What are shop supplies anyway?
Well, there are a few things we need to fix a car. The obvious two are parts and labor. But what about all the other things that make up a professional repair?
For instance, on an oil change I use:
a special cleaner to clean up oil drips on the frame and engine,
I use 2-3 rags to clean my hands and check the oil,
I top off the windshield washer fluid,
I use floor dry to clean up oil drips on the floor,
I use coolant strips to check the coolant, I
go through 2 vacuum cleaner filters per year vacuuming footwells,
I use paper and ink to get oil reset procedures,
I put a sticker on your windshield,
and I use rubber gloves to protect my hands.
That's just an oil change. Most of that is also used on a normal repair plus other things like brake cleaner, additional rags, multiple sets of gloves, lots of floor dry, multiple pages of repair instructions etc...
So, how do I pay for all of that?
Well, I lump it together in shop supplies because it is a cost to fix your car. Then I measure the total that I spend on these things and make sure I'm recovering it. We do cap shop supplies because you only need floor dry once, at the end and you only need cleaners once, at the end of a repair, and you only need to print instructions once, whether it's a $4000 repair or a $40 repair.
Some shops actually try to profit from shop supplies. I don't. In fact, I actually don't charge enough to cover all the supplies. So I'm sharing the cost with you. I just want you to know it isn't bogus. Shop supplies are needed to perform a professional repair.
So the next time you see this on your invoice, know that 5-7% of the repair is fair and that a cap somewhere between $30-50 is about right. It keeps your favorite shop in business and helps them provide an exceptional repair without cutting corners.