Automotive Work in TN (Knoxville, Cleveland: sales, buying, construction)
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My husband and I hope to move to TN in a year maybe 2 around the Dandridge area from Florida. I work at home. My husband currently is a Cadillac/Toyota tech. He just recieved his GM World Class award so finding a job should be easy enough in Knoxville but our concern is how busy the service departments are in the knoxville area and if he will turn in the hours he needs as most dealerships pay by the job not hourly. Anyone know any info?
My husband is an auto mechanic. We've lived here about a year and a half. We moved from Florida, too.
We don't know about dealerships here because my husband refuses to work for them. He feels that he can make more money at independent shops. He also finds the work boring. He would much rather replace an engine than do an oil change. You don't get a lot of that work at dealerships.
But I digress!
Right now, he is getting salary. It took him awhile to get paid what he is worth. Of course, it is a little less than what he wants. He's been in the business for about 20 years. But it is okay and he is happy with the folks he works for.
One of the reasons that we moved to this area is it seems like there is always a need for auto techs. Most of the mechanics that he has seen are either not very good, don't show up or show up late. We have no idea why that is.
Business seems brisk. There has only been one shop where it was slow but their prices were over the top.
I think your husband will probably do well. I strongly urge him to contact dealerships before actually moving.
It seems like it's always hard to find good auto techs in FL too. It's the same where he works now. The younger guys (well my husband is only 33) go in late, don't show up at all. My husband gets the big engine jobs and transmission work on Cadillacs and Toyotas which pays pretty well usually through warrenty work. I don't think independent shops would pay him the 24/hr he's making now but if there was one out there, he would be willing to work for an independent company. i mean he can take a small cut in pay but it's taken him a lot of schooling, traveling and time to earn his high GM status and he didn't do it to be doing oil changes and tire balancing if you know what i mean. he likes the complicated computer stuff that's on cars now. but thanks for the info and we definiately will make sure to look into work before we make the move. what do you think is the most that your husband sees coming in the shop? Brakes, tires, engine jobs? May i ask in TN where you live?
D.F. It is sort of in the business section of our newspapers, but north of Cleveland or the S.E. part of the state is on the SHORT list with ALa for the New TOYOYA plant to be announced this spring. A qualified industrial park has been developed recently.
Another great idea here would be heavy construction equipment. Komatsu has a plant here and just celebrated 20 yr annv.
I don't know anything about cars and less about Cadillacs and Toyotas but when my ex-husband and I were driving around the mountains of New Hampshire a number of years back, I remember him saying that if he opened up a car-related business in New Hampshire, it would definitely be a brake shop.
I wonder if there is anything peculiar to East Tennessee that would make a particular skill in the automotive business a good one to have? You know, because of the terrain or the weather or the culture, is there a particular type of vehicle that is more popular than others? Or, does something need work more frequently because of either the mountainous terrain or winter ice. I know where I live now, for example, windshield replacement and body work is big because of all of the highways and trucks throwing up rocks and the bazillion accidents around here.
I'm thinking the original poster is from Florida and the Cadillacs and Toyotas in Florida (where it's flat, hot and never snows) might not be the most popular line of Cadillacs and Toyotas in a Tennessee mountainous area that gets ice and snow. So, when he's looking for work maybe he should tout different skills or a different area of expertise than if he were looking for a job in Florida.
The other thing, is he coming from a place that sells primarily to retirees versus where he's going now? The vehicle preferences may be different, generally speaking. So, instead of talking up expertise in dealing with some big sedan mechanical problems, for example, employers will be more impressed with pick up truck knowledge and expertise (under the cadillac/toyota brand).
Maybe people who love the TN wilderness have to have a GPS in their vehicle, something he hasn't seen a lot of in Florida.
I actually don't know where Dandridge is. It may be neither mountainous nor cold/icy nor have a particular type population (students/families/retirees, etc.). But, I'm thinking he needs to know what the dealers are selling a lot of to know what to play up on his resume. It could be a lot different than what he's used to seeing in Florida.
Actually, Dandridge is northeast of Knoxville. A lot of people are now commuting from there.
They don't get particuarly one type of jobs over another.
I do think it is busier here than Florida for auto mechanics, LauraC. Excellent hypothesis. I'm not saying that there aren't wealthy people here, but there is a lot more work, I think, because people tend to try to keep them longer. I know that in Fort Myers, there were a lot of snowbirds that may require tune-ups or oil changes and that's it. They tended to trade them in quicker.
For example, my retired dad in Melbourne, Florida has bought in the last three years, in order, a Caddy, a Lincoln and a Mercedes!
I know that my stick came in handy on the hills and mountains of East Tennessee, whereas in Florida it was pretty useless!
I grew up in New Hampshire White Mountains and moved to Flordia. the biggest difference from N.H and FL is that all the cars still look new in FL. The salt and rust eats up the cars back up north. A friend of mine has a garage in N.H. still and says the biggest problem he runs into is the nuts and bolts rusting and almost impossible to get off but brakes and alignments are huge up in N.H. because of the hills and frost heaves tearing up the road. Now working with cadillacs, my husband has to stay on top of all the newest technology in the cars which most cadiallacs have like the GPS, Onstar and things like that. he says most older people who buy them just have everything set up for them before it leaves the lot and never mess with it again because there are so many little gadgets to mess with. If they mess something up, he says they bring it back in to the dealer to get it set right again. He says average age of people buying Cadiallacs is about mid 40's down here but your right, don't think buying a Cadillac in TN is going to be common. In N.H. if people had a nice car, it was only driven in the summer time to prevent it from rusting. I'm thinking there's probably more 4 wheel drive trucks in TN but the good thing is my husband had his own workshop in Tampa 4 years so he's worked on cars and trucks dating back to the 80's so he does have quite a wide range of knowledge and his hobby is working on his 1986 Conquests. I guess the thing now that he's experiencing at his work is that the automotive techs don't want to learn the newest technology on the cars which is something that has to be kept up on all the time. Like my friends shop up north, he doesn't have time to go to the classes to keep up so he has to send off a lot of the newer gadget problems to other dealers to fix. Just pros and cons from Independent shops to Dealers but thankfully he's got the skills for both.
My husband does both technologies. Computers have been in cars since the 1980s. That's when a lot of backyard mechanics were forced to bring their cars to the shop. All independents run computer diagnostics; well, they do if they want to stay in business.
I'm from New England, too.
Your husband is not going to see the rust that is in New Hampshire. Then again, if he is at a dealership, he is not going to see much rust anyway.
I know how dealerships are run, too. I sold Fords and Chevy's in Fort Myers. Yes, folks, I was a car sales lady!
Has your husband been in touch with any dealerships? Do you want me to send you some links? I would be more than happy to!
That's just it, there are still alot of places out there that don't do diagnostic testing on the newer stuff but your right, they have to if they want to keep the place open for business. Where in New England? I came from Berlin in northern N.H. We're planning to be in the area in March. we're looking to buy some property and also he plans to take a day and just cruise around the dealerships in Knoxville and see whats happening there. We saw a bunch of them right along the interstate there. Thanks for the offer of links but we've just been googling automotive in TN and coming up with quite a few places. We're by no means ready to move but just want to know what's out there ahead of time. I still have a girl in school so we're dabating whether we should wait until she's done school or go before she starts high school. She is disabled (blind) so my big concern is the schools up there being able to accomodate her. she's really in a good situation here as far as public schooling and hate to interfere with that.
I will have to disagree with you regarding automotive diagnostics. My husband was a shop foreman in Fort Myers for many years. The reason that we moved was because the owner retired. We also rented from him, so it was time to go. He was a wonderful man, but we hated the crime, schools, transient nature and cost of living of the area. Oh, and the people were very unfriendly, often hostile.
I'm sure that you know that all mechanics get to know all the area shops. We had never heard of a shop that did not do diagnostics. Never.
But my husband did work for a shop that was not set up for it in Knoxville. Can you imagine? You can't fix a car without it. That was the same place that poorly paid my husband and overcharged the customers. Actually, they gave crazy estimates and the customers went elsewhere. We think it was a front for something else!
Of course, my husband left that job within a month!
All auto techs should be ASE certified or they are not worth much. Onstar and Northstar are GM products that involve electronics. Simple as that. I've been involved with auto mechanics all of my adult life and I am 45. I also love GM. My husband is a Ford man. We work it out.
Warranty work is just that. If there is a problem with an engine that the manufacturer dectects, then the cars will come in one after another. You get use to doing the same thing over and over and if you get paid flat rate you can make some money.
My husband finds it boring.
Bear in mind though, your husband may not get what he is use to getting in Florida. My husband made very good money at first in Knoxville, but then another shop opened up the street and they had less work. The owner got desperate and wanted my husband to fix things that were not broken. I hope dealerships don't do that.
Finally he found a shop that has been in business a very long time. It took convincing for them to pay him what he is worth. Now, the owner says over and over that it was the best decision that he ever made. My husband received a huge bonus this Christmas and he had only been there about seven weeks.
This is my opinion. I come from Massachusetts at the Connecticut line. I love New Hampshire. Here's the thing. This is the Appalachians, too! Clingman's Dome is actually a higher elevation than Mount Washington. That just blew my mind!
The weather is really mild, here. I think that you would be very comfortable in this area because of this. It is small towns and the cities are small as well.
Regarding your daughter, the school systems are incredbily attentive of the children. You cannot go wrong with Tennessee schools. Contact the town that you are interested in and see what they will do for her.
This is the South. There are some things about it that may be tough for people to understand or adapt to, but make no mistake about it, the South is kind to its children.
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