What are typical automotive technician salaries?

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Do some companies pay a lot more for this position than others? What does a top earner make in this field?

What skills should you learn to increase your salary?

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Tommy in Lansing, Michigan

89 months ago

The amount of pay from company to company does not vary too much, but you do have a wide variety of compensation methods. There are various combinations of hourly and commission pay rates, which depending on what type of work you specialize in can vary your bottom line considerably. Where I work the one who made the most in 2006 brought in $95,000 and he does alot of simple things such as alignments, engine repair, suspension. He works in very high volume with fast efficiency, in early out late. Then there is a guy who probably only brought in about $50,000 who specializes in on board computers, programming, and electronics. This is where I get pissed. There is no problem with making $95,000 doing alot of grunt work and alignments but the most intellectuals in the field should be compensated much higher for their skills. And I beleive this day will come, so any computer guys out there-stick with it.

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Ryan in Charlotte, North Carolina

80 months ago

I went through the T-TEN program, and its a very good program. However, with enough drive and determination(see:experience) you can know just as much as a T-TEN tech.... the only difference with T-TEN is just like any other degree. Its just a peice of paper, it gets you in the door and looks good on your resume, but you can make this up with time, experience, and a job well done. I make about 45-55 a year, and ive only been on the line(not under a mentor and flat rate) for about almost a year. The money is there if you dont mind waking up every morning and busting your ass. This isnt a job for the lazy, and its also a job where who you know effects your pay grade(isnt everything now adays though?). But hey, it beats sitting in an office all day long right?

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Dez Man in Albany, Georgia

78 months ago

I want to know does anyone know how much a Auto Tech at Goodyear, Firestonr, Pep Boys, etc makes?

How about a GM Goodwrench Technician?

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Robert in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

75 months ago

Toyotas are the easiest to work on, mostly maintenance.
I spent 17 years at GM dealers and the last 5 at Toyota. I have been an ASE Master Technician for almost 20 years. I can repair and rebuild a car from top to bottom.

I have repaired other technicians mistakes for warranty time while they got paid cash time to do it wrong. I have done drive-ability diagnosis flat rate at a dealer when the other drive-ability techs got paid hourly.
It's not who you know...

The pay system is unfair, years ago when the cars were simpler there was a system where the shop and tech split the labor 50/50. When I started in 1986 it was still very close, I remember 1990 I was making $14 flat rate hour and the labor rate was $35 hr roughly 60/40 in the dealers favor.
Now today there are literaly a dozen or more computers on a vehicle and the labor rate is $100 hr. We get maybe $23 hr, and that's for the good techs, lets just call it 80/20 in the dealers favor.
They invest minimum amounts of money it to the shop and squeeze the last penny out of it, and treat the techs with distain. They're currently trying to take Memorial Day Saturday away from us, we get two three day weekends a year and they want to take them.
There is no over time pay for technicians, we regularly work on Saturdays after working a full 40 hr work week, few complete two day weekends.

I would never choose this as a career again and warn others when I can.
You work in poor conditions with poor ventilation, filled with toxic fumes and chemicals. Pressures of flat rate, and costs of tools.

The more you know, the less you make.

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Mr.Anderson in Detroit, Michigan

74 months ago

I am currently in a community college taking courses for automotive tech. I am 28 (as of Jan 08') and plan on getting associates along with the 8 major ASE certs. Right now, I am working as a dismanteler at a salvage yard, many miles away from Detroit. I wake up @ 4:30 and arrive at the job @ 8:30. Im excited about getting into the field, studying on break and to and from the job.

I think a career is beyond this field of work. I would like to work in this field for 2-3 years while i persue my 4 yr in Engineering.

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Volvo Mike in New Hope, Pennsylvania

68 months ago

Jeremy. in Bensalem, Pennsylvania said: I'm a high school drop-out , no training per-se only OTJ training . I started @ 7.50 ten years ago , and only recently have I gotten close to scratching the 40k ceiling , I'm currently @ 39k .

Im Curious Jeremy,Do You Think Its an "Appropriate" wage after 10 years of Experiance? What is Your HOURLY? Are You Flate rate ? Work for a Dealer? Im Curious I started in this field as a HS grad ( no other education) Aside from Auto factory training Started in 92 and PEAKED at 52k which to ME isnt appropriate...Your Opinion is Appreciated

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Volvo Mike in New Hope, Pennsylvania

68 months ago

Jeremy. in Levittown, Pennsylvania said: Problem with small repair shops is Usually one (1) tech gets paid the most and is in a Manager/Technician position. The Actual person who signs your check may be around or only on payday , New guys get Hazed/Razed for not knowing what to do or how the system operates , and no-one is willing to take the time to help the him see how things work . lest he see's what the shop is really like and gets out before he's in too deep . I reccomend getting a white collar job !

it's a hard field and you WILL be taken advantage of. Low pay , Long hours , and Ohh yeah buy all your own tools.

It Sounds Like an Auto Dealer i worked for ...For Almost 5 years

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chrysler1 in Green Bay, Wisconsin

64 months ago

I live in wisconsin/green bay area and have been at a chrysler dealership for the last 6 years with a 2 year associates degree. I currently make $16.00 an hour flat rate and make 50K-52K a year. We have always been a pretty busy shop, we have our slow weeks once and a while, but getting 55-60 hours a week is usually not a problem. The money is deff. there for someone that works hard and is in a good dealership. There are guys in the shop making 20-21 dollars an hour flat rate and making just as many hours per week as me so you do the math on how much they make a year.

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gm dave

64 months ago

Volvo Mike in New Hope, Pennsylvania said: Hi Robert I saw Your Post And i DO Agree

I agree with the pay system. The techs that just want to do the quick easy repairs are the ones that not only make the better money and do not have to deal with any problem cars, but the magement think they are great techs, while those of us that deal with all the electronics, wiring issues,computer programming problems are the ones that not make just straight time but are looked at by management as being low producers. Our shop started the light duty tech pay also and it just makes matters worse for the techs that have the skills and knowledge to repair some of these tech nightmares since the quick easy repairs that were ment to make up for the low paying difficult jobs are paid at a much lower rate. The dealers just can not understand why they cannot get anyone to work for them when they want to charge $110 -$125 a hour and only pay a tech a max of $20 a hour.

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Bob in Chicago, Illinois

63 months ago

Unionized journeymen dealership techs in the Chicago area currently are making 29.25 an hour flat rate. Collective bargaining agreement expires in a few months. Dealer principals are going to have the advantage this time around especially in the current economy. I left the dealership "circus" years ago. Now working on municipal fleet. Hourly pay & good benefits is the way to go. For an example : City of Chicago mechanics are making 40.53 an hour plus overtime. Chicago Transit Authority Bus & Truck mechanics are making over 30 an hour. Forget the dealers - if at all possible try to get a job with fleet maintenance whether municipal , state or federal.

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rjce in York, Pennsylvania

63 months ago

gm dave said: I agree with the pay system. The techs that just want to do the quick easy repairs are the ones that not only make the better money and do not have to deal with any problem cars, but the magement think they are great techs, while those of us that deal with all the electronics, wiring issues,computer programming problems are the ones that not make just straight time but are looked at by management as being low producers. Our shop started the light duty tech pay also and it just makes matters worse for the techs that have the skills and knowledge to repair some of these tech nightmares since the quick easy repairs that were ment to make up for the low paying difficult jobs are paid at a much lower rate. The dealers just can not understand why they cannot get anyone to work for them when they want to charge $110 -$125 a hour and only pay a tech a max of $20 a hour.

You scare me with this "light duty tech pay" what the heck is that..I'm in the same boat with the diag no pay stuff. My manager saves cars for me that don't run off the truck,,ie not PDI yet or are and the other guy doesn't even have a test light..I'm with the S Korean company now but did the "aisin" stuff before. G beck quote of the day "political offices should be filled when possible for the honor, rather than the high salaries"..we all must be political then. not.

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Jeremy in Bensalem, Pennsylvania

61 months ago

Wyotech has a good program , just don't hang out with the stupid kids.
SO how's everyone doing in their little worlds ? Me , I'm now working for a shop on salary. 600$ a week before taxes. I also was a little un-employed for a spell.

5 dealerships closed around my area :( there's been at least 12 techs stop in to fill out an app in the last 2 weeks.

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mikeyxr7 in West Sacramento, California

61 months ago

Thanks Jeremy that is good advice.

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zman in Elk Grove, California

60 months ago

I have about 8 yrs in the field. Worked independent first, then truck fleet maintenance, now about 4 years with a honda dealer. I was all gung ho in the beginning working full time and going to community college in the evenings. Got my certificate, all ase's, and smog license etc... Spent way too much on tools. Now that I'm established in this field I see what all the old guys meant when they said to run the other way as fast as i can and get into another line of work. I now make about 65k a year flat rate. It's frustrating to see the bbbm's(boots belts brakes and majors) guys that have worked in the field longer than you, and make more money because they don't do check outs. They mainly do service work which pays better while the guy that worked hard going to school trying to better his diagnostic abilities get's what he wished for(diagnostic work)I know ironic:). I too think that there will be a breaking point where all the Diagnostic techs will get fed up with the dealer system and either leave the field or go independent, maybe open their own shop. In the last several years I have seen labor times get cut more and more, gravy work taken away and given to the hourly guys.... And you guys are scaring me with this light duty pay? You guys need to keep that stuff on the down low so it doesn't spread like wild fire to other manufacturers:) okay, I'm done with my rant. The field itself isn't really that bad. The work part anyway. All the politics, pay scales, and alot of the labor times are where the problems are.
My honest advice for someone looking to get into the field would be not to go to wyotech or some other expensive school. I have seen far too many graduate with serious debt and only get hired on as oil changers. Go the cheaper route with community college and pay as you go. Then if it doesn't work out you're not out as much. Lastly, if you want to make money, suck up to the dispatcher. And for God sakes listen to the old timers! they know best. gd luc

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Cameron in Fort Myers, Florida

59 months ago

I couldn't agree more with some of the negative things that a lot of you guys have been talking about. I wen't to a vocational school that had the AYES(Automotive Youth Educational Systems) progam and got on the job training by a mentor at a Chrysler dealership. I was told by my teacher at school that I could make $100,000 a year in this field, and the average tech makes $60,000 a year. They started me off at $8.00 per hour. I was doing mostly easy stuff. Oil changes, tires, brakes, suspension, and flushes. And at the same time my mentor was teaching me how to diagnose and repair drive-ability, electronic, and wiring concerns. He is the highest paid technician. Has 20 years of experince, ASE Master Technician, Chryler certified, and GM certified. He makes $22 per hour and hates it. We work in a hot, barely ventilated shop. Half the special tools that are SUPPOSE to be provided by the shop management are mising. All the shop equipment(car lifts, tire machines, alignment equipment, brake lathes, scan tools) are either broken or are 20 years old. The harder the electronic problem is on a car the less we get paid. I have been working at this dealership for 3 years. I'm level 3 chrysler certified and making $13.50 per hour flat rate. I've spent at least $35,000 on tools and a total of $5,000 on a SMALL craftsman tool box I got a sears and a matco tool cart. There's still a lot I have to learn about diagnosing and fixing cars and there's a lot more money I need to spend on tools to fix them.

If there's anyone reading this that is even THINKING about getting into this field I'm going to tell you what my mentor told me the first day he met me. DON'T. Go back to school and do something else. Because if you think you're going to make any money in this field you're wrong.

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Jeremy in Bensalem, Pennsylvania

59 months ago

Hey ! ,Wow , I was going to defend dealers but I've forgotten the good things I wanted to say. Maybe because there's not any good things.

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jordanbrandon25@yahoo.com in Detroit, Michigan

57 months ago

Matt in Perkasie, Pennsylvania said: Thank you very much for the inspiration !!

I graduated from the university of northwestern ohio with a degree in automotive technology. I worked at a toyota dealer in detroit mi and started off making 13.50 an hour. Some of the guys i worked with made 27-28 dollars an hour flat rate. We would turn 50-60 hours a week So do the math.

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mitrls10 in Albany, Georgia

55 months ago

I graduated Albany Technical College in 2006 and I work at Firestone started out making bout 28k a year and have gotten master tech and L1 and been there 4 years and I am only making 30k a year and doing the same kind of work, (which is everything) that I done when I made 27k.. I'm so ready to get another job and/or get into another field one.

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Jeremy in Bensalem, Pennsylvania

55 months ago

I'm now working at a "NEW" Shop in Bristol, PA. And they are starting to give me BS about my paycheck !!! it's Wednesday and I'm supposed to get paid LAST Friday !

and a comment to jordanbrandon25 , how long do you think you'll be able to turn 50-60 hours a week ? month ,months , years ? before your body decides to let you know you should slow down ?

Of topic but with a Show of hands who has a bad shoulder or back from working on cars ?

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matt in Telford, Pennsylvania

55 months ago

Jeremy in Bensalem, Pennsylvania said: I'm now working at a "NEW" Shop in Bristol, PA. And they are starting to give me BS about my paycheck !!! it's Wednesday and I'm supposed to get paid LAST Friday !

and a comment to jordanbrandon25 , how long do you think you'll be able to turn 50-60 hours a week ? month ,months , years ? before your body decides to let you know you should slow down ?

Of topic but with a Show of hands who has a bad shoulder or back from working on cars ?

Unfortunately i had to go back to wrenching after 3 months of looking for a new field....and my body is killing me...knees,back...everything.To all looking to get in this field...DONT!...once you are in you are a "lifer" unless you get extremely lucky.10 years with Nissan and 3 years with toyota...toyotas are cake though...i am not gonna lie for the first two years with toyota i was making a killing...that was until management cut our times...but like everyone else said its a sad field to be in until something changes,but thats with everything these days

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1.49 BAR in Frederick, Maryland

54 months ago

i dont understand where you guys come from in some of your responses..

if you KNOW what you are doing, and work in a high volume dealer, maybe i just got lucky , i dont know.. but im easily making 65k+ a year @ 22.. i think you just have to be smart about where you choose to work if you want to get into this career.

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Jeremy in Bensalem, Pennsylvania

54 months ago

Most of our comments are from the REAL world ,unless your some service writers Pet, You get shafted !

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mike in Brunswick, Georgia

54 months ago

Mr.Anderson in Detroit , Michigan said: I am currently in a community college taking courses for automotive tech. I am 28 (as of Jan 08') and plan on getting associates along with the 8 major ASE certs. Right now, I am working as a dismanteler at a salvage yard, many miles away from Detroit. I wake up @ 4:30 and arrive at the job @ 8:30. Im excited about getting into the field, studying on break and to and from the job.

I think a career is beyond this field of work. I would like to work in this field for 2-3 years while i persue my 4 yr in Engineering.

im considering the same just got to build experience first

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Frank in Elizabeth City, North Carolina

54 months ago

The automotive industry for years now have forgot and abused their technicians, for those of us who have performed all the automotive dirty work, I have worked for the greedy independent and the who cares dealerships, and its every man for himself after 30yrs in only this job 20 as a GM master and 10 as a Toyota master, I say to any young man do not make this your career, you will be sorry!!!!

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Frank in Elizabeth City, North Carolina

54 months ago

1.49 BAR in Frederick, Maryland said: i dont understand where you guys come from in some of your responses..

if you KNOW what you are doing, and work in a high volume dealer, maybe i just got lucky , i dont know.. but im easily making 65k+ a year @ 22.. i think you just have to be smart about where you choose to work if you want to get into this career.

Wait until you have turned wrenches 15 or 20 years and see how your body feels in the morning, and wait till you have been at this high volume dealership for years and one day things will change so many techs to little work your service manager changes and the new one does not see eye to eye with what you have been used to for so many years and changes things which affect your pay, maybe after a few more years your outlook will change your 22 so not in the real world for just a few years. You still have a chance to change your profession and you may want to think about this before you wake up one day and say, crap what have i done!!!

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mike in Brunswick, Georgia

54 months ago

Jeremy. in Levittown, Pennsylvania said: Problem with small repair shops is Usually one (1) tech gets paid the most and is in a Manager/Technician position. The Actual person who signs your check may be around or only on payday , New guys get Hazed/Razed for not knowing what to do or how the system operates , and no-one is willing to take the time to help the him see how things work . lest he see's what the shop is really like and gets out before he's in too deep . I reccomend getting a white collar job !

it's a hard field and you WILL be taken advantage of. Low pay , Long hours , and Ohh yeah buy all your own tools.


Ive learned this the hard way, man speaks the truth flat rate blows and is fking up the industry and temporarily considering a career change just wished i didnt spend the time and money going into debt after tech school but hey at least the tools i have are mine not the tool guys, there some dudes out there with over 200k in boxes and equipment and live second rate.

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Lexus Dude in Rochester, New York

53 months ago

Amen, Amen Amen!!!!! U couldnt have said that any better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that is like verse one in the dealership techs bible. Repair tech is a friggin awful choice of a job, find a better career, or have a miserable, stressful life flat ratin every day!

Robert in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania said: Toyotas are the easiest to work on, mostly maintenance.
I spent 17 years at GM dealers and the last 5 at Toyota. I have been an ASE Master Technician for almost 20 years. I can repair and rebuild a car from top to bottom.

I have repaired other technicians mistakes for warranty time while they got paid cash time to do it wrong. I have done drive-ability diagnosis flat rate at a dealer when the other drive-ability techs got paid hourly.
It's not who you know...

The pay system is unfair, years ago when the cars were simpler there was a system where the shop and tech split the labor 50/50. When I started in 1986 it was still very close, I remember 1990 I was making $14 flat rate hour and the labor rate was $35 hr roughly 60/40 in the dealers favor.
Now today there are literaly a dozen or more computers on a vehicle and the labor rate is $100 hr. We get maybe $23 hr, and that's for the good techs, lets just call it 80/20 in the dealers favor.
They invest minimum amounts of money it to the shop and squeeze the last penny out of it, and treat the techs with distain. They're currently trying to take Memorial Day Saturday away from us, we get two three day weekends a year and they want to take them.
There is no over time pay for technicians, we regularly work on Saturdays after working a full 40 hr work week, few complete two day weekends.

I would never choose this as a career again and warn others when I can.
You work in poor conditions with poor ventilation, filled with toxic fumes and chemicals. Pressures of flat rate, and costs of tools.

The more you know, the less you make.

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Khriz in Tavares, Florida

53 months ago

Well I don't know what you guys are talking about. I mean obviously every job out there has their ups and downs, and there are going to be times when you will have to suck up most of the bad things, be a man, grow some balls and just get over it. This industry you need to be really well fit, and in very good condition to be able to make the money you want to be making. At the moment I am studying with Ford Company for dealership training for 5 months. Already finished one year of technical training, just need to finish up my Ford part. At the end, I will have an Automotive Technician certification, 15 credentials from Ford Company, and a Ford training certification. I am planning to get at least 3 ASE's for now, and get the rest later.

Just to let everyone know, my friend just graduated about 6 weeks ago from the same status as I am in and no experience as me. He got hired up in North Dakota for $28/Hour, hourly first then flat rate depending on how good he does. Yea away from home, but its a job and a nice pay.
Things are changing, if you think that by knowing how to take a car apart and put it back together is going to make you money, well I am sorry but thats long gone already. You need to start learning the new stuff... I suggest you learn all of this electrical stuff now. Cars are not what they use to be 30 years ago. I've learned so much in this school that you cannot even imagen... I've talked to guys that had been in a shop/dealer for over 20 years(30-50 years of age) and most have told me how about half of what they have learned in the school, they have never learned in the field, and its just amazing to hear something like that from an old guy. The education that I've received was amazing, I can even be an electrician for all the electrical training I got in here(No joke). It all depends on many things

Just keep in mind, cars are changing; Its not about being a mechanic anymore. You sorta need to be an engineer to be able to work on cars.

~Khriz

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Jeremy in Bensalem, Pennsylvania

53 months ago

I'm sure that shine FoMoCo has given you will wear off....What you seem to be missing is Human nature, People take advantage of other people. and I'm sorry but Mechanics will be needed and abused till cars fly !

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Diddoright in Decatur, Georgia

53 months ago

for the record, I am an a.s.e. master tech. for 25 years.

I love the flat rate pay scale. there is no other way to take

advantage of your experience, skills, and speed. But do not sale

yourself cheap! 40% of labor cost paid is fair, less is not.

If a car-owner is willing to pay 100/hour, don't let any pencil

pusher have you to do the job for 20.00 . auto-techs know they

have to work hard and long hours . why do so many fall for pay

control? every tech has the right to get that 100/hr for himself

The tools are yours, the skills are yours, and the customers need

the tech. not the building!

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Chris in Edmonton, Alberta

51 months ago

Ex-Toyota Tech in Rosemount, Minnesota said: I wonder what planet they were on when they wrote that!? Planet Kaizen maybe? I used to be a Toyota Certified Master Diagnostic Technician I worked in the field for 22 years and let me tell you, unless you are in the special club getting all the maintenance service jobs or working over 50 hours a week you are NOT going to make $70,000 a year! When you work on electronics (computer controlled systems, ect) you are lucky to get paid straight time, while the kids coming in from right out of trade school are doing the maintenance gravy. They also created the new light duty classification in our part of the country(which pays the tech less than before for doing maintenance) so the old dealer philosophy of "you'll make it up" after doing some straight time diagnostic work no longer is a reality!

Don't get me wrong Toyota is a great line of cars to work on but, the $70,000/yr deal is only going to be made by a select few that are taken care of by shop management by the way they deal the repair orders out!

I left this trade last year after 22 dissapointing years and will NEVER look back! I still continue to service some customers at home saving them money and you can still make great money yourself and keep a lot of it in your pocket instead of making the dealer rich! It's a win win and no dealer politics to deal with too!

I would NEVER recommend anyone to invest in a career in this field today until some major changes happen in how technicians (real diagnostic technicians) are paid.

I can not agree with you more, this trade sucks and needs a major overhaul, i have been in it for 15 years with ford and sick and tired of busting my butt and nobody wants to pay at all, the dealer,automaker, customer all don't want to pay, but want their cars fixed and being told"dont worry we will look after your time" is a joke. Full of B.S. that no other trade puts up with. Be a advisor all you need is a pen.

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flatrate guy in Edmonton, Alberta

51 months ago

Jeremy. in Levittown, Pennsylvania said: Problem with small repair shops is Usually one (1) tech gets paid the most and is in a Manager/Technician position. The Actual person who signs your check may be around or only on payday , New guys get Hazed/Razed for not knowing what to do or how the system operates , and no-one is willing to take the time to help the him see how things work . lest he see's what the shop is really like and gets out before he's in too deep . I reccomend getting a white collar job !

it's a hard field and you WILL be taken advantage of. Low pay , Long hours , and Ohh yeah buy all your own tools.

I would shoot for being a wallmart greeter or a costco guy that checks you at the door then encourage anyone to go flatrate, the system only benefits the dealer and screws the tech everystep of the way. nothing is fair at all, but if you want to invest a crapload into tools that everyone makes money off of and you have to keep buying them while a advisor can make double and triple pay by having a pen and B.S. customers and you like working for free for warranty and just get it done, and you dont care about your time and all the updates and the health stuff then well who am i to say dont, other ways to make 50,000 to 60,000 a year and no stress and no tools and you get paid for the work you do.

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chris in Edmonton, Alberta

51 months ago

Cameron in Fort Myers, Florida said: I couldn't agree more with some of the negative things that a lot of you guys have been talking about. I wen't to a vocational school that had the AYES(Automotive Youth Educational Systems) progam and got on the job training by a mentor at a Chrysler dealership. I was told by my teacher at school that I could make $100,000 a year in this field, and the average tech makes $60,000 a year. They started me off at $8.00 per hour. I was doing mostly easy stuff. Oil changes, tires, brakes, suspension, and flushes. And at the same time my mentor was teaching me how to diagnose and repair drive-ability, electronic, and wiring concerns. He is the highest paid technician. Has 20 years of experince, ASE Master Technician, Chryler certified, and GM certified. He makes $22 per hour and hates it. We work in a hot, barely ventilated shop. Half the special tools that are SUPPOSE to be provided by the shop management are mising. All the shop equipment(car lifts, tire machines, alignment equipment, brake lathes, scan tools) are either broken or are 20 years old. The harder the electronic problem is on a car the less we get paid. I have been working at this dealership for 3 years. I'm level 3 chrysler certified and making $13.50 per hour flat rate. I've spent at least $35,000 on tools and a total of $5,000 on a SMALL craftsman tool box I got a sears and a matco tool cart. There's still a lot I have to learn about diagnosing and fixing cars and there's a lot more money I need to spend on tools to fix them.

If there's anyone reading this that is even THINKING about getting into this field I'm going to tell you what my mentor told me the first day he met me. DON'T. Go back to school and do something else. Because if you think you're going to make any money in this field you're wrong.

At least i am not the only one out there, all the highschool teachers and people thinking it is a 100,000 job then please show me, that is B.S!

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Johnny in Austin, Texas

51 months ago

Its a hit and miss field. I got my AAS degree in auto technology and have been working in the field for going on 3 years. I started taking ASEs but realized no extra money is gained from them i have 6 out of 8. I work for land rover the pay scale is better than most but it doenst come easy. I started out as a helper making 12.00/ hour. Basically you make your senior tech or master tech his paycheck doing easy things like services, tires, alignments. But he in turn has to teach you the product, quick diagnosing. It does not pay to be a genius you will be taken advantage of. After a year i am full line now making 20 bucks an hour flat rate. Its different from day to day week to week. Some weeks you can run over 50 hours which is a pretty nice paycheck but most weeks its 45-48 hours. You will notice some techs that dont do much diagnosing making more money then you. This is because they draw repair orders for things like, oil leaks, clunking, brakes squealing, services, alot of heavy line work. This is just turning nuts and bolts and pays double what a diagnosing problem would. For example that tech gets heavy line all day, you try and resolve complaints that do not pay like, my transmission feels like its slipping, hears a strange noise comming from engine when cold, a/c sometimes doesnt feel cold enough, hears a rattling noise. Its crap work the only way to make money on cars like that is to upsell, look it over and over try and sell alignments, rotates, brakes, tires and then you rely on the customer which is a 50/50 shot they will approve something or not. Its a cut throat world. I would reccomend another career in the heating/ac business.

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mike in North Fort Myers, Florida

51 months ago

Cameron in Fort Myers, Florida said: I couldn't agree more with some of the negative things that a lot of you guys have been talking about. I wen't to a vocational school that had the AYES(Automotive Youth Educational Systems) progam and got on the job training by a mentor at a Chrysler dealership. I was told by my teacher at school that I could make $100,000 a year in this field, and the average tech makes $60,000 a year. They started me off at $8.00 per hour. I was doing mostly easy stuff. Oil changes, tires, brakes, suspension, and flushes. And at the same time my mentor was teaching me how to diagnose and repair drive-ability, electronic, and wiring concerns. He is the highest paid technician. Has 20 years of experince, ASE Master Technician, Chryler certified, and GM certified. He makes $22 per hour and hates it. We work in a hot, barely ventilated shop. Half the special tools that are SUPPOSE to be provided by the shop management are mising. All the shop equipment(car lifts, tire machines, alignment equipment, brake lathes, scan tools) are either broken or are 20 years old. The harder the electronic problem is on a car the less we get paid. I have been working at this dealership for 3 years. I'm level 3 chrysler certified and making $13.50 per hour flat rate. I've spent at least $35,000 on tools and a total of $5,000 on a SMALL craftsman tool box I got a sears and a matco tool cart. There's still a lot I have to learn about diagnosing and fixing cars and there's a lot more money I need to spend on tools to fix them.
If there's anyone reading this that is even THINKING about getting into this field I'm going to tell you what my mentor told me the first day he met me. DON'T. Go back to school and do something else. Because if you think you're going to make any money in this field you're wrong.

LOL I am from fort myers and i also went to vo-tch. But i went for the other program with mr Ellis. Ya that dusch bag teacher ur talking about would tha

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Matt in Granbury, Texas

50 months ago

Try Texas I'm 26 only been doin it for 2 years HS drop out no formal education in the automotive field. I just became ASE Master certified (passed em all on my first try) I make 15 an hour at an independent shop and about to ask for more money. Which i will most likely get!

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frank in Rialto, California

49 months ago

i have been a tech for over 15 years, have worked for a retail store some independent shops and in 1998 i got a job at a dealership as a transmission tech.up until 2002 or so one could still make mony doing transmission work.factory warranty was only 3/36 and service contracts will pay booktime wich also pays diagnosis.nowadays factory warranty is 100kmiles and in some cases lifetime(chrysler lifetime warranty) and some service contracts now will pay warranty labor.I'm corrently working at a cjd dealership wich pays lower rate for internal work and warranty time for repairs covered by the service contract that get sold on its used cars.theres 25 technicians working five different teams
in wich the team leader picks the better jobs(human nature )only

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L in Springfield, Virginia

49 months ago

I work at a Toyota dealer outside of D.C. and make quite a decent living. I'm 25, an ASE master and Totyota Master technician, and make 75-80k a year...that said I'm not an "average" technician either. We impliment a team system made of 4 people and split the hours 4 ways, so the team leader does all the diag work, noise complaints, etc. while the B man (typically the fastest guy on the team) knocks out big gravy work (rear mains, overhauls) C and D do services/t-belts/tires/brakes etc. It is an effective system if every person holds their weight, as every man makes the same hours at different rates of course. I do agree with some of the above mentioned topics, as our dealership charges over $110 per hour and the highest paid person that i know of is $25 per hour, but we have various bonuses/spiffs that allow the technicians to make more $ if they work hard and have a little luck. Our service dept. practically holds up the dealership, not parts, not sales. And its not who you know, its how you talk. If you are confident in your knowledge and skills as a technician you will succeed but you have to play hard ball occasionally, its not a nice world out there so you have to have thick skin and common sense...if they wont pay you what you know in your gut you are worth than roll out.

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Steven Kleeberg in Clarksville, Tennessee

49 months ago

been a tech since 1985, worked at GM Ford Jaguar/Ferrari and Mitsubishi, absolutely agree about being the step child of the auto industry. the only reason for remaining in this profession is - well it's to late to start over. in tennessee average for master tech is 24/hr. the dealers preach about job done right first time but yet cars rolling off the assembly line already have problems berfore they hit the lot and assembly workers at GM making $73.00/hr without havine to think where to place a wrench. we need a union!!! that will be the only way to fight the dealers from raping us.

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ratrod'smom in Peculiar, Missouri

49 months ago

Looking at this site since my son is taking ASE on Monday as he finishes a community college program. I've been an educator for 31 years and have to chuckle about many of these comments. Teachers, with a 4 year required degree (and in some states it's now 5 years) that they've paid $40,000 on average if they went to a public college, $120,000 for private, IF they are lucky enough to get a job in this economy, usually start somewhere between$32,000 and $38,000 here in Midwest. Pay raises? Unless you are in a district that has not frozen salaries in last 2 years, you basically will see very little unless you pay to go back and get a Master's degree--then with that work for 30 years and you can make $70,000! Now before you say that teachers get their summers off--remember that is when they are taking those additional education classes which they have to pay for! And while there isn't the level of physical demand on our bodies that I know auto techs experience(although we all have bad feet and kidney stones are a common problem), there certainly is lots of stress dealing with students and parents and Federal and State mandates, etc.
And I don't know of any teachers that aren't putting in hours of work at home and in the summers,etc--which is basically unpaid. So does the flat rate system suck? Sure--but there are lots of negatives in every career field--if $$ is the only way to be happy with your work--probably you'll never be happy--regardless of your job! But I do agree that our society has--starting in late 80's and 90's, said that the only type of work that has true value is white-collar--and is that SO wrong! Hopefully one outcome of "Almost Great Depression"will be a shift in way society views technical skills and the economic value they contribute. Good luck, guys! And I can agree that my teacher's union has been invalueable in getting us better pay and more respect from employers--when I first started in the field 30 years ago my pay was $8,600yr.

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mastech1970 in Fredericksburg, Virginia

48 months ago

Tommy in Lansing, Michigan said: The amount of pay from company to company does not vary too much, but you do have a wide variety of compensation methods. There are various combinations of hourly and commission pay rates, which depending on what type of work you specialize in can vary your bottom line considerably. Where I work the one who made the most in 2006 brought in $95,000 and he does alot of simple things such as alignments, engine repair, suspension. He works in very high volume with fast efficiency, in early out late. Then there is a guy who probably only brought in about $50,000 who specializes in on board computers, programming, and electronics. This is where I get pissed. There is no problem with making $95,000 doing alot of grunt work and alignments but the most intellectuals in the field should be compensated much higher for their skills. And I believe this day will come, so any computer guys out there-stick with it.

WE are fighting a losing battle in this trade because of profit margins! They are all designed to screw the Technician, All labor databases (Alldata, Mitchell, Motor, Chilton are designed to lower the flat rate hours paid for a particular job (to pay the technician LESS!!!) In favor of the part mark-up which are approaching in a typical shop 350% almost 3 1/2 times the cost of the part!!! And who makes all of this prof fit? The shop owner!!!! Little do they relize without us they have NOTHING!!!!! When will this change? When the higher courts decide to implement legislation to prevent mark-ups higher than 100%!!! This is when they will pay attention to flat rate times! And untill this happens the only thing that we can possibly do is go on a nationwide strike and let all these vehicles sit on the side of the road!!!!! Have a nice day...

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GMMechanicCinci in Williamstown, Kentucky

48 months ago

All these comments are accurate. Aside from all the pessimism, i've been working at the GM dealer for about 5 years in the greater cincinnati area which is all i have in the business. I've found that i've been rewarded for drive and dedication. i make 23 and hour and turn 50-60 a week. i do bumper to bumper on the car. you're absolutely correct that there are guys that are gravy sucking pigs and turn big hours. When it comes down to it, there are times when management needs "you." and when i say "you" i mean the guy who is electrically proficient, can read and can visualize mechanically what a car is doing. I'm talking about SKILLED automotive technicians. there are alot of mechanics out there, but not many skilled ones. those of you who are skilled, I've been kicked, stepped on, yelled at, held back. I always look for ways to make money around it. i conform and work with my surroundings. you can't escape the boobs that can't fix a ham sandwich. you just have to keep a good head on your shoulders. don't worry about how much money everyone else makes and only concentrate on what your check is. in the end, you WILL make more money. This industry has come a long way, but the need for SKILLED techs are going to dramatically increase and the boobs will be a dime a dozen. hang in there fellas.

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Tech of various businesses in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

48 months ago

I couldn't agree more with everyone here.

The Auto Tech has been the butt of everything since the job has become established.

Your expected to be a mechanic, Welder, Plumber, Carpenter, Machinist, Magician, and Superman.

Lets not forget to mention, be blamed for everything, Be fired and rehired on a minutes notice, Work long hours. In terrible conditions breathe in crap, get soaked in hazardous materials. And make someone else rich with your tools, and your skills.

I worked Retail for a few years. Which was horrible. You got paid a measly less than minimum wage. and a commission on work you did. Even after busting your konk, for 40+ hours you were lucky to make minimum wage.

Then the flat rate dealer deal came. Which was nice to an extent. When there was good work, and easy work You loved turning 80hours a week. but when there was little to no work and you have 12 guys sweeping floors for no pay.

Then I worked what was described before as "team flat rate" where the total flat rate hours where paid out to all the techs equally. Of course you had different pay rates for different techs. But if the team avg. was 60 hours. Everyone got paid for 60 hours. but the downside was if you got one guy who was lazy, and you needed to motivate him. It was considered you were the bad guy. Or you were being hustled by a another team member to do the work faster cause you were affecting his wallet.

Now I work at a independent shop, I get paid 40 hours salary @ 22 an hour. If I wrench beyond 40 hours. I get paid those hours accordingly. but If I get less than 40 hours Due to a lack of work. I get 40 hours.

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Diddoright in Stockbridge, Georgia

46 months ago

c'mon fellow techs; do the diag. right!

it's not the flat-rate system per se : it's the

miminal wage flat rate pay! try 40.00 per hr.

and all the hate goes away!

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john in Kingman, Arizona

46 months ago

when i left school, i went to college studying mechanical engineering for three years,
i was a draughtsman for eight years, then i became a bus mechanic for the largest operator in the world because a draughtsman could not earn as much as a bus mechanic.
but due to reorganization, basically to reduce union solidarity, that job was on the wayne so i became a hydraulics and pneumatics engineer.
now all this time i had been learning about cars and after some 40 years,in 2001 became a mechanic at an independant shop that did not pay flat rate but hourly, i made about 35000 per year in florida, enough to keep the wolves from the door but little else, i was the highest paid tech in the shop because i could do everything and little or no comebacks.
i moved to kingman arizona in 2005 where i spent 5 years building my own house, this done, i needed a job, well we have a recession, mechanical draughtsmen have been replaced with a kid and a cad program,
i am now 60 years old and the only buses are taking people to look into the grand canyon on dirt roads and maintenance is minimal, no mechanical inspections, the school bus system is employing a handyman to do their maintenance with no formal training and no ase certs.
most of the repair shops in town open and close within a year,oen r.v. place offered me $8.00 an hour, the only one that is supposed to be any good offered me a job, flat rate $20.00 an hour, which i thought was reasonable, so the first week i worked 37.5 hours, its on my time card,
however, i only got paid for 26.4 hours, a discrepancy of 11.1 hours.
so i asked the "boss" why, his response was that he can't charge for the additional work required on the jobs as the book time was the book time and my flat rate was based on book time.so i said if i am that bad, why did i still have a job, having accepted his view that i was only 66% efficient, he just laughed. i then asked the other techs if they had made 40.00 hours and was told by all,"never"

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Mike P in North Fort Myers, Florida

46 months ago

If your not flat rate then you wont make good money. Where can you work 40 hrs a week and get paid for 60. It all depends, the better and faster you are the more you will make.

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The Teacher in Fort Worth, Texas

45 months ago

This job is like any other job. Some people love it, some do not. I personally graduated from my high school and entered into Ford ASSET program. After graduating I started work for $16/hrs per flat rate in 2000. In 5 years, I went from living at home just out of college, to buying my first house that I still live in today. Yes I had tools to buy, my insurance was crappy, the hours were long and I can complain about it if I wanted to. I even helped my old high school program so much that they wanted me to work as a teacher to expand the program. I refused until they raised the pay enough for me to quit my technician job. I still had to take a pay cut though. The teaching job paid 48k a year.

If I had to do it over again...I would. I do love teaching and I also was quite happy at my job. My old job even supports my program by hiring my students to get them started. I had friends in the dealer that made over 90k a year. I know because we used to compare checks just for fun. I never made that much and as I teacher I never will. But I do accept the decisions that I made in life and I still support being a technician. Maybe the market is better over here, or the economy is not as bad, but a good technician gets paid here in the DFW market.

However, like I said, every job has its ups and down. As I teacher, I work 10 hour days regularly. When we compete in different contest, I could work as much as 14-hours a day. During the summer, I get 3 weeks off....maybe. I have to go to training, conferences, and contest for my students. Please do not tell me that I get paid summers, because I do not. A teacher gets paid under contact for so many days of work. Most are at 187 including me. However as a teacher, we are expected to grow our program and keep moving forward.

As a technician, I was able to run more hours if I need more money, as a teacher, I get a set pay every month, no matter how many hours I work. But I do love what I do.

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Jeremy Kastrup in Bensalem, Pennsylvania

45 months ago

why does everyone talk about the dealer like they are the only place in the universe to work. nothing like punching a card.... I've resigned myself to working till i die .

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john in Kingman, Arizona

45 months ago

here in arizona, outside the phoenix metro area, there is no vehicle inspections at all not even a sniff of a tail pipe, as a consiquence there is no gravy work.
in our shop, i have not seen a brake job in over a month, but i have seen six sets of head gaskets in the same time, all had been to different shops for the same fault and had some chemicals used to fix the problem which obviously did not.
the other shop mechanics must have made out like bandits because the customers all thought they had done the head gaskets,we however did the work correctly in more than the flat rate time and lost money.
if a job flat rate time is 10 hours and and someone cures the problem in one hour all be it tempory, when it has to be done again and all that crap has to be cleaned out, it takes 15 hours for which i get paid 10. this is getting more and more common, to a point where i am quitting after 36 years, a pay check of $324.00 is not good, there was a time when my tool bill was that!

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