Is working for a dealership still a reliable source of income in 2021? The short answer is yes, but it comes with some risks. As a technician for a Chrysler dealership for the past 7 years, i’ve learned a lot about how to make a good income in the dealership field. Having past experience at other locations like a independant garage or other places like another dealership will help.
If you don’t have any experience in the automotive field, you will have to start at the bottom and work your way up. Most likely you will start as a Lube tech performing simple tasks like oil changes, tire rotations, and other tasks that the dealership will train you in. It all depends on which manufacturer you choose to work for.
Chrysler requires that you take online and in classroom courses to be certified. The tech start at level 0/1 which includes online courses that will teach you the basics of task performed on Chrysler vehicles. The tasks can include but not limited to flashing modules, performing recalls, and other basic task. Level 2/3 will start learning in the classroom. These classes are hosted by a handful of locations in the United States, and taught by certified teachers, most of the teachers were Chrysler certified techs in the past.
The classes are hands on, and will teach everything from properly diagnosing electrical issues, to rebuilding engines/transmissions. To completely complete all courses and become a level 3 technician it will normally take anywhere from 2-3 years depending on classroom availability. The range of pay for a line tech depends on the level of the tech. Over the years the pay has increased. Although you get more money per labor hour depending on the level the tech is, the higher the level, the more warranty work the tech is able to perform.
The customer complains that the a/c is not blowing cold. The tech performs a evac and recharge on the a/c system and finds the a/c condenser is leaking and needs to be replaced. If the vehicle is under warranty, then labor hours per job is lower than if a vehicle is not under warranty. The replacement for an a/c condenser normally may pay 2.5 labor hours to perform the task, but when under warranty the manufacturer may only pay 1.9 labor hours to replace the same part.
*Labor hour is the rate of time that is allowed per job performed. It might take you 3 hours to perform a job, but the job might only pay 2.5 labor hours or vise versa.
This is why it is important to understand how to properly work on the vehicles so that the tech can perform the tasks in a timely manner.
Most dealerships pay techs by how many labor hours that make in the pay period. So if you work 40 hours a week, and get paid weekly, then it is possible that you can make over 40 labor hours in a week depending on how fast you can perform the tasks properly. Most dealerships nowadays are moving towards paying their line techs per hour, and if the tech makes more labor hours in the pay period than the hours they are there, then they will get the higher amount.
The amount you make per pay period really depends on how busy the shop is, and the type of work you are performing. It is important that you take your certification classes seriously so that you truly understand how to perform each tasks in a timely manner.
In conclusion, working as a technician for a dealership could be a very good source of income if you play your cards right, but you do have to take in concertation on how many cars come through the shop, and the type of work that needs to be performed. The higher level the tech is, the higher the pay per hour will be, but the harder and more complex jobs the tech will receive as well. Not all manufacturers require their techs to be certified to perform warranty tasks, so it is important to ask when applying so you understand what you are walking in on.