How do you know the right price to pay when getting work done in Mexico? This is MsTioga typing at you, and I know about stuff like that!
Here in Mexico, foreign customers often do NOT receive an estimate. We love that! Because this means that the work will be done and afterwards a price given. MsTioga loves this because now she has the advantage in price negotiations. The work has already been done, and now the bargaining begins!
Often I hear mechanics, electricians or carpenters when asked what they charge per hour reply, "I charge by the job!" That is all well and good, but MsTioga suggests that you pay by the hour. Keep track of how much time is spent working. Shops charge somewhere in the range of $20US - $40US/hour, depending on the craft.
It is the custom in Mexico, for the customer to pay for the material as it is needed. You might be asked for a certain amount of money by your mechanic to pay for parts. Do NOT give your mechanic any money. Tell him that you will pay for the material, but you want to go with him/her to buy the stuff. Just giving your money and trusting the mechanic to do what is right is just asking for it.
Now you are at the place where your mechanic is buying what is needed. You must receive a receipt for all items bought. If you do not know what the parts are, I suggest that you take a digital picture of each item, and compare that pic with the used part that you receive that is replaced.
When it comes time to pay for the labor, you already know how much time has been spent on your job, because you have been keeping track. Let's say that your mechanic worked four hours doing something or other, and wants to charge you $250US. This price is way out of line, and the mechanic knows it. The correct price is somewhere around $100US.
Now is when the bargaining begins, and you must play your part well. Do not reply right away. Look at your shoes for a minute. Then look at the ceiling for awhile. Say something like, "Hmmmmmm? That is pretty expensive." [Esta muy caro."] All of this stalling around is putting a terrific amount of pressure on your mechanic. He knows pretty well by now, that you know the score.
Do not offer anything. Just be patient and wait for something to happen. If the mechanic asks you to make an offer, give him 1/2 the $100 correct price, and offer $50US. Remember, this is the best part of paying for something in Mexico. Enjoy it like crazy!
7AM - Jose does not work on MsTioga everyday.
Jose the fiberglass guy cannot work on MsTioga everyday. Jose has many customers to please, and he has only one very part-time employee. So, Jose keeps his customers happy by working a little on each of his projects. That way if a customer drops by to see how a boat repair is coming along, there is some progress to be seen. Seems to work well for Jose.
Tomorrow morning, MsTioga's roof will turn a gorgeous white when Jose covers the roof with a marine quality paint. However if the wind is blowing strong as it was today, no painting will be done.
10AM - The tilting solar panel project.
Jorge is having a great time today working on assembling the tilt mechanism for Mr. Sunny's solar panels.
In the pic below, Jorge is completing work on the first set of three panels.
The pic below shows a close-up view of the assembly.
4PM - Six panel solar assembly is complete.
It may seem as though it took Jorge a long time to put the tilt assembly together. Remember that there is chatting to be done with Jose and the other customers that come by. Also, several naps must be taken. And of course there is always food to be eaten!
Hmmmmmm? Sounds like a very good time is had doing this work!