^^ I could not agree more. Sales people only bring experience, the desire to sell and a ball point pen, that's it. An experienced technician has to bring @$50K or more in tools and pay to have it transported there.
Let me add another point for you to consider. At one time, this was how people bought televisions. When the technology advanced, the set was retired to a bedroom or basement.
A wide variety of styles and women wearing gowns just to operate them. The men who serviced them could afford commercial leases/property, a van dedicated to service, thousands of 1960s dollars in tools. They probably paid for a suburban home and a shiny new Chrysler. (My alter-ego repair man prefers Zeniths and Mopars.)
Now it's a black rectangle that you throw away when it dies or requires a software upgrade. There will be mechanics in the future, but they'll probably service other objects as well, just as the last remaining legacy TV repair store in my neighborhood also fixes tablets and laptops while displaying antiques in the store window.
That all said, this guy paid for his building and equipment decades ago. He is surely down to 1-2 employees and his largest annual bill is probably property taxes. If you can't see the parallel, you aren't looking.
As the poet EZ-E used to say, "throw it in the gutter, an' go buy a'nother" Or in this case, "lease" another.
Good article and on point. I too was a long time ASE master tech at a well equipped GM dealer and overall enjoyed my work. Not old enough to retire but saw my annual income stagnated and felt I was at the top of my game. So I took all my tools home and now work for an extended warranty company as an auto mechanical claims manager. Call me nuts but I do miss the shop at times and never regretted being a tech and shop foreman, however I don't miss the feast or famine flat rate roller coaster ride. Being a successful tech boils down to working at a well run, well equipped shop and keeping skills up to date with current technology. If a tech makes him/herself valuable there is money to be made. If it turns out unsuccessful, at least the experience gained can be a stepping stone to bigger and better things in the automotive industry.
I find that for changing tires, alignments, A/C recharging—the kind of stuff that doesn’t require a hardcore diagnostic adventure to complete the service, the AAA shops do a good job for a fair price. For anything else, I'm fortunate to have found a small shop that can do everything I can't (or more often, don't want to) do myself. And, yes, the over-computerization of cars is a royal PITA for us all. 😞
Gonna keep my old cars forever!
Especially if you didn't buy the car at that particular dealership, LOL My Friend has his own repair shop and stays up with the latest info and repair needs for the newer cars and he says it's getting too expensive to buy the up grade software to trouble shoot the cars because they make changes daily now instead of yearly. They are in such a hurry to put new cars out that they dont fix all the necessary trouble spots before they sell the car / truck they let the customer do the testing and then clip them a few hundred bucks to fix a problem they knew existed in the first place. Recalls are frequent and if you have to have more than one recall you should be able to return the car with a full refund or a different problem car because they all have problems. The U S builds more junk these days and the public has to buy the car twice before he/she sells it a few years down the road seems like .
My point exactly and why are they built with so many electronics , this isn't an airplane it's a car for crying out loud. They even drive themselves and park themselves now, I say if you can't drive the dang car yourself take a bus or train or plane or just walk. The way the electronics are today if they fail and they will your in deep dodo real quick. I don't want to be on the road with people that can't drive ,it's bad enough that we don't have that many good drivers now on the road . Why do we need that junk on cars that should be an option like power windows power brakes etc. The day I can't drive my own car is the day I need to find some other form of transportation , it's just that simple.
I've seen this in 4+ decades in the business. General Motors had training centers sprinkled over the country, one here in Fairfax Va. While I did not work at a GM dealership, my older brother did as a service manager. He 'sponsored' me in the 80's to go there for training. The place was unbelievable, beautiful inside like the Bellagio Hotel, with all the teachers wearing white lab coats and polished marble floors in the main area. Just like I had envisioned as kid reading technical magazines. One of the cars we trained on was a new, not yet released to the public Pontiac Fiero. I went there for a few years and found the training to be utmost professional, an example of where the industry was headed. But by the late -90's or so, GM started closing all of these centers to be replaced with content delivered via satellite. Sad really, I agree with the above post, no shop wants to spend the cash to train someone, period anymore.
New vehicles today are way to complicated and over redundant and make working on them far to expensive for the average person. I believe they are made that way to discourage the owners to maintain their own vehicles and have a dealer do the expensive work. I know that some dealers don't even have the qualified mechanics on hand and have a hard time repairing the cars and you get your car back and the problem still exist . Nope I won't buy a new car because I work on my own vehicles and have been a mechanic for over 50 years. I have cars that get 35 plus miles to the gallon and any body can repair them with little training. All the electronics these days are foolish to say the least and cost the public ridiculous amounts of money to keep them up and not only that they won't be around 30 years from now I bet, there is too much plastic and if they do I will be surprised. That's if I live that long . A small wreck can destroy the new cars that older cars can survive and be repaired too.
This is how it should be. I applaud the relationship that autowriter has developed with his shops. After some suspension work on one of my vehicles, I asked the proprietor of a small local shop if his guys and gals liked the products served at a coffee shop that's next door. He said they all did, so I went over and bought a large denomination gift card at the coffee place and gave it to the repair shop owner - telling him to let his people take it whenever they went over to get a drink or snack. It apparently was not abused, but it was used, and it lasted quite some time. If I ever need any more work done there, I will do something similar - the folks in that shop can and should be recognized and rewarded for what they do. As @autowriter points out, even a relatively modest tip and a sincere "thank you" can go a very long way with techs who treat you and your vehicle well.