Labor guides are a honeymoon baby
Heavy duty labor guides trace their origin to the 1903 honeymoon of William Randolph Hearst and Millicent Veronica Willson. They are a true honeymoon baby.

Of all the labor guides out there, which one is best for you as a heavy duty shop owner?Ā First, some quick history.

Chilton, born 1896

It was 1896. Utah had just become a state. James Artman published the first edition of Cycle Trade Journal, and the labor guide industry was born. Eight years later, ArtmanĀ founded Chilton Company of Pennsylvania. (HeĀ pulled the name from theĀ Mayflower’s passenger list–James Chilton was one of the earliest to die at Plymouth.) The company went through various owners through the years, and at one time was even owned byĀ The Walt Disney Company.

MOTOR, born 1903

In 1903, William Randolph Hearst married Millicent Wilson. For their honeymoon they travelled across Europe by automobile. This trip inspired Hearst to start his first magazine,Ā THE MOTOR. So yes, MOTOR was literally a honeymoon baby. His company went on to become the largest magazine publisher in the world. Through all its success, The Hearst Corporation has keptĀ its commitment to the automotive industry. Today MOTOR is the only labor guide still runĀ by its founding company.

William Randolph Hearst, Pioneer of Labor Guides
At least one thing was conceived on William and Millicent’s honeymoon: heavy duty labor guides. (Images in public domain)

The Mitchell Twins, born 1946

40 years later, Glenn Mitchell started building lists of parts, accessories, and prices to help him manage his dealership in San Diego. One of Mitchell’sĀ innovations was listing parts not just by component, but by the quadrant they were located in the vehicle. Through a series of ownership changes, we now have two completely separate companies with the Mitchell name: Mitchell and Mitchell1. Both produceĀ labor guides. Mitchell has branched into other areas, including medical billing; Mitchell 1 was purchased by Snap-on and NapaĀ in 2000.

ALLDATA, born 1986

Alldata came on the scene much later than the others. It was 1986, when a group of auto professionals in Elk Grove, California envisioned a way to leverage technology in a way Chilton, MOTOR, and the Mitchells weren’t at the time. 10 years later Auto Zone bought the company and still runs it today.

How These Labor Guides Compare

Having four possible sources of information is great. But for heavy duty shop owners thereĀ is some bad news. Not all of theĀ guides provide information on class 4-8 vehicles; and not all areĀ available online. Here’s the breakdown:

 Class 4-8?Cloud based?
ChiltonĀ®NoYes
MOTORYesYes
Mitchell RepairCenterā„¢ TechAdvisorNoNo
Mitchell 1Ā® Truck SeriesYesNo
ALLDATAĀ® Repairā„ NoYes

Our Recommendation

Our favorite?Ā MOTOR. It gives us the magical combination of (1) information on class 4-8 vehicles, and (2)Ā living in the cloud. Mitchell 1 comes in second, and rounds out the list, as the only other provider of labor information on class 4-8 vehicles.

Labor Guides vs Shop Management Software

Labor guides help you avoid under billing jobs. Shop management software should help you do those jobs as efficiently as possible.

You may be using a shop management system tied to your labor guide, but may not realize they don’t have to go hand in hand. If you have a labor guide you like, we recommend you keep it and combine it with Fullbay to get the best shop management experience available.Ā Request a demo to see if Fullbay makes sense for your shop.

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