Questions and comments about using ProDemand or ShopKeyPro information modules

With so much missing info, how do you give accurate ESTs?

With so much missing info, how do you give accurate ESTs?

Postby theguyatthedesk » Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:54 pm

One example is a 2003 Honda Element. Labor time for a starter is 2.2. Labor time for the intake manifold is 2.1. The starter is underneath the intake, which means replacing the gaskets, which isn't mentioned in the labor guide. Who in their right mind thinks a starter can be removed in 3 minutes, and reinstalled in 3 minutes? 2001 PT Cruiser. Timing belt replacement. You have to dis/recharge the A/C for whatever reason, and it's mentioned NOWHERE in the labor times. Unless you're a master mechanic, and know LITERALLY everything about EVERY vehicle, you will always fall short on ESTs for bigger jobs. Using the "Repair Information" tab, you get directed to ProDemand, which has more information than Mitchell itself, but still lacking severely on necessary info. Is there any other SMS out there that actually hold all the relevant info for a repair? Or should we just continue to give low estimates, add parts halfway through repairs, and leave a customer feeling extorted?
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Re: With so much missing info, how do you give accurate ESTs

Postby ricmorin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:14 pm

Well, you don't need to be a master mechanic but you DO need to look up procedures so you can get all the required parts. The PT cruiser clearly says 'Does not include recharge AC' in the estimator description. That tells me to go look at the procedure and see if it's required because it probably is.

Times are a guide only. We add 20% to them to help with some of the weirdness. It's easier to go down than up. 25 years ago there was very little in the way of changing a component, but today it's common to have to remove all sorts of things to get to something simple.

I found ALL needed information on these two vehicles in ProDemand. If you ever find something lacking in Prodemand, they will gladly take your call and get it for you.

BTW, we give very accurate estimates, and if we go over we eat it.
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Re: With so much missing info, how do you give accurate ESTs

Postby ricmorin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:13 pm

This just came to mind....real-time labor guide. This might help you with some of those times.

http://www.laborguide.net/faq/
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Re: With so much missing info, how do you give accurate ESTs

Postby brianp87 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 3:58 pm

Whomever is looking at the vehicle should let you know what is needed for the job or letting you know kinda what is needed. If it says evac and charge not included then there is your first sign. If it is a module you may need to reprogram, coolant hoses may require an intake removal, if its brake pads you may need to resurface the rotors on the vehicle there are almost always other items so either the tech needs to look or the service writer or both. The info is there in prodemand or estimating. I do not run into issues personally. The times are a guide I use them taking into consideration age and condition. If you do not know what is needed to do the job then I suggest looking up the labor operation and finding out.
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Re: With so much missing info, how do you give accurate ESTs

Postby motley06 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:58 pm

Yea, we bump labor guide about 20% too. We make sure to hit our margins overall, then goodwill extras we may have missed. If you hit the necessary margins, or even go above, it leaves you some wiggle room. Also, I was amazed at how understanding some customers are when you call them up and say 'look, we really had no clue we had to evacuate your a/c system to do the timing belt. We thought it was a simple straightforward job, but the engineer who designed the car had something else in mind. Is it OK if we evac and recharge? It's only an extra $120.' Doesn't work all the time, but if not, some are willing to split the difference.

Sewell (customers for life book) says they pad every estimate an extra 10-15%. If they need it, they have it. If they don't, they might use it to do additional repairs the customer initially declined (wipers, oil change, etc). If nothing else needs to be done, the customer walks in and pays less than they expected... He does a better job of explaining it, but that's the gist of it.
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Re: With so much missing info, how do you give accurate ESTs

Postby Rich » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:13 am

It is a pain, especially when trying to do everything else in the office. I do my best to look at the "how to". I am pretty lucky to have some great guys working with me. They tend to do pretty well to do things like "hey, we are going to have to have exhaust gaskets also", or "gonna have to take the intake off to do this." They do well helping covering my rear end. They understand I can't possibly know it all, just as I don't expect them to balance the check book for me.
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