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Shop labor costs in your market?

4539 Views 64 Replies 28 Participants Last post by  OnTwo
Hi! Long-time member, but been awhile since I posted anything.

I just got the chain and sprockets replaced on my 2009 DL-650A at my local dealer.
I'd already purchased the Suzuki OEM "Drive Chain Kit" so the only expense was labor (and some cheap "shop supplies").

Any guesses how much it cost?

I'll save you the suspense: it was $475.

I know labor costs have gone up, but not too long ago I remember the rates at this shop (in Falls Church, VA, USA) were around $55/hr.
For this job, the labor rate was $160/hr, which included a $10/hr surcharge for "bikes over 10 years old."

What's an average cost/hr. for shop labor in your market? Has anyone noticed the rates TRIPLING in their area?

And before all the comments come to derail this thread – No, I couldn't do it myself; I live in a condo and have neither the place nor the tools to do this job.
There's an independent shop that's a bit of a drive and I could've had the work done there, but they're all booked up so I figured I'd just go to the Suzuki dealer who's close by. I mean, how much could it possibly cost?

Now I know.
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Oddly, that job takes me 30 minutes to an hour on a good day and I don't have a lift.

Most of the time is changing the rear sprocket, followed by some cursing when reassembling the rear wheel. (Cut the chain off, don't break it)
I'll concede I have screwed up now and then and it's dragged on for two weeks :), but the screwups were due to it being years since I last did the job and the delays were waiting for new master links. Neither are problems a real mechanic should have.

Confident that were I doing that often I'd be hitting 30 minutes/zero errors reliably.

Being ripped off like that are why I now do those jobs myself.

It does sometimes cost me some downtime waiting for parts and I occasionally screw up :) but delays are an issue with shops now, they don't keep common items in stock and order on demand, that appears save THEM a little money but it goes pear shaped spectacularly now and then.

All in all I'm well ahead, even allowing for the occasional redo. I'm not dissing you for using a shop but ask around and see if there's an independent somewhere who's less expensive.
 

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To be fair there.
Officially mechanics do get trained on what to do with current machines, and machines they don't know may take a little longer. (I'm not saying that actually happens note, just that it's part of being a dealer that SHOULD be happening)

Charging that for something like a tire change or chain and sprockets does seem like gouging anyway. Fair enough for say a valve adjust where it's all new, you may be dealing with brittle plastics, corroded fasteners. What I actually believe is someone got away with that, then everyone followed because mo $ ;)
 

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Manufacturers are only required to make parts for 10 yrs after building a machine. How much fun is it to track down after the oem quits supporting it because it never sold as a part.

It can get very frustrating the older the machine to try and find parts or make something work.
In this case there were no parts to hunt down, they were supplied. The job should take an hour tops.

I agree with POTENTIAL problems but if you are charging an hourly rate you've covered that.
 

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I have to work on all types of industrial material handling equipment and can completely understand the surcharge on older machines. Just removing screws and bolts can be a real chore as steel and aluminum don't get along well at that age and breakage is common due to the metals bonding from galvanic action. All bikes and quads I work on get anti seize on the hardware.
Sure, if you are quoting up front that's fair.

Charging by the hour not so fair, probably technically illegal because of the double billing.

Pete
 
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