This article about being a car mechanic is just my opinion after 25 years of working in the auto repair business. There are so many options and opportunities when you get into the field and each decision you make can have long-term effects.
Most mechanics will go through some form of education whether it is from local college programs or special manufacturer training or even learning car repair at a high school auto shop.
After the training is completed and you get your first job it can set you down a path that can last a lifetime. It is this first career decision after training that may be the most important. An example would be if your first position is at a franchise car repair shop.
You may find yourself working your way through the different brand stores and working in this type of facility until you retire. This may not be a bad thing and there is plenty of good money to be earned by working at a franchised facility.
Another example would be if you entered a Toyota sponsored training program. Chances are you would work at a Toyota dealership after graduation and may find yourself retiring from one after 30 years or so of working. Again this may not be a bad thing.
Being a car mechanic
My personal experience has not been much different. I entered a General Motors training program and worked at General Motors dealerships for most of my career. This solid work history and the high level of training that the dealerships provided, led me to what I consider the most solid job of my career.
This is working for a government fleet agency that provides a fair wage and excellent benefits. This has been a good move for my family and provided job stability in a poor economy. But looking back this was not my favorite job.
And this is what has led me to write this article. In my opinion being a car mechanic can provide opportunities and flexibility.
A new mechanic entering the auto repair business should consider his first step down the career path an extremely important one. But he should also remember that opportunities will arise and the ability to change that path can exist.
Looking back on my career I had one job that was so much fun and I made so much money I wish that it never ended. As stated above I was trained by General Motors and worked at their dealerships for most of my career. At one point I deviated from this path.
My favorite car mechanic job
I got a job as a lead technician at an upscale used car lot. I considered this a temporary position but it turned out to be the best mechanic job and the most fun than I ever had. The used car lot business model that the owner deployed was pure genius.
He specialized in selling used premium automobiles like Infinities, Mercedes-Benz, BMWs, Jaguars, Lexus and Acura’s. These were the kind of automobiles that sold like hotcakes because everybody would like to be behind the wheel of such a car.
The owner of this business who was truly talented would go to car auctions and purchase these vehicles for pennies on the dollar. My department would recondition these (in some cases in poor condition) vehicles to be reliable. He would then detail the vehicle and put it out on a lot for sale at top dollar.
Most of these vehicles were high mileage but people could not resist them because they looked so good and ran so well. The owner of this used car lot would provide a 90 day warranty and up sell an aftermarket warranty for another large profit. This gave our service department a constant stream of work.
The owner provided an extremely fun environment and High line Demos for all of the mechanics. Yes we all got to drive top-of-the-line cars while working at the dealership. Fuel and car insurance was covered by the business. This was extremely smart because many sales developed from getting these vehicles in front of people’s eyes. Also securing the best mechanics in the area was an easy task.
For me I would go with the owner to the car auctions where he purchased these vehicles. I would evaluate them before the bidding began. This gave the owner an idea of how high he was willing to go as the car crossed the auction block. I and he developed a fantastic relationship and we had a lot of fun.
Unfortunately this owner had some serious personal troubles that affected the overall operations of the business. Eventually it was these personal problems that led to the closing of this used car dealership. I worked there for about 2 1/2 years and it was the best times of my life.
A job that when I woke up in the morning I was excited to go to. And it wasn’t just because he gave me a Mercedes Benz to drive to work in. Everybody that worked there was happy and this included the super model sales team and customers that bought cars there.
After the closing of the premium used car lot I was forced to return to the GM service departments, which is a good way to make a living but certainly not as much fun. When it comes to being a mechanic remember that you always have options. And exploring them may be some of the best times in your life.
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