Auto repair owners are often experienced mechanics and managers who have decided to open an auto repair shop to serve the community. These experienced mechanics oversee the employees in the repair shop, and are responsible for the direction of the business and creating profitability. If you enjoy working as an auto mechanic and also have a mind for business, this career could be the ideal fit for you. Hours can be flexible, yet long, for a mechanic who owns his own shop. While you might be able to take an hour off here or there, or let your kids join you at work after school, you are also more likely to work late to serve a customer in a pinch when other employees are not available.
Auto repair owners are responsible for the duties of any mechanic, plus the responsibilities of running the business. They diagnose and fix problems with automobiles, perform maintenance and communicate with clients. Owners are also responsible for establishing price points, hourly pay and benefits for employees, along with hiring staff, paying taxes, property and equipment maintenance and balancing the budget. The owner develops the overall brand, mission, vision and success of the business. As an owner, you might spend more hours in the office than mechanics who only work in the garage. You are the person who frequently receives customer complaints and handles emergencies that need immediate attention. Excellent people skills and integrity are a definite plus for retaining customers and growing your business.
Like other mechanics, shop owners must normally have a high school diploma or the equivalent, and many earn associates or bachelor’s degrees in automotive technology. With or without formal education, apprenticeship is an important part of this trade. The government requires certification for handling refrigerants, and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence offers a certification exam that lends you credibility in the field. Many mechanics work for quite a while in someone else’s shop, as well as gain management experience, before they open a shop of their own.
The median annual salary for all automotive service technicians and mechanics is $39,550 as of May 2017, yet many auto repair owners are more experienced and may be more likely to earn incomes at the top end of the pay scale. The top 10 percent earn more than $65,430, while the bottom 10 percent earn less than $22,610. The lower end of the pay scale is likely to represent what you could make while learning the trade, rather than what you will make as a shop owner.
Some auto repair shop owners work out of a home-based garage, which reduces overhead expenses and is convenient for family life. Others rent or buy work space in an industrial setting, where you will spend time away from home working in the garage or office. Occasionally, auto repair owners build a business with more than one location, which could split your time between different offices and settings, with less time in the garage. Your income is likely to reflect the size and scale of your auto repair business.
Years of Experience
Business profitability and scale can affect an auto repair shop owner’s salary even more than time on the job. However, experience does influence income to some degree. Assuming a mechanic who owns her own shop is operating a business that provides an income on the higher end of the mechanic’s pay scale, one income projection looks like this:
- 1-2 years: $54,753
- 3-4 years: $55,434
- 5-6 years: $56,687
- 7-9 years: $58,312
- 10 or more years: $59,721.
Job Growth Trend
Job opportunities for all automotive service technicians and mechanics are expected to increase by 6 percent over the next decade, which is about as fast as in other industries. Experienced mechanics who become owners have the benefit of a reputation and client base that precedes them and helps them establish a solid business. Overall industry growth is caused by an increasing number of vehicles on the road, all of which will require basic maintenance and service.