With most things, it is taken for granted that the price listed is the price that will be charged. For
instance, if produce is listed as $4.98 per kilogram and weighs one half kilogram, the cost will be
$2.49. This may seem like common sense.
At Royal Auto Group, we agree this is common sense. We sell professional service by the hour. If
we spend one half hour, we bill for one half hour, at a pre-quoted rate. In most cases we can very
accurately estimate the time required, once we have examined the problem. This is how we
estimate cost. We diagnose the problem with the vehicle, determining the extent of the repair and
the time required. With this, and based on our experience, we can now quote a price that is fair to
all concerned. Should the repair take less time than expected, we charge for the actual time
There are sometimes cases where the amount of time cannot be known before checking further.
Such a case may be diagnosing a check engine light. In these cases, we quote a range or let the
customer set a limit. When the limit is reached, we stop and report exactly what we know at that
point. In most cases we can predict how much longer we need.
Our customers love our billing methods and find it
saves them a great deal of money. We feel it
addresses one of the largest problems in the auto
service industry, the practice of "flat rate" billing.
With flat rate billing, a guide is used to determine how
many hours are to be billed. The customer then pays
this amount without regard to how long the vehicle is
worked on. For instance, if two hours is specified, two
hours is billed, even if the job is done in one hour.
We feel this is wrong and encourages shortcuts, and in
some cases, dishonesty.
We feel this is a root cause of
the lack of trust, so many have for the auto
dealership. It also has a profound effect on the people
who work under the system. When people are treated
like rats bribed with cheese, they may start acting like
rats, bribed with cheese. Our thought is actual time
billing is a far more accurate and honest way of doing
business. Our customers agree, and we think you will
too. Honest, actual time billing, is an idea that is past due.