New clients call, and have to start the conversation somewhere, so they ask how much is a … B service… brake job… Etc. What they really want to ask is: How can I know I can trust you to adequately service my car, without taking advantage of me?
Because clients and dealership service advisors alike prefer a “one size fits all” solution, “menu pricing” has become the order of the day. This leads to pricing that overcharges most, while undercharging a few.
APEX Has menu pricing for some standard services which are common to most vehicles, but to be realistic and fair, most jobs must be quoted individually after testing and physical inspection.
Our labor rate is $130/ hr. Compare this to $177+ at the dealer.
Labor charges are based on a combination of sources, including factory time guides, Mitchell and Alldata time guides and our own personal experience as to what is involved in performing the job. The age and condition of the vehicle may influence the labor charge, as might the need for expensive special tools or extensive technical research.
We generally charge Mercedes-Benz list price for parts, sometimes less, never more. Dealerships have been known to charge list plus 20%. In some instances we can offer significant savings by using used or remanufactured parts, options often not available elsewhere.
APEX Menu Pricing
In order to satisfy those who insist on a menu, we have broken the Maintenance services into components, which are priced as follows:
Inspection per vehicle-specific Mercedes-Benz checklist, reset FSS service indicator, check battery, lights, tire pressure and condition (including spare), brake linings, brake fluid condition, coolant / antifreeze protection level and wipers. Check service history and advise on recommended “Additional Services” and or damage. Road test vehicle for proper performance. APEX charges 0.9 hours at our reasonable rate of $105 / hour for this inspection, or $95.
- Change oil and filter
- $20 labor
- Mobil One 0-40 synthetic @ $7.50 / Qt.
- Engine oil capacity varies from 5.5 quarts in a C230 ($41.25) to 10.5 quarts in the
S600 ($78.75) with most engines taking 8.5 quarts ($63.75)
- Oil filters vary from $10.50 to $20.50
- Mercedes-Benz “S” washer fluid concentrate is $2.50
- Hazardous materials disposal fee is $3.00
to $219.75 for an S600, with an “average” 2000 E320 coming in at $199.25
Higher than the competition, but read on
B Service (= A service above + below items as applicable).
Rotate tires. Many models have different size tires front and rear, which cannot be rotated. When “Menu Pricing” is applied no discount is given for vehicles which do not get their tires rotated, which also includes vehicles which have newish tires in good condition. Whenever APEX rotates tires we carefully balance them to insure a smooth ride. This is one instance where we exceed the manufacturer’s recommendation. We charge $40, for balancing 4 wheels, rotating if necessary / possible.
Ventilation dust filters. Due to wide variations in price ($20 – 188), and to a lesser extent labor, it is impractical to offer a fixed price. Although they should be inspected regularly, experience shows that the need for replacement of these filters varies greatly, depending on operating conditions.
Wiper blades. C230 insert = $11.30, S600 blades (2) $64.00, again, impractical to menu price, and not always necessary based on mileage.
Our “average” 2000 E320 would run $316.25 for its “B” service, if it needed the wiper and dust filter, but only $271.25 if it didn’t, and at APEX, all four tires would be rebalanced, assuring a smooth ride.
By the way, the 2000 S600 “B” service, with wipers and (the correct activated charcoal) dust filters would cost $473.75. If the less expensive paper dust filters were substituted, the cost would be $382.75, and if the wipers and filters were still serviceable, $291.25, again, with all tires rebalanced.
Complicated? Yes. Fair? Yes. At APEX the C230 driver doesn't subsidize the S600 driver.