When it comes to going to the mechanic, unless we spend hours calling our different shops we don’t really know if we’re paying too much or too little. That time consuming work is made even more difficult because you have to wait for quotes that might or might not come. Shortcuts you can take is just ask for the hourly rate and choose the cheapest but you’ll soon realize that hourly rate doesn’t really reflect how much something will cost.
Worry not, at instaMek we have done all the hard work for you. We called around the city for quotes from independent shops and franchise shops. We didn’t call the dealership for anything because the cost at the dealership is much higher because the hourly rate is around $150 to $175 an hour except for minor things like oil changes (which you can find out about here).
To start things off let’s talk about how we got these numbers. For independent shops we called the most visible ones on Google, so we just google’d “Edmonton mechanic” and found the different shops online. We had about 12 shops. For franchise shops we just called different locations of Midas, Canadian Tire, Speedy and Fountain Tire.
The hourly rate for shops, both independent and franchise ranged between $105 to $175 per hour with the average at around $118 per hour.
The majority of the shops used AllData or Prodemand to calculate hours for quoting jobs. These are just two of many shop software out there that mechanics use to approximate how long a job takes to complete.
In terms of customer service and getting quotes, with franchises you got a pretty consistent level of service while with independent shops they ranged from downright awful to very friendly. The independent shops varied in how long they took to get our quotes back from 30 minutes to 4 hours – some of them also just gave approximations.
The franchise shops were able to give quotes on the phone, presumably because they had dedicated service advisors while the independent ones had less resources.
To calculate the price of different shops we randomly selected a few vehicles and stuck to a few jobs so we could have some consistency (very difficult to do). We also didn’t include towing fee’s for a lot of the jobs that you have to account for and they range from $80 to $150 depending on who you call and when you need it done.
There is also an additional shop supplies fee that most shops charge for. This fee is to account for the lube, gloves, fluids and other materials they need for certain repairs. Usually it was 5-8% of the bill up to a certain number (~$25-$30).
Here are the results of our work and the prices are compared to instaMek as well. Remember with instaMek, our mobile mechanics come to you anywhere in Edmonton so you can get rid of the towing fee as well.
Based on the results above, you can find the prices are very comparable except for the ones where the quotes were estimated.
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Please note that we didn’t account for the type of parts installed – just asked for a quote. This means that some prices can be adjusted if you change the quality of parts.
To conclude, because the prices are some what similar we recommend that when searching for a mechanic you focus on their reviews, quality of work, and warranty. When you find a mechanic that you like – build a relationship with them, they can save you money and headaches in the long run.
Remember with auto repair, it’s usually pay now or pay a lot more later.