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Is this shop worth it?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Joshua burhans, Jul 11, 2019.

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  1. GregsHD

    GregsHD Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2014
    Messages:
    556
    Occupation:
    Self Employed HD Mechanic
    Location:
    Mahood Falls, BC
    I started working at a family run truck/heavy equipment repair shop when I was 13 (20 years ago) started at $10 per hr pushing broom, cleaning shop and assisting the mechanics any chance I got to learn the trade. 3 years later I started my apprenticeship and earned $15 per hr, I got $1 per hr raises quite often as I progressed, I was a learning sponge and ended up being the head mechanic at that shop and earned $34 per hr at 24 yrs old with as much overtime as I wanted. Had full benefits as well.

    I saw an unbelievable amount of "mechanics" go through that shop, the most useless were all talk and thought very highly of themselves, plus they usually had the biggest, cleanest Snap On tool chests. There were numerous cocky apprentices that lasted a day, if that as well.

    When I moved I wanted to start my own business, so I did. I choose to not do certain grunt work jobs ie undercarriage etc. I keep my overhead low, no $150k Cadillac service truck, no payments, I own everything outright so I can keep my rate reasonable.

    I make enough to accomplish what I want and I don't beat my body up for someone else's benefit.

    I consider myself semi retired now at 33 lol! I work when I want, for who I want, pretty near living the dream!

    I would say the OP wage is good considering the lack of experience. I worked over 10k hard hrs to get through my apprenticeship, learning as much as I could every chance I got. I truly earned that $34 per hour..

    I ended up just challenging the tests as I didn't have time to go to the college, just had to have enough logged hrs. Ha for that matter I never went to school at all, I was homeschooled and worked for my parents home business when I was done my schooling for the day.

    I learned respect at a young age, it allowed me to learn from the best and succeed, there is a serious lack of respect in my age group and younger these days...

    This is all just my opinion, I'm an odd duck, I think and live differently than most people my age. I am not going to work my life away chasing the $$ I'm doing what I want to, while I'm young enough to do it!
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
    rockstarfindr, 92U 3406, JPV and 14 others like this.
  2. old-iron-habit

    old-iron-habit Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
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    3,630
    Occupation:
    Retired Cons't. Supt./Hospitals
    Location:
    Moose Lake, MN
    What ever you are paid, where ever you are, if you don't have a decent retirement plan of some sort, it is not worth sh*t. Even the self employed have to fund a plan to be truly successful. A bit invested when you when you are young can treat you handsomely by the time you reach retirement age.
     
  3. WaterDoc

    WaterDoc Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
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    105
    Occupation:
    Complete water system disinfection services
    Location:
    Toronto
    $18.50/h for a dealership tech? I wouldn't even bother.
     
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  4. walkerv

    walkerv Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2016
    Messages:
    884
    Location:
    wingate nc
    That really isnt bad as a green tech just starting out and has a lot of book and practical experience learning to go. The first 3 years suck no matter what you make an hour due to the tool expense to get started. Now if one doesnt quit after that and work hard to do the best they can do and are constantly striving to learn more , the money will follow. I could work for a dealer and surley make more money , for some its not about the money but the love of what we do and the enviroment we do it in. I make enough to pay my bills and dont consider my work a job most days
     
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  5. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2007
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    Occupation:
    Running what I brung and taking what I win
    Location:
    Alabama
    Spot on DMiller. One cannot logically compare a salary in one state to one in another without looking at the cost to live there - too many variables with cost of living in that particular area being the biggest difference.

    $30 an hr in Alabama for instance is very nice wage where $30 someone else would be the floor due to the COST of LIVING. Before comparing what a "decent" wage is for an area first look at what a new "starter" home costs to purchase or a nice 2 bedroom apartment rent is per month. The cost to live in the area is just as or more important than the wage.

    Someone in a low cost of living area can make $5 and hour less but have more left over at the end of the month than the one making $5 more in another higher cost area.
     
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  6. kshansen

    kshansen Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Messages:
    7,715
    Occupation:
    Retired Mechanic in Stone Quarry
    Location:
    Central New York, USA
    I have to ask why the original poster has a one hour commute to this shop? I guess if he is living at home with parents for free room and board that makes sense. If not why not move closer to the shop?

    One of the biggest draws for me to stay at the quarry was the fact that I had a one mile commute! I may have been able to get a few more dollars an hour if I could have been able to get my foot in the door at the local Cat dealer but that wold have meant maybe 1/2 hour to 45 minute drive each way. Being I had only a mile to travel I was able to do my commute with an old motorcycle even in the middle of the winter here in snow country most years. My cost for transportation for a year was probably less that the cost for a couple weeks if I had been working at the dealer shop.
     
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  7. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

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    Nov 30, 2003
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    2,974
    Location:
    Grass Valley, Ca
    I used to have a job like that. Old truck with bad gas gauge, could never remember how much gas was in it because it would be months between fillups.
     
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  8. kenh

    kenh Well-Known Member

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    Aug 12, 2010
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    Location:
    bonners ferry,id
    Another advantage to the low COL/wage location is less paid in taxes
     
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  9. DMiller

    DMiller Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2010
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    6,675
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Hermann, Missouri
    My contract work with the Quarries here had me anywhere from 4 to 40 miles one way, some on not so great roads. Would buy an old electric or gas company reject with tons of miles maybe a transplant engine at the sales not far north of here. Would last two years at best, longest one ever lasted was 27 months then dropped a Transfer Case(NP205). Salvaged a junker out of my junkers and sold that truck scrapped the rest to start over just about the time the quarry owner said enough so never got further than the pickup was using in the interim.
     
  10. JD955SC

    JD955SC Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
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    415
    Location:
    The South
    It’s hard to judge mechanics pay. Different areas, different levels of activity, different job duties, different working conditions, benefits packages, etc can cause a massive variation. One company might pay more but have a reputation as a ball buster with all the fun of micromanagement. Another might pay way below area rates, depending on green mechanics and those afraid of change to fill the staff. In one area business might be booming and you get good rates and good raises, another you might be lucky to have what you get because the area is dead. I could probably make really good money as a field wrench for a construction company but I’d have to follow them across the region and stay on the road, and I don’t want that at all. You have to poke around and see what your area looks like, and judge from there.
     
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  11. funwithfuel

    funwithfuel Senior Member

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    Mar 7, 2017
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    2,636
    Occupation:
    Mechanic
    Location:
    Will county Illinois
    No matter where I lived, it seemed the job I wanted was an hour away, sometimes 2. To me it's always been, "just the way it is." Don't even think about it anymore.
     
  12. Vetech63

    Vetech63 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2016
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    2,026
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Same with me. I never had less than a 45 minute drive one way for any job I had...…….and that didn't even included the traffic and congestion at times........it was just the way it was. As a heavy equipment apprentice, your are going to have to put in your time like the rest of us...….pay your dues so to speak. It is unlikely that the pay for the experience you have is going to change much between any companies. Everyone believes they deserve more pay for what they do, but does your experience and workmanship prove that theory?
     
  13. Vetech63

    Vetech63 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2016
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    2,026
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I know a fellow that I worked with a few times. He worked at a small place that bought, repaired, and sold auction equipment.:confused: Anyways, he was a decent wrench with no formal training when he started in this business, was limited somewhat in troubleshooting and wasn't real knowledgeable on most things but had some good common sense. After 5 years he went to work for the local Komatsu dealer and I hadn't seen him in over 2 years.
    About a month ago, I stopped by the dealer to pick up some parts and the food truck was parked in the lot. He was standing by it so I went over to say hi and see how things were going. I asked him about the techs they were able to get in the door and he told me that the only guys they have been able to hire are fresh out of tech school. He was the most experienced in the shop and was the lead man there. He said he was making $24 an hour with good benefits.
    I left realizing how bad the availability of experienced heavy equipment techs really is. A guy with 2 years of dealer experience with no formal training...….is the lead man in the shop? Holy Cow!!!!!! A guy I know has a wheel loader that has been sitting there in that yard for over a month needing a steering pump, and they STILL haven't even started on it.
     
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  14. DMiller

    DMiller Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2010
    Messages:
    6,675
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Hermann, Missouri
    Last full time garage I worked we did a little bit of anything, RVs, Heavy Trucks/trailers, Cars, you name it as should it make it on the lot we worked on it.
    Drove in to see if any I remembered were still there, ONE out of Nine is still there all the rest have buggered out for better or retired or sadly Died. My alternate on days as lead man retired five years ago, had a nice little 401 saved back, some side investments and a house on 1/2 acre inside a city limits high demand area. Sold out, moved to Florida, wife died the next month massive coronary in her sleep. He moved back sold that place in FL furnished, moved into his Daughter's home and basically became baby sitter while definitely depressed. Two years later dropped dead massive stroke in a grocery store. Second under him left then opened a Body Shop, EPA and DNR shut that down for poor ventilation and releases of chemicals freely with BIG Fines, he then went back to Home body work, barely makes it month to month at 60, crippling up with arthritis and COPD where may have to give all up and just accept life on SSA with a little savings.
    The rest are scattered to the wind, one worked for Pete Ofallon MO then went to KW Fenton and is now head Svc Writer at another dealer, no longer wrenches at all and over 300lbs at 5'6".
    The one that stayed, maybe the smart one, wrenches a little leads the third shift and has two underlings, said about all they see anymore is antique stuff other dealers will not work and RVs, he is satisfied as gets 45 guaranteed a week and a 401 add from each paycheck, figures to be gone in three years at 65 and leave the area as is single(divorced) one boy in Marines and rest of family all gone, looking to AZ or West TX as does not mind dry hot and snakes.
     
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  15. 92U 3406

    92U 3406 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2017
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    Occupation:
    Professional Wrench Spinner
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    Pretty comparable to us when you factor in the current exchange rate. We're around the mid $50's/hr Cdn mark + pension and bennies for a shop Red Seal mechanic. With the way our apprenticeship program is set up, by law the 1st year mechanic wage is 60% of J-man, 2nd is 70% etc until you complete the full 4 years.
     
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  16. JohnnyCarcinogen

    JohnnyCarcinogen Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2019
    Messages:
    40
    Occupation:
    Trash Monkey
    Location:
    Missouri
    Depending on your local government faction’s tax base, you might look into working for them. I got hired on by the city landfill fresh out of an over-the-road centered tech school as a heavy equipment tech, with no more experience than being a Bradley Fighting Vehicle crewmember. I started at just under $20, make almost $22 a year later. It doesn’t seem like much, but the insurance and retirement are great, and the big kicker is that they supply all of my tools, so the tool truck guy doesn’t own me.
     
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