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Old 03-03-2013, 09:31 AM   #1
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Tiffin Owners Club
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Posts: 113
Shop service vs. private mechanics

I see some of the larger shops in our area, Jacksonville, Florida have raised their hourly rate to $120 plus per hour. Does this rate apply to actual time spent working or do they use a book of standardized times for each item. What if it takes half the time because it's not what they originally thought?
On another note I have had one occasion to need roadside service while parked in Dillard Georgia. The mechanic I found worked harder than any shop mechanic I have used. He was so good I had him take care of several additional items and all were done professionally, expeditiously, and for less money. Although I do as much upkeep on my own unit as I can there are times I find it more advantageous to use the professionals.
What are your thoughts between the two.
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:11 AM   #2
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Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 715
I would use a private mechanic that is good before ever using some
commercial place. Keep track of what maintenance is needed,but use common sense! Some people seem to over do it,when you only use the MH for 5k miles per year. Keep good records of what was done and when.
Siggy D.
Siggy & Ursula.
2011 Newmar DSDP 4020 , (No DEF, 07 emission),
FTL XCR Chassis , Cummins ISL 400 HP
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:30 AM   #3
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Ford Super Duty Owner
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Location: SoCal
Posts: 15,225
I only use dealer service for warranty work. All else goes to an independent shop. Better work at a reasonable cost = a way better value.
Vince and Susan
2011 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH (Cummins ISC/Freightliner)
Flat towing a modified 2005 Jeep (Rubicon Wrangler)
Previously a 2002 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37A and a 1995 Safari Trek 2830.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:40 PM   #4
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Location: Weyauwega, WI US
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I always use a private shop for my general work. If I would have a major problem with the transmission or Cummins I would consider a factory authorized shop. I had a reoccurring slide issue and I took that back to Winnebago for their expertise.

Don & Bev Morgan Weyauwega WI, 05 Itasca Horizon 40KD, 400 HP Cummins, Adopted by a great couple, Toad 07 Saturn Vue AWD, Air Force One, TST 510 TPMS, Mayor of Weyauwega 2007 - 2013, Waupaca Co Board Supervisor 2010 - 2014
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:28 PM   #5
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: N.E. Florida
Posts: 1,293
Many use the book for the hours charged regardless of actual time spent.

The best/most honest will charge you the actual time that it took to do the job.

$120/hour is very high. My guy in Fort Pierce charges $70 an hour during normal business hours and $85/hour after 5 pm. He charges based upon time spent.

Many OTR truckers get their LOF pm's done at this shop.

It is Crossroads USA Truck Lube (772)-393-0333.

They are setup like Speedco, big pits where you can drive your rig over and the techs can get to everything from below.

1998 American Eagle 40EVS
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:43 PM   #6
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Location: Okanagan valley British Columbia
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The flat rate shops charge just that regardless of how long the tech spent on it, that is how they and the tech make their money. It's a double edge sword, the dealers have the parts, tools, service information to get the job done quickly and efficiently. They should not have to tie your rig up overnight or longer for want of an oil filter or serpentine belt.
This works to our advantage as long as the tech is good and conscientious, if he is lazy and more worried about beating the clock we suffer. OTOH, the independent generally works at a lower rate because his overhead is lower. The problem is when he has to send out for parts or a special tool or does not have the knowledge to do the job quickly or properly. We end up paying for a substandard repair. I use an independent to service our vehicles, he is very good but knows his limitations and is upfront about it. He won't do more than a lube, oil, filter on our diesel.
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