24 years ago, I designed this automotive repair diagnostic efficiency chart to help the auto repair industry become efficient, starting with my automotive repair diagnostic shop Automotive Diagnostic Inc. (ADI) For the next 14 years I trained this on the road with National Diagnostic Institute of Training. And still do today.

I remember listening to the big guys back then Terry Greenhut and Mitch Schneider that said you could and should be 100% efficient in your automotive repairs. I didn’t believe them. However I remember thinking to myself if I can even be 85% efficient in automotive repair, I would feel good about myself. After many failed attempts of becoming automotive repair efficient came success. And the great news is it still works today.

I learned back then that mechanics are like a dog on a bone. We start something and don’t stop until its fixed. We can’t do that and make money however. Your automotive repair efficiency is so critical today. It’s the difference of you being to make a living and keep your employees alive and well financially.

To be automotive repair efficient requires a program of sorts along with a plan. My automotive repair efficiency for the past 24 years and still to this day is 112% -117% efficient. And here’s the kicker that is also with electrical diagnostics.

I already hear it….. automotive repair efficiency can’t be done; my area is different. You’re probably right if your place looks like the filthy repair shop picture attached and you’re using a $39 diagnostic connector with broken tools and equipment and you have to search every time for that one socket or wrench in your tool cart.

You must look the part of confidence to sell your experience and time which ties into automotive repair efficiency. This week ask your customer what they think you paid for your scan tool it will surprise, it may even piss you off what they think you paid for it, especially if you have $5-6K or more invested.

There’s a reason dealership’s charge more and get it. They not only look the part of professionalism they are automotive repair efficient. A coat of paint and cleaning up a shop goes a long way to building customer confidence. There is a lot of psychology involved when working with people.

ADI was a small shop (3 cars) that had no drains, white cabinets with the tool’s boxes behind them. White service writing desks, diagnostic stripes and American Flag on the wall. The front customer area back then was emerald green carpet, cherry wood desk, floral couch brass lamp and a fish tank. It looked like a doctor’s office. We wore lab coats and used gloves back then. Yes, all we did was diagnostic (also for independent shops and a few dealerships) but by looking the part we never had trouble charging. Did we have the customer occasionally that said that’s too much? We sure did. We then educated them on how we “test we don’t Guess” with their money. About 15% of those went elsewhere some of which came back later after throwing hundreds of dollars of parts at their car. Sometimes it’s not worth the time working on these people’s cars. They will drain your time and energy. A professional automotive repair efficiency shop will always be light years ahead of the competition. Great customer will always visit you when they know they get there car done right the first time and you have the car for a minimal amount of time.

If your labor rate is $100 per hour your Diagnostic Efficiency Charge should be $125. If you setup a Diagnostic Sheet like the one I’ve used after a few times going through it, I could do a diagnosis in 35-40 minutes. Do the math, is automotive repair efficiency? $125 for diagnosis @ 40 minutes. You now have created a bank of time reserve for the ones that really kick your butt in the future. Oh….I already hear the grumbling that you can’t charge that. You can’t if all your doing is hooking up a Scan Tool like O’Reillys or AutoZone. Come on aren’t you better than them? If not keep doing what you’re doing and stop reading here.

Here’s how it works. You must provide a value in the Diagnostic Efficiency Charge. To diagnose properly there is a lot more you need to know than just codes. At times it gets into bad grounds, dropped power etc. Yes, there are the lucky ones you code check replace and nail but then there are the ones you spend days on or ship somewhere else because you might not have the right process.

First off, we all know that a good TSB can save our lunch at times. This is again a valuable part of automotive repair efficiency. It could have been born broke so start there.

Battery charging and Alternator is that important, it sure is. Like your heart if its weak the rest of you is weak. Can this build automotive repair efficiency by you not spending hours going down the wrong road to end up back here?

Fuel system/Injectors – Lean fuel or dribbling injectors can create issues.

Vacuum leaks are they important? Big time automotive repair efficiency tool and process. Back then that was the hardest purchase for me. A tool that blows smoke? I thought the salesman was smoking something until I demoed it and found out the automotive repair efficiency and time it helped with. If you take 45 minutes to find a vacuum leak that you can find in 5-7 minutes using a smoke machine, that just built you automotive repair efficiency.

Secondary System – Faulty plugs, wires or coils can create issues.

Carbon build up – I’ve repaired a fair number of cars by carbon system cleaning.

Once you have done these steps if you find the issue then you can give the quote to move forward to repair. If you don’t this is where you now sell a 2-hour block of time per your hourly rate to remain automotive repair efficient. This needs to be explained as to where you are going with the diagnosis and what exactly you will be doing. BUT.. you stop at 1 hour and 45 minutes to evaluate where you are and the next step or additional block of time so that you continue to provide automotive repair efficiency. Its your time and money stop being a knucklehead and start making what’s owned you for your skills and knowledge.

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