Pros and Cons of Being a MechanicLike all jobs, working as a mechanic has its ups and downs. Take a look at the pros and cons of being a mechanic to help your career search.
Mechanic Job Overview
As you may know, auto mechanics are trained to repair and maintain vehicles. These range from personal vehicles such as cars or motorcycles to industrial diesel vehicles like tractors or even generators. The job itself is very hands-on while the more experience you gain the more diagnosing you will do rather than repairing. This means that you will spend a lot of time on your feet doing rigorous physical labor. We have a very extensive article to inform you on how to become a mechanic if you want to learn more. Now, let’s start looking at the pros and cons of being a mechanic.
Benefits of Being a Mechanic
There are many different advantages and disadvantages of being a mechanic, let’s focus on the positive side of the pros and cons of being a mechanic first:
Ability to work on own projects
This is perhaps one of the best things about being a mechanic. You will have the freedom to work on your own personal vehicles which will allow you to keep your vehicles pristine for a fraction of the cost. Along with that, you can even start buying junkers and flipping them to sell for a profit, bringing you even more income. If you own your own shop, you will have no problem accessing your shop equipment to perform personal work. But, if you do not own the shop, make sure you ask the owner if you can work on personal projects after-hours.
Good wage potential
The average salary for auto mechanics in 2017 was $39,550 with the lowest 10% making less than $21,470 and the highest 10% making over $64,070 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Typically, auto mechanics earn less as they are starting out with the ability to earn more with more experience and training. Therefore, if you are unsatisfied with your wages, you can always go earn more ASE certifications to demand a higher pay. Along with that, you can always specialize in a specific manufacturer or repairs. Some of the best paying manufacturers are Tesla, Cummins, and BMW.
Secure future in the auto industry
As vehicles become more reliable, consumers are holding on to their cars for much longer. Older cars means more regular maintenance for auto mechanics. In fact, the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy has stated that the average age of cars and light trucks has increased about 21% since 2002. Putting the average age of these vehicles on the road at 11.6 years old. Along with that, the BLS has projected 6% growth in the career from now to 2026. This is not huge but it is a steady increase, similar to the entire job market.
Platform to start own auto shop
Perhaps the hardest part about opening an auto shop is learning the technical skills as a mechanic. Once you have this down, you should consider opening your own shop. Some national auto shops have great ways for you to utilize their finances and facilities to open a shop. This lessens some of the financial toll for you and gets you on the track to earning more for doing what you love! Keep in mind, owning an auto shop will require much more interaction with clients so you will want to fine-tune your communication skills.
Cons of Being a Mechanic
Just as there are many good things that come with the career, there is a bad side shown in the pros and cons of being a mechanic:
Dirty working conditions
Just as no office space is the same, no auto shop is the same. Different management styles demand a different workspace. With auto shops, the difference can be vast. Some shops can be clean and organized while others are dark, dirty, and often have little to no climate control. This can create a dangerous and uncomfortable work environment. It is important to keep in mind that not all auto shops are like this. Many auto shops take very good care of their shop floor, keep an eye out for these when you are looking for a job as they are often higher quality shops.
Long hours and irregular schedule
If you work with high quality mechanics, your shop will most likely be popular. Therefore, your shop may be open late and on weekends to work on as many vehicles possible each week. This can push auto mechanics to work lots of hours in short periods of time making it hard to keep a healthy work-life balance. On top of that, work hours often vary based on how many vehicles are brought in. This makes it hard to have a set schedule which can also contribute to an unhealthy work-life balance. It is important for you to know what is expected of you before you start a job.
Perhaps one of the largest barriers to enter this career is the cost of tools and equipment. Fortunately, if you attend a trade school, many of them will have partnerships with different companies to offer tools at a discounted rate for your training. This will get you off to a good start but there will be much more you need. Along with that, there are grants and other ways to get discounts on tools and equipment, many of which are specific to your location. Of course, if you are starting your own auto shop, this cost becomes even higher.
Being an auto mechanic requires you to be working with your hands almost 100% of the time. This, along with the many odd positions and maneuvers necessary to reach different parts of a vehicle create a very straining job. It is extremely important to keep up with your health while working as a mechanic because the strenuous work can quickly catch up to you. It is recommended for auto mechanics to get in the habit of regular stretching and other preventative physical measures. Massages can even be great to break the tension in the body!
Advantages and Disadvantages of Being a Mechanic
Some aspects could be good or bad depending on your personality. Check out these things that can be both pros and cons of being a mechanic:
This is a bit of a double-edged sword as although continuing your training is good because you are gaining more knowledge, it can be costly. ASE Certifications and renewing those certifications every 5 years can add up. Some shop owners will help pay for these tests but not all do. It is important to keep in mind that these will be paid off in the long-run as the more training you have the more you can demand in pay.
Low entry-level salary
As stated above, wages can be quite low when starting out as a mechanic. Depending on your area they can range from $8 to $15 per hour. This is both a pro and a con because this means there is a good opportunity to grow as a mechanic. With a low starting wage, there is only up to go. If you gain your ASE certifications and others, you will then demand a higher pay. Keep in mind, starting positions in most industries will be low!
Even though it can be extremely tough, the physical labor of working as a mechanic can be very rewarding. Some people really enjoy being on their feet and working with their hands. If this is you, strap up and start wrenching. If not, make sure you strongly consider your path as a mechanic. Do keep in mind, the more technology advances, the less physical strain comes from being a mechanic.
Trade Schools Near You
What do you need to do?
At the end of it all, it’s important to understand that all career paths will have their pros and cons. The pros and cons of being a mechanic are unique to the task and many are unique to the auto shop and your individual situation. Whether you are just graduating high school or looking to start your career after trade school, you will want to keep these in mind. If you need help finding the right mechanic school to jump-start your career, we can help! Head over to our contact page if you have any questions!
Explore More Resources for Mechanics
Even though many use them interchangeably, auto mechanics and technicians are not the same. Here are their differences: automotive technician vs. mechanic.
There are many different types of training you can get in automotive technology. Here we look at a certificate vs. associate degree in automotive technology.
Whether you are off to mechanic school or starting to work on your own cars, you will need automotive repair books. These are the best auto mechanic books.