Technician Time Punches

We have been in many shops where the techs and management tell us, “Hey, my guy can beat the clock on every one of these repairs and do it in less than half the time. So now what? Do I have to keep on the job to have 70% time punch?”


So let’s talk about what a labor operation and its associated time include for most manufacturers.

  • Time to bring the vehicle into the shop ( except Jag and Rover have a separate operation for this). Includes: vehicle drive time, prepare the vehicle for service (open/close door, hood, tailgate, luggage compartment, cover/uncover fender, seat), raise/lower vehicle on hoist, and road test as specified in the shop manual. (unless the manufacturer has a separate operation)
  • Normal diagnosis as the workshop manual defines it.
  • Go up to the parts counter and get in line to get your parts.
  • Time to story the work order line.
  • Clean and turn in those parts.
  • Final road test and park vehicle (there are a few manufacturers that pay for road test separately).


There may be 5 to 10 minutes locating the car (unless you have a porter – for instance, maybe you are a high-class BMW dealer!) Then another 5 to 10 using fender covers, setting up hoist, verifying condition, etc. Then some normal diagnosis that there is no operation for may take 5 minutes. Now you get down to doing the repair itself. You have to write all that down which may take 10 minutes. Finally, you are going to verify the repair with a test drive, turn the parts in, and park the vehicle which may take 5 to 10 minutes.

Now you have added about 15 to 30 minutes to your time depending on the job and that great story you are going to write.


Some additional information:

Legible Time Flags – Managers pay attention!

As elementary as this sounds, it is required that legible time flags be utilized. If you can’t read the ink on the time flag, neither can the Auditor!


Handwritten Time Flag Entries

Handwritten time punches will be accepted in unusual circumstances (i.e. temporary failure of the clocking system). Each handwritten time clock entry MUST be entered and initialed by the Service Manager with a brief explanation of the reason for the handwritten entry. The handwritten entry MUST indicate the time and date of the approval by the Service Manager.


Straight Time Usage

When a technician is using a straight time to make a repair, it is required that the time is flagged separately and identified as a straight time punch. An acceptable practice would be to write ‘ST’ on the time flag. It is required that the tech write a compelling story to justify the use of straight time. Remember though, as stated in the Warranty Policies and Procedures Manual, just because a technician flags a job as straight time does not necessarily guarantee it is reimbursable under warranty. (If you are ERO (electronic repair order) then this needs to be designated at WT or DW (ADP) for work time.)

ERO dealers.  If you are on ERO time punching you need to set the system to log off technicians at 5 or 6 o’clock.  This depends on the dealership closing time.  If you don’t and the technician forgets to punch out on the job, the system will punch them out a 2400 and then back on automatically at 0000 which will void the time punch and you will be in trouble then!


Storytime! Here's one of our favorites:

Tech was on the vehicle for 5 days straight because the system kept logging him off at 2400 and back on at 0000 all week.  The repair ----- a door molding.

As warranty is continually tightened by the manufacturers, adequate and compliant time punching can mean the difference between keeping the money or not.

If this is a big problem at your dealership you may consider having us come out to train your techs and the rest of your staff on proper warranty policies and procedures. We work with just about all manufacturers so we've got you covered.

Download our Warranty Checklist

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