Breaking down the shop supplies charge

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Auto Repair

Automotive repair can be a dirty business, and the cost of cleaning supplies needs to be covered. Image: Flickr / Jonesemyr / CC-BY-SA

There are many mechanics shops around the country where you might get charged for supplies. Not all mechanics itemize this fee, but it is important to know what this fee might be covering.

The business of car repair

Most of us only think about two types of fees when we are thinking about car repair – parts and time. The parts charge covers what parts of your vehicle need to be replaced in the course of a repair. Time covers the worker’s time in fixing the vehicle, from taking things apart to putting them back together. In order to have a viable business, a shop must charge for the parts and for the time and not lose money on either one of these. These two items, however, do not cover all of the expenses of running a shop. Running a shop also takes paperwork, accounting, and a variety of supplies like fluids, towels, cleaning solvents and more.

Breaking down the charges

Some shops choose to roll all of the expenses of running the shop into the per-hour charge for work. Other shops, however, choose to itemize the expenses of running a shop to provide a more clear view of exactly what certain types of work cost. Often times, shops that itemize charges will include a “shop charge” or a “shop supplies charge” that covers many of the small items required for repairing vehicles. Usually, this “shop supplies charge” is a miscellaneous catch-all for these types of supplies. If you are not sure that the shop supplies charge is fair, ask your mechanic about it.

[A dealership like Miller Dodge Chrysler Jeep can often give a fair quote or recommend a good shop.]

Determining if a quote is fair

Getting a quote for vehicle repair can feel scary at times because you aren’t really sure what is and is not required to keep a vehicle running. If you are uncertain about a quote that a mechanic has given you, you have every right to get a quote from a different mechanic or to ask for a detailed breakdown of the charges. You can also compare your quote to quotes for similar work on similar vehicles online. Remember that every vehicle is different, but there are certain types of repairs that fall within a certain rage and a certain range of hourly rates in shops.


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