Cupertino Auto Repair

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Cupertino, CA 95014

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Pump up the volume – get your cheese for free

Written by maryp posted on Thursday, July 10th, 2008

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One of the local dealerships is still under a “walk out”, and the negotiations must not be going well.

Apparently, one of the issues that they are striking about, (according to the techs), is what is called in our industry as “flat rate”, (as well as a commission system for service writers). This may be somewhat over simplified, but in a “flat rate” system, the tech working on your BMW is paid more when the job is completed more quickly. This is obviously not new to BMW or the conglomerate that owns hundreds of dealerships across the country and is pretty common in local shops and dealerships for production and compensation. In looking at some of the remarks to the recent news articles, most consumers seem to be surprised at this. Over the years, we have heard both pros and cons of this system, from both sides of the argument.

But, it is not the way that we choose to work in our facility.

In some cases, when you see lots of discounts and coupons being advertised by shops, that could be an indication of a “flat rate shop”. The connection, you may wonder? In order to keep the technicians busy doing “flat rate”, you have to have a lot of cars in the shop, and pump out volume. So, this may work for production work that can be processed quickly. But, when you are trouble shooting multiple systems, running in series…..well, volume is the last thing on your mind.

We do have BMW and MINI owners calling us and asking if we can do their warranty work for “free”. We can do all of their service work and it will not void their warranty, but not for “free”. There is an old saying…the only “free” cheese is found in a mousetrap.

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