11 March, 2024

Hourly vs. Flat Rate Pay for Automotive Technicians: Which is Right for Your Shop?

When it comes to determining pay for automotive technicians, you basically have two choices: hourly pay or flat rate. But which one is the best fit for your shop? Let’s explore the pros and cons of each approach to help you make an informed decision.


Hourly Rate

An hourly payment structure is straightforward. Technicians receive compensation based on the hours they work, usually with a predetermined base rate per hour. This method offers stability and transparency.


For instance, if the base rate is $30/hour and a tech works 40 hours in a week, you’d pay them $1,200.


How Hourly Pay Benefits Automotive Technicians:

Hourly pay provides stability and security for technicians, especially during unpredictable jobs. It also incentivizes quality workmanship, as there’s no rush to complete tasks within a fixed timeframe.


How Hourly Rate Affects Your Shop:

For shop owners, hourly pay can enhance job quality and overall shop reputation. However, you’ll need to make sure that technicians aren’t deliberately spending more time than needed on tasks in order to get more pay.


Flat Rate

Flat rate pay is determined by estimating the time required for each job and compensating technicians accordingly, regardless of actual hours worked. This method promotes efficiency and flexibility.


How Flat Rate Benefits Automotive Technicians:

Flat rate pay incentivizes technicians to work efficiently, as they’re compensated based on completed jobs rather than hours worked. It also allows for flexibility in workload management.


How Flat Rate Affects Your Shop:

Flat rate pay can lead to increased average repair order sizes and flexibility in labor expenses. However, you will need to make sure there is enough business coming in for the technicians to maximize their earning potential. Flat rate may also discourage collaboration and mentorship opportunities among technicians.

If your shop does warranty repair jobs, they often come with predetermined flat rates. This is different from standard rates. Just be sure to clearly communicate with technicians about compensation, as it’s crucial for managing expectations.


Hybrid Approach

A more popular option among shop owners these days is to offer a guaranteed rate at a base pay for hours onsite (typically 40 hours) with an incentive for flagged hours.

Combining both hourly and flat rate systems can benefit both technicians and the shop. It promotes a balanced and efficient work environment.

In conclusion, finding the right pay structure for your auto technicians depends on various factors, including technician preferences and shop dynamics. Remember to communicate openly with your technicians to understand their preferences and optimize your shop’s compensation strategy accordingly.


About Promotive

Promotive connects top automotive talent with industry-leading repair shops. If finding and retaining staff has been an issue for your shop, Promotive can help. See why hundreds of repair shops choose Promotive for their staffing needs.

More Resources

ATI SuperConference

Promotive is excited to attend this year’s ATI Superconference.   When:       March 13 – 16, 2024 Where:     Grapevine, Texas   About ATI...

Read More

Trailblazers: Women in Automotive Through the Decades

In our male-dominated industry, there is a remarkable community of intelligent, determined, and downright amazing women in automotive. Promotive is a women-led organization and we...

Read More


Announced on February 7, 2024 by Repair Shop of Tomorrow   Repair Shop Of Tomorrow is proud to announce a strategic partnership with Promotive, a...

Read More

Promotive’s Kick-Off: Igniting Inspiration for a Remarkable 2024

In Clearwater, Florida, during the week of January 8th, Promotive hosted its first official kick-off meeting. Operating as a remote-first company, our team resides in...

Read More