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  • Is a 50 Hour Tech worth $75,000?

    Posted by Site Administrator on April 30, 2017 at 8:07 am

    There is a common belief that indie shops don’t pay well. To make decent money you have to be a dealer tech.

    If you are an indie shop owner who would be willing to pay $75,000 a year for a tech who could consistently produce 50 hours a week, please reply to this post with the name, location and contact info for your shop.

    If you are a tech who would be interested in a job like that, please reply to this post with your name, location and contact info.

    Click here for ideas for motivating your technicians.

    John Schupp replied 4 years, 6 months ago 23 Members · 31 Replies
  • 31 Replies
  • Daniel Jenkins

    April 30, 2017 at 9:45 am

    That does sound like a good opportunity for a technician. But if I were paying that price for a tech I would expect him to handle some tools you would expect the shop to pay for, for instance probably the tech needs to own there own scanner and some other diagnostic equipment. I would work with them and say their scanner could on do domestic and Asian I would pay for the European chip for the tech. It is a two way street, I would definitely pay for engine stands, hoist etc as the owner. But basically what I’m saying is if it can fit in your toolbox  they should probably pay for it but if there something you need adapter or anything like that I can help them out especially by paying them that much. As a technician if the owners like that I would think that would be a fair play

  • Alan Ollie

    May 1, 2017 at 8:31 am

    This is a no brainer. If you know Late model BMW & MB please come to my shop.

    My math look like this. APX $1450 per wk = $29 hr with taxes and workers comp health insurance etc its about $200 a week  =  $1650  divide x 50 hr $33 hr

    Effective rate of $121 x 30% = $ 36.30 per hr so in theory i could pay  up to $36 per hr.  This must be paid on flat rate or it will never work .

    At my shop we use a base plus a sliding scale so if a A super tech makes over 45 hr he is making $33 a hr and over 50 hr its like 35 hr.

    I have the spread sheet in excel. Message me if you want to get a copy of the sheet.

    He has to be one heck of a tec to turn a avg of 50 hr  so some weeks its going to be more and some less.

    PS: I will only send it to members who i feel are active posting on this great forum.

    Ollie G




  • David Roman

    May 1, 2017 at 11:07 am

    PM sent Ollie… 🙂

  • johnschindel

    May 1, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Hi Ollie:

    While I’d agree that a technician would have to be something special to flag 50 hours a week, I’d also say that the rest of the organization and support needs to be in place to ensure that he can do it.  Service advisors who know how to do their job properly, good appointments, parts availability, and dispatching are a couple of things that must be in place as well to give that technician every opportunity to succeed.

    Great conversation and I’ll look forward to seeing what other people have to say.


  • Tom

    May 1, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    Major disagreement with you guys on the 50 hours being something special. Most solidly experienced techs can do 50 hours a week in a well run shop.

  • Alan Ollie

    May 2, 2017 at 4:41 am

    Ok do all all of your techs avg 50 hr. I know your son did. at another shop.

    Is my shop so messed up my techs run 35 hr ? Once a month we do get 1-2 guy turn 50 hr but its not the norm. My heavy line guy does 42 avg.

  • nessautosales

    May 2, 2017 at 6:43 am

    Yes he’s definately worth $75k given a few things. You say 50 hrs a week. Is that 50 real hours or 50 fictional hours. I’ve hear of shops paying a hour for a oil change, 2 hours to put front brakes in, 2 hrs for diagnosis and billing $50. I think you get my point. Hours is unit of measurement we use to simplify the process and make it easy to manage regularly as our shop management system kicks those numbers in reports. If everything is in check…yes he’s worth $75k.

  • Tom

    May 2, 2017 at 6:55 am

    The linked survey lists ten things that must be working well to get maximum production. Most shops do not have their ducks in a row on every one of these items. The ones that do are able to get their better techs to consistently do 50+ hours per week.


    Hours Produced – What Limits Them at Your Shop?

  • stokesauto

    May 2, 2017 at 7:11 am

    I’m a tech. Joined this forum because I’m trying to build a shop.

    I don’t consider $75k/yr to be a lot for a good tech. It’s not the ’90s anymore.

    Ajusted for inflation, $75k now is like $50k was 20 years ago.

    I went to a tech school in ’01/’02, so I wasn’t a tech in the ’90s, but I know guys that were making $60k-$80k back then, and they all tell me the automotive business went to hell after 9/11.

    It’s been 16 years since 9/11. How much have shop rates gone up, yet pay has been stagnant?

    I left a dealer in ’06 and have no desire to work for a dealer again. I like indies, but they both have their pros and cons.

    A tech being able to flag more than 100% doesn’t justify a low wage. A few years ago I applied at a shop in So Cal. I was hoping to get around $20/hr flat rate. The service manager said she had guys that had been there 6 years that were only making $18. I was like wtf? I was making more than that in Idaho with a much lower cost of living. She said all of her guys regularly flag 120%. So you’re telling me that it’s ok to pay a low wage and make them do more work so that it averages out a little higher? No thanks.

    On the other side of that, the first indy I worked for told me his guys averaged 40hr/wk throughout the year. Ok cool. He started me at $17/hr. I later realized that with the hours we were open, I was at the shop for 60hrs/wk. Sure I flagged 40, but being there 60 hr/wk, I was making the equivelant of a $9.50 hourly wage would be with OT.

    I could rant for hours about all the reasons we techs hate the auto industry, but I’ll just say that if shops want good techs, they need to start paying them what they are worth.

    $40k is still listed as the median income anywhere you look. That’s not enough for a career that requires as much as being a tech does.

    I’ve been working off and on as a contractor over seas because it’s the only way to make some real money as a tech. I’m sitting in Afghanistan right now saving money to put towards the shop I’m trying to build.

    I’m really curious to see what will happen to the auto industry in the future. All I read about is what a shortage of good techs there are, yet wages are still way low. Something has to change.

  • Allison Holmes

    May 2, 2017 at 8:18 am

    So what do you do when you hire that tech and he under performs? You check his references, you look at his skill level according to what he’s telling you and what he’s listed on his application. Everything looks great on paper, his references don’t have a bad thing to say (legally they can’t say anything negative about his job performance anyway) and you hire him. He shows up for work with a nice sized tool box fully loaded, even has some specialty tools in there. He works his first week and things look good. The next week 4 of those jobs he did last week comeback for things that he did wrong and breaks 3 different parts for 3 different jobs in that second week that you now have to “eat” because it can’t be warrantied because it was the technicians fault it broke. Yeah, that’s happened to me – so sure a tech is worth that much, but only a tech that can prove he’s worth that much. I would / will never hire a tech at high pay again without a probation period because I lost way more money that I paid him those 2 weeks with what he didn’t know how to do, when on paper and from his mouth he said he did.

  • Alan Ollie

    May 2, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Not to change the subject but i would like to get 5 good leads for a great BMW tech . I have put ads showing our shop and not showing .We get hardly any leads. I watched the Cris Collins Videos and placed many ads with poor results . The dealers start pay for a certified dealer  A tech at 29- 35 a hr in south fl.  Plus 401 k and health insurance. Not to mention a Air conditioned shop.

    I plan on keep sending my young guys to training and watching AVI videos.

    How on earth do some of you shop owners have multiple shops.

    i really suck at marketing for techs .

  • Scott Waddle

    May 2, 2017 at 11:58 am

    I don’t think $75K is is a top wage  and I think 50 hours a week is quite achievable.


    As Tom mentioned, the right tech with the right support staff and the right mix of vehicles to work on can do this, two of the three techs in our shop average over 50 hours a week,  60 is not uncommon.

    Those two get paid significantly more than $75K a year.

  • danrsauto

    May 2, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    I agree with much is being said in the forum so far . Tech’s are under paid to support a family financially and personal time. As Gary Stated you need a support system that supports the Tech’s as well as the service advisors for everyone to achieve greatness.

    My pay scale is depending ability is $40,000 to $70,000 with full benefits , as well as help for specialized tools needed.

    Hours turned is not as important to me as [ Come backs ]  We as shops can spend more monies driving us nuts about hours , then spend thousands on Marketing / Advertising . The goal is to impress clients to save on Marketing cost with Free Referral’s etc.  Divide your hours available into your Marketing budget / Come Back Cost I think you will see Technician Hours become a little less important and or pay.

    Fixing Tech industry won’t happen- no laws adhered to by States and City’s , Schools That only work with Dealer’s / Manufactures / Parts places delivering and selling to Back yarders . and our Tech’s that /moon light , Ourselves that do not care about the future and the industry image, Our information we fought  for with the government  being resold to any one . Labor rates being controlled by the insurance industry.

    This is one big discussion but a good one.

  • Jeff Graser

    May 2, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Interesting subject and discussion.  We have 14 shops and employ about 60 techs.  We pay semi monthly, so don’t really look at tech hours/pay by the week.

    We have techs making 6 figures, they aren’t the norm, they are highly productive, here are some examples from a recent pay period.

    Days worked Clock hours   Book Hours

    10                      120.25            191.60

    10                      106.75            158.00

    11                      104.5              169.40

    10                      121.5               189.3

    9                        103.75             168.8

    Our overall tech efficiency (book/clock) was 99.33%

    $75k is easily attainable for the guys that are productive, and 6 figures is happening for the best of the best.  They work a lot of hours as we are open 7:30-5:30, 6 days a week, and most only work 6 days if they want to, some times it is requested when we need the coverage.    We are up for anyone who wants to do quality work and can be productive.  We have the customers to support it.






  • wheelingauto

    May 3, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    To Whomever came up with the thought he/she would only pay a tech that much is if they bought some of the technology needed to run a shop you should be ashamed of yourself. You should learn how to better run your business and stop subsidizing it with tech pay.

    As for a tech who can bill 50 hours consistently in 40 clock hours making 75k per year I would vote all day any day. I think a diagnostician who could also bill 50 hours should be paid even more.

    Unfortunately there are some techs out there who believe their value comes from what tools they own rather than the experience and intelligence they have. too many have the tool but dont know how to use it properly.

  • Greg McConiga

    May 7, 2017 at 11:19 am

    These questions always intrigue me as they beg for simple answers to complicated questions in an industry that will be, in my opinion, nearly completely gone by 2050, due in large part to our own refusal to see our own faults.  First question… what is a middle class income these days?  In my dad’s day, he made $35-40 thousand a year… with a company funded pension and company paid health care.  I’ve struggled most of my adult life to earn $60-70 thousand a year working at least two jobs while paying from that my own pension, my own health care and an average of about $10,000 a year for tooling, subscriptions, con-ed and equipment.  A hundred dollar bill is about like a $20 was… and in my opinion it takes about $100,000 a year to be middle class in America 2017.  Do the math once on house payments, a car payment, insurances, groceries, utilities along with the self funding requirements I listed above plus taxes and you’ll see I’m not too far off.

    Ours is the only industry that insists that we are paid on what we know, while paying our techs on what they do… at six minute intervals.  I particularly loved the comment about a tech coming fully equipped with a big tool box full of tools… but I guarantee you that if I showed up with my tools and equipment you’d have a fit because it would take a semi trailer to move it all.  Having a tech show up with a bunch of tools sounds good until you realize it takes up two of your stalls… stalls that went from production to storage.  What you really want is a guy that grinds out hours and hangs parts… but you just won’ t say it out loud because you know how it sounds.  There’s a lot that goes on in a production driven shop that isn’t good and a lot of it goes unnoticed because we’re smart enough to avoid asking a question we don’t want the answer to.

    We price our goods and services on a variable scale justifying it on the nature of a competitive marketplace while in many cases performing work with huge exposures to liability at discounted prices and flat rates (think brakes for example.)  We are the only industry that I’m aware of that insists that the technician become a defacto business partner with us by supplying his own tooling…  Have you ever seen a factory employee (who often makes more money and has better benefits) show up with his or her own punch press or lathe or Bridgeport?  Yeah… me neither.  I always thought it would be smart to supply the tools… all of them… so that it would be impossible to leave and go elsewhere (right about here the tool truck guys are having a stroke….)

    To make matters worse, techs often come with school loans (“you’ll make a hundred grand a year!!”) and the real working lifetime of a tech is actually pretty short.  He’s good by about 25 and worn out and broke down by 60… he damn sure better be making a lot of money if all he’s got is a 35 year working career!

    We are on the cusp of seeing the single most disruptive technology break down the doors of our trade.  We will see a doubling of all electric vehicles every two years according to SAE… and these are cars with about 15 moving parts as opposed to over 5000 in a IC car.  Brake life with advanced regen systems will be in excess of 100K miles…. battery life will double… and I’m betting that the manufacturers will come up with warranties that are at least 10 years and 150,000 miles out.  Why not?  There’s nothing to break and every visit to the shop walks them past the new product, which is where the manufacturer makes his coin.  Combined with environmental pressures and an increasing level of consumer awareness of the absolute stupidity of private car ownership ($6000-12000  a year to own a depreciating and decaying asset that sits parked for 90% of the time)… along with an exploding autonomous vehicle population will change the face of American society and mobility.

    So… what’s a tech worth?  One that shows up every day sober, clean and well groomed… has good work habits… cheerfully attends any and all con-ed… takes care of his investment and yours with equal concern… keeps the work area clean… stays on a problem well after 99% of the techs would either give up or commence tossing parts at it until it goes away and remains engaged and passionate about the business no matter how difficult the challenges…  I would not be able to put a number on that guy, he’s that rare.  If you find him, pay him what it takes to keep him because he’s the Hope Diamond in the gravel pit.

    Best to all,


  • stokesauto

    May 9, 2017 at 5:35 am

    In response to what mobilemech70 said about underperforming, I’d assume we’re talking $75,000 a year flat rate. That’s about $29/hr. If he’s under performing and burning up time with come backs, he obviously not going to hit $75k/yr. 30 hr/wk would be $45k. If he’s not performing like he was supposed to, you cut his pay or replace him.

  • stevebfl

    May 9, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    We have never paid flat rate and our pay system rewards capability not necessarily productivity.  Our labor rate is high in a small Southern town and we get away with it because of our capability and customer service.  A tech billing 50 hours a week in our 42.5 hour weeks will produce over $298,750 in labor during the year.  Thirty percent of that is $89,625.  Forty percent is $119,500.  So now that the mans pay is absolutely covered by his production we can create jobs that pay more for capability over productivity.  We have 13 techs and the capable ones, the ones that make us the place to bring a European car, make 6 figures but probably don’t average 50 hours.

    The ones that produce 60-70 hours will make less money than those capable ones that bring us 25 full bays every day, all day.  The point is that a capable shop billing top hourly figures should have NO problem paying $75,000 for productivity at these levels and maybe even more if he carries the reputation of that shop to bring in these figures. That capable tech working diagnostics may produce only 40 hours a week and in 50 weeks only do $239,000 labor.  I am perfectly happy to give that tech 50% of billed labor.  While I may only give parts changing techs somewhere between 30 and 40 percent.

  • Jim Masella

    May 9, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    Finding a hard time getting A rate techs.  Does anyone have a competency test for new hires?  Like a modified ASE test.

  • Tom

    May 10, 2017 at 6:32 am

    Not at all like an ASE test, but more of a natural gifts test is available from the company noted below for techs and for advisors.


  • Tom Knapp

    May 10, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    I’m not sure my shop could keep that could keep an A tech in parts. we 65 miles from parts . I would love to try though. it hard to find A techs in  rural Wyoming.

  • catonauto

    May 15, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    Seems to be an easy question for anyone to figure out for any technician:

    Tech costs you: 75k a year = 1442 a week

    Figure in a 15% load and that tech really costs- $1660 a week

    Now you want your tech cost around 17.5-20% so lets take his $1660 a week and divide it by the 17.5% = $9485.71 (this is the number of sales $ in labor he needs to produce)

    Since he is at 50 hrs per week- take your 9485.71 and divide it by 50= $189.72 which would need to be your effective labor rate in order to keep his percentage in line.

    Now if you wanted to keep him at the 20% cost your effective labor rate would have to be around $166 per hour to pay for him on the work that he does.

    Of course there are some instances where you may be paying this- for instance an A tech who has 20 years tenure- but then you would have to be cheaper on your other technicians by a wide margin.

  • Alan Ollie

    May 15, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Hi Catonauto,  I do not follow your math. 50 hour’s at 135 hr is  $6750 You could pay tech 1687 and be under 25%.

    Give me a great A+ tech i pay him whatever is needed. Great techs keeps me away from the shop with low stress.

  • catonauto

    May 16, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Sorry yes my math is flawed forgot one step-

    It is correct to say his amount of sales production must be $9485.71

    However to calculate the labor rate you would need to find your part to labor ratio. For sake of argument call it 50/50-

    so his labor needed is 4742.86 which is then divided by his 50 hrs per week- meaning your ELR needs to be 94.85 on the work he performs- much more palatable but, it still depends where in the country you are and what you collect.


    Thanks Vdepot for checking up- I knew something seemed a little off.



  • jay weckerle

    June 4, 2017 at 11:55 am

    I was a tech from 1983 to 2003 and always a drivability diagnostic  and electrical specialist. 2004 until 2016 I was in management and then decided to go back to my true love, diagnostics. I took a job in a small tire store chain because they hired me. I averaged $1100 a week doing maintenance, brakes, chassis and I was their diagnostic specialist, but there was very little diagnostic work there.  I finally got a job in a Mazda dealership for the purpose of becoming their go to diagnostic tech. They are training me and I am already their top guy for difficult issues. I now average $800 a week, about 10% more than I made 25 years ago 1992. I would make much more to stay a brake pad changer in a tire store, unfortunately I find that just to boring to do.

    When I diagnose difficult wiring problems, intermittent drivability issues, ect., the kind of repairs that save us from lawsuits, CSI disasters and buybacks, my boss is lucky to get enough time out of Mazda to make my flat rate pay to actual time come out to minimum wage. I enjoy this work and fortunately am in a position in life where I can take the hit sometimes. The thing is that while I’m doing this the other techs that are making 45-55 hours a week and are vocally glad I’m there so they don’t get stuck with this work. There is zero incentive to gain my diagnostic ability by techs that will be financially punished for doing so. Manufacturers pay so little warranty time now that the best a tech can hope is, with practice, to break even after a few attempts. (I just got paid 0.6 hours to diagnose a poorly functioning parking brake, and replace and bleed a left rear caliper)

    Much more is covered under warranty, (we are getting ready to put free ball joints on THIRTEEN year old cars). Maintenance intervals keep lengthening. Cars don’t break like they used to. These realities are the reasons we have survived this long with the dwindling talent available.

    Now manufacturers have changed all sales departments to unit volume incentive so service departments are being depended on more to provide profit to the dealership while maintaining perfect CSI against surveys that are not designed to register customer satisfaction but force dealers to provide more services. That means the business plans for service have had to lower the percentage of tech cost per hour to make gross profit. The system is close to collapse.

    It has taken a long time and a lot of small changes to get here. There is no one answer. The solution will take a lot of small changes. Someone better start making those changes or manufacturers are going to have no one to do all the warranty work they sponsor to stay out of court.

  • Matthew Kessler

    October 1, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    50 hours is not a lot at all. I flagged 95hrs last week. 75k a year is the average where I work. And with shop equipment, anything that makes me more productive I will buy, within reason. I have my own scanner, engine hanger.

  • Wesley Guin

    October 2, 2019 at 11:30 am

    There is a common belief that indie shops don’t pay well. To make decent money you have to be a dealer tech.

    If you are an indie shop owner who would be willing to pay $75,000 a year for a tech who could consistently produce 50 hours a week, please reply to this post with the name, location and contact info for your shop.

    If you are a tech who would be interested in a job like that, please reply to this post with your name, location and contact info.

    Click here for ideas for motivating your technicians.

    Here’s my current pay plan for techs, please note though my goal is to actually steal techs from dealers. 5 day work weeks, 100% paid health insurance plus I feel like this pay plan is highly competitive.


    Base pay                        $37,500

    Certification Bonus

    1 – 7 ASEs                       $2,000/ea

    ASE master                    $8,200

    MAX ASE pay                $22,200

    Billed hour Bonus

    0 – 10 HRS/w                 $0.50/HR

    10 – 15 HRS/w               $1.50/HR

    15 – 20 HRS/w               $3.00/HR

    20 – 30 HRS/w              $6.00/HR

    30 – 50 HRS/w              $8.00/HR

    50 + HRS/w                   $10.00/HR

    Maximum pay based on billing 50 hours a week


  • Tom

    October 2, 2019 at 11:47 am

    100% paid health insurance for the employee only or for the entire family?


  • Wesley Guin

    October 8, 2019 at 10:53 am

    100% paid health insurance for the employee only or for the entire family?


    Employee only right now, however if we stick to my business plan we should be able to extend that out to the entire family by year 5. As well as add other benefits that you typically see at large dealerships.

  • Justin Wilson

    October 14, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    Yes we actually pay 30-35 and hour and if they would flag 50 hours a week I would be ecstatic but sadly I cannot get production like that and cannot figure out why…..

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