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- September 21, 2016 at 11:06 am #39091
I am in search of information on what I might expect making the transition from automotive to equipment or forklifts. I don’t have too many people to turn to, so this looks like the best place. I have quite a few questions, and I apologize if it’s too much for this forum.
A little about me first. I am an ASE Master Automotive Technician with 13 years experience. My work is mostly concentrated on diagnostics (electric, engine), major engine repair (gas), and air conditioning, although I do perform all other repairs when needed. I work on all makes and models, so my ability to learn on the fly, and my research skills are strong.
If any of you have worked in Automotive, you probably know that turning out a high volume of cars far outweighs the importance of quality repairs. Also, flat rate labor times are often not “profitable” for the tech, especially diagnostic work. This, combined with the need for a new challenge, are what’s driving me towards making a change.
I do have a few concerns and questions.
1) I have a family to support, so earnings are important. What can I realistically expect to earn per hour starting out? (I live in Pittsburgh, PA)
Also, what type of hourly rate could I expect if I build myself up to a “Master” level tech? I would imagine overtime is easy to get.
2) Should I try to get an Apprenticeship? The IUOE Local 66 has a Heavy Equipment Technician Apprenticeship. I’m assuming that my mechanical repair experience would get me some time knocked off the apprenticeship if I were accepted. I would also assume that doing an apprenticeship would provide me with formal instruction in the areas that I’m weak, like hydraulics and diesel engines. Would this be the best way to go? Would going the union route benefit my skills much? Keep in mind that I’ll be 40 years old in 2017…
3) Do most of you work only in the field or only in the shop, or do you do a mix of both? If you’re working in the field, what measures do you take to combat bad weather?
4) Is a CDL necessary? Would it make me a more appealing hire if I was proactive and got that first?
5) What additional tools would I need? I guess what I’m asking is, do shops generally provide special tools beyond basic hand and air tools?
6) For anyone that has made the transition, how difficult is it? What are your likes and dislikes compared to automotive?
Thanks in advance for any responses.