Hot Rod Forum banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, im a senior in high school and im thinking about going to tech school to get some training in hot rodding (chassis fab, paint, body, engines ect.) becuase i have been into old cars all my life and i want to make a career out of it. But before i throw out the ol' brain and choose not to go to college, i have some questions.

1. Is it hard to get hired with no real job expereince? (i now my spelling sucks)

2. About how much would one in the business expect to make?

3. Is it one of those areas were you pretty much need connections of some type to get involved in? (i have no connections)

4. Would you personally think it would be worth not going to college to do what i love to do?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
18,635 Posts
My advise...If you want to get into a business, no matter what type, you need training in running a business. Got to college and get a degree in business. Of course, in an auto related business, you also need the vocational training for that field.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Listen to Poncho!

Working for someone else gets old REAL fast!!

Learn basic accounting and how to run a business first, then go work for someone else and learn what NOT to do. Then open your own shop! You WILL remember my words trust me! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
734 Posts
If you have been "into old cars" your whole life what kind of experience do you have now? How many cars have you built?

I started turning wrenches with my Grandpa when I was 7, rebuilt my first motor when I was 15 and by the time I was 18 I took my chevelle to a bodyshop to have some work done. When I was done working I would stop by and see how progress was going and ended up befriending the owner. I got hired to do prep work and with my background and the owner showing me how to do bodywork in 6 months I was making journeyman wages (50% commission) - I did that for about 8-10 years and got out.

Now this was a bodyshop and primarily did collison repairs, but because the owner was into 1/4 mile race cars he did other race cars, show cars, restos etc...this was also back in the early 80.s and it was much lower overhead trying to keep the shop open...now materials costs, and overhead are so prohibitive most shops have to deal only in collison repairs.

To get into a "hot-rod" shop without any professional training (voc school at least) you are going to need to be lucky enough to find someone willing to hire you and have the patience and time to teach you ~ more of an apprenticeship. You won't be doing the cool mods and fab though...you'll be sanding, grinding, sweeping, sanding, grinding, sweeping...you get the picture.

1. Is it hard to get hired with no real job expereince? (i now my spelling sucks) - YEP!

2. About how much would one in the business expect to make? Well, now here you go and mess things up...you cannot get into this business (or any business because of the money) if its going to be a career you better love it whether you make $1 or 1 million

3. Is it one of those areas were you pretty much need connections of some type to get involved in? (i have no connections) See #1

4. Would you personally think it would be worth not going to college to do what i love to do?[/QUOTE]
NO - unless you have competent skills now...getting schooling at least in autobody mechanics min. would give you the basics, color matching theory and painting, welding techniques (and practice), body repairs...etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,071 Posts
I'd go to college. Alot of the reason the price of many of the old cars have risen is people in lucrative careers buy them for investments and drive up the costs. Someone like me can't go out and find an affordable old camaro in decent shape like could have back in the 80's. Ever check the prices on some of the old mopars today? I work in auto body, and the pay isn't great, esp starting out the pay probably won't be too good. Its dirty work, and many that were in the trade have ruined their health. Any thing you love can become a job when you do it for a living. There are quite a few body men driving around in dented up cars with shot paint and mechanics driving poor running cars that need a tuneup. Spend so much time working on others things trying to make a living, they don't have the time or enough motivation to get to their own projects after a full day wrenching and grinding on others toys. I personally think you would be better off getting into a career that is expected to be a good demand for in the future that will make you a pretty good living, then you have the money to buy what you want, keep it a hobby and fun. But I know where you are, I grew up with an interest in cars, wasn't interested in going to college, and no one could have told me to choose a different career. A lot of my experience in the auto body part of the trade had been a disappointment, but I still like a lot of it. But probably would have been better off now if I would have choose a more lucrative career and kept as a hobby or a side thing. Rambo is right, most shops do primarily collision repair now as its their bread and butter that keeps the bills payed and the shop going. There is less bodywork and fabrication being done, more parts replaceing. And there is fighting with insurance companys to get paid good times and rushing to get vehicles out the door and new ones in. You can always go to tech school to learn more about those subjects you are interested in, but college probably would be your best choice for a lucrative career. Some of the big hot rod fabrication places have other ventures for income also.
 

·
Get in, sit down, hang on
Joined
·
2,785 Posts
No offense to you in particular, Spartan034, but spelling and sentence structure skills just don't seem to have much importance to those that set the school curriculum anymore. We're living in an age of text and instant messaging, where there just isn't time to worry about spelling, grammar, and punctuation, I guess. :rolleyes: My kids are just as bad.

I'll second the advice given by others ... stay in school if you can, but I know that school isn't for everyone. You CAN make a living working in the automotive industry, and there are many occupations where you can use the knowledge you have now and learn much more.

I've been an automotive partsperson (which is a recognized skill trade in Alberta) since 1979, and have earned a living and supported a small family on wages. Partsmen don't make quite as much money as a mechanical or body technician ... but then again, we're not faced with the expense $$$ of buying tools, nor do we encounter a whole lot of health risks.

ANY job in the service industry requires a thick skin, though ... whether you're a shop owner or an employee ... there are people out there without one clue that will think they know your job better than you do.

As far as getting your foot in the door in any "skill trade" occupation, you will need to convince a prospective employer that this is something that you REALLY want to do, as you are asking him/her to make an investment in YOU.

Let's face it ... you're not all that "productive" while you're learning, and you're liable to make some mistakes that will cost the business some money as a "do-over" or even lost customers due to perceived incompetence.

Make a commitment to stay at the job for "x" years after finishing your apprenticeship (where x > 2) to allow the guy to recoup some of the money that he has laid out. Too often, an employer will hire and pay partial wages for someone to "get trained", only to have them quit and move on as soon as they have their ticket.

This is a HUGE factor (here in Western Canada at least) where employers want to "steal" trained employees (especially automotive repair technicians) from each other. Some are even paying "signing bonuses". Very few shops are willing to take a risk on hiring and training inexperienced young adults due to the reasons stated earlier ... training costs money.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
734 Posts
Spartan034 said:
Thanks. I hadn't thought about how doing what i like to do for a living would ruin what i like to do. Thanks for the input all.
FYI -- kenseth17 is spot on with his advice. :)

I was the body technician that drove the beat up car...it got to the point I would pay my employees to do my own cars because I didn't have anything left after the day was over!

I quit doing it professinally after 8 years because of the stress and burn-out and for a long time after that I just didn't care to work on cars - even as a Hobby...

Fast forward...some 18 years later 1996..I went back to school and got a AA degree in computer programming - I make double what a good body tech makes these days and I only work 6-9 months a year and take the rest of the time off to play with my dog Rambo and my toys!

Now working on cars is a joy for me! Smoke, fire, metal...it's such a contrast to programming it's really fun again.

I do think a body techs job is becoming and will be "bolt-on" and require less repair skills in the very near future.

Another thing to think about is that the current "wave" or "explosion" of interest in rods, restos, muscle cars is that Boomers are getting to a point and financial status in there lives that they can afford the high dollar toys and are driving the prices sky high.

When the boomer generation starts "checking-out" (me included) you will see less demand and the rod industry take a huge downturn...at least that's what I think!
 

·
Get in, sit down, hang on
Joined
·
2,785 Posts
Spartan034 said:
thanks i have heard what i need to hear. i guess ill do something else, i guess turning a hobby into a career is not such a good idea...
But there is nothing wrong with persuing a career that is based on your interests, either!

Don't be so quick to let someone talk you out of following your dreams.

I think the intention here was just to make you aware that having a good education gives you a bunch of alternatives if you discover that automotives is "not for you".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,354 Posts
I will pass on to you the advice I gave my son when he was your age. He was going to college and wanting to major in Anthropology. I asked him what he was going to do for a living as an Anthropologist ie, put food on the table, roof over his head and clothes on his back. I then told him to look for something that he could be interested in and that had a future and he could get a minor in Anthropology and go on "digs" as a volunteer when he was on vacation from his bills paying job. Well, he did that and is now retiring at the age of 43 and going to start a second career doing his hobby.

Trees
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top