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Hi guys. I am new to this website. My name is Issa Dawud and i am 16 years old. My dad has a small 4 bay shop in blue island illinois. I want to take over the business when im older and i want to learn as much as i can from your experiences. Thank You!

 

Issa,

Do you work with your dad now? You can learn a lot by listening to others experiences as well as your dad I am sure. Good luck

 

Tony Gobble

www.gobblesauto.com

[email protected]

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Glad to have you with us. At 16 years old, you have the entire world ahead of you. If you want to successful: work hard and learn all you can about the new technology. If your working with your father, that's great.

 

Another tip...learn about business also. Running a shop is more than just fixing cars.

 

Good luck and stay in touch. I will help you in any way I can. Just Ask.

 

Joe Marconi

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Yes i actually do work with my dad. i am on winter break right now and ive been there everyday monday thru saturday from 8 to 6pm. i also go whenever im off of school, so i am there every saturday. i have learned a lot from him but he doesnt want me to become a tech. but i love doing it. he wants me to go into the medical field but i am not interested in that. do any of you guys recommend this job for me or do you all agree with my dad.

 

thank you

Edited by automaster
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Hi Joe, so do you thing there is money in the automotive field. Is it a good field to get into because i have looked up all types of jobs to see what fits me but none of them seemed right. i always loved cars and loved to work with my hands, so this job fits me perfectly. what kind of education should i get. i want to go to UTI(Universal Technical Institute), but my dad said that they only will teach me the entry level stuff and i already know all the basics and much more. i can diagnose cars with the matco scanners, i can clear codes on cars, i can do brake jobs and a lot more, so i think i should stick with the automotive field. please reply to this so i can hear you opinion. Thank You!

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Issa, a lot of techs and shop owners from your father's generation have bad feelings about the auto repair industry. And, being from that generation, I completely understand.

 

When I started, work was terribly hard in horrible conditions. I worked long hours, six days a week for little pay. Even when I went into business I worked too hard for too many years. I didn’t know any better, because no one taught us how to run a business to make money. Guys like me thought that the only way to be successful was to work harder and harder. But that only gets you bitter and old.

 

I have learned that in order to be successful and make money I need to be a businessman. I now work hard on growing my business to make money to pay my people a decent wage. I want the best people and that means I need to pay them well.

 

Times are changing and there is money to be made.

 

Your father has a good point about UTI and other trade schools. Like any school, you get of it what you put into it.

 

In the end you have to do what makes you happy. Being an auto tech made me happy, that's why I stuck with it. Being in business still makes me happy, that's why I still do it. But making a profit makes me happier.

 

I recommend working in field for a few years after high school, just to make sure you like it enough to make a career in the auto business. Then you can think about a trade school or other forms of education.

 

Talk to father and tell him how you feel, he will warm up and help you. He's got a lot of knowledge under his belt and in his hands.

 

Keep the questions coming! Joe

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Thank You for your thoughts Joe. You're really helping me out. Everytime i visit this website, i get more interested in cars and the Automotive business. Is your shop nice and comfortable to work in, because my dad's shop is old and it has the pits in the ground instead of lifts, so its very hard to work in. so i think that has something to do whith why he doesn't want me to become a technician. Its only a four bay shop with very little storage room. We're actually looking for a bigger shop but business by us isnt the greatest. its always up and down. this week was very busy for us but last week was slow. Do you have any tips on how to boost up our business. The shop us very small so its hard to stay organized. Do you think that has anything to do with how business is. what are some ways you advertise for your shop? Thank You, Issa

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Doing repair work with pits is a hard way to be productive. You need to have lifts to be more productive. Pits are nice for some service work, but only having pits is a hard way to make a living.

 

We make it a point in my shop to be an organized and as clean as possible. The way I feel is that if you are going to spend 8 to 10 hours a day working, it should be a nice place to work. I don’t if it’s possible to convert your layout so lifts can be installed. You mentioned moving your location; that might be a better option. In any case, having lifts, tools and the right equipment makes all the difference in the world.

 

Advertising is important in order to maintain and grow a business. The most important form of advertising, although, is to your existing customer base. Advertising to your own customers is cheaper and you stand a better chance of getting these customers to respond to your advertising. Most of my advertising and marketing is to my own customers. We send them service reminders, seasonal promotions, newsletters and we also collect email addresses and send people email reminders for service. We also have a web site and use google and yahoo search engines to direct people to our web site.

 

I don’t do yellow page advertising anymore and stopped all print ads in local newspapers. For me, they don’t work anymore.

 

We started TV advertising this past summer and it’s been very good. I also purchased local mailing lists and send these people post cards with offerings. This works good also.

 

The best advertising is word of mouth. Provide excellent service; be polite and accommodating to all your customers. When people are treated nice and the job is done well, they will return. That’s how you build a business…. one customer at a time.

 

Just wondering; do you share our dialogues with your father?

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I havent yet shared any of this whith my father but before i found this website i always told him to start advertising a little better. he just made pens and calendars for his customers but im trying to get him to mail cupons to customers. We do have one lift in the shop for brake jobs, and one bottle jack in the pits to lift the cars up. He doesnt want me to become a tech because there isnt really an education to get, but i know there is good money in it. My father isnt really a business man. he is not on top of things. Sometimes i have to remind him to call a customer to pick up their car, or i have to order parts for him. Sometimes we have cars at the shop that are sitting in the parking lot for 2 days before we get started on them. thats not good for the business but we only have one mechanic other than my dad, but my dad needs to concentrate on running the business and answering phones. I keep telling him to hire another mechanic but he says that he cant because when business is slow, he wont be able to pay the mechanics. I havent really shared any of this with my dad but i think i should. it would really help the business out. Thank You--Issa

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Sometimes when the owner is also the lead tech, there is not enough time to devote to running the business. Your ideas and thoughts about running the business are right on track. The big problem you will have is getting your father to believe in the concept that he must run the business and hire people to work with him. This will allow him to gow the business and also reduce stress.

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Hi Joe, I was just wondering the average salary of your lead tech., and how do you pay your mechanic, also how many mechanics do you have because you have a big shop don't you? How was the expansion? I hope everything went smoothly.

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My techs get paid according to their experience, ability and ASE certifications. All techs are paid a salary plus a productivity bonus. Each tech must produce an hour of labor for each hour worked. If a tech books more hours than he worked, he will get a bonus for those extra hours. For example: If a tech works 42 hours in a week but produces 46 hours, he will get paid an additional 4 hours in his pay as a bonus.

 

My lead tech will make an average of $26 to $40 per hour, depending on how good the work was. Less experienced techs will earn from $18 to $25 per hour.

 

We have 4 techs at the present time, one service advisor and a shop foreman.

 

The 4-bay expansion is not yet complete. We will open this spring and add another tech.

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Hi Joe, i have a question: Do you think there is a good future for the automotive business. I really want to do it but i also want to make good money. Do you think i can make over 150k per year if i open a shop 10 years from now? or will the economy bring down the auto industry? Thank You

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There is a future in the auto repair buisness. 150k is a lot on money for any career. It's not impossible but you have to work really hard and dedicate yourself to the trade. There will always be work for us in this business, inspite of the economy. You just need to be good and be the best.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey Joe. I was wondering what you actually do at work. Are you a mechanic, or a service writer? What is it exactly that you do? My dad is everything. he fixes cars, but we only have one other tech. He also talks to the customers. he is a service writer and when im there on saturdays and days off of school, i am also a service writer. i also greet the customers when they walk in. So what do you do, and how many techs. do you have?

Thank You!

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I have my business set up in a way that all positions are taken care of. My role is to oversee the operation, work on growing the business and to coach the people around me.

 

There was a time when I did everything. From service writing to working on cars, all the office work, road testing, etc. But I was killing myself. We are much more profitable now that I concentrate on running the business, instead of working in it.

 

We have 4 techs, a service advisor, office manager, shop foreman and a clean up crew.

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I have my business set up in a way that all positions are taken care of. My role is to oversee the operation, work on growing the business and to coach the people around me.

 

There was a time when I did everything. From service writing to working on cars, all the office work, road testing, etc. But I was killing myself. We are much more profitable now that I concentrate on running the business, instead of working in it.

 

We have 4 techs, a service advisor, office manager, shop foreman and a clean up crew.

 

 

In my opionion, if you desire to become a tech and eventually run the business, that is what you should focus on. It sounds to me like you are passionate about this profession.

 

I agree that you are right on track about running the business more so that working in it. Keep getting as much information as you can about managing and marketing your dad's automotive shop. This website a great resource for answers to all your questions...THANK GUYS!

 

There are several automotive management and automotive marketing companies that will be helpful in running and marketing your business. I hope it's ok to name of few, I'm not trying to sell any of them but just listing the resources that I know of. There is ATI, Management Success, Cinron, Dan Cricks, Autoprofitspro. These are just a few that I have heard about, but again, this website is especially helpful because your questions are answered by people that are in the same field. And, it's great input and advice on what has/is working for them and what hasn't.

 

Good luck!

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Great advice and response, I totally agree.

 

Have the passion to be the best. Understand both sides of the business, the mechanical side and the business side. Your success will be determined by how you run your business and your knowledge of business. I learned the hard way, but once I understood it, it changed my life.

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