One question that auto repair techs are very invested in knowing the answer to is: “What are the auto repair hourly rates by state?” Everyone wants to be compensated fairly and generously, and many workers are willing to relocate for a better wage. Here we will go over the differences in auto repair costs and hourly rates in different states and discuss why that still might not completely answer the above question of where to relocate for the best personal benefit.
Auto Repair Hourly Rates by State Are Far from Uniform
According to a AAA survey from 2017, auto repair rates within their approved network of shops charged between $47 and $215 per hour. This is obviously a large range, but it’s based on a number of factors, including:
- Area cost of living – Local wage and benefit costs which are affected by local cost of living
- Type of shop – Independent vs. dealership
- Vehicles serviced – Typical cars on the road vs. luxury cars
- Business costs – Including mortgage/rent, utilities, equipment, tools, and taxes
- Tech training – Skills or certifications necessary to work on vehicles
Obviously, if a state has passed regulations that control how an auto shop can operate, this will also factor into the cost of doing business. Shops that are located in areas with lower costs of living, less red tape, and low crime will have fewer costs and will charge their customers less to repair their cars.
According to a report by ZipRecruiter, the highest average auto-mechanic salaries by state are (in order): Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, North Dakota, Alaska, Nevada, Washington, South Dakota, Oregon, and New York. The average salary in Hawaii is $46,422 per year with an hourly wage of $22.32. This is 12.9% higher than the national average.
The lowest average auto repair hourly rates by state are: Utah, Kansas, Louisiana, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Alabama, New Mexico, Florida, and Mississippi. The average annual salary in Alabama is $32,077 with an hourly wage of $15.42.
In terms of costs, the most affordable state to get a car repaired is Ohio with an average cost of $354 for a check engine repair and the same repair costing $414 in Washington D.C. After D.C. the four next expensive places to get this type of vehicle repair are: Connecticut, California, Georgia, and New Jersey. After Ohio, the next most affordable places are: Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Vermont.
Changing Jobs in Search of a Better Hourly Rate
Moving from job to job in search of better opportunities is more of a Millennial trend, but it was quite popular before the economic destruction caused by COVID. According to a then Harris Poll, approximately a third of employees regularly searched for new jobs, and nearly 80% of them were open to changing jobs if a good opportunity arose.
Changing jobs based on salary or hourly wage alone can be shortsighted, though. There are many things to consider when deciding if a new job will be a better fit for you, and every worker needs to do the math before making a major career decision.
If you find a job with a higher salary, but it’s located in a place with a higher cost of living, then you need to consider if the higher costs for rent, groceries, medical care, and transportation outweigh the higher salary. For example, the cost of living in San Francisco is 96% higher than living in Salt Lake City. States with lower costs of living can still have higher costs in major cities as well.
You also need to factor in other things that can drastically affect your quality of life, including the weather, the local culture and politics, commute time, crime, and the impact a change will have on your social life, especially your family and friends. It’s not worth relocating for a higher salary if you are miserable because you hate the cold (or the heat), feel out of touch with the local culture, and miss your family.
While one area of the country may offer lower wages, it might be a very good place to raise a family, with low crime, lower housing costs, and an overall more affordable standard of living. It pays to do your research before you accept a new job somewhere else. If you are looking up auto repair hourly rates by state, take the time to also research the other factors that will determine if you will be happy in your new location.