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N Cal Attorney
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Experience:  Since 1983
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Whats the industry standard mechanic hourly rate My local

Customer Question

What's the industry standard mechanic hourly rate? My local dealership says something like $135/hr, that's a little ridiculous to me.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 7 years ago.
There is no industry standard but rates vary from place to place.

Most auto mechanics I have encountered recently charge from $55 to $85 per hour for shop work. I'm not surprised the dealership charges more, but $135 sounds excessive. I hired a mechanic in Marin County California (very expensive area) for $85/hour.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks for the response. So in your professional opinion, is there anything I can do to fight off the ridculous rate? This is from Piercey Toyota in the bay area by the way, if you know where that is.
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 7 years ago.
Were you given a written estimate?

Is the shop licensed by the BAR? See$lcev2.startup?p_qte_code=ARD&p_qte_pgm_code=1310

They do not seem to be but I'm not sure if you gave me the correct spelling of the name of the shop...
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes, on the receipt it says total cost is $225 with $20 parts and $205 labor. The job took 1.5 hr according to them but really was less than that. They didn't specific the hourly rate on the receipt, I got that info from a customer service manager after complained to her. She claimed that they use Standard Labor Guide which is $135/hr, and furthermore she stated that this rate is standard throughout the bay area and she's surprised when I say the rate varies between $55-85.

Their url is and located in Fremont. I don't see them on BAR, so what does this mean?

Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 7 years ago.
If an auto repair shop is not registered with the BAR they are acting illegally and you should complain to the BAR.

You can call a few other local mechanics and ask what their hourly rates are. I have never heard of a mechanic with such a high rate.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I found their name on BAR this time and surprisingly there's a spelling error on the site, it says Piercey Toyoya instead of Toyota.

Now the customer service manager stated that they charged that repair by the job instead of hours after I mentioned to her it's not really 1.5 labor hours that they claimed there was.

You know even if I file complain with BAR what're the chances that they actually do something. I feel that I'm up against a Goliath and they always have ways to shield themselves (like change the charge method).
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 7 years ago.
Did they give you a written estimate before they did the work?

Did you authorize the work in advance in writing based on the estimate?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
The service rep gave me a verbal estimate and I gave him a verbal consent.
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 7 years ago. states that they were supposed to give you a written estimate.

By Law, the auto repair shop must provide a written estimate before doing any work. Ask if there is a charge for the estimate. After you have received the estimate, feel free to go to another shop for a second opinion.

A written estimate must include the total estimated price for parts and labor for a specified repair or service. The estimate must also itemize the parts to be used and the method of repair. The repair shop must stick to the method of repair and the parts listed unless you agree in advance to any changes.

In addition to the total amount, the estimate may itemize the parts to be used and the method of repair. If so, the repair shop must stick to it. They may not legally substitute parts or change the repair method without your consent.

The technician will ask you to sign the estimate/work order, which gives the shop permissionto proceed with the work. If you want any of the parts returned to you, be sure to say so when the technician gives you the estimate.


If the technician later determines that it will take additional work and will cost more to fix your car than the original estimate, someone from the shop must contact you, describe the additional work and cost, and get your permission to proceed.


It was improper for the shop to not give you a written estimate and that is grounds to complain to the BAR. has the complaint form.

Or, you can file in small claims court for a refund based on the lack of a written estimate.

Am I correct in assuming that the verbal estimate was substantialy less than the actual bill?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
The verbal estimate that they provided was very close to the final bill. However like I said they didn't provide a written estimate in advance, I only signed the receipt at the cashier after the repair before they released my car.

In terms of changing charge methods between charge by the hour or by the job, there's no hard proof that I can use against them other than the email correspondences that I had with the customer relations manager, in which she stated that it was 1.5 hour of labor at $135/hr, and later when I mentioned to her it was less than 1.5 hour she then told me this particular repair work allowed them to charge $205 according to the Standard Labor Guide.

When you file complaints with BAR, how long does it usually take to hear something back from them? I always think that you don't usually get anything solid when you file a small complaint like that since they must have hundreds if not thousands of similar complaints to deal with.
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 7 years ago.
You're probably right. Also the odds are thet BAR will not much more than a slap on the wrist anyway.

I would look around for a less expensive mechanic. Dealership mechanics always charge top dollar.

I don't think this is worth pursuing in small claims court if the actual bill was not far off the estimate.

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