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Question for all the independent mobile mechanics!!!

Discussion in 'In the Office' started by zack-cat, May 3, 2014.

  1. overworked

    overworked Senior Member

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    Location:
    northeast Pa.
    I have a uncle who was a electrician, owned his own business, retired and gave it to his sons, everyone he worked for got charged, builders, cousins and brothers, everyone. "That's how I make my living". Anything else he would give you the shirt off his back. If I had a penny for every time I thought I was doing public relations to help my customer base, I could probably retire my self.
     
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  2. thepumpguysc

    thepumpguysc Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    Master Inj.Pump rebuilder
    Location:
    Sunny South Carolina
    There's some GREAT ADVICE here..
    I'm one of the lucky ones that can work on just about any type of fuel system.. and when I cant, I just simply say, sorry, that's not my area of expertise..and steer them "to the GUY".. HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY!! and most customers REALLY appreciate it.
    Another thing is WORD OF MOUTH.. It can make you OR break you.. I have 2 tractors sitting in my back yard from folks I've NEVER seen.. and 2 injection pumps on there way in the mail from folks I've NEVER met.. all from word of mouth.. they "heard" about me from neighbors or "read" about me on this WONDERFUL forum..
    Just get your name out there, do honest work and be reliable.. and the rest will take care of itself.
    DONT FORGET>> Loggers work on the weekends, so be prepared to miss some family time... and if they aren't working.. you are.. fixing their stuff so they can get back at it on Monday..
    On a personal note> I live on the water.. I needed a fuel guage for 1 of my boats on Saturday .. went to 4 different boat repair places.. 2 didn't have 1 and 2 were closed..
    HOW can you run a boat repair place ON THE WATER and be closed on a Saturday?? WTH?? and NOT having a fuel guage is just retarded.. Every boat place should have a set of gauges in stock..
    I wont be giving any business to those places ever again..My point is.. be available.. Good luck.. TPG
     
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  3. Mike L

    Mike L Senior Member

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    Dec 1, 2010
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    Occupation:
    Self employed field mechanic
    Location:
    maine
    All great advice but remember that if you start out working weekends it will be very hard to stop.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  4. kshansen

    kshansen Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
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    7,132
    Occupation:
    Retired Mechanic in Stone Quarry
    Location:
    Central New York, USA
    Then maybe do like many motorcycle shops do and close on Mondays.
     
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  5. zack-cat

    zack-cat Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
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    Occupation:
    Ag mechanic
    Location:
    Hill country texas
    Thanks SOOOOO MUCH guys! Everyone has really helped alot in making this desision. My wife and i finally decided a few days ago to really start speading the word around and advertising the best we can and see what happens. The first few calls may just have to be done in the backyard till we make sure i'm gonna have enough to do and then find a cheap beater one ton and let er rip!

    Again thanks for all the input!
     
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  6. overworked

    overworked Senior Member

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    Right in the beginning is when you set your policy, after hours and weekends are more money, especially on Sunday. Starting out doing it on the side you will charge your rate weather its night or not, you have to go 8 hours then charge more, Saturday is a no brainer , but Sunday you better have it on the bill or you will never see it when you go full time, you can up the rates when you want to, but policy chanve is tough. If your strait time on Sunday and no overtime after eight you will NEVER be out of work, if you charge strait time all the time they will take bad advantage of you, not appreciate you when there really in need. Sorry so long, just trying to teach you through my mistakes
     
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  7. theironoracle

    theironoracle Senior Member

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    May 6, 2012
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    Occupation:
    OWNER/OPERATOR MOBILE HEAVY EQUIPMENT REPAIR
    Location:
    PACWEST
    Overworked's theory charging overtime is decent but not the way I do it. I control when I work not the customer. I only charge one rate. If the customer wants me at night it better be a darn good reason and well planned out there is rarely a good enough reason a machine can't be during the day to have repairs done besides its way more productive. As far as weekends sure anytime at my discretion that is family time first, if nothing is scheduled sure I will work on your stuff, I mostly do less than 6 hour jobs on Weekends anyways. I played the stupid things can only be worked on at night crap on a payroll job, i would work 8 hours on something after the operator got done using it and then it would not get used for a week or more. It was usually just a power trip by a superintendent. I'm not talking about oil changes, customers don't pay me to do that kind of stuff. I guess what I'm saying is I don't give the customer the option of deciding they can have me whenever they want me just because they are willing to pay my " overtime" rate......TIO
     
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  8. ohiofleet

    ohiofleet Well-Known Member

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    Nov 24, 2011
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    Location:
    dayton ohio
    use a billing program I use quickbooks it watches every thing if you don't watch your money you will watch it go out the door
     
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  9. thepumpguysc

    thepumpguysc Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    Master Inj.Pump rebuilder
    Location:
    Sunny South Carolina
    I agree w/ OHIOFLEET..
    I went out on Sunday.. the "customer" drove.. 200 miles round trip.. we stoped to pick up a hay trailer.. and then 4 more stops.. for food and drinks.. none of which were mine..
    I fixed his problem in 20 minutes I had left my house at 8:30am and after loading hay and deliverying it and several "pit stops later".. I ended up getting home at 3:00 pm..
    I ended up charging this A-hole 50.00 bucks and a case of cold beer..
    FIGURE THAT COST OUT..lol
    It WAS FUN but FUN doesn't pay the bills.. know what I mean??!!
     
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  10. newguy2k3

    newguy2k3 Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    Cat field tech
    Location:
    College Station, Tx
    This is relevant to my interests. I've also been at a cat dealer for about 9yrs and am fed up with the bs, dysfunction, incompetence and corporate environment. I could almost make 40/wk just chasing all the machines leaving the shop and doing rework and it's embarrassing. I found a small rental/used sales company formed by a few other disgruntled former dealer employees that I'm going to work for in the meantime. I also worry about being able to get information on some of the non-cat equipment that I might have to work on and undercutting myself.
     
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  11. overworked

    overworked Senior Member

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    northeast Pa.
    Six and a half hours for fifty bucks, I don't know how you will take this but who's the A-Hole, you will be his new best friend, next week it will be two wagons of hay. Sorry but I've been down that road, ( friends ).
     
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  12. thepumpguysc

    thepumpguysc Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    Master Inj.Pump rebuilder
    Location:
    Sunny South Carolina
    LOL...
    Your EXACTLY RIGHT.. friends..
    Friend, "hey, how about riding out and looking at this tractor for me"??
    Me, "you drive.. its only 1 hr there and 1 back"..
    Friend, " no problem.. I'll buy the beer"..
    LOL...
     
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  13. overworked

    overworked Senior Member

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    Location:
    northeast Pa.
    Now that's understanding, I would help a friend, with my ADD all my customers saw I was nice and took advantage of it, now that I see it I sometimes get trigger happy when people do it or get it done to them. Overworked
     
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  14. Isamuyoshi

    Isamuyoshi Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2014
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    Occupation:
    Diesel Mechanic, Driver, and Lounge Singer
    Location:
    Oak Harbor, WA
    A few years back, I started my own service truck but went out half cocked. To do it again, I'd make sure to get my ducks lined up FIRST. That means a biz plan, getting the right truck for the job, etc... The biggest thing to me would be making sure you had enough insurance for yourself (What happens when I get injured?....) and for property. I was working on a hydra hammer one brisk (14 degrees F) Central Oregon morning when the tank on my compressor blew apart, taking out all the glass in the mini excavator next to my truck and sending shards of wood out in all directions. I had just steped off my truck right before it happened and the concussion knocked me forward. What if I was stand next to it?. Thats when I realized that I needed to step back and reaccess the plan. My former employer came to me a couple weeks after that happened and begged me to come back and run his shop. I jumped at the chance and vowed if I ever started up again, It would be done correctly.

    The other pain is when a customer or two writes a rubber check. Even if they make good on it, it can set a chain reaction (Now I get late with the parts people and I cant put fuel in the truck. The last thing you wanna do is get sideways with the parts guys, cuz they can make or break you). Fortunatly my mother is a book keeper, so that helped. It pays to have a good CPA and a lawyer. The bill is worth it compaired to the headaches without them. You need to be out there turning wrenches not balancing your books.

    Once you get your name out there and do good work, your phone will be blowing up. And don't worry about charging alot per hour. If you go out there and get the job done right the first time, they will gladly pay the bill, even if your charging $135 per hour. A former employer told me he makes more money if all I do is sit in an EZ chair sipping lemonade all day, then if I have to come out and fix a broken down paver with 6 or more trucks out in front of it charging $65 an hour each and a crew standing around getting paid $45 each (not that he was really willing to let me sit around all day drinking lemonade).
     
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  15. Hardline

    Hardline Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    Small business owner
    Location:
    Waxahachie Texas
    Edit
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2014
  16. partsandservice

    partsandservice Senior Member

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    Feb 14, 2011
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    Location:
    Georgia
    When someone offers to pay you now take it! I have been independent almost 20 years and I repair mainly logging equipment. With a few exceptions I have not needed vast amounts of diagnostic equipment. That's what you save for the dealer tech. Under all that crap there is just the same old engine there has already been. I have been able to repair every electronic cummins and john deere engine that has cme my way without insite or service advisor, with the exception of computer reprogramming and have had good success with the cats as well. John deere displays typically give you the code and I have a blue point scanner that will pull codes and give live data from the cummins and anything else with j1939 and j 17 something or another. Wiring diagrams can be purchased alone for the deere machines for about fifty bucks each. If you plan on working on those tigercat things they call a skidder (personal opinion)you better have the wiring diagram. There will be plenty of work for stuff you did not do much of at the dealer. Ujoints , oil leaks, tigercat wiring problems, ect. As some stated earlier raising my rates never slowed down my business. All that being said you will be selling labor by the hour and your income potential will be finite because there are only so many hours in a week . You can make a good living
    but getting rich is out of the question, not that you inferred that . I leaned this the hard way. Sorry for the ramble I could go on and on. I can't believe I any just found this thread.
     
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  17. Rick Stacy

    Rick Stacy Member

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    Jul 16, 2019
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    Location:
    Atlanta
    Interesting and very true comments about the many issues faced when doing your own thing. A very large company is exploring the development of a Nationwide field service technician network. This is not a job, they are creating a platform to put you in business, providing you with the tools you need, including low cost lease of a service truck with compressor, crane and welder, painted with a widely recognizable color and logo scheme.

    They market your skills, find you work, handle dispatch and scheduling, handle the billing and collections, and provide insurance and warranty security. This will be your own business with all the headache work done by the company, leaving you to focus on what you do best, fix tractors and make a lot more money than from a dealer. The company takes a portion of the billable service, but you will make 2-3x a typical dealer wage.

    They are currently looking for a few qualified field service technicians to serve on an advisory committee - helping to define what real techs in the real world need to be successful. Qualified and interested parties should send their resume or description of experience to rick@epicextended.com
     
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  18. Mike L

    Mike L Senior Member

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    Dec 1, 2010
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    Occupation:
    Self employed field mechanic
    Location:
    maine
    Sounds kind of like a franchise. How big of a portion does this company take?
     
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  19. Vetech63

    Vetech63 Senior Member

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    It is STILL working for the man. You NEVER make good money working for someone else. I've been independent for 29 years...……...no going back to slavery for me!
     
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  20. Mike L

    Mike L Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    Self employed field mechanic
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    maine
    That’s what I was getting at.
     
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