About That Time Again

April 7, 2006
Automotive repair business rank at the bottom of the hourly rate scale.

Excuse me for a minute. I need to get my soapbox positioned just right ... and ... there we go. I'll just climb up here ... and now I'm ready.

Ready to talk about a topic common not just to these pages, but throughout the industry as a whole. Specifically, rate structures and the number of shops that continue to resist charging an hourly rate that would allow them to keep employees happy, and the business profitable.

But instead of re-hashing all the reasons why your services are worth a premium price and re-counting all the investments shop owners need to make, I'll just offer some information that shows how we in automotive repair stack up against our peers in other repair occupations.

These figures are courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor. (If you don't believe my numbers, check them out for yourself at http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/outside.jsp?survey=nc.)
So let's compare hourly earnings:

  • Aircraft mechanics: $25.63
  • Electricians: $25.15
  • Telephone installers and repairers: $23.83
  • Industrial machine repairers: $20.72
  • Carpenters: $19.28
  • Automotive technicians: $18.37

Ouch! Even if these averages do blanket all levels of experience and responsibility, there's still no excuse for automotive repair professionals to rank at the bottom of these lists.

Okay, I'll get down now, but I'm keeping the soapbox in place. Hopefully someone else will take my place and continue to reinforce the long-term importance of the independent repair shop's profitability. With 230 million light vehicles currently registered in the U.S., there are a lot of people counting on you to be there when needed. And guess what, they will pay for your services.

After all, the last time I checked, more people were taking their kids to school, the store or over to grandma's in cars, not airplanes.

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