HOW TO WRITE AN ESTIMATE
STEP 1 Identify the vehicle. Usually, you will
know the vehicle make, model and engine, but for confirmation,
each manufacturer contains a model identification section
listing model coverage, I.D. number location, engine
STEP 2 Familiarize yourself with all Groups
STEP 3 Select the model being estimated or repaired.
STEP 4 Find the group or section needing repair
and select that group or section.
STEP 5 Find the labor operation or part type
needed and select it. Special attention should be given
to any inclusions, notes or tariffs regarding items
included or not included for that particular operation.
STEP 6 Add to the original suggested time any
* ADDITIONAL TIME * or * COMBINATION TIME * which applies
to the specific year, model, engine, etc., being looked
up. These additional or combination times are presented
immediately after the main labor operation.
STEP 7 Note if there are any special circumstances
that might affect the overall repair (excessive rust,
broken or corroded bolts, etc.). Allow additional time
as necessary to cover repairs affected by these conditions.
STEP 8 Calculate the total repair operation
hours including any Diagnosis Time, Additional Time
or Combinations. Again, be sure to include any special
labor conditions that may affect the estimate.
STEP 9 List all parts necessary for repair.
STEP 10 Make sure to note differences in prices
between left and right side parts (if any). Inform your
customer that parts prices may vary by area and, as
a result, the actual price may be different. Contact
your local supplier if it is necessary to have exact
STEP 11 Observe the total of labor and parts.
Present the estimate and go over it with the customer.
It is extremely important that the customer fully understand
what the estimate consists of, what work will actually
be performed, and what the costs involved are. By making
sure the customer is thoroughly aware of what you have
quoted on your estimate, you can avoid potential problems
that may arise at the end of the job.
ShopKey5.com contains the latest labor and parts information
available on all major repair operations. Also included
are Machine Shop Labor Operations, Labor Times For Diagnostic
Services, Model and Engine Identification.
Vehicle coverage includes both parts and labor information
on past and current popular production vehicles.
Within each vehicle section, all labor operations and
times are listed first, followed by part descriptions,
numbers and prices.
The ShopKey "Estimated Labor Times" are given in
hours and tenths of an hour (6 minutes). The times apply
only to standard equipment and production options provided
by the vehicle manufacturer. The times generally reflect
the needs of an average, trained auto technician using
factory recommended tools and repair procedures. ShopKey "Estimated Labor Times" are to be used as a guide
only. The actual time taken can be expected to vary
to meet individual repair shop and vehicle conditions,
equipment used, etc.
The following outlines the operations which are, or
are not, included in the labor times. You are encouraged
to become familiar with these to be sure you have a
thorough understanding of the ShopKey approach
to mechanical estimating.
- Vehicle repair preparation
- Drain & refill necessary fluids
- Tighten bolts, fasteners, etc., to manufacturer's
recommended torque specifications
- Normal cleaning of parts associated with
the repair operation
- Personal needs of the technician while
performing a repair operation
- Preventative measures
- Position, set-up, return tools and equipment
- Verification of repair
NOT INCLUDED OPERATIONS
- Writing estimate, booking the job, billing
or any special courtesy services
- Reference time on unfamiliar operations
- Adverse weather conditions
- Disposal of hazardous materials (unless
- Diagnosis (unless indicated)
- Machine operations
- Resetting of any electrical components
due to battery disconnection
- Removal of locking lug nuts or wheel
- Time necessary to free up parts frozen
by rust or corrosion
- Broken bolts, studs, etc.
- Rework parts to fit a particular year
- Excessive grease, tar and undercoating
removal or any other materials that could interfere with
- Cleaning areas of the vehicle which may
have been contaminated by failure of the component on which
the operation is being performed
LABOR TIME DETERMINATION
Labor time estimates are determined by ShopKey's editors
with extensive mechanical backgrounds in the automotive
industry. Times are based on field research, time studies,
and information supplied by vehicle manufacturers. ShopKey's
goal is for completeness in each CD. However, there
are some operations without labor times which could
not be verified in time for release (these appear as
blank fields). In these isolated cases, an equitable
time should be agreed upon by all parties and recorded
on your estimate. This is referred to as an "on-site
OVERLAPPING LABOR TIMES
When two or more operations are performed on a vehicle
and have overlapping labor times, a reasonable deduction
should be made from the total times given. It is impossible
to give specific recommendations for all these situations
(your judgment is the best guide for the job at hand),
but we often provide reminders. For example, if you
are replacing a tie rod and discover the vehicle needs
a complete alignment, .4 hours should be deducted after
totaling the individual times since both operations
include adjusting the toe-in.
"Additional Time", that extra time needed
to gain access to a part. Further additional time should
be used to cover conditions such as:
- Broken Studs or Bolts
- Seized Bolts
- Rusted or Corroded Parts
- Undercoating Removal
- Steam Cleaning
- Check and Clean Used Parts
- Accessory Items not covered by text.
"Combinations", are additional labor times to
be used to perform tasks which are directly related
to the original operation, and are conveniently done
along with it. For example: a voltage regulator being
replaced in combination with an alternator overhaul.
Factory recommended labor times have been included
in some instances for your convenience. These factory
times are the approximate times used by the various
manufacturers in the determination of payment of warranty
Labor rates vary throughout the country. Local or individual
rates must be multiplied by labor hour totals created
by the estimate.
Part numbers are included in the program to facilitate estimating.
It is recommended that they not be used for parts ordering.
It is suggested that the year, make, model and VIN or
model code information be given to dealership personnel
for verification of application and most current pricing.
This program reflects the latest pricing information available
from the vehicle manufacturers at the time of production.
The prices shown are MANUFACTURERS’ SUGGESTED
RETAIL PRICES. PRICES AND AVAILABILITY OF PARTS VARY
FROM TIME TO TIME AND BY GEOGRAPHICAL AREA, AND ARE
SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE. Prices not available
at the time of release are indicated by blank fields.
SKILL LEVEL CODE
The code letter immediately following the labor times
in the far right column under the heading "SL"
designates the suggested level of skill for that operation.
The four levels of skill are defined as follows:
(A) HIGHLY SKILLED - Requires the use
of precision measuring tools and specialized test equipment.
Requires thorough knowledge of complicated systems and
strong diagnostic capabilities.
(B) SKILLED - Requires the use
of basic tools and simple measuring devices. Accurate
diagnosis is required using special test equipment.
Must have basic knowledge of complex systems.
(C) SEMISKILLED - Requires the
use of basic tools. Diagnosis is limited to a single
possible cause of a problem. Must have basic knowledge
of component or system operation.
(D) LOW SKILLED - Repair consists
of part replacement only. Must be able to follow written
and/or verbal instructions.
D&A: Disassemble and Assemble.
R&I, REMOVE AND INSTALL: Removal of a part
or assembly from vehicle to facilitate overhaul or other
work and reinstall the same part on vehicle. Includes
any alignment necessary to reposition removed part of
R&R, REMOVE AND REPLACE: Removal of part
or assembly from vehicle, transfer of any attached part
to new part or assembly, re-install new part or assembly
on vehicle. Includes any alignment necessary to reposition
removed part or assembly. Add time as necessary if welded
parts are transferred.
O/H, O/HAUL, OVERHAUL: Overhaul
times include removal of assembly (R&I) from the
vehicle, disassembly, cleaning and inspection, replacing
necessary parts, reassembly, reinstalling and making
any necessary adjustments.