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Old 02-19-2019, 08:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turkey-head View Post
Nothing at all wrong with it... so long as one understands that their chance of being that outlier is by definition rather small.

If somebody asks me for career advice, my advice will lean toward a career with better odds of making a good living. I'm sure there there are outlier burger-flippers making six figures. Doesn't mean it's a good career choice for most people.

But hey, some people like paying for a collection of tools priced on par with a college education. For a job that on average pays a lot less.
I'd sure like to see your figures for an "average income" across the spectrum of "college education(s)".

I'd not be surprised if the number isn't much different than the "average" you've cited for auto techs.

I see daily constant reminders of how many college degree grantees are working as barista's or other low paying jobs.

Not every college degree holder has a high-paying STEM degree, or a PhD in a medical, law, or comparable professional career path. As well, I see more than a few lawyers in my area who have left the law profession … as are doctors bailing out of the medical profession … due to "undercompensation" or "too many" in my area, or similar dissatisfaction with their professional demands. Earning the degree and being happy with the career path work aren't necessarily conjoined.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:35 PM
 
Location: in the soup
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Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
I'd sure like to see your figures for an "average income" across the spectrum of "college education(s)".

I'd not be surprised if the number isn't much different than the "average" you've cited for auto techs.

I see daily constant reminders of how many college degree grantees are working as barista's or other low paying jobs.

Not every college degree holder has a high-paying STEM degree, or a PhD in a medical, law, or comparable professional career path. As well, I see more than a few lawyers in my area who have left the law profession as are doctors bailing out of the medical profession due to "undercompensation" or "too many" in my area, or similar dissatisfaction with their professional demands. Earning the degree and being happy with the career path work aren't necessarily conjoined.
I imagine you understand statistical distributions as well as I do, and can google stats just the same as I can.

Average income for people with *any* bachelor's degree is $49,000 per year. So a 25% upgrade over working as an auto mechanic. With FAR better working conditions and social status.


And considering that the cost of tools to do that job are comparable to the cost of a college education, we can consider those expenses a wash as far as our comparison goes.

Then consider the fact that thousands of mechanics out there are going to the for-profit schools like WyoTech, UTI, etc... which costs easily as much as a bachelor's degree if not more.

Now college isn't for everybody obviously. But if we're comparing the two options... the numbers show a clear winner.
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Old 02-20-2019, 02:34 AM
 
11,051 posts, read 42,194,508 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turkey-head View Post
I imagine you understand statistical distributions as well as I do, and can google stats just the same as I can.

Average income for people with *any* bachelor's degree is $49,000 per year. So a 25% upgrade over working as an auto mechanic. With FAR better working conditions and social status.


And considering that the cost of tools to do that job are comparable to the cost of a college education, we can consider those expenses a wash as far as our comparison goes.

Then consider the fact that thousands of mechanics out there are going to the for-profit schools like WyoTech, UTI, etc... which costs easily as much as a bachelor's degree if not more.

Now college isn't for everybody obviously. But if we're comparing the two options... the numbers show a clear winner.
Hey, just to update ... wyotech is history. Thankfully so, they were a terrible place of instruction. I can’t begin to tell you how many of their “graduates” were some of the worst excuses for a tech i’d ever encountered in the biz but were pumped full of ego to match their lack of skills, knowledge, or the ability to produce in a real world shop.

Yeah, everybody seems to cite the Korn Ferry college degree earnings report. But if you look a bit more closely at their methodology, they acknowledge only following 25 degrees. Easy for them to “cherry pick” the STEM, business degrees, medical ... and miss the humanities and “arts and parties” degrees that so many graduates seek after high school to satisfy the pressures/demands on them to “go to college so they can get a high paying job”. By their own admission, they’re not giving us a total college graduate earnings base for their “average” calculation ... which I have reason to believe might be much lower than they tout. Might it be that the college educators and Korn Ferry have an agenda to satisfy?

Last edited by sunsprit; 02-20-2019 at 02:56 AM..
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Old 02-20-2019, 05:29 AM
 
Location: Metro Detroit Michigan
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If you really want to know if turning a wrench is a good career go ask some of them working at a dealership or a independent garage they would know better than anyone on here don’t you think.
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Old 02-20-2019, 09:41 AM
 
Location: NJ
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Originally Posted by UpstateJohn View Post
IF you can be patient, and do the grunt work, and continue the education as new tech comes out, go for it. The mechanic a the dealership I take my GM vehicle to makes around 60 grand a year. Granted the dealer pays for his education, etc.

I got my degree way back in 89, and after 6 months or so decided I didnt want to go home greasy and dirty every day.

I will say if you dont have any experience now, and can do a good bit of work, and have a basic understanding of how a vehicle works, your behind already. I put my first piston in at 6 years old, and built my first engine at when I was 10. (Of course dear old Dad was right there beside me.) My high school auto teacher was impressed with what I knew, but my tech school shop teacher showed me more in the first week than I knew already.
My dad was a mechanic all of my life, it can be a miserable job especially working on rain soaked or snowed cars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by turkey-head View Post
Speaking as a former mechanic (first career) and current engineer (second career):

If you enjoy being poorly compensated and given no respect while people demand that you do the impossible... go for it!

If you like the idea of spending enough money to pay for a college education on tools that allow you to work a mediocre job, then working as a mechanic might just be for you!

If you like working for free hecause because some bean-counter who has never seen a wrench decided to pay 1 hour for a 3 hour job... you may be mechanic material.

If you enjoy being paid half what an engineer makes for twice the effort and in dangerous, unpleasant, unhealthy working conditions... then there's a place for you in the shop!


Now that's not to say that working as a mechanic is all bad. Just saying that there are MUCH easier ways to make a living. But it does have a few good points:

1. You'll build mechanical skills so that you rarely have to pay auto repair bills.
2. There is *always* a job available when you're a mechanic. May not be a good job... but there's always a job.
3. As long as you're getting the job done, you can act like a complete ass. Spit on the floor, refuse to shower for a month, smoke in the shop- preferably next to flammables, show up drunk and/or high, throw things at co-workers, steal from the shop/customers/coworkers, get in fights with coworkers and/or customers, damage costomer and/or shop equipment intentionally, engage in fraud, yell at and/or threaten the boss, spit on the boss's shoe, hire a crack-*****... I've seen all that and more from co-workers over the years. And as long as they were getting the job done, they generally remained employed. Working as a mechanic will give you an entirely different perspective on humanity compared to what you'll learn in a cubicle-farm
My dad died as a result of chemicals mechanics used. AML Leukemia benzene related.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddm2k View Post
Being honest with you, most work done in retail-branded garages are boring maintenance work - oil changes, brakes, suspension, tires - and customers are there because they HAVE to be. They're not happy.

Dealerships can handle slightly more complex problems that you can only tackle with a dealer scan tool, but much of the above still makes its way through their doors.

The real experience is working in a diesel shop that does custom work to trucks, or a performance shop for cars. So many different ideas being thrown around and your job is to make customers' dreams come true. The good part is that more customers who visit these shops understand how long this work will take, and will either drive a 2nd vehicle or have backup transportation. Thus, you will end up with an "easier to please" crowd.

You may have to start at #1, work your way up to #2, before you can work in such a shop as #3, but it's something you should reasonably expect to achieve in your 20s.
I agree. Watch a few of the diesel shows on TV. It's very dirty work though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by easy62 View Post
If you really want to know if turning a wrench is a good career go ask some of them working at a dealership or a independent garage they would know better than anyone on here don’t you think.
Dealership mechanic makes more then someone at a local shop. They also get better benefits.

My dad owned the business. He barely broke even. His mechanics were not well paid, I'll be shocked if they had benefits. One works for Honda now. I'm sure he;s happier with his pay
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Old 02-20-2019, 10:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
if you have the aptitude and interest, there are still a fair number of auto tech jobs where you can earn a decent (around 6-figure) income with benefits. There are a limited number of shops around the country with the clientele and business management where this can happen.

You will have to pay the personal price of admission to reach the skill level to achieve this level of success. Your training, tools and equipment, and physical condition all come in to play. The key is to learn how to use your brains/diagnostic skills & repair tactics to maximize your billable time and productivity. All comes at a $cost and some years of practical experience.

If you only aspire to be a parts-changer, then it's a young man's game. Speed and accurate work there will give you the best pay possible, but it wears on the body over time. You've got to learn to work smarter, not harder if you'll be able to stay in the business.

There are still many opportunities to take your skillset to a higher level via shop ownership. This involves a whole new set of management skills which are separate from the technical skills of working on cars. I know as many shop owners who started as techs as ones who are purely business background people who know how to attract, compensate, and retain quality techs in a good working environment. I've watched as several of my contemporaries have acquired land/buildings, inventory, equipment … and built up a 10-20 employee organization with 7-8 figure annual gross sales. A couple of them have recently retired, and their books and assets justified and found cash buyers in the 7-figure range (just about evenly split between real estate and facilities and business cash flow/organization).

Another shop I know in Colorado (with a 15-employee staff), 8 bays facility, recently bought out another shop in their town which had 10 employees and 12 bays/unit room/front office & customer waiting area/employee lunch room/parts rooms, etc. The sale took place from one shop owner (who was not a tech) due to a casual conversation about the buyer interested in acquiring another shop in town to accommodate an expanding clientele. I don't know the price, but the one owner (in his early 50's) now has two multi-$mil businesses that he works at, splitting his time between the two shops 4 miles apart. Not a poor outcome for a high school "farm boy" who started with a "grease monkey" job at a quick lube emporium and moved on with Vo-Tech and dealer training to be a 1st-class tech before buying into a shop. Do not lose sight, however, of the business skills which he's had to develop to achieve this level of results.

Clearly, opportunities exist throughout this and related industries. For example, a major multi-outlet farm equipment dealer in my region was advertising for techs with these automotive type skillsets. They'd recently bought out another chain of farm equip dealers and were expanding their facilities. Their ads asserted that their "average" tech was knocking down $100K/year (and most of these shops work a 7-5 Mon-Fri schedule; weekend callouts are sometimes in rotation and at a premium pay rate). As the electronics world has permeated farm equipment engines/transmissions/equipment in much the same way as it has automotive, the skills are comparable. The equipment does look a little different, however, and won't reach highway cruise speeds. But the stuff works much the same as automobiles. Of course, these jobs were primarily in rural areas of the mid-continent USA … and one has to consider if living in a "small town USA" in a rural area is your "cup 'o tea". Certainly, a $100K income with bene's in such an area could be a very good living, indeed.

Similarly, there's a lot of jobs in the HVAC industry, or building maintenance, or other comparable "hands on" work is combined with electronics expertise. Again, if you've got the aptitude and interest, all of these present opportunities/benefits/pay scales which may be acceptable to you.

As career choices, the results are up to you. Put in the effort to be a top tech and you can get the rewards.


PS: follow the C-D threads in other areas, such as investing/retirement. You'll find posters who've done quite well for themselves through the years … such as MathJak (who, if IIRC, was in HVAC). Whether they earned their living through a "pro" clean-hands career or blue collar work, they learned money management, patience, investing and investing in themselves to accomplish their long term career goals. I presume that they, like me, enjoyed the careers and had many facets to enjoy which aren't limited to high paying "pro" career paths requiring years of advanced degrees to achieve success. There remains an arrogance among many univ grads that "you ain't worth sh*t" unless you've got the expensive sheepskin in your CV and the "pro" career that follows that … and yet, I know a fair number of "blue collar" workers who have achieved comparable financials over their careers and have been happy to do so.

Most extreme case I know of: I used to get into a wee bit of conversation with our trash hauler about topics of the day, oft-times politics. We shared a common perspective and one day I was invited to his home for a b-b-q. He's a minority, usually dressed in dirty worn coveralls. OK, says I, I'll stop by this Saturday … could be good for a laugh and interesting conversation. The address he gives me is in a relatively affluent neighborhood. So I show up, there's a bunch of high dollar foreign cars in the driveway, my little MB 300Dt is almost embarrassed by all the upline models there. Turns out his friends are similarly working high paying blue collar jobs which they went into business for themselves and have done quite well for themselves. Oh … I need to use the bathroom facilities and notice when I close the door there's a sheepskin framed there. A PhD in Philosophy from a top-ranked private university, with his name on it. Turned out that he got hired into a fast-track for tenure as a minority quota hire at an ivy league univ and didn't like the atmosphere of academia as a career. He got more satisfaction … and more interaction with "people on the street" with his route job; after a couple years, he bought the trucks, routes, and client list. Made as much money as being an assistant prof. One of the happiest people I've ever known, it didn't matter how bad the weather was … he always had a smile on his face and a hearty happy greeting as he went about his work.
Totally laughable post. Good joke. If you're being serious, then all I can do is implore people to not believe any of this sale's pitch. Most mechanics in any industry don't make anywhere near 100K.

Here's my view on it. I work in accounting and finance. Even the biggest mouth breathing awkward number crunchers pull in 120K plus by 30. They don't even need to be smart, just have the degree and some years of experience to understand the big picture. You could be like everyone else in my industry and get paid well because you're educated. Or you can roll the dice and put up with years of crap pay and working conditions on the off chance you strike it big or buy your own auto shop.

Why limit yourself and go into a career where only the top earners get there?
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Old 02-20-2019, 10:17 AM
 
1,511 posts, read 2,247,338 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turkey-head View Post
Cool sales pitch

Doesn't change the fact that auto mechanics averaged $39,000 per year in 2017:
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation...-mechanics.htm


I know we're all special according to our mammas. But that's no reason to base a decision on the outliers.
Yup. My BS flag always goes up when people start spouting how some people make 100K or get rich doing something that historically doesn't pay well. Don't fall for the BS. Go ask many professional mechanics and many will tell you to find a different career.
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Old 02-20-2019, 12:00 PM
 
11,051 posts, read 42,194,508 times
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Originally Posted by Pyramidsurf View Post
Totally laughable post. Good joke. If you're being serious, then all I can do is implore people to not believe any of this sale's pitch. Most mechanics in any industry don't make anywhere near 100K.

you're great at displaying your profound ignorance of the trades in today's marketplace.

Plumbers and electricians, for example, have long been touted as seeing 6-figure incomes. Effectively, they are "mechanics" of their business as a blue-collar trade. Few are tasked with the diagnostics required of top automotive techs.

As well, HVAC techs are in high demand right now. I've got a friend in SLC who is on the Gov's commission to promote votech training to balance out the recent decades focus on "college" needed for a good paying job. He is an independent HVAC products distributor/manufacturer's rep, full service engineering design firm. Right now, Utah gov't is trying to reopen a VOTECH community college facility and find scholarship money for HVAC training students. Why the push for this facility? Because the Utah HVAC businesses have announced a severe shortage of trained techs, on the order of over 2,000 jobs … starting pay at around $60,000 and the "top" lead techs bring in around $100K, salaried w/benefits/retirement/vacations. The skillsets and hand skills are virtually identical to the automotive trade. Probably the biggest advantage to the HVAC tech job is that employers typically provide required hand tools and equipment. A former girlfriend of mine 30 years ago worked for Kaiser Permanente doing this work for 5 hospitals in the area, and she worked rotating shifts and on-call for building controls/balance issues … knocked down over $80,000/year + bene's … 30 years ago She retired with her highest earnings years at over $100K earnings … she turned down being a "lead" building engineer job because she would have been more on the management side of the biz and wasn't comfortable being somebody else's "boss". She would have made more money in the lead job, but it wasn't worth it to her and it was an "up or out" employment offer. She took the "out" between SS and retirement bene's, as she was pretty well off after 25 years in the career.

My former "indie aviation repair shop", specializing in GA small singles was a one-man operation. He was knocking down over $100K for years, but got tired of doing all the hours. Got himself a job working for a major air charter service doing inspections on their fleet of aircraft. Now draws over $100K salary w/benefits and he doesn't even have to turn wrenches anymore, he inspects the work of others and writes the reports. Loves the work, much easier physically than working on small aircraft. My current IA, another 1-2 man shop, pulls in over $100K.

As I mentioned previously, a regional farm equipment dealer advertised for techs and claimed their "average" tech was making $100K. Those ads ran for a long time in 2017-2018 before they apparently filled the available jobs.

My local Dodge dealership had a tech who was their lead pick-up truck tech and diesel specialist. He was bringing home over $100K, but dissatisfied with the politics of the dealership shop. He quit, took over as the lead tech in a 2-bay small town shop … where he was making more money, but now tasked with having to manage the operation. Management wasn't his "cup 'o tea", so he quit after a year and moved over to the competing 8-bay shop in the same town. He still knocks down over $100K in a rural town of 5,000 people.



Here's my view on it. I work in accounting and finance. Even the biggest mouth breathing awkward number crunchers pull in 120K plus by 30. They don't even need to be smart, just have the degree and some years of experience to understand the big picture. You could be like everyone else in my industry and get paid well because you're educated.

OK, so I take a moment to look up figures on your touted industry. Ignoring that the skillsets, aptitude, and ability to be happy in an office environment may not be everybody's cup 'o tea … here's what I found: https://www.payscale.com/research/US...t_(CPA)/Salary


"Salary
$46,176 - $104,295

Bonus
$736 - $12,641

Profit Sharing
$0.70 - $11,029

Commission
$503 - $30,913

Total Pay (?)
$45,490 - $113,283

Country: United StatesCurrency: USDUpdated: 15 Feb 2019Individuals Reporting: 5,927

Pay by Experience for a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) has a positive trend. An entry-level Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $56,000 based on 2,166 salaries provided by anonymous users. Average total compensation includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with mid-career experience which includes employees with 5 to 10 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $70,000 based on 1,245 salaries. An experienced Certified Public Accountant (CPA) which includes employees with 10 to 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $81,000 based on 948 salaries. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with late-career experience which includes employees with greater than 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $93,000 based on 642 salaries.

National Average: $66,259


"Lots of long hours during tax season."
In public accounting, be prepared for a lot of long hours from December through April 15. When I say long hours, I mean 12-17 hour days. 60-80% of a CPA's revenue is earned during this time frame, so it's imperative to put in the time. Unfortunately, this means you sacrifice A LOT of family and personal time. The rest of the world goes on with their lives, but yours is frozen. The flip side of the coin is that you usually are able to enjoy a reduced work week the rest of the year until tax season rolls around again."


That sure in hell doesn't look like $120,000 earnings for even the lowest level mouth breather accountant to me in a couple years, per your assertion.


Or you can roll the dice and put up with years of crap pay and working conditions on the off chance you strike it big or buy your own auto shop.

You can aspire to being a tire-buster or a grease monkey or a parts changer at a franchise chain "auto service" store. Or you can make the investment in training, skills, tools and aspire to working at the top of the trade. The choice is made by the worker, assuming the aptitude/interest and ability coincides with the motivation to do so.

Why limit yourself and go into a career where only the top earners get there?
You completely beg the question of why some people have an aptitude and interest in performing certain types of work for their happiness and satisfaction.

With your reasoning, why would anybody not seek to be a MD, Lawyer, or similar careers? Or any of the high paying STEM degrees? Why are there so many people who pursue other degrees when they limit themselves to a career "where only the top earners get there"?

Here's another line of work which doesn't require a college degree and yet pays an average comparable to what accountants make per the above report:

Journeyman Lineman Annual Salary ($77,476 Avg | Feb 2019 ...
https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salarie...Lineman-Salary

People working as a Journeyman Lineman in your area are making on average $77,476 per year or the same as the national average annual salary of $77,476


PS: my son is a CPA who has gone down the path of being a CFO to grab the higher earnings at that end of the accounting biz. His track record is a new job every 15-20 months, supposedly for "better opportunities" and higher pay. Well, good for him, he's making at least the low 6-figures. Way more turnover than I'd want in my career. From my vantage point, it appears that much of his time once he's secured a job is to be looking for the next one.

Last edited by sunsprit; 02-20-2019 at 12:54 PM..
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Old 02-20-2019, 12:10 PM
 
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Back in the "old days" mechanics were not doing too badly. Then the Vo-Tech schools came along and overpopulated the ranks of those turning wrenches. Too many guys looking for work lowered the wages, the bosses now had a huge surplus of desperado's to exploit, and they did--it was all over for good wages. Yeah, there are still some senior guys making a hundred grand and more annually, but that is only possible in the team construct which makes one guy the King, and the rest serfs--and the King takes a cut from their productivity.

Having a King allows for the carrot-in-front of the-horse situation to become a perpetual battle for those on the serf side to step up and challenge the King for dominance, and the king paycheck. This assures the younger people that there is indeed room for advancement, but not too much. Most good techs eventually move on in order to get more money, they are then, and only then, allowed to negotiate a higher pay rate at the new job.

My wife's son in law law is a local, fifty year old tech, he made 110,000 last year, he is the team king where he works, some of the thirty year old's are preparing to topple him off the throne..So, no, there isn't much of a future in the automotive trades. It takes a ton of tools, ten tons of know-how, and a hundred tons of perseverance to get through a day, not to mention the backaches, solvent exposure, and lack of job security which comes with the territory..Walk on by..Save yourself.
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Old 02-20-2019, 12:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jertheber View Post
Back in the "old days" mechanics were not doing too badly. Then the Vo-Tech schools came along and overpopulated the ranks of those turning wrenches. Too many guys looking for work lowered the wages, the bosses now had a huge surplus of desperado's to exploit, and they did--it was all over for good wages. Yeah, there are still some senior guys making a hundred grand and more annually, but that is only possible in the team construct which makes one guy the King, and the rest serfs--and the King takes a cut from their productivity.

You hit upon a key issue in the auto repair industry … when there was a surplus of mechanics available to fill the available jobs.

such is not the case today at the tech levels required to service today's vehicles. There's long been a forecast shortage of techs. That time has arrived.


Having a King allows for the carrot-in-front of the-horse situation to become a perpetual battle for those on the serf side to step up and challenge the King for dominance, and the king paycheck. This assures the younger people that there is indeed room for advancement, but not too much. Most good techs eventually move on in order to get more money, they are then, and only then, allowed to negotiate a higher pay rate at the new job.

An interesting perspective on the business practices and opportunities of some shops. I think this situation is the result of management approach to business. The better shops I know of actively seek to hire and retain the best techs they can get, and that requires paying them sufficiently so they're not out looking for the new job opportunity.

What you may not see is that a manager tracking the productivity of a given worker may decide that they're not worth a higher pay rate. I've certainly been there, had techs demand more pay or they were leaving … and I knew they couldn't be that productive for my shop. So letting them go was a no-brainer for my business. I wished them well in their new endeavors.


My wife's son in law law is a local, fifty year old tech, he made 110,000 last year, he is the team king where he works, some of the thirty year old's are preparing to topple him off the throne..So, no, there isn't much of a future in the automotive trades. It takes a ton of tools, ten tons of know-how, and a hundred tons of perseverance to get through a day, not to mention the backaches, solvent exposure, and lack of job security which comes with the territory..Walk on by..Save yourself.

Yes, we all have to deal with our physical limitations. My accountant of many years has had 2 heart attacks and now lives with a lot of scar tissue in his heart along with an implanted defibrilator which has triggered a couple of times. And he's got backaches from sitting for so many hours per day for years along with vision issues from computer monitors for so many hours.

The evil solvents used in the trades were banned by OSHA and other agencies many years ago. You won't find trike vats or benzene solvents in shops anymore, and proper parts washing equipment these days is generally water-based soap solutions.


Lack of job security? what a laugh … there's how many millions of vehicles on the road today which require maintenance, repairs, and servicing? Who is gonna' fix them … the elves and unicorn patrol on the streets? all the quick lube shops? or are the vehicles going to the scrap heap when the first mechanical or electronics problem presents?
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