View Full Version : (How much) Do you tip your auto mechanic?

Gozu Tashoya
05-02-2003, 02:40 PM
So I dropped my car off for its 60k mile check-up/tune-up at an independent garage. When I pick it up, is a gratuity expected since this is, I suppose, a "service" industry? If so, how much?

Side note: How much should a 60k mile tuneup cost?

05-02-2003, 02:46 PM
I've never tipped a mechanic. I have tipped movers though.

Sister Vigilante
05-02-2003, 02:49 PM
Tip... my mechanic?

Never heard of such a thing.

I tip waiters, my hairstylist, and the person who does my nails.

05-02-2003, 02:56 PM
I wouldn't tip a mechanic if he was standing over me with a wrench. Anyway, my husband does most of my mechanic work.

05-02-2003, 03:19 PM
Tip a mechanic? Why? Most of the time you tip people it's when they are being paid a fairly low base wage in anticipation of getting tips for good service. I don't think this the model mechanics are paid on. Most of the time I don't even see the mechanic, just the front end person at the desk. Most hard working mechanics in dealerships I know are paid fairly well with good benefits. It'd be like tipping a doctor, lawyer or real estate agent.

If he's doing you some huge favor maybe, but my auto service invoice listing hourly labor rates tells me someone's being paid reasonably well.

05-02-2003, 03:34 PM
I don't tip my mechanic or my hairdresser.

05-02-2003, 04:00 PM
Absolutely not.

05-02-2003, 04:01 PM
Ooooh. I always tip the hairdresser. It's bad hair insurance. I usually tip 25%. They really don't want to see me freaking out over a bad 'do.

05-02-2003, 05:52 PM
Sweety is my mechanic. Heh. We won't discuss what kind of tips he gets.

A 60,000 mile checkup on my Civic could run from $300-$600 depending on what all they have to replace. Some things like timing belts are labor-intensive ~ labor is always the more expensive part of the bill.

I don't tip my hairdresser, either. He makes more money than I do !

05-02-2003, 05:54 PM
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Puhlease. Why would I tip someone for ripping me off?

Rug Burn
05-02-2003, 06:05 PM
This reminds me...How much should I tip the Dr. when he does the anal probe bit?

05-02-2003, 08:04 PM
Admit it. You (the OP) ARE an auto mechanic and this is a thinly disguised effort to propagate an insane practice. You're busted, dude.

05-02-2003, 08:06 PM
Another vote for not tipping the auto mechanic.

05-02-2003, 08:19 PM
It would never occur to me to tip a mechanic. Ever. Not at the dealer, not an independent. They're reasonably paid professionals.

05-02-2003, 10:08 PM
Well, if people are going to start tipping auto mechanics, they'd better start tipping their kids' teachers too.

05-02-2003, 10:36 PM
They include the tip in the bill, IMHO.
What's next, tipping your lawyer? Your real estate agent? Your psychiatrist?

05-03-2003, 01:01 AM
I pay CAD$80/hr for my mechanic. He isn't getting a tip.

05-03-2003, 01:06 AM
What Meanoldlady said. I want a negative tip from those bastards.

05-03-2003, 01:12 AM
1 second after posting I realised that sounded pretty dumb. What I meant to say is I'd like to give them a negitive tip.

05-03-2003, 01:18 AM
I'm facing a crisis of sarcasm. I never thought it could happen to me but even the joke about how much I tip my ass rapist doesn't seem like enough here. NO FREAKING WAY will I ever tip a mechanic.

05-03-2003, 09:38 AM
I really like my mechanic! He's competent and trustworthy. His name is Bob. One day, a "junior mechanic" studying under him told me something I never knew. He (the student) said that the insurance companies publish a book of services, and an allowable time for each service. The mechanic is apparently allowed to charge for the full time the book allows, even if the actual job only takes him half as long! But Bob, said the student, is the only mechanic he's ever known who only charges for the time actually spent doing the job. IOW, he could charge a lot more than he does for labor. You don't find that every day in auto mechanics. But I'd never think to tip him. His reward for being honest and competent is that he has all the business he can handle. He charges $55.00 and hour for his time, and it's my understanding that the station he works for gets 1/3 of this. This leaves Bob making about 4x what the average resident of this county makes. I think he deserves my loyalty (and I recommend him to friends), but I don't think he needs tips.

05-03-2003, 09:44 AM
$80/hr to take 3 hours to change a lightbulb, (and charge $12 for said light bulb), and we're supposed to tip him?

I'm voting no, as well.

The above example is clearly an exaggeration........I know it only takes 1.5 hours to change the bulb:p

05-03-2003, 09:54 AM
I perceive a trend.

05-03-2003, 10:12 AM
Originally posted by Casey1505
$80/hr to take 3 hours to change a lightbulb, (and charge $12 for said light bulb), and we're supposed to tip him?

I change my own light bulbs in my car. ;)

But seriously, no those guys don't get a tip. I'm not paying them any more than I have to.

05-03-2003, 10:26 AM
I don't tip my mechanic, although I (as well as a few of his other regular customers) do buy him a beer or two at the neighborhood pub.

He's a straight shooter and is very serious about his work; we;ve had many a concersation about a particular problem he's facing.

We've developed a good relationship and he has saved me more than a few bucks over the years.


05-03-2003, 12:35 PM
Speaking as a mechanic here.
I did get a few tips. (Not often)
The nicest tip I ever got was on a blistering hot summer day a customer came into the shop with a pitcher of homemade lemonade. She said that she knew it was hot and I would be working on her car. And before anyone asks, she did get a break on the bill for that.
One other customer after a long running, intermittant, very frustrating problem (the kind that always is around EXCEPT when you take it to the shop) the car acted up when she brought it in. I was able to find the problem, and it was a simple fix. Took about 3 minutes. No charge as I was just happy to have the car fixed. The next day she came in with a chocolate cake for the shop.
On the money side Victor French (http://www.tvtome.com/tvtome/servlet/PersonDetail/personid-39223) used to tip $20 bucks every time he came it.
I also had some customers in Santa Monica who would tip me $20 to come pick up and deliver their car for service. (course that took about 1.5 hours of my time, so I guess you could say they were paying for a service, but I would have done it for free)
I also considered it a tip when the customers came back into the shop just to say hi and ask how I was. In other words, it was something they did not have to do and it showed that they were nice people. I now have some very good friends that 20 years came back into the shop to say thanks.

05-03-2003, 12:36 PM
I have a great mechanic. Tip him? No way. I feel that my continued patronage, not to mention the fact that I refer other people to him, is quite sufficient.

05-03-2003, 01:30 PM
Mechanics are engaged in a trade. Consider them along the same lines as a plumber, carpenter, electrician, and so forth. While, yes, they are performing a service, I wouldn't consider them in the "service industry". Tipping is generally not done in situations where a high hourly rate is paid; in fact, doing so would likely make you look weird.

05-03-2003, 04:29 PM
I never received or expected a tip when I was a mechanic. I wanted my customers to appreciate my work, come back when they needed something else done and tell their friends about me. There are lots of mechanics. If you don't like yours, find another.

The highest compliment I received was when a customer who ran a marine shop gave me his business card and told me to give him a call if I wanted a job (I had spent about twenty minutes fixing a job that another mechanic had "almost fixed.") A guy I met in tech school had his high point when he saw a motorcycle for sale in the paper with the engine build that he had done listed as one of the features.

He (the student) said that the insurance companies publish a book of services, and an allowable time for each service. The mechanic is apparently allowed to charge for the full time the book allows, even if the actual job only takes him half as long!Flat rate is there to give consistency in pricing; mechanics usually work on commission and essentially make their own raises by working harder. There were a lot of times where I wished I could have charged hourly, such as the gasket replacement that was quoted at 0.2 hours in the manual (and the shop owner always quoted that price to the customer!) but required pulling the engine to get to the gasket.