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The Traditional way to calculate labor charges for car repair since I got into it in the late 60’s is by using time guides. The Chilton and Motors were the time guides of choice for years. The principle worked like this. The time guide people would decide how long it would take an average mechanic with the right tools to perform a job. An example would be to replace spark plugs in a 69 Barracuda Chilton would say 1 hour. So this way shops could do estimates saying you would pay 1 hour labor regardless of the skill level of the mechanic or if he had the right tools. It might take him 3 hours or it might take him 30 minutes either way they would charge the customer for 1 hour at whatever their hourly rate say $50. It does simplify things and would appear to be completely fair. The problem is that similar to Russian nesting dolls the system was full of itself and thus it was corrupted. Let me explain.

First of all let me say that in no way do I want to pick on mechanics or repair shops or even the time guide companies. All are folks made in God’s image and wake up every morning thinking that they are going to work to help folks. I just want to fly over this issue at ten thousand feet so we can see how the system is corrupted and perhaps more importantly how when we get full of ourselves we too have the problem of Adam, (we want to take God’s Place).

Having grown up around this culture, literally I was 13 when I got into it, I understand the culture drives much of this behavior. Chiltons and Motors time guide companies I’m sure quickly became aware that the more time they said a job would take the better their time guides sold. If you are a shop or a mechanic if the time guides increase the time on a job it’s like your getting a raise. Meanwhile the competition among mechanics is who can turn the most hours. In many shops it’s the guy that turns the most hours that’s considered the top dog and thus driving the mechanics to use the time guide with the greater time allotted per job.

Ironically on the other side of the coin the manufactures have their warranty time guides. Here again Ford, GM etc want to pay as little as they can to do warranty repairs so they fudge on the other side of the equation. I have seen jobs that took a great mechanic 3hrs to perform that the manufacturer would only pay .5 (a half hour). So for years most new car repair shops had at least three time guides. One for warranty repair and the other two to see which you could charge the customer the most for. Today they have computers and access to a number more.

So in came big retailers like Pep Boys and Midas Muffler, Jiffy Lube etc…, they found the most common price sensitive repairs then dropped the price way down on those repairs and began to up sell their way into turning more hours on less common jobs that wouldn’t be as price sensitive. Dealers began similar strategies so today we have a virtual smorgasbord of ways to make a profit. Dealers and retailers also measure themselves by who’s the most profitable thus driving similar behaviors. I would guess whatever line of work you are in people find ways to measure and then compare, pushing people to corrupt the process to look better and feel better about themselves. Again the problem is like the Russian Nesting Dolls we are so full of ourselves we fail to see the corruption or consider the consequences. All this goes on in life not just the repair business.

So what is fair, what is honest. Shops are expensive to operate the special tools cost a fortune. Mechanic takes years of training to get good like doctors really in my view they train and have clinicals, yearly certifications, new systems, new technology. Insurance, they too have huge product liability concerns in a suit happy culture,(full of itself).

Simply put I don’t know another way to empty yourself without doing what Jesus said and it’s quoted in all four gospels,” Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” For Jesus sake we should consider others better than ourselves and lose our life like he did for us. Adam tried to take God’s place and live with the knowledge of good and evil thus becoming like a Russian nesting doll full of himself and self centered. So Jesus came to take our place and die, so that we could live forever with The Father and The Son and The Holy Spirit.

Think about it any good Christian repair shop owner lives this daily, there is a remnant. Find that shop, trust him to work through the corruption we have the Jesus Labor of Love Participants who in my view are living this here is the list maybe there is one near you. In any case finding a Christian brother in any circumstance and joining your resources with him we will move the Kingdom forward.