Studies have shown, that studies can be made to show whatever someone wants one to.....
Got some time to waste? Go read that study. The first flaw is, no one can accurately "ESTIMATE" a repair price over the phone no matter how simple or common someone thinks a repair should be. Before I go much further, someone check the definition of the word estimate, and compare that to an accurate final price.
I love how they praise themselves as unbiased. Just like any other article that is written by an alleged expert, where they claim to possess knowledge and want to tell you things that we as people inside the trade would not want you to know. The facts are if they really told you the truth, you probably wouldn't want their advice in the first place and you darn sure wouldn't pay them for it. These kinds of stories only serve the purpose of getting people to pay them for their advice, they don't enhance your ability to understand exactly what a technician has to do with your car any more than you watching a video on a triple bypass makes you ready to perform heart surgery.
The idea of this "study" was alleged to be that they had someone call shops and ask for a price on a bland brake repair. They logged the "estimates" and then compared the results to someone else doing the same thing a few weeks later. By the way, you'll notice how they make a big deal about shop labor rates if you use the shop finder link. Too bad they don't explain that the shops with the lowest labor rates have the techs who attend the least amount of schools to upgrade their educations, and they also will not have the most up to date factory scan tools for any one manufacturer, let alone a number of them.
I used the link to find my shop, it's listed as closed. Now if people are looking for the lowest price only, they would never be coming to me in the first place. But if they are looking for someone who IS making the greatest investment in the tools and schools required to service todays cars then they have to accept that person won't be the cheapest in town. Sites like AutoMd don't take that into consideration by stressing price like they do. One of the cheapest near me, who is listed on that site called me yesterday. He has a 2003 VW Beetle that he replaced the gas pedal assembly, and the throttle body on it. The PCM kept losing the calibration for the throttle actuator, so he then put in a used PCM, and now the theft deterrent system won't let the car run, even with the original computer back in the car. He has more than $600 in parts in this car and now it does not run at all! But by AutoMd's perspective his shop would be recommended shop over mine. Now if they told you that, they wouldn't be able to sell you on their "service".Telling you the more expensive shop is the better value isn't what the average consumer wants to hear. JMHO.