Auto Labor Rates Explained

Auto Repair on September 4, 2018

Auto labor rates vary widely across the United States. In fact, they vary widely within Arizona as well. Garage shops in Arizona generally charge between $47 and $215 per hour, depending on where they are located, the type of the vehicle and the extent of the problem.

As a car owner, you should have some idea of how your vehicle works. You should know how to identify common car problems so that you can have the issue taken care of as early as possible. The more you delay taking the car to an auto shop, the more you’ll end up paying for the repair work.

Are the auto labor rates in Arizona high?

No, not at all, well, at least, not here in Arizona. They are pretty much the same as the industry average. Running an auto shop is a good small business idea, but it is certainly not cheap.

Auto shops establish their labor rates on the following factors.

  • The location: Labor in cities costs more than in rural areas.
  • Vehicle make and model: An ordinary car costs a lot less to be serviced than a luxury car or sports car.
  • The type of the repair ship: Is it an independent garage shop, or is it a dealership?
  • The experience, skill levels and qualifications of the repair technicians
  • The business overhead costs, equipment costs, advertising and marketing costs, etc.
  • The rent or the cost of the facility.

How Auto Labor Rates are Established by Garage Shops

There are different methodologies for establishing auto labor rates.

Flat Rate Pricing Methodology

Every garage shop has its own hourly labor rate. There is a big difference between the hourly labor rates for experienced technician and someone who is new to the job, such as an apprentice.

The auto labor rates are established using a computer program or a “flat rate” manual.  This methodology gives a reasonably accurate measure of the average time an experienced garage technician takes to perform a given repair work.

The flat rate time is multiplied by the hourly labor rate to give you the total labor charge for the repair work done.

Diagnostic Pricing Methodology

The flat rate pricing may not work everywhere. Many auto shops carry out a detailed diagnostic process to identify the problem. This consists of certain specialized procedures and is charged differently from a routine servicing or repair job.

If the problem is not diagnosed in time, then the auto shop may charge extra for further diagnosis. The diagnosis is done by the most experienced technician in the auto shop, so the labor rates are on the high side.

Package Pricing Methodology

We have many garage shops in Arizona that offer package pricing deals. So you can have your oil changed for $26 and get an additional work done for free, such as a brake job.

Package deals are offered as an incentive to first time customers and as a loyalty bonus to repeat customers. Also, many auto shops offer attractive coupons based on the package pricing system.


Just because a garage shop charges low labor rates doesn’t mean you should choose that over one that is slightly more expensive. Shop around, ask for recommendations from friends, family or coworkers, look for the best deals and compare warranty policies on the repairs. Yes, the auto labor rates are important, but that is just one of the factors to be considered.

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