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Old 04-27-2015, 08:36 PM   #1
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Would you pay a mechanic to sit in his car?

The coupler between the engine and transmission blew, I found a reputable marine mechanic shop to do the repairs(side note; now that I have seen what it takes I will do it myself next time). The shop gave me an estimate and made it clear it is just an estimate and they are a time and material shop and the time starts when they leave the shop($100/hr). They separated the trans from the engine got most the old coupler out and ordered a new one, it was an 8 week delivery time for the new coupler, I told the shop I would rather pay as I go then get a huge bill at the end, they gave me an invoice for the work done to date and for half the cost of the coupler, it was fair and reasonable and I paid it in full, the work site was clean and the bits and pieces were organized, they removed all their tools, no issues. Five or six weeks later the new coupler came in and we set up a time for them to install it, I was on the boat that day(I live 600+ miles away) I talked with them around 0830 that morning the owner said "the the mechanic was putting his tools in the truck and heading that way". Then there was a massive thunderstorm that came over and it rained hard for an hour and a half, maybe two hours. The mechanic showed up after the rain stopped and worked for an hour or so removing part of the old coupler and the old seal, then he realized the new seal was wrong so he left. I had to get back home that afternoon so I left New Orleans and headed back to Texas. When I talked to him the next day he said the replacement seal was also wrong, a few days later he called and said everything was fixed and the boat was good to go. Today I received the invoice, the total was about what I was expecting so there was no sticker shock. Then I started looking at the individual lines charged, first was the day in the rain, the invoice said "drive to marina(rain) remove old seal 4.5 hours $450" the next line was "1.5 hours to the boat and back wrong seal $150"

For the first one, $450 in the rain, I was there, he was on the boat no more than an hour and a half, I have to assume he left the shop drove to the marina(15 min drive) and sat in his car for two hours until the rain stopped.

And for the next line, should I have to pay $150 bucks for him to drive to from the shop to the boat because he ordered the wrong part?

Would you contest these two charges?
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Old 04-27-2015, 08:45 PM   #2
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How do you know he ordered the wrong part?


Based on my experience these days the suppliers are so bad at selling parts...one out of two often are wrong unless you can go to the counter and compare them.
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Old 04-27-2015, 08:45 PM   #3
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I would talk to the shop owner and politely discuss your feelings. Most repututable shops want happy customers.
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Old 04-27-2015, 08:47 PM   #4
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Had the work been done in your absence would you question the bill? If the answer is no, pay it. My 2 cents
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Old 04-27-2015, 08:48 PM   #5
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You can certainly ask. Maybe it's a typo.

But if he was in his car and the wx caused traffic and he sat in his car; yes you should pay, as that's what you agreed to and I think fair.
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Old 04-27-2015, 08:56 PM   #6
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Sounds like a union worker!
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Old 04-27-2015, 09:11 PM   #7
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I don;t understand why rain would prevent the mechanic working on your boat? I assume the engines/transmissions are out of the weather?
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Old 04-27-2015, 11:13 PM   #8
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I would talk to the shop owner and politely discuss your feelings. Most reputable shops want happy customers.
I think that's the smart answer here. Giving the shop a chance to explain their side of the situation is fair, as is your expressing concern about a charge that you don't see the logic in.

Perhaps the outcome can be a compromise somewhere between the shop's policies and your concern.
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Old 04-28-2015, 01:33 AM   #9
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A storm could be so severe the mechanic parks and suspends his journey for safety, until the storm passes. Tough if you have to pay, the agreement is there, though the circumstances were totally unexpected. But if he sits in the car at the dock to avoid getting wet, that`s different imo.
Can you discover how the wrong part was supplied, twice, to help determine liability.Many possibilities, mechanic may have ordered incorrectly, the supplier might have sent the wrong part, there may be no exact part but several might fit and have to be tried, etc
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:50 AM   #10
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Guess part of it depends on whether you plan to use their services again. If you are happy with their work, you would likely use them again, and the cost was in line with what you expected, then I would just pay the bill. Think of it like this, you would have been happy with the outcome, service, and price if you hadn't gone through the itemization.

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Old 04-28-2015, 08:02 AM   #11
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It's probably just a Louisaina/Texas feud thing, it been going on for years
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Old 04-28-2015, 09:47 AM   #12
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Just call the shop, not uncommon for them to adjust the bill, see it all the time.
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Old 04-28-2015, 10:37 AM   #13
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As a previous UNION worker, previous manager of UNION workers I say that no, the customer does not pay hourly for an act of God. There is a cost of doing business, a cost of having a business and that is part of it. Piss poor planning was at work on the company's side here.
The commute should be billable at the cost of the first commute. Severe storms are no longer a surprise. The employee should have never left the barn. The customer would not been billed had the employee never left unless they bill on fantasy billing system based on projections, not what is. The customer pays enough, as a general rule, for contractor screw ups and misjudgements w/o acts of God factored in as billable.
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Old 04-28-2015, 10:56 AM   #14
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As suggested, don't get pi$$y, especially if they did good work and you may go back for more.
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:03 AM   #15
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Can you believe this:
I needed the services of a marine plumber for a head problem. Called a local company whose trucks I see a lot at the marina. They fixed the problem. I was handed an invoice that included and hour of travel time to the boat. The mechanic then proceeded down the dock. I asked where he was going and he told me he had "a number" of other calls at the marina that day.

I began to wonder if each of the other boaters were also being billed the travel charge. I called the company office to inquire about their travel time billing policy. I was informed that the first appointment of the day gets billed for the travel time to the marina and the last appointment gets billed for the travel time back to the shop. I guess you want to be the man in the middle.
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:31 AM   #16
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I do not even know how to answer the OP's original question...

I get paid for a full days labor.

I am billable all day long. Yes, if I'm stuck in my truck due to (name you reason here) I'm billable.

If I have to run and get parts I'm billable.

If I have to run and get parts because its my mistake I'm still billable.

The time it takes me to figure out your bill is also being charged to you.

If I'm talking to you, you're paying me. If we are talking about your bill, you are still paying me. If you are screwing with me about your bill I might not be able to fit you into my schedule next time you call.

If I'm discussing your job with other guys in the shop you're paying me, and possibly them as well.

I am an EXPERT IN MY FIELD, and have a reputation for quality work. I have jobs planned out weeks in advance because my customers ask for me by name.

If you do not like my billing policies or my rate, then figure it out yourself, or call a cheaper service provider. When they get gone with their work you'll pay me to come straighten out their mess and I'll bill you for that too, but plan ahead because I'm booked up with happy repeat customers.
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:34 AM   #17
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I do not even know how to answer the OP's original question...

I get paid for a full days labor.

I am billable all day long. Yes, if I'm stuck in my truck due to (name you reason here) I'm billable.

If I have to run and get parts I'm billable.

If I have to run and get parts because its my mistake I'm still billable.

The time it takes me to figure out your bill is also being charged to you.

If I'm talking to you, you're paying me.

If I'm discussing your job with other guys in the shop you're paying me, and possible them as well.

I am an EXPERT IN MY FIELD, and have a reputation for quality work. I have jobs planned out weeks in advance because my customers ask for me by name.

If you do not like my billing policies, then figure it out yourself, or call a cheaper service provider. When they get gone with their work you'll pay me to come straighten out their mess and I'll bill you for that too.
Agree, however, sitting in your car is billable? Sitting in you car should be non-billable as you are not performing any work...just say'in
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:45 AM   #18
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Greetings,
Mr. ASD. Not performing work driving to the site either but I can see the rational but don't necessarily agree with it.
Mr. ks. I fully appreciate your expertise and you most probably command a wage based on such but what about a co-worker who is just so-so and charges exactly the same rate?
In a former life I was one of the best if not THE best in MY field in the whole eastern part of the country. The company I worked for paid me $XX per year but billed my services to outside firms at almost triple the $$. I didn't care because I was being paid one way or the other, whether or not it was an in house or an external job. A less experienced colleague was doing the same work for the same pay but...
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:46 AM   #19
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Agree, however, sitting in your car is billable? Sitting in you car should be non-billable as you are not performing any work...just say'in
If its just raining or in my case snowing I'm getting out of my truck and getting started.

We all know about thunderstorms. If its a thunderstorm deluge I'll wait for it to be over or slow down. No use in getting me, and all my stuff soaked.
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:47 AM   #20
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How would you like to be in a business where you can spend weeks developing a proposal for a client, and they reject it? Months later you learn that they have used your proposal to create your proposed program "in house." OK, sue them. They multi-million dollar companies and in some cases billion dollar companies, and you are an independent entrepreneur trying to make a living. Guess who wins, and WHEN?
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