and see what the trouble was. First off, the worn out timing chain was a tooth off and had a half inch of slack with the tensioner fully out. Secondly, the oil ring was missing one of the scraper rails: it wouldn't have helped anyway as it had std. rings on a 020 OS piston. I'm pretty sure the knock was caused by the missing piston pin circlip. When I added the cost of new parts NOW needed to the cost of my labor, this customer then threw a fit claiming I was trying to take advantage of his dilemna. Go Freakin' Figure!!!!!!!
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April 1st, 2006, 01:28 PM   #2
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Re: How much is a good mechanic worth

Good mechanics are like beer.
They never cost as much as they are worth.

What is the old ad, you can pay me now.... or you can pay me later..
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April 1st, 2006, 01:35 PM   #3
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Re: How much is a good mechanic worth

Hi Corey,

FYI:
$35.00 per hour is what Husaberg pays regarding flat rate warranty
repair.

Think about that for a minute.

A new $8K motorcycle under warranty being repaired via a $35.00 per hour shop rate. Flat rate time restraints also apply. In addition many US dealer technicians have no formal Husaberg training and little if any Husaberg experience.

Personally, my labor is based on $80.00 per billed hour.
I can also be rented for $500.00 a day plus expenses.

Dale
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April 1st, 2006, 02:01 PM   #4
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Re: How much is a good mechanic worth

In my humble opinion!

Labor rates are often misunderstood by the general consumer. Often it is perceived as how much the techician charges for his services only.For instance a good tech with a complete set of quality tools only may be worth a certain amount say $30 per hour.Put the same tech in a well set up workshop with the usual shop equipment and he is worth $50 hr.Put a top man in a fully shop equipped with a lathe, a mill ,and dynos and I would consider it a deal at $500 a day.
It has always amazed me how a plummer can pull up in front of your door with a beat up van and a tool belt around his waist that has tools totalling $200.from home depot and charge $50 hr and people pay with a smile because made their toilet flush.Yet a guy rebuilds your bike and has a tool box that is worth $10 k plus and gets no respect......
....something tells me I am about to get beat up by all the plummers in the crowd,it was just a example
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April 1st, 2006, 02:08 PM   #5
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Re: How much is a good mechanic worth

Plumbers fees are based on the amount of crack showing.
Less crack = more money.
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April 1st, 2006, 03:00 PM   #6
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Re: How much is a good mechanic worth

It has always amazed me how a plummer can pull up in front of your door with a beat up van and a tool belt around his waist that has tools totalling $200.from home depot and charge $50 hr and people pay with a smile because made their toilet flush.Yet a guy rebuilds your bike and has a tool box that is worth $10 k plus and gets no respect......
I believe such to be a result of motorcycles (in particularly off-road motorcycles) being a hobby which often includes "tinkering".

One simply figures his / her hobby is a hobby to all, consequently a pleasure to the technician and therefore unworthy of due compensation.

Many male motorcyclists resort to various schemes in order to trick "the wife" regarding where money is being spent. A toilet is deemed crucial by all family members, a motorcycle is not.

Dale
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April 1st, 2006, 04:44 PM   #7
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Re: How much is a good mechanic worth

Being a long time mechanic, I have found that once another mechanic has "fixed" the vehicle. Estimates are then based off the "cringe factor"
Hence my signature.
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April 1st, 2006, 05:13 PM   #8
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Re: How much is a good mechanic worth

The $35 mechanics fine work would seem to fall into the "you get what you pay for" catagory. When it comes to engines, it is best to not "go cheep" unfortunatly this lesson can be expensive to the poor fellow who doesn't know. If he would have listened to you the first time, he wouldn't have this problem now. By Kelsows description, I should be a plumber!
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April 2nd, 2006, 07:32 AM   #9
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Re: How much is a good mechanic worth

I charge more that 50.00/hr. in my work as "Automotive Diagnostic Specialist", but on the dirt bikes I charge less because I actually like working on them. It's kind of therapy for me, as I spend most of my time searching for wiring gremlins and deciphering code definitions on late model autos. Most people think that every problem can be fixed just by replacing parts; they hate to pony up for a skilled technicians' time and experience. Many people purchase vehicles possessing maintenance requirements that far exceed that persons' financial means of providing such maintenance. A man for whom I recently worked told me that according to the US Government Labor Dept., Auto Mechanics are not even considered as "skilled labor"! No doubt an opinion fostered by an outdated department still living in the dark ages. Mechanical aptitude falls into that group of intangibles like art, music, charm, charisma, etc. It's something you're born with. To persons such as myself, it has been both a curse and a blessing. Were I not able to do this, I'd in all probability have gone on to complete college and become a real doctor or lawyer. It has been a decent living but sometimes the headaches make you wonder. I work alone as I require an atmosphere in which I only have to deal with one a#%^%hole and his attendant quirks and moods. As far as race support goes, that's a subject with which I'm all too familiar, having been involved in several amateur projects over the years. There's never enough money. It's not too bad if it's a well financed operation, and it must be a realistic goal; you've got to know what you're trying to accomplish, and know up-front how far you're willing to go to reach that goal. Getting lost in another's dream is a recipe for disaster. You'll lose time, money, and often times, the friendships you've developed. As the mechanic, you're only as good as your last race engine. A rev limiter is not a hotel room; you're not supposed to stay there forever! As to the customer with the 350X, he took his bike home in boxes after grudgingly remitting the 75.00$ fee charged by me for the disassembly. I havn't heard from him since.
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April 2nd, 2006, 08:53 AM   #10
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Re: How much is a good mechanic worth

DRcorey, I can relate to your frustration,I am an HVAC service tech, I too love motorcycles of all types. The decision to NOT be a motorcycle mechanic was based on the fact that I enjoy working on my bikes. I did a one year long attempt at starting my own bike shop. We started with supporting a couple of local kids at the mx track, by the time the season was over, I was totally done with the whole scene! Don't miss understand me here, we had a kick arse season, the 80cc rider won 80% of his races and three local cahampionships at the pacific NW championships,80cc,supermini. and age group. The 125cc guy did the same in his cc and age group, my proudest stat was 24 starts/23 holeshots in the 125cc intermediats! looking at that people have said "wow why did you quit?". The answer is simple, the parents of these kids and the mentallity of the people I had to deal with was more than I could handle. The guy that approches you and says"I want my bike to go as fast as Dans, how much will that cost?". I gave an honest answer, which was MUCH less expensive than shipping a motor off to a nationaly reputable builder(Pro circuit,FMF, or even a Lineaweaver racing } Then the kid would start shooting his mouth around the pits about how I am too proud of my work and am overcarging for my services, and these people don't even know what it takes to build a motor let alone hop one up. So now I fix peoples furnaces, they bitch about how expensive it is, they say I am too proud of my work and overcharge for my services. You know what DRcorey,I don't care, cause my bikes rip,and I still love to work on them! I have had many instances in the heating buisness where a customer has gone to another mechanic, then returned to me with a horror story about the other mechanic, and I have to charge them to undo the damage from the last guy. Do not let this one instance bum you out, try to remember that the people who do not understand what we do, will not hold a appreciation for the art that engine building truely is. Dale should have numerous stories of this as he has been doing this for a very long time, eventualy you will get calus about it, and be glad when that guy walks from your shop. Sorry to ramble, just hit a pet peave.
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