How do you charge for diag?

Cody Diagnostician Illinois Posted   Latest   Edited  

Can you beat time on diag and still charge the full amount without feeling like you are cheating the customer? If I get an hour of diag, I try to have an answer in half an hour and still charge the full hour. Like on an R&R job if it calls for 2 hours and you get it done in 1 hour, you still get paid for 2 hours. what do you guys think? If you get an hour to diag a problem do you ethically have to spend a full hour?

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John Diagnostician
Texas
John Default
 

I charge 1 hour even if it take 15 minutes. However, anything that exceeds the hour is broken into quarters. In business, you have to understand that it is the VALUE of the service. If I were to Intricately handcraft a steel bolt and turn it into a ring even with 50 hours into it, it wouldn’t hold much value to the market even though I’d value my time. If I spent an hour crafting a gold ring…

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Stephen Owner
Florida
Stephen Default
 

I agree with all of the respondents. Although it's accepted industry practice to provide a warranty on our work which sometimes requires a "repeat performance", there is NEVER any other instance where a skilled tradesman should be asked to work for free. The term used in our invoicing isn't diagnosis, but "Analysis" and the figure shown on the invoice reflects a wide range of variables including…

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Chris Technical Support Specialist
New York
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I do like the term analysis. Leaves alot of room for discussion after initial testing.

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Mike Instructor
California
Mike Default
 

You charge the customer for your knowledge. Doesn’t matter if you beat the allotted time.

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Benjamin Owner/Technician
Georgia
Benjamin Default
 

Along with Mike and John’s answer, your tools such as your scope make the diagnosis more efficient and/or make the diagnosis possible. it would be like going in for an MRI and saying to the Radiologist, “boy it only took you a few minutes to get me hooked up to your machine that tells you what’s wrong with me, why am I being billed so much?” Or ask a salesman that only took 30 second to make the…

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Darren Educator
New York
Darren Default
   

To ask the question "how long will it, or did it take?" is entirely the wrong question. The correct question is, "how much time is it worth?" If it has been determined that it is worth an hour, then that is what it is worth, period. There are several reasons, but the biggest reason is that there has to be a standard that applies to all technicians whether they are highly experienced and…

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David Instructor
Indiana
David Default
   

Hi Cody, IMO it depends on the diagnostic job and your skill level / specialty area. For example if your diagnostic job is a drivability problem that would be difficult for most techs to solve with an aftermarket scan tool and medium level knowledge but you knock out that 2 hours of quoted diagnostic time in 1 hour because you have the factory tool, factory info access and a great deal of…

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Tony Owner/Technician
South Carolina
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Surveyed labor times are based on an average tech with average tools and average ability. Years of knowledge and experience allows us to perform tasks more efficiently. So the way that I view it is "Don't judge me on the 15 minutes I took to perform a 1 hr job. Judge me on my 44 years of experience."

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Bill Diagnostician
Pennsylvania
Bill Default
 

There are always hidden costs in determining what to charge. If your scanner cost you 5-7000 dollars, Your insurance bill for the month is 2500, Your technician salary and benefit package and many other factors all add up to high overhead then you need to charge customers accordingly. There is no shame in charging the customer for the other half hour when you probably spent it on this site or…

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Dave Mobile Technician
Ohio
Dave Default
 

I only give a quote for a minimum time , which for me is one hour no matter if it only takes 15 minutes. I make it clear that if it takes longer there will be additional charges. Doing an accurate diagnosis is a job with too many variables to give a fixed price to a customer . As you well know, many times work done by previous people may have to be undone just to get to the original problem and…

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James Owner/Technician
Saskatchewan
James Default
 

Everything starts with an hour, or some other standard number. That means I charge an hour the ones that you can hear the problem from the parking lot, because your knowledge is worth something. From there, there are the hard ones, that get charged out at straight time, and there are the ones where I get going down the wrong road somehow, and realize I should have figured it out much sooner…

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William Diagnostician
Texas
William Default
 

" $ 0.50 for the hammer hit , $ 50.00 for knowing where to hit it. " Your knowledge and experience must be compensated.

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Mark Engineer
Colorado
Mark Default
 

William With your permission I’m going to plagiarize " $ 0.50 for the hammer hit , $ 50.00 for knowing where to hit it. That is a keeper!

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William Diagnostician
Texas
William Default
 

Feel free to do so. I guess I should give the credit to my high school auto mechanics instructor , as that it where I heard it many years ago.

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Fred Business Development Manager
California
Fred Default
 

That's the most eloquent breakdown of a $50.50 estimate I've seen yet. Much appreciated and stolen.

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Tanner Instructor
South Carolina
Tanner Default
 

At this point everyone should be selling testing time with a minimum to start. I have a minimum testing fee that I use and anything over that is sold at an hourly fee. Programming is sold at set rates for each manufacturer and I have let my shops know that the subscription prices are different and continue to change so they just call me anytime they are selling a module to get a price beforehand.

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Rudy Technician
California
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Cody- Youre looking at this wrong(many shop owners/managers do) Youre not charging for your time. The customer doesnt give a squat about your time. You're charging for your knowledge and ability. Thats what they want. So instead of looking at it in terms of time, look at it in terms of service, because thats what it is. Its a service you are providing. (the time associated for this service…

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George Owner/Technician
Alaska
George Default
 

I am a single person shop. The scanners cost me money. The updates for these scanners cost me money. The pico scope cost me money. Money that I won't recover very quickly. I usually charge an hour minimum and then go from there. But if it took me 10 min to diagnose and then a few hours to repair it I only charge the 10 min. If I have several hours into it and then find out that I had cranial…

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn Default
 

Maybe it's been said many times but, if you don't charge the full hour where do the funds for updating equipment come from? Certainly you budget for updates when you build you budget, but we've always thought of our equipment as being rented to the customer. So it's not just time is equipment.

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Cody Diagnostician
Illinois
Cody Resolution
 

Thanks guys for you input. I feel like diag is still the same as R&R. the tools it takes to diag cost money just like the tools it takes to repair. We generally charge an hour initially and like I said before I always aim to have an answer in half of that time, whether its to request more time or to offer a solution. But then we request at least 2 additional hours to disassemble and test if…

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Scott Owner
California
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Hi Cody, I don't think I can add much to what has been said other than is this something you're struggling with, or is this a management problem where you are currently employed? If this comes from your current employer my first thought would be to look for other employment as skilled ‘diagnosticians’ are a rarity and they need to be the highest compensated/most valuable employee at the…

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Cody Diagnostician
Illinois
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this was coming from a fellow employee. As a shop we strive to beat time with diag just like anyone would do you R&R work.

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Rudy Technician
California
Rudy Default
 

Cody- IMO trying to "beat" the clock when it comes to diags isn't the right way to approach them, and could(will) lead to erroneous conclusions.

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Cody Diagnostician
Illinois
Cody Default
 

by beat time I meant have a direction to go even if it is to request more time. not rushing to figure out the problem and risk being wrong. our 1st hour we try to get a baseline on the vehicle unless it is something simple or easy. after that we give a direction of what additional tests we need to perform and if there is any dissassembly involved with testing.

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