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How Much Money Can You Make Fixing Cars

Are you thinking about a career shift? Working as an auto mechanic offers a lot of opportunities for career growth.

They’re in demand, thanks to the increase of used cars on the road. They’ll continue to be in demand, so you’ll have job security.

It also doesn’t take a four-year degree to become an auto mechanic. Entry-level jobs fixing cars only require a certification that takes six to 12 months to complete.

The right program will give you hands-on training to jump right in and earn money. How much can you make fixing cars?

That’s the big question, and we have the answer for you. Keep reading to learn how much you can make in a career in auto repair.

How Much Can You Make Fixing Cars?

The median salary for auto mechanics is just over $44,000 a year. Does that mean that’s how much you’ll make fixing cars?

The lowest 25% of mechanics earn under $25,000 a year. The highest 10% make more than $71,000 a year.

Not at all. There are a number of factors at work. The first one is your experience.

If you’re just starting out in an entry-level position, you should expect to earn on the lower end of the spectrum. More experienced mechanics earn at the higher end.

Higher-paid mechanics have more than one certification. They might have manufacturer certifications or a master’s certification from Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

The type of place where you work impacts your pay. The best place to work fixing cars is at a dealership.

Your pay structure matters, too. Dealerships and independent shops have two ways to pay mechanics. There’s the hourly rate, which pays you according to the number of hours worked.

There’s an incentive-based model, too. This is called “flat-rate,” which pays you according to the amount of work completed. Auto shops use this model to boost customer turnover numbers.

This model is great if you’re working in a shop that has short types of repairs, like oil changes and tire rotations.

If you have to do a long project, then it won’t pay as well as an hourly rate.

Throughout your career, expect to earn little at the start. As you gain experience and grow, you’ll earn more.

How to Make More Money Fixing Cars

There’s a good chance that you want to make more money than $44,000 a year. It’s a good salary, but why stop there?

One way to improve your earnings is to have a side-gig in auto repair. You can install a lift at your house and work on cars outside of your regular job.

This is great for small jobs for friends, family, and neighbors. You can decide how much to charge, so you’re in control of your earnings.

You can also take your time on each job, ensuring quality work each and every time.

If you’re a real entrepreneur, you’ll want to open up your own auto repair shop. The salary for a repair shop owner varies from mid-five figures to six figures.

How to Run a Profitable Auto Repair Shop

The key to hitting six figures as a repair shop owner depends on your ability to run a tight business. You have to be an expert in everything from auto repair, vendor relations, marketing, sales, and customer relations.

It’s a lot of hard work, but with the right approach, you’ll be able to clear six figures before you know it.

Start by choosing your niche. The most successful auto repair shops have a niche or auto repair specialty. For instance, some auto repair businesses specialize in foreign repairs.

Others specialize in car restorations. The average car restoration costs between $40,000 and $60,000. Before your eyes get big with visions of getting rich, know that it’s hard to make this a profitable business.

Your business revenue can be more than a million dollars a year, but if you run your business poorly, you’ll end up in the red.

Finance the Business

Write a business plan for your shop. This allows you to survey the competition, discover opportunities, and see how much it costs to start and operate an auto repair shop.

Take your business plan to the bank and get a loan for startup costs plus the first several months of operations expenses.

Set Profitable Prices

It’s tempting to set prices based on what the competition charges. The reality is that your costs might differ because you use another parts vendor. Your overhead and systems might be different.

Base your prices on how much it costs to deliver a service and how much profit you want to make.

Invest in Systems

What’s the difference between profitable auto repair shops and struggling ones? The profitable ones created repeatable systems for tasks.

There’s a documented procedure for ordering parts. There’s a system for customer communications.

It can be difficult to track each system, so you’ll have to rely on technology to handle it. Get auto shop management software, which handles these parts of the business for you.

Deliver Great Service

There’s a trickle-down effect of the service you deliver in your auto repair shop. Let’s say you deliver poor service. A customer is so dissatisfied, that they write a review about your business online.

Other potential customers see that review and decide not to visit your shop.

Don’t give people a reason to write a bad review. Always seek to educate customers about their cars. Explain what you have to repair and why.

Offer helpful car maintenance tips. Most of all, do what you say you’re going to do. That builds trust with your customers.

You Can Make Money Fixing Cars

Whether you’re an employee or an owner, you can make a good living fixing cars. Take the first step and get certified as an auto mechanic.

Start your career in auto repair in an entry-level job and work your way up. You can grow to become a repair shop owner.

If you want to know more about running a business, click on the Business tab at the top of this page.

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