If you go to automotive technical school you will learn about how cars work, and some about fixing cars. But you need to understand that you will not learn everything it takes to be a mechanic, or a technician.
6 Things You Won’t Learn In Automotive Tech School
In this video, a machancis will tell you exactly what you will not be learning in tech school. In no way is this video to put down tech school, in fact this mechanic went to tech school and had a great experience. The purpose of this video is just to let you know what you will be learning outside of tech school.
“I’m not hating on tech school. Without tech school my career wouldn’t be where it is today”
Some schools will be better than others and some schools teach more and some teach less. What you learn also has a lot to do with your teachers and how much they choose to teach you. Tech school can be the stepping stone and foundation for becoming a technician but you might not need it if you are already very experienced.
How to buy tools
In his tech school, there was one brand of tools that they promoted just because students were able to get a discount but they never taught people about buying tools, where to find tools, how to get good deals on tools. They never mentioned buying tools on ebay or at a pawn shop or tool trucks.
There sears, there’s harbor freight, there’s amazon, and sonic that have really cool kits and packages you can check out.
They also don;t talk about tool trucks and how easy it is to spend a lot of money on tool trucks. Payments are usually broken up by week so you can easily rack up a large monthly bill on your tools and end up paying a high interest rate as well.
Flat rate pricing
Flat rate means getting paid by the job so it doesn’t matter if it’s an hour or three hours the price is the same.
So you won’t learn things like charging an hourly rate for something your know only takes 30 minutes and then using that extra time to work on other hourly projects so that you can stack up your hourly time and make a killing.
In school you won’t learn how to manage your hours or how to deal with problems that come about when you’re working on an hourly rate. And that’s because many schools talk about the positives of flat rate pricing and only teach you how to flat rate your services.
Truthfully pricing can be pretty complex so there’s not too much they can teach round the subject because it’s unique to each business and the problems at hand but you’ll really only learn about the positives of flat rate pricing in school.
Budgeting money as a technician
No one will ever talk about the seasonality or the ups and downs of working as a technician and managing your money. He goes on to explain that the week after christmas is really busy and the week before christmas is really busy but two weeks before that is not busy at all.
“When the fair is in town we don’t get any business for that whole week”
He explains that depending on current events in the world or in your city your business flow will change and sometimes you’ll be really busy and some time things will be really slow and properly managing your money to be prepared for those times is crucial. Eventually you’ll be able to see the trends and understand how to balance your paychecks.
Working with customers
The days of hiding technicians in the back and not letting them have customer interaction are over. However in school he says he never really learned about how to deal with customers or how to empathize with customers or how to basically provide good customer service. One of the biggest issues is that many customers might not have the money to pay for the fixes they need and those are problems you need to learn how to deal with well. He says that customers love to talk to technicians to really understand what problems their cars are having so they feel more comfortable paying for the services.
How to sell work
When you’re working with a service advisor, the person who communicates the problems to the customers, you need to know how to sell them your work. That means you need to clearly explain to them what is happening and why. This way, when they speak to the customer, the customer can fully understand the problems at hand and they don’t feel like they are just being told what to pay for.
“Your customer needs to understand why it might cost $400 to get their check engine light off”
You need to understand that your customer will not know how an oxygen sensor and and air flow meter into each other and why they are crucial parts that might make your check engine light go off. All the customer knows is that it’s going to cost money to get something fixed. If you can properly sell your services, meaning, explain exactly why something is happening and how it needs to be fixed everything we be much smoother.
How to diagnose cars
To be fair, there is no real way to teach someone how to properly diagnose a car. In school you’ll learn how systems work and how equipment works like how an air flow meter and an oxygen sensor working together. You’ll learn about systems and equipment and tools but it takes time and experience to develop as a technician to be able to diagnose cars.
Commonly new technicians fresh out of technical school will see a check engine light and the first thing they’ll do is dive right in and try to find the most complicated problem to solve, when oftentimes it’s a simple fix like low battery voltage.
So you learn all the systems and equipment in school but you don’t learn a process and you really need a mentor for that. So to be fair to tech school there’s no real way to teach diagnosing cars and that’s something you’ll have to learn outside of school.
“It took time and experience for us to build our diagnostic processes”
As with many things in life the best teacher is experience!