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Old 04-11-2015, 02:37 PM   #81
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Greetings,
Mr. hm. $13K-$5K is about $8K. Probably "They're flakes without a business license or insurance that show up if/when they feel like it and offer a taillight guarantee" although not necessarily so.
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Old 04-11-2015, 02:43 PM   #82
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Anything but a flake. I've checked him out thoroughly. In fact, he's currenty working on the engines on a boat near me on the same dock. It's a 55' Fleming that's just about new. The guy who owns it has used him for years on previous boats and has been more than pleased.
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Old 04-11-2015, 03:34 PM   #83
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The $120 labor charge for the cap installation is a small percentage of the total cost, but it certainly makes no sense.
I don't know how this service company does their invoicing for labor, but if that $120 was tucked in somewhere else; it would have been much easier to swallow.

Whichever way it comes, it's going to be expensive; but an invoice can be presented in a manner which does not offend. A small mistake, and an unhappy customer.
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Old 04-11-2015, 03:37 PM   #84
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AusCan, You are so right.

BTW the fellow I mention is not working on a Fleming, it's a Marlowe.
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Old 04-11-2015, 03:57 PM   #85
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Anything but a flake. I've checked him out thoroughly. In fact, he's currenty working on the engines on a boat near me on the same dock. It's a 55' Fleming that's just about new. The guy who owns it has used him for years on previous boats and has been more than pleased.
The whole notion of paying time and material is fine as long as the person hired a) knows what they are doing, and b) works efficiently and diligently. Unfortunately, both are in short supply in many trades, marine services included. With T&M, the buyer assumes all the risk. If the service "pro" is learning on the job, doesn't know what they are doing, screws something up, doesn't diagnose a problem but rather guesses and replaces parts until the problem goes away, you bear the cost of all that, not them.

I'm happy to pay someone a premium rate if they can come in and fix something right the first time. Unfortunately, that is almost never my experience. More often than not they either don't fix the problem, or screw something else up in the process. Then you need to call them back so they can try again. Auto service is the worst offender. 90% of the time I end up paying someone to come waste my time and screw up my boat. Brilliant, right?

Anyway, I think what Howard has done is the best approach. Find a referenceable, well regarded independent person who wouldn't survive if they weren't good as well as honest. Then your money will be well spent.
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Old 04-11-2015, 04:07 PM   #86
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HM

Sounds like you already had it figured out. Thanks for inviting us in. Are your 3116 JWAC? Really simplifies things if they are.
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Old 04-11-2015, 04:09 PM   #87
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Ok, what the heck is JWAC? If you mean are they coolant or seawater cooled, the answer is coolant cooled.
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Old 04-11-2015, 07:45 PM   #88
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Jacket Water After Cooled has been Cat's terminology for over 50 years for coolant cooled. On land engines the other option is air cooled after coolers. Your ACs should last a very long time since they are not seeing sea water.
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Old 04-11-2015, 08:51 PM   #89
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Thanks! Something to be happy about.
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Old 04-11-2015, 08:59 PM   #90
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Old 04-11-2015, 09:30 PM   #91
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"He who haveth a trade, haveth an estate" - Benjamin Franklin
No regrets going the tradeschool route.
Me too, learned electronics in the Air Force '70-'74. Been employed ever since. The company I manage international service for won't walk in the door for less than $5,000 plus travel expenses. (That's for a 2 day call, after that it's 240/hr. Tick-tock).
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Old 04-11-2015, 09:36 PM   #92
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First, as to some statements earlier of taking sides and other lack of objectivity. I have owned Mercruiser, Yanmar, Weber, Yamaha, MTU, and MAN, so when I defend CAT there's no personal prejudice. Second, I'm not a tradesman, never could be one, but respect those who are good ones tremendously. So, that said...

I believe CAT makes excellent engines and, on the whole, the CAT mechanics are excellent. As to price, as pointed out by others, CAT will cost significantly less to service than MAN or MTU.

As to the one line of the estimate, I attribute that to the computerization of estimates as done by major service companies in boats and autos. It does lead to some strange looking lines as it looks at items in isolation. As to the entire estimate, having not seen it, I can't be certain, but it didn't seem unreasonable for the work involved. Clearly the reason for choosing a certified CAT provider isn't to get the radiator cap replaced, although some fly by night mechanic picking up some after market cap that comes close but doesn't match can cause a tremendous amount of problem.

If you're capable of doing it yourself, then more power to you. However, choosing mechanics based on rates is dangerous and often leads to work without warranty and repeat problems. As pointed out, a free estimate, free oil analysis. And to show their honestly, they showed no issues with that analysis.
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Old 04-12-2015, 01:23 AM   #93
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The cap replacement is likely to be the "most easily customer assessed for reasonableness item" on the quote. It is obviously unreasonable to me, question is: does that "unreasonableness" infect the whole quote, where assessment is less easy, or is it the unfortunate result of a computerized quote system, as B&B suggests, which might be cured by a human checking it before issue, but may still infect the whole quote?
The OP`s enquiring approach makes sense to me. I hope it works out. It is said here car dealers profit comes more from service than sales, not sure it`s true but it is said. I hear tales of a $1400 routine service fee for Rolex. Maybe the money is in servicing. There are plenty of competent auto service people expert in particular makes working outside dealer networks,(no reason that can`t apply to marine equipment) though sometimes special tools needed exclude them from some jobs.
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Old 04-12-2015, 01:27 AM   #94
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There used to be a joke around Boeing that we lose money on every airplane but make it back on parts.
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Old 04-12-2015, 07:57 AM   #95
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Clearly what's missing from the service estimate is the salesman. If your going to do a free estimate that involves a technician and oil analysis, why wouldn't you use a "Service Consultant" (salesman) to explain the bill. Good friend of mine is a self employed lift truck (forklift) mechanic. Lift trucks make boats look inexpensive. A one day preventative maintenance service can run thousands. So he works up an estimate, and goes over it line by line with the customer and explains how combining or deleting certain services effect the overall estimate. Could easily see a service consultant explaining that the different items are each estimated separately but the final bill reflects actual hours of service time, making a joke about the labor charge for the radiator cap.

Then again, they may do everything based on book time for each item and intend to charge you $120 for the radiator cap.

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Old 04-12-2015, 08:12 AM   #96
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Good for you Howard, wanting to maintain your vessel to a high standard. For the inevitable next owner, good service and records are important.
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Old 04-12-2015, 08:30 AM   #97
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This is a most interesting thread and I truly appreciate everyone's input. Thanks to all. Maintaining my boat to a high standard is important to the safety of my family as we are full time cruisers. When conditions get dicey, I prefer to concentrate on my boat handling skills rather than worrying about what will crap out next. Howard
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Old 04-12-2015, 09:30 AM   #98
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This is a most interesting thread and I truly appreciate everyone's input. Thanks to all. Maintaining my boat to a high standard is important to the safety of my family as we are full time cruisers. When conditions get dicey, I prefer to concentrate on my boat handling skills rather than worrying about what will crap out next. Howard
That is the most important post on this thread... its theme/contents are priceless. Goon on ya!
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Old 04-13-2015, 12:28 PM   #99
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I look at things a little different...
Most Alaskans do and we tend to raise our kids a little differant too....

Good Thread!
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Old 04-13-2015, 02:39 PM   #100
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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.
Marin is partially correct. There certainly is demand for CAT's expensive service. And living expenses may drive labor costs. But there is much more to it. I am sure there are also lower priced mechanics in most geographical areas. I know here in CA there is a wide spectrum of mechanics available to take my money. CAT, I'm sure has intentionally placed itself at the higher end. Why wouldn't they? CAT is in business to make a profit (Sorry mule, I know you think profits should be illegal).

Here is another way of looking at it. When I was a kid and my father end I took trips together across country, we never stayed in hotels. My dad thought it was a wast of money. We slept in his van to save $$. I did the same thing intil I was about 26 or so at which point I thought ponying up $35 bucks for a motel six was a good investment in a good nights sleep and a shower. Fast forward 20 years, and my preference in hotels is a Days Inn minimum and often a Hilton or Marriott that may be 5, 10 or 20 times the price of the motel 6. Both places give me a place to sleep and shower, but to me, I feel I really get 'more' when you stay in a Marriott. My kids get to use the pool. Breakfast is often included. The beds are more comfortable. Clearly, many people dont see the value in spending the money to stay at a Marriott. Conversely many people would never set foot in a Motel 6 as they don't see any value in it and prefer the Marriott instead. That is why there are Marriotts, Motel 6's, and everything in between. (I am not plugging Marriott BTW - just using it as an example)

At some point CAT decided they want to be a Marriot or Hilton type company. Some of you guys are talking like CAT is crazy for charging high prices. Well, I bet CAT is doing just fine. I'm sure plenty of government, commercial, and high end boat owners are content paying CAT's prices for their work.

I will say that in my own business, ignoring the 'going rate' and charging what will make my company profitable has been a wise decision.
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