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Working at Indy vs Dealer?

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27 Nov 2018 17:24 #25093 by Tutti57
Working at Indy vs Dealer? was created by Tutti57
Who has done both? What are your thoughts? I'm at a dealership now and just got offered a job at an Indy shop that a friend owns. We are meeting tomorrow to discuss pay but I'm nervous about earning potential.

I was offered a job at another Indy shop about a month ago, as an hourly tech, but they had no benefits and the hourly amount wouldn't have made it worth it, so I had to turn it down.

I am flat rate right now and this potential job is as well, but has a gaurantee minimum each week.

I was hired into the dealer at the very high end of quick Lane work at $17/hr and I get a $500/month bonus based on customer surveys. I turn between 45 and 50 hours a week typically. I think my highest was 58 hours. I have been out of the quick Lane for a while now but my boss still hasn't hired my replacement, so I'm doing the same work, just in the main shop. The other guys carry on hours between 50 and 70/week, which sounds like a lot. My friend got 78 last week. We are unusally busy right now for some reason. What I don't like is the hurry up mentality, constant complaining from the workers, lack of teamwork, corporate feel.

I guess I'm just looking for some opinions from people who have done both.

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28 Nov 2018 07:31 #25101 by Tyler
Replied by Tyler on topic Working at Indy vs Dealer?
Interested to hear from others experiences. :) I've only ever worked at independent and chain shops.

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29 Nov 2018 01:13 #25117 by Desmond6004
Replied by Desmond6004 on topic Working at Indy vs Dealer?
I've always worked at shops that do everything - never at a dealership. Now my next statement is not an accusation towards anyone or a generalisation - just my personal experience which does not necessarily reflect on everyone working at dealerships.
Each of the three people I have worked with that only ever worked at dealerships all their lives previously were ..... parts changers, possibly because they always had the parts on the shelf right next to the vehicle they were working on - and it was always oh-so-easy to just fit new parts until the problem went away, rather than actually diagnosing the fault.
Maybe this depends on various factors that don't affect everyone everywhere but that's just how it happened with where I worked.
Working at a shop that has to order in special parts from dealers, at a substantial cost, forces a technician to be as sure as possible before ordering a part that can't simply be put back on the shelf. The last guy we had the boss was real excited about, he told me I would have someone to help with all the complicated jobs "You should see his CV, Audi, VW and other dealerships!" .... until a fault came up that could have been fixed by fitting a few new parts if they were available - but they weren't. He was totally lost - eventually left and got an easy job just making up wiring harnesses for camper-vans.
Nothing wrong with staying at a dealership and being really good at it - it's just that working on a large variety of vehicles can teach you so much more. I've worked on trucks, tractors, cranes, electric forklifts, automatic pallet shuttles - and chased a luxury train for 300km to spend 15 minutes a time at the stops chasing down a fault with the 220v air-conditioning system since the Diesel engine was serviced - good fun! :)

Getting involved in discussions because I have a lot to learn still.
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29 Nov 2018 01:17 #25118 by Desmond6004
Replied by Desmond6004 on topic Working at Indy vs Dealer?

Tutti57 wrote: What I don't like is the hurry up mentality, constant complaining from the workers, lack of teamwork, corporate feel.

Jobs are like scan tools - there is no perfect one that does everything right all the time.
each workplace will have its own problems and imperfections of some sort.

Getting involved in discussions because I have a lot to learn still.
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30 Nov 2018 18:53 #25152 by BroncoMcbane
Replied by BroncoMcbane on topic Working at Indy vs Dealer?
I just got fired from an independent shop this afternoon. I was there 2 weeks. Guy said "You are too slow" and then something about my experience. I am dumbfounded. He told me on Monday I took too long mounting tires. He said 2 hours 20 minutes. When I worked at several dealerships in the past the labor rate per tire was 0.4. So 4 tires is 1.6. So he is saying Im taking 2.3-2.4 hours. He said you should be able to do it in an hour, 1.0. Dismount regular tires, clean the wheels, mount and balance snow tires. Snow tires are horrible tires to balance. I dont know anyone to have ever done it in 1.0 hour and not be burnt up at the end of the day.

I am not having luck with independent shops. I have not heard anyone ever say "we gotta let you go because you are messing up the cars." No one ever says that to me. Instead I get weirdo terminations. Guy doubts my experience because I have never changed a headlight bulb on a Subaru. I have never seen this car, but its not like I cant figure it out.

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30 Nov 2018 19:18 #25153 by Tutti57
Replied by Tutti57 on topic Working at Indy vs Dealer?
That stinks. I'm sorry to hear that.

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30 Nov 2018 19:37 #25154 by BroncoMcbane
Replied by BroncoMcbane on topic Working at Indy vs Dealer?
Tutti, I asked for $15/hr at this shop because I wasnt planning on staying forever. So by asking for that I was giving myself constant motivation to work at starting my own shop and develop my own customer base. The guy said he is doing tire rotations for $80 and Im taking 2 hours to do them. I never found out his labor rate but I think it was $85/hr.
I may be slow which is another incentive to open my own shop. I only need enough work to get me thru the week since it is one guy working from 7am to 5pm.

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01 Dec 2018 15:06 #25167 by Tutti57
Replied by Tutti57 on topic Working at Indy vs Dealer?
I hear that. I often wonder if I have enough customers on my own to support my own shop. I know of a guy who rents a bay/area from a chain shop and does his own work. Has his own sign and registered shop ID out front too. There was a shop for sale within walking distance of my house over the summer that someone snagged and is selling signs or something out of it now.

Health insurance is expensive. I think for me and my wife last time I looked would be about $800 a month, and we need it. My kids are on an amazing NY plan for barely anything but we need coverage. I just did some sway bar links this morning for a friend and he gave me $70. Got here at noon and left by 1:00. Cripes, it takes me nearly all day to make that at work...it's hard to ignore that!

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09 Dec 2018 12:33 #25294 by BroncoMcbane
Replied by BroncoMcbane on topic Working at Indy vs Dealer?
Yea Tutti, thats why the biz is in despair. A guy with a family cant work for $13/hr flatrate doing warranty claims at the dealer or backbreaking work at an independent. I read Valvoline Quick Lube was starting guys at $13.50. On top of that add $15,000 in hand tools IF you have a SnapOn, Mac, Matco, Bluepoint, Cornwall. Less if you have Sears Craftsman, Kobalt, Husky, other. But still, Tutti how can a guy make plans that way? It is very difficult.

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09 Dec 2018 12:57 #25297 by Tutti57
Replied by Tutti57 on topic Working at Indy vs Dealer?
It's hard, man. I think there are a few things you can do to try to set yourself apart.

I'll post back later tonight with some ideas, but I'll probably start a new thread with the ideas that others can chime in on.

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09 Dec 2018 15:40 #25301 by GypsyR
Replied by GypsyR on topic Working at Indy vs Dealer?
I've done both and have sworn never to go back to a dealership nor flat rate. BUT, that's me. You have to find the best fit for you. The largest part of it is the people, not exactly what and where. I was at a dealer and it was the best job I ever had. We had "team pay". The hours were divided among a crew of six and then each guy had his own pay scale plus a yearly bonus for every hour he personally turned. And then one guy left and we never could quite fill that gap. The best service advisor I ever met got hired away. Then our sixth guy came in from another failed shop and they made him team leader over another guy who had seniority and (IMHO) deserved the position. So he got annoyed and went elsewhere. Leader hired a semi-competent buddy and started feeding him the gravy work versus how we used to share that around. I got annoyed enough to leave about then.
Then I found I didn't like the scuffling for hours in other dealers. Almost complete lack of teamwork and fiddly pay.

Took a while to find it but I found a shop owner that I can get along with and he with me. I make a weekly check that's sort of salary, sort of hourly and works for both of us. My wife works where she can carry our needed benefits. My commute is VERY short. Downsides are no benefits and mostly I could surely make more money elsewhere. I actually did just a couple of blocks down the street but I came home wanting to murder everyone I saw every day. It wasn't worth it.

Nowadays I have a say on who is hired. Our guys are hourly and tend to keep up OK. The best thing may be that everyone in the shop helps everybody. On occasion and need everybody including the owner will pile onto a vehicle when the customer just has to have it back. If someone's not busy they ask the next guy if he could use a hand. THAT's how I like to work.
I'm not getting rich but I come home in about as good a mood as I left in and don't mind Monday mornings these days. That counts a LOT towards making that smaller paycheck look better.

In the back of my mind there's a small dread of change. Things change. At some point it's likely that I will have to go somewhere else and do some other job. I can't picture anywhere else that will give me the piece of mind I have now. It took me about 30 years of my life to find this place.

I wish you the best of luck finding a good fit for you. Unfortunately the only real way to find it is to go out and try.
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09 Dec 2018 19:36 #25307 by Matts Auto
Replied by Matts Auto on topic Working at Indy vs Dealer?
Very well put

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10 Dec 2018 07:26 #25319 by Noah
Replied by Noah on topic Working at Indy vs Dealer?
It's kind of like anything else. There's good shops and bad shops, good bosses and bad ones.
I found a place where I'm respected and not tied down by all kinds of red tape and rules, but it wasn't always like that...

"Learn, apply, repeat."

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11 Dec 2018 11:58 #25348 by Tutti57
Replied by Tutti57 on topic Working at Indy vs Dealer?
Well I have decided to make the move to an Indy. Old managers and her husband bought a place about 7 years ago and have been trying to get me there for a bit now. I accepted the offer this morning and told my current boss that I'm leaving the dealership.

He is trying like hell to retain me but there isn't really anything he can do. I really want to try this out.

It will be myself and a lead tech, with the occasional help from the owner as needed. Super nice people in every position there.

I love the pay structure too. Base PAY with a 40 hour guarantee, then the hourly rate goes up when I hit 30 hours, then again at 35, then 40, with a range of $8/hr depending on the hours turned.

My current boss says it's a huge mistake and that I won't learn anything there, it's a step backwards, you'll be working on turds all day, "I'll pay you more, give you a tool allowance, off on Saturdays, whatever it takes."

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11 Dec 2018 14:16 #25351 by Tyler
Replied by Tyler on topic Working at Indy vs Dealer?
Congratulations! :woohoo: Moving shops is always exciting. Let us know your thoughts once you make the transition.

My current boss says it's a huge mistake and that I won't learn anything there, it's a step backwards, you'll be working on turds all day, "I'll pay you more, give you a tool allowance, off on Saturdays, whatever it takes."


Sounds a lot like what my manager said when I left my first chain store job. :silly: But at least he's working to keep you.

Side note - why is it that this industry only offers more money/benefits/hours to techs when they threaten to quit? :angry: If I'm gonna go looking for another job so I can haggle for more money, there's a good chance I'll find a better job while I'm at it. Why play that game?
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11 Dec 2018 17:38 #25356 by bruce.oliver
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Congratulations Tutti57. Make sure they send you to training
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11 Dec 2018 21:07 #25363 by Tutti57
Replied by Tutti57 on topic Working at Indy vs Dealer?
Thanks guys. I post back after a few weeks of work. Honestly, I hope the dealership cuts me loose so I don't have to be there for two weeks, with it being all awkward. I can start at the new shop tomorrow if I need to.

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