The Value of Your Diagnosis

Are you still in the stone age of giving away your diagnosis for FREE? For 24+ years we have been charging for our diagnosis and getting it because we provide a value of our diagnosis. It’s time to move into the 21st century with Mechanic Alliance and learn to build the value of your diagnosis.

DIAGNOSIS DEFINITION – to determine the nature of a cause or issue. Based on signs, symptoms, and drivability issues.

Is our diagnosis any different than a doctors in the terms of finding the underlying issue? The medical dictionary states that a diagnosis is 1. determination of the nature of a cause of a disease. 2. a concise technical description of the cause, nature, or manifestations of a condition, situation, or problem. 

Let’s start here with this definition. Are we determining the nature of the cause? Do we provide a technical description of the cause, condition, situation, or problem? Is our final diagnosis one of being based on signs, symptoms, or findings? Of course, it is. Does the doctor charge for his diagnosis? He sure does. What does he have that we don’t have? We both have an education (theirs being more extensive), we both are required to diagnosis an issue and take care of the problem. I’m not taking anything away from doctors all I’m trying to do is make the point that with an education or a service that requires a diagnosis there has to be a value of your diagnosis. I would boldly state that any average repair shop has more in tools and equipment cost than your average doctor’s office.

If you have boughten a $39 code reader and are using this tool to do diagnosis, then there is no value of your diagnosis, and it should be FREE. If you have taken even one class or have spent over $600 (very cheap scan tool and somewhat limited) then there is a value of your diagnosis, and it should come with a charge.

Let’s do a quick comparison. If you have been in the industry for even a short period of time you probably have at least $5k-$10K in tools. Any longer and you will continue to see this increase even up past $100, 000 in tools and equipment. Do you use these tools at no cost the consumer? Of course not. So why would you invest into yourself with an education and a scan tool that can easily cost $2,000-$10,000 with yearly updates as high or higher than $1,200 per year and not charge? This alone shows a value in your diagnosis, the main thing missing is the education performed to the customer.

Whoever decided you can’t charge for a diagnosis? The customer? Well, that’s jacked up. I don’t think that a doctor should then charge. Good luck on that one. Let me perfectly clear here, if a customer is not willing to spend money for my diagnosis even after I have explained all I will do then I kick them to the curb and move on. They are not the customer I am looking for. This customer will take all your time and complain every step of the way. And the first chance they get to seeing a different shop they will be gone anyway. Honestly, I let this customer put my competition out of business.

The value of your diagnosis involves a number of things. First it starts with an education for the customer. Years ago, I put my scan tool on the front counter when not in use and asked every customer I could if they knew what it was and how much it cost me? Most did not know what it was, and no one was even close to the price. I heard $100 to $300. This was now my chance to educate to them on what I do. Did they understand most of it, probably not but did they get an understanding that it takes more than just hooking up a tool that fixes their car, absolutely.

Next there is no way you can do a thorough diagnoses on a vehicle without looking at a few critical items. Number one TSB’s. Most forget this one, remember cars are born broke. You can spend hours, even days trying to figure out an issue when a quick look at TSB’s could have shown the issue and how to remedy it quickly. Number two and probably the most important – Reflash. You could spend the rest of your week trying to fix this vehicle and never achieve it because it is a software-based issue. So many mechanics miss this one. It is critical that if you find or suspect the vehicle needs a Reflash that you STOP immediately and get this done before you waste another minute.

Third does the car have any mechanical issues. If it sounds like it has a miss or possible dead hole your diagnosis is going to be affected in a very large way. Moving on from there I then test the status of the battery and charging system. As with your heart if these are not in tip top shape you could have all sorts of gremlins in the vehicle, one mechanic experienced this recently in a VW Beetle that created all sorts of electrical issues that he came to find out was from the alternator. Or you could have even an larger issue that we witnessed recently on a GMC where it wouldn’t even start because of the alternator, you can see this on our Mechanic Alliance FB Group page

Next, I do a fuel pressure analysis with a low amp’s probe to see what condition the fuel system is in. Once I have gone through this I then (and only then) hook up my scan tool checking everything in detail as I go down through it, trying to never miss one item that could create an issue of any type.

Don’t get into so much of a hurry of hooking up your scan tool. Sure, there are times this method will nail it and tell you where the problem is, but you just lost your diagnosis time, and what about the 10% of the time that because you missed something you get your butt kicked and handed to you. We have all been there.

Slow down, be more methodical and make the money you deserve for your time, knowledge, and skills by providing a value of your diagnosis.


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