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Starting a Technician Position in California

  • dannyrothwell
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04 Jun 2019 16:49 #30366 by dannyrothwell
Starting a Technician Position in California was created by dannyrothwell
For years I've ran into a difficult time making that transition from lube technician to apprentice technician. I was talking to a nice shop owner and he was telling me on how California's double minimum wage is to be paid to any employee that is required to bring his or her own tools is making it difficult for this shop owner to hire young technicians. I myself have spent years taking ASE tests, a smog licensing test and countless GM product training. As minimum wage increases it make it even more difficult for me to find a position as a starting technician. Do you guys have any advice for me or anyone starting out or trying to breach that move? Are there any shop owners who can fill me on how I myself combat this issue and for most If you are a beginner technician how did you find your place in a shop?

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  • Tyler
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04 Jun 2019 21:17 #30376 by Tyler
I'm in Kansas, with no equivalent double minimum wage law, so I can't say how much my experience will apply to your situation.

I can say that transitioning from an oil change guy to a full time tech was an uphill battle for me. The chain I was working for at the time had training systems in place to grow technicians, but few ever actually did.

In a backwards way, being a good lube tech made my transition even harder. :silly: Decent lube techs are hard to find, so most managers will hesitate to promote one, because then they have to replace a perfectly good lube tech with someone else. Plus, you run the risk of the newly promoted lube tech not being able to swim under the flat rate system.

For whatever it's worth, the trick for me was to make myself the go-to guy for certain tasks, even as a lube tech. TPMS, I knew all the relearns. :lol: Low profile tires, I won't tear the beads. Once management saw product knowledge and initiative, it made the transition a lot easier.

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04 Jun 2019 21:57 #30378 by dannyrothwell
Replied by dannyrothwell on topic Starting a Technician Position in California
I was a lube tech making 12 dollars an hour at a chevrolet dealership for 3 years and I was the go to guy for brand new Corvette Z06 tires and Roadforce diagnostics. They finally gave me a shot when I was attempting to place my 2 weeks however they deemed it as a learning experience for me and it didn't come with a pay rise and empty promises of a tool cart filled with tools. I got the tool cart but it ended up becoming me filling up the tool cart with my own tools. I did it for a year hoping there would be a positive outcome after a year I went in to negotiate a wage increase and there was none. Minimum wage in california was $11 an hour and we where rolling into december so unfortionatly decided to leave my dealership I spent 4 years with and I was also in a position where I couldn't afford a box and build my tool arsenal for that year

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05 Jun 2019 00:37 #30382 by Zephyr
I was a part time lube tech at two shops at once, one of which I didn't feel was large enough for me to purchase an actual box and stuck with a small service cart and the other had room but I felt didn't trust me enough to give me much other than LOFs and brakes. My advice which also aligns with what other members have said is to be "the guy" as many people don't like to touch scopes, TPMS, keyless entry, and such. However this will only work if you have decent management which some people don't care about. I know some shops will pay more for ASE and Smog but not sure HOW much more. You could look into working for the P.O. as the basic entry tests are ridiculously simple if you've been around cars for any amount of time.

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  • Noah
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05 Jun 2019 06:34 #30391 by Noah
I never did the lube tech thing, but I moved my way in to a technician position from the junk yard by doing just what everyone else is saying.
I became to go to guy for anything electrical. After every tech in the shop took turns slamming parts under the hood, they'd send it out to the junk yard for me to figure out what was really wrong with it.
I decided to get ASE certs for electrical systems and for engine performance to make myself more marketable.
Eventually other shop owners would come through the junk yard looking for parts and find me out in the dirt with a lab scope fixing the stuff everyone gave up on.
Eventually I started getting job offers, so when I let my boss know he gave me a decent pay increase to keep me. Finally the senior tech at the shop had to go in for surgery and was going to be out for 2 months, so I filled in the garage while he was out and never went back to the junk yard.

"Learn, apply, repeat."

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  • Chad
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05 Jun 2019 09:03 - 05 Jun 2019 09:08 #30401 by Chad
The common theme seems to be "Be the guy that can, when everyone else has failed." The hard part is getting the word out that YOU are that guy.

My story is a bit different, though. The owner of my shop passed away. He was a good friend of mine. I stepped up and tried to keep the shop open, for his wife, so that the mortgage could be paid (Only 2 more months of payments! :) ) . I was in a "sink or swim" situation. It was a REAL struggle for some time. Then, I found, and started stalking, ScannerDanner on youtube. I learned his methods and things started to get easier. Before long, I became the "go to" guy. It doesn't take long, in a small town, for word-of-mouth to keep the phone ringing.

I was talking to a nice shop owner and he was telling me on how California's double minimum wage is to be paid to any employee that is required to bring his or her own tools is making it difficult for this shop owner to hire young technicians.


I don't know about the laws in California, but would it be possible to be hired as an independent sub-contractor, rather than an employee? I would, even, tell this shop owner that I would diagnose his next "problem child" for free, just to get my foot in the door. If you and the owner are both willing to work with each other, it would give you the chance to prove yourself. And, before long, people will be coming to HIS shop, to get YOUR diagnosis.

"Knowledge is a weapon. Arm yourself, well, before going to do battle."
"Understanding a question is half an answer."
Last edit: 05 Jun 2019 09:08 by Chad.

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05 Jun 2019 18:58 #30426 by dannyrothwell
Replied by dannyrothwell on topic Starting a Technician Position in California
Here in california minumum wage is $12 an hour and is expected to increase to $15 in the next couple of years so it makes it even more difficult for any shop to hire fresh out of tech school technicians at that double minimum wage of $30 an hour. Another obstacle I've been facing is a service manager that would keep me at a wage and years later I would find myself making minimum wage when I started out at 2 dollars above minimum wage.

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06 Jun 2019 20:50 #30465 by Tutti57
Replied by Tutti57 on topic Starting a Technician Position in California
As far are the independent contractor thing goes, no states allow that unless you can show that you are your own business. It's an IRS thing and companies are getting slammed for it because it looks like you are avoiding benefits, wage laws, and taxes (10 years in employment law).

What I'll add is that attitude and initiative can make a big difference if you have good management. I took all of the ASEs to become a master tech to show I was serious about wanting to learn. I watched SD videos every night instead of the Kardashians. When the shop was slow, instead of sitting down with my phone, I hung out with the foreman and lead techs or swept the floor around the tire machines. I expressed my interest to advance to my manager regularly. There are a lot of lazy creeps on this business, if you show initiative and are trainable, smart management should prefer investing in you.

Sent from my Moto E (4) Plus using Tapatalk

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The following user(s) said Thank You: Noah

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13 Jun 2019 05:03 #30634 by Liam
My story is simple. He began to repair everything from childhood, as my parents told me, then my father, in 10 years, took me to his friends in a car repair service. Until 20 years while he was studying he worked as an apprentice. Then they raised my salary, and the old master was fired, saying that I was doing much better.

After 5 years, he began sending out questionnaires to more serious organizations. I wanted more salary and orders more interesting, over time, work became a routine, everything is the same. Growth was needed and one company gave me this where I am now the chief mechanic and I sit in the office :) I cannot voice the company here, get it right.

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