Re: Lawn Mower Mechanics Hourly Wage
At $15-20 an hour you will go nowhere fast if you want to build a business out of this. How much "unchargable" time do you spend looking up parts, ordering parts, writing invoices, keeping the books, taking money to the bank, researching a repair your not familiar with? Another aspect is parts. Do you have wholesalers that you by from that can deliver within 2 days max? Or are you having to buy parts online or from another local shop? You can get some decent deals online if you shop around (which relates to unchargable time) other parts, you can only get from the distributor or a dealer. If you are paying retail for your parts, there is little to no room for markup. As far as what a mechanic makes, i agree with the $10-$20 range depending on abilities, certs, and how fast and QUALITY of work they produce. But as a one man show, that rate would translate to about $5 an hour in your pocket if your lucky.
I started my one man show, in the garage, in March of this year at $35/hr (local rate is about double that) and I did it right with the tax resale number, DBA, business license ect. It didnt take long to go up to $55/hr (a lot of warranty rates are capped at $60/hr, more on that in a minute) The only place I advertise is Craigslist. In May of this year the largest commercial landscape company in the US CAME TO ME wanting me to take on their repairs from their new local branch. Today, I am an authorized factory service center for over 40 lines, minor and major. Poulan, Snap-on, AYP Weed Eater, DR Trimmer, Karcher, Worx, just about every electric L&G equipment, generator, compressor and pressure washer sold by the big box stores, and who knows what else. Guess what? Its still a struggle at times. Bank account is getting low, got a couple grand owed to me if people will ever come pick their stuff up....then suddenly they all do and the account is great....darn it now I got another pile of stuff to order parts for and i am almost broke again till I get it fixed and paid for. 2 things----1) NO CREDIT (unless you are a great customer) and B) If you don't pick it up within 30 days of me notifying you repairs are complete, then I own it. And you gotta KEEP RECORDS of who did what and when, again another "unchargeable" few minutes of your time.
Another thing, I currently don't charge for diagnostics and don't plan too. So far I have very few people decide not to fix their stuff. And the ones that do, they come back with the next piece of equipment because they know I will give them a fair shake. i can do that partly because I can usually find the problem within 10 minutes. When considering what to charge for the labor on a repair...I can look at something and know about how long it should take me with the proper tools and no problems. (I also have a copy of the Briggs engine flat rate guide to help me) If I have to take longer than it should because I don't have the proper tools, or have to come here and ask for help, that's not the customers fault and therefore the shouldn't be penalized for that.
One last thing to consider is what kind of warranty do you offer? All my repairs are 30 homeowner and 15 day commercial. Is $20/hr plus whatever markup you make on parts worth it WHEN you have to eat a repair or miss diagnosis? I say when because sooner or later you will ether have to make good a warranty or miss diagnose something and eat the cost of a part you replaced that wasn't the problem.
I know I got a little long winded here but I am passionate about what I do, and if you want to make a reputable business for yourself, you will be too. That is why I start at 6am and work till 9 or 10 pm. With that kind of dedication you will be successful. Good luck in your venture.
Owner, head mechanic, janitor, chief cook and bottle washer @ Nuevo Lawn and Garden Equipment Repair.
KCBS Certified BBQ Judge (CBJ)
Pitmaster @ All About the Q'
Instructor at CBBQI.com