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Old 04-10-2015, 06:44 PM   #41
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Yeah, that was no doubt a tough job. Now let's talk about a radiator cap that was very small part of a big job. This is the $250 aspirin at the hospital.
Yep, that does sound lik allot, no argument there.

But, it was also one line item on a $13K quote.

There are only four choices available here for the OP and I feel for him.

1. accept the quote and do the work, or part of the work leaving the radiator cap off.
2. Find a cheaper mechanic and do the work
3. develop the skills and make the time to do the work himself.
4. Don't do the work and pay the consequences.
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:09 PM   #42
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Remember, CAT (or any service company) has to pay for all their overhead as well in that $120 thermostat installation. I would guess their hourly rate is probably close to 2 or 3 times that $120

Overhead=
Trucks
Fuel
Health insurance
Workman's comp insurance
Advertising
liability insurance
business licenses
vehicle insurance
fuel
tools
vehicle maintenance -tires/repairs/oil changes
vehicle registration
uniforms
chemicals
disposables
cell phones
cell phone plans
office personnel salaries
computer equipment
office space/rent
office utilities
office property insurance
employee training
mechanic training
vacation pay
office supplies
warranty work
mechanic labor
shipping/ mail fees
possibly retirement wages for past employees
AND THEN
profit
taxes


I am sure I am missing many things as well, but long gone are the $50/hr mechanics/skilled tradesmen
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:21 PM   #43
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Yup - big engines cost big bucks to maintain.

This is where the real cost of running a big semi-fast boat is felt. Many people only consider the cost of fuelling them.
Amen!!!!
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:24 PM   #44
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I disagree Bligh, $50/hour service guys are all over the place. Read RTF's post for proof. They're flakes without a business license or insurance that show up if/when they feel like it and offer a taillight guarantee.
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:30 PM   #45
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I'm thinking the $120 radiator cap was priced as a single job with a minimum labor charge. In my past business (outdoor power equipment sales/repair), if someone asked what the price was to do X repair, it was priced singly, along with any other estimate. If the customer said do jobs X, Y, Z and A, the total job was discounted, since I was already at work on the product, avoiding duplicate labor billings.
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:33 PM   #46
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I disagree Bligh, $50/hour service guys are all over the place. Read RTF's post for proof. They're flakes without a business license or insurance that show up if/when they feel like it and offer a taillight guarantee.
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:36 PM   #47
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In South Jersey there are a few independent $50 / hr guys the pat are licensed and pretty good.

But they are generally outboard and gasser guys.

Diesel guys who are good just get too much from going with the bigger companies....pay and benefits. Maybe they can't compete with parts prices either. And certainly the overhead of correcting mistakes on an expensive diesel engine could catch up quick.

The only good independents I know will do some work on the side...whether that is OK with the diesel company they work for I'm sure is a bit shakey.
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:48 PM   #48
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I'm probably going to get in trouble for this but here goes.

Many educated people in general look at tradespeople like plumbers, mechanics, electricians, power linemen, etc... and think that they being people with 4 year degrees should make more money.

This has NOTHING to do with the OP (I don't even know him), but in general thats why people are so shocked when they see things like estimates for work to be done by for example a plumber, or mechanic or other craft person.

They raise their children to be like them, get a degree, make more money, be better.

The problem is that philosophy cannot be further from the truth. As a hourly electronics technician I passed up the wages an engineer makes decades ago, and not by a small measure either.

I live on a very affluent lake in Alaska and I look at who my neighbors are. To the right of me is a 6,000 square foot house owned by my neighbor a roofer. That guy has five airplanes plus a helicopter. Across the lake is a plumber. He has two airplanes, one at his home in Alaska and another at his home in Arizona. Then there is the contractor, and the butcher, and, well the list goes on and on...

The cool thing is that while "america" has raised their kids to shun "blue collar work", that has created a shortage of people willing to do that work, and made for some really good wages.

So, my thought back to the discussion at hand is if we want to complain about how much it costs to unstop the toilet, or get the boat worked on, we need to actualy get ouur hands dirty and do some work. Untill then craft people will continue to reap the rewards.
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:19 PM   #49
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:38 PM   #50
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The cool thing is that while "america" has raised their kids to shun "blue collar work", that has created a shortage of people willing to do that work, and made for some really good wages.
I read a lotta, lotta stuff about the Klondike Gold Rush during the year before a friend and I took my Land Rover to the Yukon for a five week camping/fishing trip.

And something I learned from all that research is this: Given the number of people who went to the Yukon in search of their fortune, very, very few of them actually made one. Most of the people who trudged up there and dug for gold came home poorer than they'd been when they went up.

The people in the Yukon who totally cleaned up in terms of making a fortune were not the miners. They were the guys who sold eggs to the miners, who sold shovels to the miners, who sold glass to the miners for the windows in their cabins, and so on.

Kevin is correct, I believe. Society, at least western society, has come to look upon "the trades" as being low-status occupations in life. Which is ironic, because as Kevin points out, the plumbers and electricians and roofing company owners generally make more than the people who are looking down their noses at them. If money is how we're to judge status, then the trades folks have it all over the "edjicated" cubicle dwellers.

Referring to the OP's first post, labor at $120 an hour is not out of line these days, depending on one's location. Where we have our boat, labor is $100 an hour. I'm sure it's less in other places. The cost of labor is driven in part by the demand and in part by the cost of living in that area. I would expect in the southeast states, labor prices in general are lower than they are here or in California for example.

As others have pointed out, labor is usually charged by the hour although you sometimes find people like electricians who charge by the half hour. So even if it only takes eight seconds to change a radiator cap, you have to pay the fellow who's doing it for a full hour. The diesel shop we use charges from the moment the mechanic steps out the door to the moment he steps back inside unless he's going to continue to work int he shop on a component he's removed from an engine.

So in the case of our boat and where it is, the radiator cap may take eight seconds to change but the mechanic is going to charge for walking across the street, through the harbor's big parking lot, out the couple hundred yards of dock to our boat, getting onto the boat and down into the engine room, and then back the same way. By the time it's all said and done, he'll have been working the job for the better part of an hour. And diesel shops (or plumbers or.....) don't round down.
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:54 PM   #51
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Think part of what is missed in this discussion is where you are. If you take your boat to downtown Manhattan in New York city, the cost of doing business probably doubles or triples. Go to Crisfield, MD and the labor rate may be 60% of East coast FL. Clearly you can get genuine Cat parts and service from a Cat authorized dealer in many locations, just not sure I understand why you would want to do a major service at Tiffanys (High Rent District).

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Old 04-10-2015, 10:00 PM   #52
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Summer before last a 46' Duffy pulled into slip next to us. Nasty leak in a fuel control component buried under the intercooler on a 3208 TA. The owner decided to have the leaky seal replaced on both engines and had the intercoolers cleaned since they were already out. (They needed it). Cat maintenance truck with two guys worked three days. $6K per engine.
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:12 PM   #53
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Greetings,
I'm not talking about hacks or fly-by-nights here. The no-shows are, for the most part reputable companies. As far as wages go, I suspect that a technician who I pay a company $120/hr for is earning in the neighborhood of $35/hr.-$40/hr. with the rest being overhead for the company as noted by Mr. b in post #42.
I have never "looked down my nose" at ANY trades person having been one, more or less, for 35 years. My services were hired out by my company for $120/hr where I was paid substantially less than that, MUCH less and no where near the $35/hr as I mentioned above that current trades are paid.
I'm positive there are skilled people who DO work independently for $XX/hr and not $XXX/hr. I have yet to find them.
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:32 PM   #54
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Hummmm, the costs of "boat-propulsion":

Diesels (see nearly all posts above) - vs - 350 cid / 255 hp Mercruisers (see statements here).

Average $250 annual in oil, filters, and parts - if I do the work (which I do 99% of the time). If I hired most of it out... probably $1500.

If 350 fails completely... couple thousand bucks for rebuild or a few thousand for new engine in a crate. Installation by me and young helper would be $1000 +/-

Properly maintained and gently used = 4000 +/- hrs use. Mine currently have under 1000 since rebuilds.

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Old 04-10-2015, 10:44 PM   #55
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Summer before last a 46' Duffy pulled into slip next to us. Nasty leak in a fuel control component buried under the intercooler on a 3208 TA. The owner decided to have the leaky seal replaced on both engines and had the intercoolers cleaned since they were already out. (They needed it). Cat maintenance truck with two guys worked three days. $6K per engine.
Just had this same service done on both our 3208-TA's. It was done by a local mechanic who I've used before and trusted. Cost was about $2000 and included setting the valves and all the gaskets. He was finished is 3 days.

Guess it just depends on the area. Labor here I am quite sure is much cheaper than other areas.
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:59 PM   #56
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Several years ago a gas powered Sea Ray pulls into slip next to us on one engine. I help owner trouble shoot it. Carb is obviously shot. Fairly remote location with no boat parts stores in the area. They call Boat Doctor...a chain of mobile repair guys. They remove/replace the carb with a remanufactured unit. $675. Owner immediately departs with boat. Five minutes later, they're back in the slip. Oil pressure dropped to near zero on the way out of channel. The oil is diluted with gasoline. They call Boat Doctor, who charge him another $250 to change the oil. I tell the mechanic they should have caught that the first time around, and they're stealing from the owner. They refund the labor on oil change. Gas engine.
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Old 04-10-2015, 11:14 PM   #57
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Just had this same service done on both our 3208-TA's. It was done by a local mechanic who I've used before and trusted. Cost was about $2000 and included setting the valves and all the gaskets. He was finished is 3 days.

Guess it just depends on the area. Labor here I am quite sure is much cheaper than other areas.
I think it was $6K total, now the I think about it. I mentioned this in a similar thread a couple years ago, but can't find it in the archives. But still....
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Old 04-10-2015, 11:47 PM   #58
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Look, I am a tradesman/ craftsman too. It cost what it cost to do the job. Do NOT insult me with a $120.00 radiator cap install while doing a $13,000 job. That is just stupid because it makes the customer (me) think that you think the customer (me) is stupid. Piss me off, work done or not, as a customer, I will stretch you out. You will justify EVERY line on that bill. I have a motto, if I as the customer ain't happy you as the contractor is going to be less happy than me. I will see to it. Screwing on a radiator cap for $120.00, and billing me ain't gonna make me happy.
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Old 04-11-2015, 02:03 AM   #59
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Look, I am a tradesman/ craftsman too. It cost what it cost to do the job. Do NOT insult me with a $120.00 radiator cap install while doing a $13,000 job. That is just stupid because it makes the customer (me) think that you think the customer (me) is stupid. Piss me off, work done or not, as a customer, I will stretch you out. You will justify EVERY line on that bill. I have a motto, if I as the customer ain't happy you as the contractor is going to be less happy than me. I will see to it. Screwing on a radiator cap for $120.00, and billing me ain't gonna make me happy.
I look at things a little different...

Prior to taking my boat to a shipyard for a major refit I researched that ship yard. I talked to the people that work there, and developed a sense of trust that they would do a good job, and that they would bill me fairly for time they actually spent dealing with my boat.

When I looked over the invoices every task was time coded. I knew that some tasks blended into others and that the actual time on task A might be higher than actual while the time spent on task B might be lower than actual. What they to this day do not know is I did not care about the individual tasks on an invoice, I cared about the total hours billed on a invoice vs what I thought was reasonable.

In my opinion being a guy that bills my customer daily that's how these relationships need to be handled. There needs to be a trust that our contractors are doing the right thing for us. If a job takes longer than we guesstamate that it should thats not bad, that just means that they found something that was going to cause me grief down the road, and fixed it.

So, I could care less about the radiator cap. To me its meaningless. What is important and since I'm not a Cat diesel mechanic I do not know... is the total labor hours estimated reasonable based on the work to be done, and the boat that it is going to be done on.

I also think that hard fast quotations are very dangerous. The reason is that if they get into the job and find something unexpected, they will have to short cut something in order to meet the quoted hours. Thats why I do not want hard quotes for work. I want an honest estimated based on experience. That gives the trade person the leeway to do the right thing instead of covering up something that they in good faith failed to account for or something that was more time consuming than they expected.
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Old 04-11-2015, 07:48 AM   #60
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Greetings,
Mr. hm. Well, at least you got a live body to do SOMETHING as ludicrous as it turned out to be. I've been making inquiries and contacts here in Ft. Lauderdale for the last 3 weeks attempting to find electricians and mechanics etc. and to date the only thing I've accomplished is a generator in the midst of servicing (started Wed. and I expect it may be done by NEXT Wed.) and a lot of "We'll be there tomorrow's" and "Oh yes, we'll call right back". Just for once I'd like someone to say "Can't help you, too busy or not interested." What I need is a good general all around technician who will work for $XX/hr and be here when he/she says they will and can actually get some work done. OK, rant off.
You have my number. If you had used it I might have been able to help you avoid much of that.

You could still give me a list of what you want done and by when if you'd like.
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