How much do Auto Mechanics Make a Year
Like any job, being an auto mechanic has many pros and cons. When choosing a career, people look for a challenging position with room for advancement. It’s also nice to secure one that won’t get boring after a few years of service. When it comes to employment as a mechanic/technician these things are offered in abundance. Unfortunately liking what you do is only part of the equation for those with financial responsibilities. This article will focus on the financial side of the position and annual compensation minus overhead expenses. If you’re interested in a more positive piece, review this article about where a successful career as a mechanic can lead you.
Annual Compensation Package
When you agree to take a position the employer can offer a wide variety of compensation packages. Generally speaking, mechanics don’t make a huge amount of money but in the recent past the benefit package that was included with the base pay was quite attractive. The rising costs of health care have changed this in the auto repair industry just as it has throughout many other job sectors. Now it’s more common the employee will pay a portion of his own benefits through a weekly or monthly deduction.The amount of pay will most certainly be based on geographical location, years of experience and ASE certifications along with a proven track record of successful auto repairs. In the beginning of a career mechanics shouldn’t expect to exceed an annual salary of about 30,000 a year. Within five years of reliable service the same technician should find himself making around 40,000 a year. You can see a breakdown of average pay Vs. skill level and years of experience on the trade salaries website.
How Mechanics Get Paid
The problem with the auto repair industry is the way many auto mechanics are paid. Although losing its popularity you will still find the majority are paid on a flat rate basis. This is where the mechanic is paid per job as opposed to how many hours they work. As an example if they’re replacing an oil pan gasket the repair center will look up the flat rate time in a standardized labor guide. This is how much the customer will pay and the technician will be compensated. If the oil pan pays three hours and it takes them seven hours to complete, he only gets paid for three hours. If the task is finished in one hour they still get paid three hours total. The caveat of this is when corners are cut and the repair doesn’t hold up. If it needs to be done again in a certain amount of time he will have to perform that operation at no charge.Many repair shops are starting to shift back to a standard hourly wage in order to preserve the quality of the repairs and customer satisfaction. Flat rate compensation encourages shortcuts at the sacrifice of repair longevity in order to pull down more money. The other problem with the flat rate system is that some shops don’t use a standardized labor guide. This allows them to raise their hourly rate to the customer while reducing the compensation to the technician.
Auto Mechanics Common Expenses
One of the major factors not accounted for in the calculations of annual compensation is the cost of tools and variable expenses a technician will have to pay out of pocket. Obviously to fix an automobile you need the right tools for the job. Although some costs are incurred upfront with a starter set costing $3-$5000 depending on the quality, mechanics will buy additional tools throughout their entire career.On top of tool costs there are other expenses like ASE certification tests that also require re-certification every five years. Fees are incurred for both kinds of tests at $33 each. If you fail one of these exams you still have to pay for it. Other expenses that people overlook are the cost of cloths, boots, gloves and other safety equipment. An auto mechanic position is an extremely dirty job and these items can require replacement several times a year.
When you are taking a job as an auto mechanic carefully negotiate the compensation package. If the employer requires you to go on a flat rate plan, negotiate for a guaranteed minimum pay. Some shops will offer a thirty hour guarantee for full-time employees. In this situation it’s nice to know that you will be guaranteed at least some compensation for showing up every day. In an effort to end this on a positive note I will state that most career mechanics choose this trade because they enjoy working on cars. Another positive thing to mention is within ten years many technicians are able to double their pay as compared to when they started if dedicated to improving skills by seeking additional training courses throughout their career.