2 April 2006

I should have been a mechanic

by Anton Piatek

I bought a new chain for my motorcycle online, and was planning on fitting it myself. When it arrived I found it was just a long piece of chain, like a piece of rope, not a loop as I was expecting. It came with instructions saying to just rivet it together, but looking online a chain rivetter cost £70/£80, so I thought I would take it to a mechanic and get them to do it.

There is a Honda dealer near me, so I popped in to their service department, and they said it was a quick job (they could even do the rear sprocket if I brought it in without any extra hassle). So I agreed, waited for an hour and got charged £50. Now changing the chain should really be a 5 minute job, and so should changing the rear sprocket. I would have though the whole thing shouldn’t have ever taken more than 20 minutes… So how did they get £50 when their hourly rate is £59 an hour?!?

Next time, I am doing all the work I can myself, and when I really need a mechanic for the tools or something, I will find a small local mechanic with a cheaper hourly rate, and also agree the time beforehand – hopefully that will mean they will actually bill me for what they did…