Auto Shop Manager Careers: Salary Information & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of an auto shop manager career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming an auto shop manager is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Career as an Auto Shop Manager

Auto shop managers handle all aspects of running an auto shop, from handling money to paying bills while making sure that the shop remains profitable. Below are some of the pros and cons of becoming an auto shop manager.

Pros of Being an Auto Shop Manager
Opportunity to manage a shop as well as work on cars**
Minimal postsecondary educational requirements, if any***
Potential to eventually own a store****
Average growth anticipated (8% estimated growth from 2012 to 2022)*

Cons of Being an Auto Shop Manager
Work injuries and illnesses (higher than the national average)*
Potential for stress**
Exposure to dust, noise, exhaust fumes and paint**
Standing for several hours at a time**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Career Builder, ***Dallas Country Community College District, ****Monster.com.

Essential Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Auto shop managers oversee the day-to-day activities of an auto shop and handle repairs. They may also monitor workers, devise ideas to increase business and send reports to the corporate office. They interview and hire employees in addition to taking care of customer complaints. Other duties may include examining damaged vehicles, painting automobiles after they've been repaired, managing inventory and ordering mechanical parts.

Salary Information

According to PayScale.com in July 2015, the 10th to 90th percent range of automotive body repair managers earned a salary of about $29,000-$79,000. A majority of managers with 0-5 years of experience made approximately $43,000 a year, while those with 5-10 years of experience earned around $51,000.

What Are the Requirements?

Auto shop managers should have experience as auto shop technicians. Auto technicians and mechanics usually have an Associate of Applied Science in a field related to automotive service technology. Courses may focus on electrical systems, job finding skills, physics, manual transmission-drivelines and fuel management systems. Some schools offer an auto body shop management certificate, which can take up to a year to earn. Certificate programs teach future managers about automotive service writing, metal repair, structural analysis, refinishing and natural science.

What Employers Are Looking For

Employers may request managers who have a few years of experience in management as well as sales and customer service. Following are examples of job postings listed during April 2012:

  • A company in Greenville, NC, advertised for an auto body shop manager to repair damaged body parts and bodies of vehicles in accordance with both factory and dealership specifications. Job duties also included hiring and managing technicians, filling depressions and bolting or welding replacement parts in position. Applicants needed three years of experience.
  • An automotive repair facility in Las Vegas, NV, advertised a management position for someone who would handle everything from greeting the customer to ordering parts. Other duties included building estimates, selling jobs, cleaning up the shop and completing minor equipment repairs. This person needed to be able to meet profit margin expectations.
  • A body shop in Malvern, PA, posted an advertisement for an I-Car certified manager with an appraiser's license. Applicants needed to have strong experience setting up DRP Insurance programs, as well as 7-10 years of experience.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Auto shop managers who are familiar with a variety of vehicles may stand out in comparison to those who are only knowledgeable about certain makes and models, such as Japanese vehicles or trucks. The BLS suggests that those with knowledge of hybrid motors and computerized car systems stand to have better employment opportunities.

Taking business courses, such as accounting, financial management, communications and shop management, could aid an individual land a supervisory and administrative position. Communication and people skills are also useful for aspiring auto shop managers who should know how to deal with disgruntled customers and be able to explain complex repairs in simple terms.

Certification

Voluntary credentials beyond a college merit can also help candidates stand out in the auto service field. For example, a person may pursue National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence certification. Some employers may prefer or require this approval for incoming technicians.

Other Career Paths

Would you like to work on automobiles without the additional responsibilities involved with being a manager? The following careers may be suitable.

Automotive Service Technician

Automotive service technicians and mechanics inspect, test, disassemble and maintain automobiles. Much like auto shop managers, technicians usually have at least an associate's degree in automotive technology or a closely related field. Mechanics and technicians certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) may be able to secure positions with higher pay, and some employers may require individuals be certified in order to work. Payscale.com reported in 2012 that the middle 80 percent of automotive service technicians earned a yearly salary of about $21,000-$59,000.

Diesel Service Technician

Diesel service technicians specialize in trucks, overhaul buses and anything else with a diesel engine. They read diagnostic test results, perform maintenance and test drive vehicles as well. Technicians often suffer an increased rated of injuries and illnesses than individuals employed in other occupations. In order to become a diesel service technician, individuals should be trained in diesel engine repair.

Alternatively, technicians can learn on the job, building up their experience over the course of 3-4 years before being considered diesel technicians. The ASE certifies individuals in such areas as electronic systems, maintenance and drive trains. Payscale.com reported in 2012 that a majority of diesel technicians earned a yearly salary of about $26,000-$62,000. Technicians who have to test drive large vehicles may need to have a commercial driver's license.

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