Maximize Your Auto Repair Shop's Labor Profit Margin

Labor rates should not only be fair for your customers, but also fair to your business

Originally published on:
Setting the right labor rate is critical for your shop to generate a profit.

Auto repair shops generally calculate the cost of their repairs with numerous factors that contribute to the entire process. 

This includes the cost of parts and any necessary upcharges for the shop to generate a profit, as well as the cost of labor.

In this guide, we will help your independent auto repair shop learn how to maximize your profit margin specifically on your shop's labor rate.

Want to learn more? Check out our latest Auto Repair Industry Index! We cover everything from overall industry health to unique shop settings for Tekmetric users to get the most value out of the work they already do!

Get more out of the work your shop already does.

Maximizing Auto Repair Labor Revenue: Factors to Consider

While labor rates can differ in how they are applied or calculated, shops generally charge customers an hourly labor rate based on factors like employee pay, technician expertise, job difficulty, or even unique make and model specialties.


One major factor of your overall labor rate should be your shop's location, demographic, and customer base. We saw this in real-life in our most recent industry index report.

Shops need to consider how much they're charging for labor in relation to shops around them. You don't want to overcharge compared to the your closest competitors, but you also want to get fair compensation for your business based on expertise and quality of work.


First, try to avoid the habit of raising labor prices primarily at the end of the month. The same goes for repeat or even new customers.

If they're used to one labor rate, or they see a labor rate posted on your shop's wall if they're new, and they're hit with a bill that differs, customers will understandably be upset. Try to maintain consistency, and most importantly, fairness in your pricing.


Additionally, it’s important to be fair to your customers and the technicians at your shop. Exercise good judgment when it comes to deciding which method to use. As your labor rates go up, so will your shop’s ARO.

But there’s a danger in only sticking to the labor matrix or custom labor rates. Your shop’s technicians might get discouraged if they see that the shop’s bottom line is growing, but they’re not getting additional money for their hard work.

Calculating the Right Labor Rate For Your Shop

Auto repair shops have a lot of flexibility when it comes to labor rates, whether you want to use flat rates, custom labor rates, or a dedicated markup matrix to apply the right upcharge based on a calculated set of guidelines.

What Are Custom Mechanic Labor Rates? 

Custom labor rates allow you to set a special hourly rate for different categories of work that mechanics do at your shop.

Setting custom rates enables you to increase the labor rates for special jobs, such as work done by a pro technician, work done for family and friends, and work done on luxury cars. 

By using custom mechanic labor rates, you can offer discounts while still safeguarding technicians’ time and pay.  

Boost Your Shop’s Revenue with Custom Labor Rates

By offering special rates for loyal customers or specific groups, such as teachers or first responders, you can show that you value their business and are committed to their satisfaction. This can lead to repeat business, positive word-of-mouth referrals, and ultimately, increased revenue for your shop. 

Creating custom mechanic labor rates is a powerful way to increase your shop’s revenue. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your labor rates and offer unique pricing options for your customers.

By setting a special hourly rate for different types of work, you can offer discounts while still safeguarding your technicians’ time and pay. Your shop’s bottom line will thank you.

What is a Mechanic Labor Markup Guide?

A mechanic labor guide markup is a tool that boosts the hours allocated to the technician, increasing the money they make from a repair.

It allows the shop to adjust the labor time listed in the labor guide, increasing the costs of labor for a particular job. 

When to Use a Mechanic Labor Guide Markup 

Labor guide markups are best to use when it seems like a job is going to take longer than the estimate in the labor guide, and the technicians will be dealing with the brunt of it. 

A labor guide markup can be used when an older vehicle stops by your shop, one that you're astonished is still cranking along on the road, and you know that the technician will need extra time on it because of the complications that come with older vehicles.

Or, maybe your shop services luxury cars and the technicians will have to take extra care to return that Ferrari to its owner in pristine condition. That means the technicians will have to slow down to keep dents and scratches at bay. 

Why use a mechanic labor guide markup instead of the labor matrix or a custom labor rate? When a technician is working hard to get the job done right, those extra hours (and cash) should go back to them. 

Get the Most Value out of the Work Your Shop Already Does

By adjusting your shop’s pricing for labor—whether by creating a labor matrix, implementing custom labor rates, or using a mechanic labor guide markup—you can ensure that you reach your desired profit goals in a balanced manner that keeps everyone happy. 

And custom labor rates is just one part of the story.

By investing in a more modern, cloud-based shop management system, you can establish a transparent, replicable digital vehicle inspection and repair estimate process, and streamline parts ordering so that service advisors can dispatch repair orders quickly to technicians.

here's your green light.
get started
book a demo