I’ve seen so many new techs come through my shop over the years, and most of the time it always ends up the same way. They come in knowing they want to work on cars and have a completely different idea of what its actually going to be like. They start out making right at minimum wage and after a month want to move up and can’t understand why they’re not making any money. They soon quit and move to a completely different career path, giving up on being a tech. This happens almost every time we hire a new lube tech, so I’m going to talk about it some and what I think about this issue.
Starting out as a Tech is a long and hard road, something I’m glad I already have behind me. Unfortunately most young guys don’t understand that good things take a lot of hard work to get. I started out working 3 hours a day after I got off of school and working every Saturday. I busted my butt everyday to prove myself and listened to everything the guys around me told me. I showed up to work on time and never missed a day, after high school I worked 6 days a week for 5 years straight; if we were open, I was there. You have to prove yourself as a new tech, you have to show that you have the work ethic that its going to take to become a flat rate tech. I was an hourly lube tech for 2+ years before I got a chance to prove myself. I took out trash, swept the floors, and always kept myself busy even when I didn’t have much to do. People pay attention to work ethic, people watch and when you least expect it and you will be rewarded. Sure, I got frustrated along the way and felt like I was getting screwed and wanted more, but you have to just keep pushing on. Take the time you have as an hourly tech to learn, and watch people who know what they’re doing. This is your time to take advantage of the fact that you’re getting paid just to be there.
So what should you do with all of this? Just push through. Keep your head up when you get sick of doing nothing but oil changes and cleaning up. Be reliable and always do everything at the best of your ability. Take pride in your work and what you’re doing. You may feel like you’re just changing oil but people are trusting you with their vehicles to make sure they’re safe. Do good inspections and try to up sell work, if you’re unsure of something during an inspection grab a flat rate tech and have them take a look. Take advantage of any and all training that is available to you, this is one way you can prove that you want to move up. Make sure your manager knows your goals as a tech, this is huge, good dealerships/shops will invest in people who want to invest in them.
Work hard, don’t give up, prove yourself, and don’t ever get discouraged. Being at the bottom is a place we’ve all been. Yeah it sucks but no one has ever got to the top without starting at the bottom. So keep pushing on guys and you can make a great career out of the automotive world.