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Old 12-15-2010, 11:09 AM   post #1 of 67
samahi72
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Default Lawn Mower Mechanics Hourly Wage

Just curious to find out the hourly range of small engine mechanics. I know there are a lot of variables, benefits, insurance, etc.

I am thinking about turning a hobby into a full time business and I am learning as I go. Trying to figure out how much time I should devote to a mower repair before it becomes to expensive for me or the customer is the hardest part. We live in a disposible society and it doesn't take much for a customer just to go purchase a cheap 150.00 mower at Walmart. Is there a small engine labor handbook, similar to cars, that I can purchase?
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:35 AM   post #2 of 67
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Default Re: Lawn Mower Mechanics Hourly Wage

I'd say keep it as a hobby and you'll stay happy Not to dissuade you if that is your dream go for it but I think it is a hard business to make money in.
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:50 AM   post #3 of 67
Don B.
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Default Re: Lawn Mower Mechanics Hourly Wage

as of a couple years ago the "flat rate" around here was $59; that does NOT translate into what the mechanic actually doing the work makes; if he gets 25% of that, I'd be surprised.... going from my days in the automotive flat rate shop..... probably 18%-20% is more like it.
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Old 12-15-2010, 12:22 PM   post #4 of 67
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Default Re: Lawn Mower Mechanics Hourly Wage

The shop I work in gets $64/hr.
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Old 12-15-2010, 01:09 PM   post #5 of 67
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Default Re: Lawn Mower Mechanics Hourly Wage

We get 65.00 per hr... I have a small engine repair business and I charge 30 per hr
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Old 12-15-2010, 01:35 PM   post #6 of 67
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Default Re: Lawn Mower Mechanics Hourly Wage

Shop rates here run $65-$95/hr. The mechanics get paid $10-$20 hr depending on their abilities and certifications. Many are paid flat rate meaning the mechanic is paid say $15 for a carb rebuild no matter how long it takes him.
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:40 PM   post #7 of 67
samahi72
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Default Re: Lawn Mower Mechanics Hourly Wage

Quote:
Originally Posted by k91 View Post
I'd say keep it as a hobby and you'll stay happy Not to dissuade you if that is your dream go for it but I think it is a hard business to make money in.
You are probably right, I doubt that I will ever have a storefront as our lawn cutting season only lasts about 6 months. Right now I am working out of my garage and I just didn't know what is a reasonable hourly rate to charge. I have been trying to keep it in the 15.00- 20.00 an hour plus parts.
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:42 PM   post #8 of 67
samahi72
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Default Re: Lawn Mower Mechanics Hourly Wage

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcraig51 View Post
The shop I work in gets $64/hr.
I understand the shop has a lot of overhead. Just wondering what they pay the mechanic? Flat rate or hourly?
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:00 PM   post #9 of 67
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Default Re: Lawn Mower Mechanics Hourly Wage

Quote:
Originally Posted by k91 View Post
I'd say keep it as a hobby and you'll stay happy Not to dissuade you if that is your dream go for it but I think it is a hard business to make money in.
I'd have to agree with k91. I work on mowers and snowblowers as a hobby. There has been a couple days that I've worked on a mower all day, and still didn't get it fixed. But when I went inside to eat my supper, that same mower wasn't haunting me. The next morning it was back to my hobby. Here's another thing to consider, I understand you want to make good money working on small engines. A while back, I went to a small engine shop to find a sprocket for my dad's riding mower, the guy that owned the shop had about 15-20 small engine repairs done that were waiting for the customers to pay and pick up. How much of his own money is floating around? About 2 months ago, I stopped at another shop and he had to have at least 45-50 items to be paid for and picked up by the customers. How much money was floating there? Like you mentioned, we live in a disposable society, so a customer wants you to look at his push mower. You tell him it will cost about 45 dollars to fix and it will take about a week for you to get the part and fix it. In the mean time, his grass is getting tall and finds a good deal on another mower and never comes back for his old mower. Like I said, I do this as a hobby. I look at their item, find out what is wrong, get a price quote for the part, add what I think is a fair labor payment, and I tell them how much it is going to cost. I don't have a book to go by. I never had a customer take their item(s) anywhere else. In fact, I have to tell some of my customers not to tell their friends about me. Not because I'm that good. It's because my girlfriend has cancer and I don't have time to work on everybody's stuff. Since it's a hobby, I do it when I have time and I enjoy it. A bad day doing your hobby is better than a good day at your job. Good luck in your venture.
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:24 PM   post #10 of 67
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Default Re: Lawn Mower Mechanics Hourly Wage

If you are going to do repairs for John Q. Public you have to get 1/2 the money up front otherwise you get stuck with a lot of stuff. I used to have a one man dirt bike - atv - fab - welding shop and having your money and time tied up in stuff that sits around for 6 months or more is murder. Also, JQP must pay in cash unless it's somebody you know really well.

On the other hand it's probably much easier to sell an abandoned lawn mower than it is to sell an abandoned motorcycle or atv.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:26 PM   post #11 of 67
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Default Re: Lawn Mower Mechanics Hourly Wage

Another thing that happens when your a one man band people stop by just to hang out. Then the next thing you know theres two or three all with some question or to check on your progress on there project an you can't get anything done . An there very reason for bringing it too you is to get it fixed for less than it would cost to replace it.
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:14 PM   post #12 of 67
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Default 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.
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:44 AM   post #13 of 67
kcraig51
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Default Re: Lawn Mower Mechanics Hourly Wage

Quote:
Originally Posted by samahi72 View Post
I understand the shop has a lot of overhead. Just wondering what they pay the mechanic? Flat rate or hourly?
$8/hr + 20% of hours billed. On a good week I can bill out 50%.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:12 AM   post #14 of 67
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Default Re: Lawn Mower Mechanics Hourly Wage

Quote:
Originally Posted by themidniteryder View Post
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.
Great post. Thanks.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:56 AM   post #15 of 67
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Default Re: Lawn Mower Mechanics Hourly Wage

Back in the old days, motorcycle mechanics used to get 50% commission. If the advertised labor rate was $15 an hour you got $7.50. We had a big chart with most all the typically done jobs so if you were doing a clutch that showed a labor charge of $40 the mech got $20.
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