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BMW Dealer Labor Rates


RTinNC

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Had an eye opening experience recently at my BMW dealer when getting a tire mounted. The cost of $65 seemed high and I noted WOW that is a good part of an hour labor why so long. The service mgr. responded that was about 1/2 hour! Huh? When I inquired as to the hourly rate was informed it is $112/hour!! It was just $90/hour not too long ago.

 

So ... what are the hourly labor rates of YOUR BMW dealer? Just trying to compare!

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Up here, it's $100/hr (I checked just two days ago and was a bit shocked as I get most of my maintenance done by an independent tech. He charges $90/hr, if I recall correctly).

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Be sure to check other marques as well.

In our area, before the BMW dealership closed, it was much less, $78 versus $130/an hour at the HD/Honasakhama.

 

Overhead, insurance, training, tools (special BMW only), advertising (BMW has certain plans) all are front end before paying the techs.

 

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It's the cost of real estate, etc., and it all goes up.

But, even if the labor at the dealer was free, I'd still do my own work. I like it.

Except tires. And I only pay $20 around here to get those mounted.

dc

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Shop rates in the Bay Area are about $130/hr.

I just had a tire mounted (off the bike) at Cycle Gear, it was like $15 IIRC.

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I totally understand that the dealer has overhead to cover. Was just trying to get a feel for how $112/ hr compares on a relative basis. While Charlotte NC is not the Bay Area it may not be that out of line.

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Sailorlite

The other part of the equation, of course, is the number of hours billed. BMW provides the shops a labor time guide for various service and repair functions, but the individual shop can charge more (or less) hours than the "book" at its discretion. Rating shops by how many hours they charge for specific jobs would be just about impossible - so, as always, we should get an estimate in advance of the total bill - no need to discuss the labor rate.

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Shiny Side Up

There's no figuring it out...

I think it's all about "recreation"

No matter what it is, camper, motorcycle, jet ski, snowmobile, running shoes - you're gonna pay to buy it and have it maintained or repaired.

Is it right? Dunno - but that's the way it is...

 

Get a manual and you'll be surprised at how much you can do on your own. I don't fool with tires or technical engine work, but the rest is done by me. There's a lot of satisfaction in maintaining your motorcycle - plus you know what's been done and may discover something "under the hood" that needs attention that a dealer might not fool with at the time.

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Up here, it's $100/hr (I checked just two days ago and was a bit shocked as I get most of my maintenance done by an independent tech. He charges $90/hr, if I recall correctly).

 

Add the exorbitant parts cost north of the border and one would want to have a defibrillator mounted on the wall beside the service counter when the invoice is finally totalled.

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Canada sales, January 2012.

 

"BMW Motorrad Canada set a new record in January with 57 motorcycle retails, an increase of 3.6 per cent over the same period last year. For the first time ever, Motorrad will expand its product offering into the scooter market with the arrival of the all-new Maxi-Scooter later this year"

 

I know, slow time of year, but total sales run 1500+ bikes.

With that volume it is going to cost $$.

 

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All of those numbers are ridiculous. The shop rate on my airplane is $65/hour.

 

These guys haven't had to learn any new engines since the 1940s.

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There's no figuring it out...

I think it's all about "recreation"

No matter what it is, camper, motorcycle, jet ski, snowmobile, running shoes - you're gonna pay to buy it and have it maintained or repaired.

Is it right? Dunno - but that's the way it is...

 

Get a manual and you'll be surprised at how much you can do on your own. I don't fool with tires or technical engine work, but the rest is done by me. There's a lot of satisfaction in maintaining your motorcycle - plus you know what's been done and may discover something "under the hood" that needs attention that a dealer might not fool with at the time.

 

 

Yep ... I get that for most a motorcycle is a toy, hobby, passion, etc. and yes they cost money to maintain which is the price of enjoyment. I was just wanting to ensure the cost of entry was reasonable. I always try to support my local dealer and have done so for years. Just want to also spend my pleasure dollars wisely. And yes ... have a manual and DVD so can do some ... just don't always have the time. When I retire I fully plan to embrace the enjoyment of getting to know my bikes better. Also, the ongoing cost of ownership will be a consideration (albiet not the only one) when I purchase my next bike.

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Your Charlotte dealer built himself a fancy new place not too long ago and costs to do that were driven up by BMW coporate image crap (they wanted $300K investment from a small shop in Wilmington that decided to let go of their franchise rather than waste that money.)

Basically, as cheap as NC is for taxes and general business expense, that rate is ridiculous. Cost structures here are not NYC or SF.for labor, taxes, utilities or anything else.

Remember that about 1/3 of so called professional work is done with errors and omissions. Whether that's worth well over $100/hr to you is your call. You can bet a shop with this rate is billing at least and proably more than the BMW rate book.

What a tire change might cost depends mostly on whether you bring the bike or just the wheel. I get tires switched for $20 or less bringing just the wheel and it takes maybe 12-14 minutes. That rate keeps me from putting a tire machine in my garage. Same place charges about $50 if you bring a bike rather than a wheel.

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My local BMW dealer here in Orange County, CA is still at $84/hr

 

I wonder if that'll change after they move into the NEW building... and/or after they read this thread! :D

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My local BMW dealer here in Orange County, CA is still at $84/hr

 

I wonder if that'll change after they move into the NEW building... and/or after they read this thread! :D

 

 

Yep ...overhead is a funny thing! And I do understand it. Just may not like it!

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Get a manual and you'll be surprised at how much you can do on your own. I don't fool with tires or technical engine work, but the rest is done by me. There's a lot of satisfaction in maintaining your motorcycle - plus you know what's been done and may discover something "under the hood" that needs attention that a dealer might not fool with at the time.

Not everybody derives satisfaction from this sort of stuff, but for me, one of the joys of owning a motorcycle (especially a 20th century boxer), is that most maintenance is still something that is comprehensible by an ordinary human being. If I screw something up, it's my fault, and I deal with it in my own garage. If a dealer screws something up, I may have multiple back and forth trips to the dealer to get it resolved. Overall, I don't think I would save any time with dealer service, but I know I save money, and I have the peace of mind that goes with knowing the job was done properly.

 

I have no idea what hourly rates my local dealers charge, as I haven't taken my 1999 RT in for service after the first service when I acquired it, which was well north of $400 for oil/filter change, valve adjustment, and replacement of the sight glass, plus about 5 hours of my time sitting in the customer lounge. I have no desire to rebuild a FD or a transmission, but almost anything else (even replacing the clutch, which was a major PITA) is fair game, and I learn something with each new task.

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All of those numbers are ridiculous. The shop rate on my airplane is $65/hour.
Oh my ... I hope you don't get what you pay for in this case! :rofl:
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Is there some reason a BMW motorcycle dealer should have a lower shop rate than a BMW car dealer or Mercedes dealer or ... ?

 

It's not as if there's any "entitlement" to a low price or that riding a motorcycle makes us deserving or righteous.

 

BMW motorcycles are, after all, luxury items priced at the top of their category, just like the cars mentioned.

 

Sure seems to me the techs are just as thoroughly trained and deserving of similar incomes.

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It always seems to me that no matter what a shop charges someone will think they are getting ripped. That is without any knowledge of the dealership cost structure, overhead rates, comparison to comparable shops in the area, etc. Have to ask, what would that complainer charge given the same cost structure? And, if you don't like the rate you should have asked before the work was done! And again, what would you have charged?!!!!!

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Tom, I have never charged much of anything for auto or bike repair work, and some people think I do quite well at it.

I could never make a living at it. I would simply give away the store.

dc

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Is there some reason a BMW motorcycle dealer should have a lower shop rate than a BMW car dealer or Mercedes dealer or ... ?

 

It's not as if there's any "entitlement" to a low price or that riding a motorcycle makes us deserving or righteous.

 

BMW motorcycles are, after all, luxury items priced at the top of their category, just like the cars mentioned.

 

Sure seems to me the techs are just as thoroughly trained and deserving of similar incomes.

 

 

 

I guess I since I have no experience with BMW or Mercedes auto dealers I really have no comparison. But I assume that those dealers would have a bit higher labor rate than say a Chevy dealer ... maybe? While the parts cost more is the "labor" rate really more? I guess if you are going to a Mercedes dealer that is serving espresso and scones while you wait in the spa then there is a reason for higher rates due to overhead. But have to tell you my Ford dealer treats me like gold and has very fair prices.

 

I was just wanting a pulse check to see if $112/hr was reasonable and the norm or the exception. I will continue to frequent my dealer as they do a good job and treat me well. But being in the market to replace my 2nd bike service costs will be a considertaion.

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But being in the market to replace my 2nd bike service costs will be a considertaion.

That is ultimately the only issue. When service costs begin to affect new unit sales then it will be a concern to BMW, and until then it won't.

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But being in the market to replace my 2nd bike service costs will be a considertaion.

That is ultimately the only issue. When service costs begin to affect new unit sales then it will be a concern to BMW, and until then it won't.

 

Well for me I am already there and he "every 6,000 mile" interval is part of my issue with the cost. Not saying my next bike won't be another BMW but I will shop very carefully. Heading to Americade tomorrow and plan on doing quite a bit of demo riding to compare. Triumph, Yamaha, BMW, and maybe Honda if the new Cross Tour is there.

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You know, you have to "adjust" to the European way of doing things.

 

Best thing I tell guys with Mercedes or BMW is that their car (or bike) is closer to being a Ferrari than it is to being a Camry and expect to pay accordingly and expect to deal with some "unreliability." TINSTAAFL and you get to decide if you're worth it.

 

The European auto industry is world-wide acclaimed as the world leader, and the reality is that the USA industry is still basically making the Model T. That is, quantity over quality. Price is everything. Cars for the masses. Parts at PepBoys.

 

And BMW isn't making Airheads anymore (not that they were ever as reliable as myth has it).

 

You may not like this, but you can't in fact make your BMW something it isn't. Some folks, however, do go back to the farm once they've seen Paris. Comfort zone.

 

Not value judgement, not prejudice, just reality. World view.

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Paul Mihalka

"And BMW isn't making Airheads anymore (not that they were ever as reliable as myth has it)"

 

Airhead reliability reputation originated from 1930 to 1970, when compared to everything else they were head and shoulders above. The only one close was Moto Guzzi.

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Starting in the 60's concentrated, themed advertising

distinguished BMW mc's as different in many ways.

Rightly or not, an esoteric connotation surrounded the marque.

Ads about 40,000 mile journeys. Bikes with hundreds of thousands of miles on them, when other marques had odometers that were based on 10's of thousands.

Ads about engineering, design, and panache.

 

As Paul said, the airhead put BMW on the map in this country and afficianados and noobs alike knew there was something that set BMW's apart.

 

I told all of my customers that "BMW's aren't for everyone."

We went over maintenance schedules and costs.

We went over the quirks, good and bad.

 

Almost to a person the customer knew about the "airhead" and knew someone who had demonstrated the reliability and basic ease of maintenance of the airhead.

Emphasis on safety, reliability etc.

 

My R100 RT I put close to 200,000 miles on and sold it to a guy who still has it, and it runs great to this day.

 

"Myth?"

Maybe, but again like Paul said, compared to everything else

they were mythical.

 

e66ja08.jpg

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Dave_zoom_zoom
And BMW isn't making Airheads anymore (not that they were ever as reliable as myth has it).

 

 

 

Careful! For those of us that have experienced the much appreciated reliability of those older airheads, you may be treading on haloed ground!

 

 

Dave

 

 

 

 

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Careful! For those of us that have experienced the much appreciated reliability of those older airheads, you may be treading on haloed ground!

 

NOTHING with points ignition is reliable.

 

We should talk in today's terms.

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-----

NOTHING with points ignition is reliable.

 

 

Afternoon Kent

 

Maybe not but it’s easily repairable on the road with a pocket knife or fingernail file & screwdriver.

 

The modern electronics are a bit more reliable out of the gate but WHEN they quit you are dead in the water without parts.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well this is all very interesting but I rarely buy anything from a BMW dealer because their prices are are just too high. As one example check the price of their oil products. The only item that seemed competitively priced to me the last time I was in a dealership was the rain gear. I don't feel any loyalty to them at all because I feel like they are taking advantage of me. I realize that a lot of their cost is driven by the corporate structure that dealers are forced to accept, however, if we choose to rationalize that we will just see prices continue to rise because BMW corporate is in business to maximize their bottom line. I do support my independent dealer every chance I get. They do their best to give me the best price they can and even if I can save a little by buying on line I still give them my business.

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Well this is all very interesting but I rarely buy anything from a BMW dealer because their prices are are just too high. As one example check the price of their oil products. The only item that seemed competitively priced to me the last time I was in a dealership was the rain gear. I don't feel any loyalty to them at all because I feel like they are taking advantage of me. I realize that a lot of their cost is driven by the corporate structure that dealers are forced to accept, however, if we choose to rationalize that we will just see prices continue to rise because BMW corporate is in business to maximize their bottom line. I do support my independent dealer every chance I get. They do their best to give me the best price they can and even if I can save a little by buying on line I still give them my business.

 

Hmmmm.....what "independent" dealer do you frequent? I am in Charlotte so only an hour from W/S. Have not found one less than about 200 miles away.

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Hmmmm.....what "independent" dealer do you frequent? I am in Charlotte so only an hour from W/S. Have not found one less than about 200 miles away.

 

Well while not an independent BMW moto dealer they can work on all brands. It is Second Chance Cycles in Walkertown, NC. They are not real experienced on BMW but I do my own work usually so for me that is not an issue. They have good deals on tires and I have bought my last three sets from them.

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The point you make - "the corporate structure that dealers are forced to accept" is so correct! It is right on the nail and is all part of a culture that says "Charge what the market will bear" alongside the application of unnecessary standards which, although ostensibly designed to benefit the consumer, actually result in the Dealer being overloaded with costs.

 

Couple this to the fact that every Service Manager is pushed to make more and more profit, is subjected to industry advice to "increase average invoice values" - a sure way to encourage cheating and bad practice - and you can see why high charges proliferate.

 

Every thing is charged to the max, and related selling pushes more and more useless solutions at the customer.

 

My local Dealer (on the other hand) has always provided me with good service and whilst the bike is in warranty I know the service I get is second to none, however when I start to incur the full costs of not only service but all repairs, cost will be an issue for me.

 

The industry is not responding to this issue and that probably proves that enough customers are "willing to pay/are not price sensitive/are unaware of the issues" and therefore the Dealers are not facing commercial pressure to change their ways.

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The industry is not responding to this issue and that probably proves that enough customers are "willing to pay/are not price sensitive/are unaware of the issues" and therefore the Dealers are not facing commercial pressure to change their ways.

Yes. Ultimately (at least for discretionary items) the consumer controls the price, not the vendor. The prices are what they are because we are willing to pay them.

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Yes, but, if we want a dealership to remain open, there is a rate structure they need to follow or they'll lose money.

 

I challenge any and all who think they can do it for less to open a dealership.

 

Talk is cheap.

Running a dealership isn't.

This board's owner posted data years ago from the dealership he was at and I recall annual profit for an owner of a dealership, in an excellent year, ran about 2 per cent.

 

Look at the great shops that have closed in the past several years

where by all accounts the owner was great, the attitude super, everything one could want in a dealership and yet it is now closed.

 

Marin comes to mind...

and all of the "mom and pop" style shops that are all but extinct.

 

What I find interesting is the rates don't vary much based on the cost of the bike or the training the dealership pays for.

It is expensive and time consuming to pay for a BMW Tech's training and certain criteria are in place to demonstrate competency.

Not sure if that applies to all other marques.

So your $6999 suzuki bike and your $26,699 beemer bike most likely have similar labor charges.

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Nice n Easy Rider
Well this is all very interesting but I rarely buy anything from a BMW dealer because their prices are are just too high. As one example check the price of their oil products. The only item that seemed competitively priced to me the last time I was in a dealership was the rain gear. I don't feel any loyalty to them at all because I feel like they are taking advantage of me. I realize that a lot of their cost is driven by the corporate structure that dealers are forced to accept, however, if we choose to rationalize that we will just see prices continue to rise because BMW corporate is in business to maximize their bottom line. I do support my independent dealer every chance I get. They do their best to give me the best price they can and even if I can save a little by buying on line I still give them my business.

 

Hmmmm.....what "independent" dealer do you frequent? I am in Charlotte so only an hour from W/S. Have not found one less than about 200 miles away.

Ed, here is an independent dealer in Durham that is probably about 150 miles from you .

 

Bombar's Beemers

www.bombarsbeemers.com/

 

I haven't used him but Quinn from this board has and seems happy with the service he has gotten.

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Hmmmm.....what "independent" dealer do you frequent? I am in Charlotte so only an hour from W/S. Have not found one less than about 200 miles away.

 

Well while not an independent BMW moto dealer they can work on all brands. It is Second Chance Cycles in Walkertown, NC. They are not real experienced on BMW but I do my own work usually so for me that is not an issue. They have good deals on tires and I have bought my last three sets from them.

 

I do my own work too and I use Second Chance for all my bits and pieces. The last time I went in there for my oil, he said he started stocking filters for me too. Sweet!!!

 

I'll support the "little guys" businesses over the bigger companies when I can.

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Marin comes to mind...

and all of the "mom and pop" style shops that are all but extinct.

 

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't BMW pretty much pushed those "mom and pop" dealers out of the fold and replaced them with high overhead boutique dealers? The high labor rates are a direct result of the high overhead that goes with the classy single point dealership. At our local area dealer, all the sales guys wear really nice matching shirts and the carpeted showroom is always vacuumed. But I really have a hard time giving them my money and miss the two shops that preceded them.

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Well this is all very interesting but I rarely buy anything from a BMW dealer because their prices are are just too high. As one example check the price of their oil products. The only item that seemed competitively priced to me the last time I was in a dealership was the rain gear. I don't feel any loyalty to them at all because I feel like they are taking advantage of me. I realize that a lot of their cost is driven by the corporate structure that dealers are forced to accept, however, if we choose to rationalize that we will just see prices continue to rise because BMW corporate is in business to maximize their bottom line. I do support my independent dealer every chance I get. They do their best to give me the best price they can and even if I can save a little by buying on line I still give them my business.

 

Hmmmm.....what "independent" dealer do you frequent? I am in Charlotte so only an hour from W/S. Have not found one less than about 200 miles away.

Ed, here is an independent dealer in Durham that is probably about 150 miles from you .

 

Bombar's Beemers

www.bombarsbeemers.com/

 

I haven't used him but Quinn from this board has and seems happy with the service he has gotten.

 

Yep ,,,, have heard of him. Thanks! Just a bit far for service I suspect. But have also heard good things about Bombar's

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  • 2 months later...

I think you are at the nub of the matter with "high labor rates are a direct result of the high overhead" - which is a result of corporate policy.

 

One poster said that technical standards and the necessary training "all have to be paid for" and no one here would disagree with "technical standards and training" but all too often the standards imposed are not at all connected to technical standards or training, but to corporate standards.

 

These are what most people would not see as so worthy. It is precisely these aspects which have forced the smaller operations out.

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I think you are at the nub of the matter with "high labor rates are a direct result of the high overhead" - which is a result of corporate policy.

 

Gee, know of any "mom and pop" Porsche dealers?

 

Mercedes dealers?

 

NOTHING about "mom and pop" says anything positive for BMW.

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Dave_zoom_zoom
I think you are at the nub of the matter with "high labor rates are a direct result of the high overhead" - which is a result of corporate policy.

 

Gee, know of any "mom and pop" Porsche dealers?

 

Mercedes dealers?

 

NOTHING about "mom and pop" says anything positive for BMW.

 

 

While I respect your point of view, if you lived in "the country" or a small community you may see it a bit differently. :Cool:

Urbanization and "big business" although inevitable, may not be the best thing that has happened to our society.

 

Dave

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What I like most is how every bolt, nut, washer, gasket, screw, etc. etc. is replaced at retail cost by the dealer. It is a good way to generate $300 over the estimate. Does a bolt really wear out after one use? How about a washer? My old truck with 289,000 miles on it only had a bolt etc replaced if I LOST IT. Never had any trouble with that truck either. That is why for 45 years I do everything myself if I possibly can. I get too upset otherwise. Plus did they save the old nuts etc. for me? NO

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Just had my 1st service performed by my dealer. It was the 600 mile service. Cost was $165 and change. Installed Mobil 1 gear oil in the final drive too. Their shop rate is $70.00 per hour. They are always busy and seem to do a great job.

 

Jason

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