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College student looking for advice from some more seasoned mechanics/business owners

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Sam Ferrenburg, Sep 23, 2021.

  1. Sam Ferrenburg

    Sam Ferrenburg New Member

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    Hey everybody! Fairly new here on the forums and making my first thread to get some opinions from some of the guys that have been in this game longer than I have.

    For some context, my family on my mom's side has been farming cattle since the late 1800s so that is the environment I grew up in, working around old tractors that broke down every other day and finally buying our first cab tractor just this year from our local Case IH dealer. My dad is also a retired fire chief who bought his dad's body shop and has expanded into putting lights, sirens, and radios in police cars, as well as recently purchasing an auto glass company. Wrenching is just part of my daily life even before I entered the workforce. I started working for a concrete cutting company doing preventative maintenance on diesel saws, small engines, and light and medium-duty trucks at 16. Eventually decided there was no upward progression possible there so I moved on to my local John Deere dealer as an ag service intern, doing anything from predelivery inspections on lawnmowers to complete engine overhauls out of 8 series Deere tractors. This came with the incentive of being sent to college to earn an Associate's Degree in Diesel Tech with an Ag-Tech concentration. I'm currently a freshman in college in my first semester.

    My question lies in my want to work for myself. I have a pickup truck, tools, and an awfully lot of free time while I'm at school. I'm interested in offering mobile repair services to local farmers, homeowners, and construction companies around the area of my college as well as at home. (It's important to note that after this semester I will be at school for two months at a time and then work at my dealer for two months as it's kind of a work-study program.) Does anyone that has some more experience in the field have any recommendations on how I should go about going out on my own?

    Sorry for the long read, and thanks for any advice you can provide!
     
  2. funwithfuel

    funwithfuel Senior Member

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    First, welcome to the forums.
    I guess, out of respect for your employer, I would look into whether or not there is a conflict of interest with you doing side work. They're giving you a huge opportunity and education. I'd hate to compromise that over a few bucks.
    Good luck in your endeavors and welcome.
     
  3. Mike L

    Mike L Senior Member

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    I think I’d keep the idea of going independent under my hat for a while. Get your education and more importantly get some experience in your field. Not to say you can’t help out friends and family but most dealers frown upon employees doing side work. Some places don’t care if it’s not something they work on such as passenger vehicles or atv’s.
     
  4. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    Welcome to the Forums Sam!
     
  5. Tyler d4c

    Tyler d4c Senior Member

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    Your moreless where I was 6 years ago tho I skipped the collage part. I now work for a company doing various work from trucking to repairs at mines/cleaning plants. And I do repair work /help the family excavating business on the side. Personally if the dealer your doing your schooling though is say a caterpillar shop. Fixing some lawn mower or farm tractors on the side solhould not be a problem. But it is also of my opinion that working for a company being its part time full time whatever does not give them the right to say what I can or can not do when I'm off there time clock. The pay rate is what needs to set that imho.
     
  6. Vetech63

    Vetech63 Senior Member

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    I’m too tired to type all my advise on this subject, it takes forever. Work your way up and get 8-10 years experience. Review where you are at then. If you are near or at the top of the pay scale , then consider self employment.
     
  7. Truck Shop

    Truck Shop Senior Member

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    Top of pay scale-just remember as you progress as a mechanic-if your real good you deserve more than the top of the pay scale.
    I hate that term--pay scale.
     
  8. Tyler d4c

    Tyler d4c Senior Member

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    Thats the trouble around here and probably why I have my sorta poor attitude equipment dealers want a guy who can do anything and all for 17 bucks a hour and very little benefits. I sure hope the op has better experience working for dealers then me.
     
    John C. and Truck Shop like this.
  9. mg2361

    mg2361 Senior Member

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    Welcome to HEF Sam;)!
     
  10. kshansen

    kshansen Senior Member

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    I would have to agree on being careful of the "conflict of interest" part. A guy, very good welder, who worked at the quarry for several years then got hired by local Cat dealer. He was doing great there then decided to take on some side jobs to make more money doing line boring repairs and using the dealers tools. To say the least dealer was not happy and they parted ways. Last I knew he was running a chicken barbeque and small bar out in the sticks.
     
    Truck Shop and funwithfuel like this.
  11. funwithfuel

    funwithfuel Senior Member

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    Barbecue . Aww man, now I'm hungry
     
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  12. kshansen

    kshansen Senior Member

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    Somewhat local place, 30 miles away, is closing down for the season this weekend so we are planning to do a ride down on Saturday!

    Sam, sorry for hijacking your thread!
     
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  13. Truck Shop

    Truck Shop Senior Member

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    Do they have any of that hillbilly dipp'in sauce?
     
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  14. Old Doug

    Old Doug Senior Member

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    Although its been 30 years i can remember starting out . I had done alot of mechanic work by the time i got out of high school and got to go to votec auto mechanic class. You will think i am a old fart that dosent know anything but its a nightmare having a your own thing i loved mechanic work back then and i still dont mind it. Its going to be way harder than you can ever imagined. This may realy hurt your collage stuff. My best advice is fimd a job that is very low key while your going to school. If i could go back to when i got out of school i wouldnt have ever started my own shop. I learned alot the very hard way. I would have went to work for some one then i may have went on my own later.
     
  15. Truck Shop

    Truck Shop Senior Member

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    I don't think there is one mechanic on here that hasn't gone through life without
    earning a few knowledge knots on his head from day to day.
     
    DB2, John C., Paul Council and 4 others like this.
  16. nowing75

    nowing75 Senior Member

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    What part of indiana you from?
     
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  17. funwithfuel

    funwithfuel Senior Member

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    Hard Knox U graduate here.
     
  18. Mike L

    Mike L Senior Member

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    I’m a student of the Mike L college of knowledge. It’s an ongoing educational program.
     
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  19. Tyler d4c

    Tyler d4c Senior Member

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    If it like the TZ school it's much money's lost and smashed fingers and hit heads haha
     
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  20. Mike L

    Mike L Senior Member

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    My graduation date coincides with the day I retire.
     
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