With most things, it is taken for granted that the price listed is the price that will be charged. For instance, if a piece of meat is listed as $4.98 per pound and weighs one half pound, the cost will be $2.49. This may seem like common sense.
At AGCO we agree, this is common sense, we sell professional service by the hour. If we spend one-half hour, we bill for one half-hour, at a pre-quoted rate. In most cases we can very accurately estimate the time required, once we have examined the problem. This is how we estimate cost. We diagnose the problem with the vehicle, determining the extent of the repair and the time required. With this, and based on our experience we can now quote a price that is fair to all concerned. Should the repair take less time than expected, we charge for the actual time spent.
There are sometimes cases where the amount of time cannot be known before checking further. Such a case might be diagnosing a check engine light. In these cases we quote a range or let the client set a limit. When the limit is reached, we stop and report exactly what we know at that point. In most cases we will also be able to predict how much longer we are going to need.
Our clients love our billing methods and find it saves them a great deal of money. We feel it addresses one of the largest problems in the auto repair trade, the practice of "flat rate" billing. With flat rate billing, a guide is used to determine how many hours are to be billed. The client then pays this amount without regard to how long the vehicle is actually worked on. For instance if two hours is specified, two hours is billed, even if the job is done in one hour.
We feel this is wrong and encourages shortcuts and in some cases dishonesty. We feel this is a root cause of the lack of trust so many have for the auto repair trade.†It also has a profound effect on the people who work under the system.† When people are treated like rats bribed with cheese, they may start acting like rats, bribed with cheese.†Our thought is, actual time billing is a far more accurate and honest way of doing business. Our clients agree and we think you will too. Honest, actual time billing, we think itís an idea that is past due.