The Estimate

3 05 2012

Dale BertramToday automotive service and repair shops are getting more calls than ever asking for an estimate.  We understand that this is mostly due to the economy and people are understandably searching for the best value plus they want to make sure they can afford to pay.  Many consumers are asking exactly how we arrive at the estimated price so I thought I would take a moment and explain.

An estimate consists of three parts:

  1. The labor rate
  2. Parts and supplies
  3. Overhead

An automotive service and repair shop estimates the labor rate by how long any given service or repair should take. There are guidelines set down by the manufacturer of each vehicle estimating the time it takes a trained technician to perform any given tasks.

Parts and supplies are included in the estimate, of course. We use two categories of parts, OEM or “Aftermarket.” The parts manufactured by the original car manufacturer are known as Original Equipment Manufacturer or OEM parts. Aftermarket car parts include parts for replacement, collision, performance, and appearance. These parts are usually cheaper than the new OEM parts.

Shops such as myself make sure we use quality parts as they last longer and we feel save our customers more money down the road. These parts also come with a warranty so if the part for whatever reason fails or doesn’t perform as it should, we can replace it without the consumer having to pay for it all over again.  My shop has a 24,000/two-year warranty, for example.  Supplies include such things as replacement fluids and disposal fees.

Overhead includes such items as the cost of the building lease/mortgage, the constant training that we must take to keep up with technology, utilities, diagnostic and scanning equipment and staff benefits.

The goal of independent service and repair shops is to provide quality parts and labor with an excellent warranty.

I hope this helps clarify how we arrive at an estimate.  To find out more information, visit our website at

Happy Motoring!






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