Do Dealers Really Charge More?

We did a little more analysis to see why the differences are so big. After all, we have the "flat rate book"- the bible of the industry for determining prices. So we know what each of these jobs is really supposed to cost.

Here's what we found. It appears to us that the dealers - especially the Honda dealers - are charging some quite outrageous labor rates. Take a look at the charts below which show our estimates of the average labor rates in the different time zones as well as the national averages.


Show Map Honda Dealer Labor Show Map
Show Map Honda Independent Labor Show Map
Show Map Dodge Independent Labor Show Map
Show Map Dodge Independent Labor Show Map

So, there you have it. It appears that our "gut feel" about prices charged by dealers and independent shops was correct. But our experience was based solely on prices charged in the Boston area. And our evidence was purely anecdotal (i.e., customers who had gotten quotes from dealers came to our shop and told us what the dealer had quoted). So we knew that around Boston, dealer prices were higher than ours. We also knew that Toyota and Honda dealers were buying much bigger boats than American dealers.

Now we have some hard evidence. Based on national averages, you'd have to add about 15% to the independent prices to get to the dealer prices. And looking at the breakdowns by region of the country, the biggest difference is with Honda dealers on the East coast - you'd have to add 23% to the average independent price ($1855) in order to reach the average dealer price ($2275) Wow! For Dodge, the worst scenario is the West coast where the dealer price is 22% higher than the independent price ($2077 vs. $1703).


So What does it all Mean?
Do Dealers Really Charge More?