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Any mechanics travel?

Discussion in 'General Industry Questions' started by Mwinkle2, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. Mwinkle2

    Mwinkle2 New Member

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    Feb 27, 2015
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    Location:
    Toledo, Ohio
    I have been thinking about this for a while. I have been a field mechanic for a local contractor for 12 years. Im curious about mechanics that travel and fairly certain this is what I want to do. Any of you guys have any advise? Any companies to look for or stay away from? Benefits of having your own truck vs. company truck? Thanks guys.
     
  2. Bls repair

    Bls repair Senior Member

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    Occupation:
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    S E Pa
    About the only reasons I could see the need for a traveling is specially equipment that few people know how to fix or a manufacturer that needs mechanics to put their machines together on site.As far as a general mechanic cheaper to hire local or call dealer.
     
  3. John C.

    John C. Senior Member

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    Occupation:
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    It depends on what you mean by "travel". Dealer mechanics in the Northwest used to also cover Southeast Alaska which required flying up with a couple of boxes of tools and staying in logging or fishing camps and once in a while a motel. Local work for us back then out of a service truck is where I left on Monday morning and came home either late Friday night or Saturday afternoon. Dump the suitcase on the wife for the wash and on Sunday sleep all day. Get a phone call on Sunday night about where I was supposed to be on Monday morning and back at it. That will wear you out after a few years. Three and a half was all I wanted of that work.
    You could also go the union road where the hall sends you out on a project half way across the state and you end up staying there all week and then coming home either for weekends or sometimes once or twice a month. Actually it isn't cheaper to hire local or use the dealer west of the Mississippi. Lots of wrenches chose this route because of the pay and benefits.
    I wouldn't advise chasing work a long way away from your home base. There is too much paper work that has to get done and sometimes it's hard to get paid when the customer knows you aren't likely to show up on their job site to repossess parts that haven't been paid for. If you do go that way you better have a great book keeper that isn't afraid to get real testy on the phone with dead beats. But then again you end up with more overhead to try to cover in your base rate.
     
    donkey doctor, Mother Deuce and td25c like this.
  4. Mwinkle2

    Mwinkle2 New Member

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    Feb 27, 2015
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    I ment more along the lines of pipeline, oil field work ect.
     
  5. Wes J

    Wes J Senior Member

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    Location:
    Peoria, IL
    I sometimes work as a field service engineer for a large machine tool builder/rebuilder. I work as a contractor for them. They don't have any direct hire field service people. Anyway, it's all travel. Typically I say within a distance I can drive, which is about 500 miles. About 6 times a year I will fly to a job, usually in the US, but sometimes in Canada or Mexico. Some guys have been more exotic places. I know one guy spent a month in Romania. A few guys have been to China.

    Normally I get about 2 days notice. No service truck, just the tools I can pack in my truck or carry on an airplane. But, I'm typically working in a large factory that is pretty well equipped. Plus I can pack tools according to the job I expect to do.

    I've been doing it for 3 years now. It was pretty fun at first, and I still really enjoy the actual work. But, the travel part is a pain now that I have a kid and a house and my own shop. It makes thing hard for my wife while I am gone. She works full time as well.

    The other frustration is the waiting. Normally I have to go out and tear the machine apart before I have any idea what parts are required. Parts availability for the machines I work on is dodgy at best. Sometimes I have to wait several days for parts with nothing to do. Other times I have to actually leave and come back at a later time because the parts have to be made or existing parts have to be modified. Also, the stuff I work on is usually pretty old with no service information. There's no one to call for help except maybe other service guys like me. Often I'm the only one above ground with first hand knowledge of these machines.

    Anyway, it's kind of fun but I think I'm over it. Maybe when my kids are grown and the wife is sick of me I'll come back to it.
     
  6. excavator

    excavator Senior Member

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    Or if you want to work in a more farm related environment you could try getting hired on with a custom grain harvesting company. Work would be combines, tractors, trucks and various other smaller items. Google "grain harvest contractors".
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  7. Vetech63

    Vetech63 Senior Member

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    This is me several times every year. I do my best to stay within 200 miles of Tulsa, OK...…….but there is always something coming up that I am asked to do that may be way outside of my normal zone. I have a Pipe Coating plant that was originally here in Tulsa but moved to Sidney Nebraska years ago. If you haven't ever been to Sidney there isn't a lot there. The customer has large Pettibone Carylifts and can never find anyone to repair them. I had the owner call me last week wanting me to spend a week up there making repairs that he cant get done. I'm heading there late next week providing the weather for traveling is decent enough.
     
    DB2 likes this.
  8. Tenwheeler

    Tenwheeler Senior Member

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    I worked with a company that did fiber optic phone lines and some that did pipe line. I did not leave the area with them but some of their employees had been with them a long time. It is a different life style living out of a Motel or a camper and not being home often.
    Two are Sheehan Pipeline and Fishel out of Ohio, third was ? Some are all company equipment and others owned their own trucks. I was the laughing stock in a one ton Dodge without a boom. If you could do the job a lot could be overlooked. Even an S-10 pulling a SA200.
    The ones with their own trucks had some equal to any equipment manufacture. I am sure it took time to work up to buying those.
     
  9. Numbfingers

    Numbfingers Well-Known Member

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    Oct 28, 2016
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    Occupation:
    mechanic
    Location:
    Alaska
    How much is your time really worth? Especially if you have a family, you have to consider how it will affect the little ones. You can make more money later but you can't make more memories. I get plenty of work locally so I turn down any work outside my normal area. I run my own truck and manage to be home for dinner on time almost every night. Got a buddy who worked for Cat and was always working long hours 6 days a week, with little say in it.
     
  10. cuttin edge

    cuttin edge Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    Finish grader operator
    Location:
    NB Canada
    I know a few guys with welding rigs on their trucks that made the 3000 mile trip to the Alberta oil patch. They're home now because of the slow down but the must have done ok by the looks of their homes garage and toys. There is a young fella here. He's a licensed T&T mechanic, but he turns a wrench to anything. His overhead in his own shop was high, so he bought a service truck with plans of going to Alberta, but he is so busy here that he stayed. He welds, does air conditioning service. He has diagnostic tools for Cummins, Cat, Detroit.... Deere, Case, you name it, he does it. Plus, and I think this is an important tool in any trades, especially in your own business, he's a people person
     
  11. Numbfingers

    Numbfingers Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    mechanic
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    Very true! Good customer relations goes a long way. Treating people fairly and extending common courtesies can open up many doors to a good stream of revenue.
     
    mg2361 likes this.