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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been Surfin’ the VMF for over three years now and I feel I can trust everyone to give me honest and non-bias advice. This post has really nothing really to do with mustangs in general but does have to do with the future of my Mustang.

I have recently lost my job due to the crappy economy. Although this sucks it could be for the best because I really hated my job. I was basically there for the money, which was ok but not great. I’m 28 and single so I live cheap. But I do have expensive hobbies.

All my friends and family are telling me what I should do. So I thought I would ask the advice of the all knowing VMF.

My mother always told me I should do something I enjoy doing. I really enjoy wrenching on cars. I have been working on cars since I was 11 or so. I could do this all day long, and I get alot satisfaction out of fixing things. I fix all my friends cars and have even made some money at it through word of mouth.(and alot of free beer).

So I think I'm going to try my hand as a professional mechanic.
I have never worked "professionally" as a mechanic but did go to tech school for auto tech for a while in high school. I really have learned more about cars with my hands on experience than I did in school. I would like to open my own shop eventually with my buddy who claims to be the best mechanic in three states. I don't know about that but he knows his sh*t and we work great together when it comes to fixing cars or building hot rods.

I have a brain in my head and good business sense...I was thinking I could get in the door somewhere and learn the business. I'm more into being happy right now than getting rich. I have enough tools to get buy for now and don't think I will have problem keeping up with the professionals, well I may be slow at first.

What qualifications do I need to get in the door??

Do I need to get ASE certified before anyone hires me?????

If I wrench on cars all day will I get sick of it and not want to work on my own cars????

My brother just started at the local ford dealer in the sales department and I would love to get a job there in the service department. I asked him what the qualifications are for mechanics but he doesn't know.

Do you think I could get in there so I can get the benefits, I mean without any "professional" experience or do I need to find a smaller private shop to start at????

I assume Ford would have some sort of extra training before they let me loose on a car....

Any advice you all could give me would be great. I'm not giving up on my mustang but It's defiantly on hold right now. I have a little cushion in the bank and part time job that is now full time that gets me buy so I'll be ok for now. TIA
 

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are you talking about working on old cars or these new-fangled computer contraptions called automobiles? really all joking aside, today's mechanics are more like computer and electrical engineers. not many of the old kanooter valve grease monekys left anymore. i mean a car is a car but are you going to be a niche mechanic or just kinda an across the board fix it all? good luck with whatever turns out, anybody that has the knowledge to work on mechanical things has my respect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm pretty much good with all things mechanical and very computer literate so I don't think I will have a problem with the new tecnology.

I'm sort of a Crew cheif on my freinds late model mustang street/drag car and have worked on alot of newer cars so I'm pretty familier with there systems but I wouldn't say I'm an expert. It's really amazing what you can do with these cars, just plug a laptop in and squeeze out some more horsepower. I still like my old cars I can "tune by ear".
 
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I have been a machanic for 20 years . I have worked at dealers and independants also owned my own shop for 5 years. This trade can be fun and exciting but, you can get burnt out when you use what used to be a hobby for your income. I would check with your community college for one of the tech programs offered by the big 3. With these programs you are in class for 1 semester then you work for a semester at the sponsor dealership and they pay for this. When you are done it will usually take about 2 years for all the classes and when you are through with that a few more core classes and you can have a degree in automotive technology and get into a testing feild like running an engine dyno or other component testing stuff. I started as a brake tech and went on to be a master mechanic and shop owner. I have run engine dyno's at GM, tested and built shocks and struts for Arvin who also owns Gabreil shocks and struts. I currently test wiper systems and have tried to quit and do some thing else but they keep offering me more money to stay every time I put in my two week notice. They say if I leave there will be no one who can fix there equipment and fabricate there test fixtures. I have received about a 40% raise in salary from the last two attempts to leave this place. They keep asking if I know anyone who needs a job that has similar experience. The mechanical feild is great but it wears on you and after working 10 hours aday on other peoples cars you tend to not want to look at yours. Also if you work for commission time is money so if they book says 4 hours you need to do it in 2 or you will not make much and wont last long in a dealer. But nationally there is a shortage of qulified people in this market. You can find a job as a mechanic just about anywhere and the income can be extremely good at the right shop. How does florida regulate the service industry. I Michigan you have to be either state or ASE certified (most shops would like you to be ASE certified)
 
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I have no comment as to what you should do but I do peek into shops every now and again as inspiration to do my own work. It seems like they have Cromagnons working there yet they still charge $65 per hour for labor. I assume that there is a shortage of qualified people out there so the shops lower the bar when it comes to hiring.

If you're half as bright as you say you are you'll probably do well in whatever you get into.

Good luck.
 

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lol, that one dude said he was a machanic.

"when I started I couldn't even spell mechanic, now I are one!!"
 

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You're young, smart and drive a boss vintage fastback...

What shop wouldn't hire you, regardless of certificates?....you can always earn them on the job while apprenticing..

Just be clear...mechanical work can be hot, dirty, painful stuff....the computer is great for diagnosis, but you still have to get your hands into the oil, grease, coolant and dirt to fix things.

When I was your age, I had just ended my employment at a machine shop (closed) and started my own...15 years later, I don't know, in my mid 40's, that I could do that again...it was a lot of long hard hours.

My advice is to take the challenge and try.....youth is on your side...but be mindful that things can change as you grow older. Have a plan..

Good luck!
 

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I've been a mechanic and a jack-of-all-trades for years and also wanted to start my own company in restorations. I work for the automotive division at Motorola in MI. I can tell you that it won't be that easy on your own. You may get burned out fast you may not. I have checked a few bump shops around here and it seems like no one want's to get involved in restorations. I'm not sure what you really want to do or what specialties you have. You can do anything you put your mind to, but keep in mind that you have to always look out for the unexpected. Here in Michigan, you have to have three years experience to qualify for a ASE License. You have to get a dealers license and insurance if you plan to sell at least one car a year. You have to have a shop big enough to show off three vehicles. There are so many regulations that it's not funny. That's why you need insurance to cover your a_$. If you can be suied for one little thing, trust me someone will try. Someone might crash into you shop one day and then it's all over if your not insured. If you put a plan together to start on your own, you better not plan on making a profit for at least five years. I don't want to make this sound too negative or make it seem like it is really hard to get started. If you have the desire to do this than I say turn the knob and get going.
Brent
 

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Then after 3 years when you're disgusted and burnt out you'll appriciate your next employer!

Having been there and done that, it's tough. You'll have to become a whore and take on any work, remember you're running a business, not a hobby. You'll be an employee of the company that costs so much per hour to keep you on the books, that means, you must work to make the money, any work is money. Your vocation is nothing more then a catalyst to make money. I don't mean yours in particular, any vocation.

A good friend of mine who lives 3 blocks from me. He has his own HVAC company. At 38, he's burn out, he hates his job. He can't find good, reliable help.

I'm not telling you not to do it! I think everyone should try to be self employed at some part of their working career. I'm saying it'll help you out in your career in general later on in life, it's a great learning curve.

I think in general, to turn a hobby into a career, you should start out part time. If it grows to where it becomes too much to handle part time, go full time. But if your looking to do what is your hobby for a full time job, in general, you'll end up hating it.

One last bit of important info. If you go into your own company, DO NOT HAVE A PARTNER! This is a good way to end a friendship.
 

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Hopefully KeenBean will read your response, as it was posted in response to my post...

That said, I agree about starting one's own business with open eyes...I went down that road many years ago and was very careful about picking something that matched my skills, capital, and comfort level with government intrusion.

IMO, to start a good repair shop with a storefront (business district address), capital will run between .25M and .5M for the first 2 years, exlusive of labor costs. IMO, for best long-term results, networking with dealers and used car lots, along with word-of-mouth and sociallizing in the automotive community (car shows, clubs, etc.) will be the most cost-effective method of getting the word out. Results will likely be slower than aggressive ad campaigns, but the work flow will be at a pace that should allow quality to build along with quantity...and hence a reputation thusly.

These realities, plus the ones you mentioned, are why I suggested KeenBean apprentice at a reputable local shop or dealership so he may learn both the nuts and bolts as well as be exposed to the business end of things. By the time he earns his certs, he'll know if this is for him...

Sometimes, IME, there are many advantages to that weekly paycheck...*G*
 

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RULE #1: Never go into business with a friend or family! Unless your looking to break up that friendship.

If you think this is something you would like to do try it for awhile. Find a small shop and work there. You'll get started, build up clientel, gain experience, get a first hand look at what it takes, etc. Then after a couple of years if you still want to continue you can possibly venture on your own and take your customers with you. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif
 

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ok now reading all these posts, I will give you my opinion, as a dealership tech, independent gas sation mechanic, shop owner & now working for the power utility in my state I look each & every day for a way out. if you have college behind you, continue, use your skills for your hobby & you will enjoy what you do fo rthe rest of your life. I have 2 mustangs in my driveway with no time, energy or desire to work on them after coming home from being surrounded by greasey engines all day long. I do not know one of my fellow techs in the shop that would let their child follow in their footsteps, I do not mean to discourage you but I wish someone had filled me in on all the bad points when I was younger( I am only 34 now) but some say I am hear & will not go anywere. I found myself going to night college for environmental health & safety, do you know how much demand there is for someone in that field, ok lets get back on subject. I have owned 2 shops, each with partners, one, a lazy good for nothing that spent the whole day on the phone, & one my brother, each partnership ended in disaster, luckily my brother & I got over ourselves relatively quick. partners suck, period, end of discussion, if your friend is a great tech, open your shop & pay hime what he is worth + commision, he will make out better than you, my techs always did. there will be weeks that you will go home with just enough money in your pockets for spending cash, others will be a fiest,
it is a extremely tough decision to make if you think that is what you want to do, go to your brothers dealership & ask for a job a a c tech, this will get your foot in the door,& get you a pay check as well as give you a taste for the business, you can get certified aS TIME GOES BY, TESTS are given 2 times a year so don't sign up for too many at once, I have 28 certifications in ASE, 5 in NYS & I get nothing for them as a tech in the power authority,I have gone on too long already, sorry for the rant good luck in your future endevers
 

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Although I know your post was directed to KeenBean and replied to my post by accident, I must say your post reminded me very much of a good male friend....

He finally got out at 55 (37 in with PG&E) this year but not before diabetes got most of his sight (a metal fragment on the job years ago took the rest) and ruined his health. I often remember him counting down the days to freedom and, sadly now, there isn't much left to enjoy except for a loving family. He was as I and likely you are, a many talented, mechanically inclined miracle worker *G* who could fix and do most anything, from building a race car to building a house. Most of that's gone now...

I'm glad I got off the roller coaster (late 20's) and started my little shop years ago...I'll never be rich but I'm beholden to no one and I genuinely enjoy the customers I choose to service. Sure, it's hot, dirty and messy sometimes (hydraulics are always that *G*) but, at the end of the day, I'm content with my lot in life...

As I'm finding out now, in my 40's, that and a loving wife are all this simple guy needs......well maybe except for some buds on the VMF...*G*

I hope, if you ever find yourself looking at the calendar and mentally counting the time to the end of that utility retirement rainbow, you'll remember my friend...

Thanks for sharing your story!
 
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