Automotive Technician Opportunities Exist If You Have the Right Training

In the old days, almost anyone could fix a car. You just popped the hood and everything was right there: the spark plugs, belts, radiator, oil pump, and other engine components were in plain sight. Cars were simple and easy to repair, and you could spend a few hours on a Saturday afternoon getting the old Chevy Camaro to purr like a kitten (or roar like a lion, if that was your preference).

Not now! Today’s vehicles have computers and sophisticated power systems including flex-fuels and gas-electric hybrids. Open the hood and you might not see much that the layman would recognize. Not many people can fix their own cars these days because vehicles are just too complex. They have to bring their car to a qualified technician.

Auto service technicians must have a broad knowledge of the design and interaction of vehicles’ increasingly complex components. They must be able to work with both old-fashioned hand tools and advanced electronic diagnostic equipment. They must be able to quickly learn new technologies and keep up with the rapid rate of change in the auto industry.

Good Career Prospects

If you are a qualified auto, truck, or diesel technician, you may have good career prospects. According to the U.S. Government Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (USBLS), from 2008 through 2018 automotive service technician and mechanic job opportunities are expected to be good for those who have post-secondary school automotive training.

Total job openings should increase because of overall employment growth, and because many skilled technicians are expected to retire. Job opportunities for auto technicians and mechanics are expected to be very good for those who complete post-secondary automotive training programs and who earn ASE certification.

Get the Right Training

But you can’t just walk into a career as an auto service technician. Getting the right training can be important. Even for entry-level jobs, certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) has become a standard credential for automotive service technicians. To prepare for certification, many training authorities recommend that students complete a formal training program in high school or in a post-secondary vocational school or community college.

You may want to start out with a service specialty. Certification can be obtained in eight different areas of automotive service, including engine repair, suspension and steering, brake systems, electrical systems, and heating and air-conditioning. Once you’ve launched your career, you may find that employers often send their technicians to manufacturer-sponsored technician training programs to improve or maintain their skills. Sometimes technicians focus on one brand of automobile or truck. Manufacturers also send experts to visit repair shops to provide brand-specific training.

How to Find an Automotive Training School

Here’s how to get started. Log onto a reputable college directory website such as the one below. By using your ZIP code, you’ll be able to get free information about automotive training schools in your area. Compare schools and find out which ones offer flexible schedules, financial aid for those who qualify, manufacturer sponsorship, and career guidance services. Then contact the schools that work for you. In just a few minutes you could be on your way to training for a rewarding career as an automotive technician.

Mortgage Lessons from Joe Girard

Joe Girard was a car salesman. During his selling career he sold 13,001 cars, all of them at retail. And, all of them one car at a time…no fleet sales, no multiple sales, and no wholesale sales. He personally sold more cars during his career than most dealerships sell in their lifetime.

During the years 1963 to 1977, Joe Girard sold more cars on a one-on-one basis than anyone else in the world. On his best day he sold 18 automobiles. His best month, he recorded 174 sales. His best year…a total of 1425 vehicles. All in all, he averaged about 6 retail sales per day. An amazing accomplishment!

All of Joe’s sales have been certified by “The Guinness Book of World Records” and the accounting firm of Deloitte and Touche. Today, his record remains unbroken. Joe Girard was inducted into the “Automotive Hall of Fame” on August 7, 2001.

Just as a little background, Joe Girard was born in a Detroit ghetto in 1927. He shined shoes, delivered papers for the Detroit Free Press, washed dishes, acted as a delivery boy, and assembled stoves.

Then one day in 1963 at the age of 35, Joe Girard got a job selling automobiles for a Detroit car dealership. With a telephone, a phone book, a lonely desk tucked away in a vacant corner of the dealership, Joe’s career began. It was January, a traditionally slow month and the manager was reluctant to hire him. Joe had to actually beg him for the job.

By the end of business his first day, Joe Girard sold his first automobile. He had to borrow $10 from his manager so that he could take some groceries home for his family. During his second month, Joe sold 18 cars and trucks.

Just when Joe was feeling good about himself, he was fired for being too aggressive. Some of the other salesman had complained to the owner of the dealership.

Knowing he could sell cars, and a determination to succeed, Joe had no problem finding employment with Merollis Chevrolet in Eastpointe Michigan, and the most amazing sales record in history had its beginning.

This is the breakdown of what he sold:

1963 – 267 cars and trucks

1964 – 307 cars and trucks

1965 – 343 cars and trucks

1966 – 614 cars

1967 – 667 cars

1968 – 708 cars

1969 – 764 cars

1970 – 843 cars

1971 – 980 cars

1972 – 1208 cars

1973 – 1425 cars (record year)

1974 – 1376 cars

1975 – 1360 cars

1976 – Over 1200 cars

1977 – Over 1200 cars

If you don’t think this is significant, remember these were actual sales, not deals or giveaways. Second, Joe was the number one salesman in the country every year from 1967 to 1977. The magnitude of that feat almost defies description. And third, despite the fact that there were two recessions during his first eleven years, he sold more cars every year than he did the previous year.

It’s told that on Saturday mornings, a line of people would form at the entrance of Merollis Chevrolet long before the scheduled opening. Everyone was waiting for Joe Girard to come to work and they wanted to talk to him about buying a car. Every one of them rebuffed offers of help from co-workers. They only wanted to talk to Joe, no one else would do. Over a period of fifteen years he averaged over 900 cars each and every year.

On January 1, 1978, Joe Girard retired from selling cars to focus on writing, teaching and motivating. His works include:

“How to Sell Anything to Anybody,”

“How to Sell Yourself,”

“How to Close Every Sale,” and

“Mastering Your Way to the Top.”

Stories abound about how Joe Girard “originated” his business. One of which details the fact that he was an avid Detroit Lions fan and a season ticket holder. He always opted for a seat in the upper deck so that when the Lions scored, he threw a hand full of business cards over the railing to the football fans below. He used both sides of his business card and always offered some type of “freebie” if they looked him up within the next week.

Just so you know that one isn’t even on my list of “101 Ways to Originate Mortgages.” If you try it, be careful of your local littering laws. However, using both sides of a business card is on my list.

At this point you’re probably asking…OK, how did he really do it? Well, the answer is so simple you’ll immediately wonder why you’re not doing it too. Then again…maybe you are. Here’s the answer:

Joe Girard made it a point to capture and record the contact information of every person he met or talked to. Then over the months ahead, and for each and every month thereafter, he sent each one of them a card. He sent the obvious cards for all of the major holidays. But he also sent birthday and anniversary cards. He sent Fourth of July, Groundhog Day, and Washington and Lincoln Birthday cards. Everyone Joe knew received a card each month and two in December because it was Christmas.

He sent the cards with a simple handwritten note and his signature on the inside. It read:

“I like you – Joe Girard”

I know what you’re thinking…if someone did that today, they would probably be arrested for stalking. Yes, things have changed drastically since the 60’s and 70’s, but the basic idea has not.

Joe Girard simply did what all of us in the Mortgage Business should be doing…building and maintaining a contact list, a database, a mailing list, or whatever you want to call it. Goodness, you can even call it Tom’s list if you want…I won’t object.

With cards arriving every month, Joe’s contacts almost considered him a member of the family. When they thought of a “new car” they immediately thought of Joe Girard.

And, that’s exactly what should happen when your contacts think of a mortgage. They should think of you…not the bank at the corner of their street…and, not the mortgage person they heard advertising on their local radio station. They should think of you.

The point is this, if you don’t have a list…start one immediately. If you have a list, set up a program to contact them once a month. The old adage that says “It’s all in the list” is true regardless of the product or service you are marketing.

In the final few years, Joe Girard had two assistants working for him. The size of his monthly mailings had to be huge…many thousands I’m sure. And, all of it done before the personal computer and “Windows” was even a twinkle in the eye of Bill Gates.

So, here are a couple of the lessons learned from Joe Girard:

1. You absolutely positively need a database. According to national averages, each contact on your mortgage list will make some type of mortgage decision about every five years. When they make that decision, you should be the one they call. Continually add, update and maintain your list.

The result…if your database has 500 contacts, somewhere between 15 and 20%, will make some type of mortgage decision in the next year. That’s a total of 75 to 100 potential mortgages just from your list. Now…will you get them all? Of course not! But, if you do your job…you’re entitled to your fair share.

2. Design, implement, and maintain a viable program to effectively communicate with your database each and every month. It will be like putting money in the bank. The dividends will be huge.

Send cards, letters, mortgage articles, and mortgage news snippets. Continue to send your contacts good information and implement a good postcard generating kit. You’ll be rewarded many times over.

Suzuki Grand Vitara – The “Soft Roader” Gets Serious

The cheeky little Suzuki Vitara was once very popular and especially appealed to younger drivers. I remember college kids who had a bit of money used to buy them and then “pimp” them up to the required standard which usually consisted of enormously oversized wheels and tyres accompanied by some kind of amusing spare wheel cover on the back. Then there was the obligatory sound system which emitted a blue incandescent glow and of course needed to be pumping out the latest hip-hop tune.

I’m not sure what the Suzuki executives back in Japan would have made of all this. I guess they would have just been glad of the sales but for whatever reason the plug was pulled on the Vitara and Suzuki concentrated its efforts on the higher spec Grand Vitara instead. Suzuki must have been aware that along with other baby off-roaders such as the Toyota Rav 4 for example, their cars were rarely used off-road (the cheaper Jimny was always the more favoured mud-plugger) popular with farmers and safari parks alike. I remember when my car broke down in the lion enclosure at Longleat safari park and I was saved from becoming an appetiser by a man in a zebra striped Jimny.

The motoring expression “soft roader” was born out of a desire by people to drive vehicles that were designed for off-road conditions but ended up in our towns and cities. It still provokes a heated debate amongst those in favour and those who are opposed to such behaviour.

Unperturbed though by the anti- 4×4 lobby Suzuki introduced an all new Grand Vitara in 2005 and I recently decided to have a closer inspection of one at a cheap Suzuki dealer.

This third generation model is quite a step up from the model it replaced. It is stylish, better to drive, and compares well on price and specification to models offered by Kia, Hyundai and Nissan.

There are two petrol engines a 1.6 VVT with 105bhp and a 140bhp 2.0-litre petrol. Both offer adequate performance and cruise well at speed, but can suffer from a lack of pulling power between 30-60mph, which can make overtaking a drawn-out affair. A 1.9 DDiS diesel, supplied by Renault, with 130bhp became available from late-2005.

The steering is sharp and body roll is much more under control when cornering, even at speed. The brakes are positive and responsive. As with most off-road vehicles the gear change can be a little notchy at times, but otherwise there’s a precise feel to the changes and the ride is much better than the old Grand Vitara which was rather unsophisticated and a little uncomfortable.

The Grand Vitara is longer and wider than before and the interior styling is good. There is plenty of headroom and rear legroom on the five-door, the space in the rear of the three-door is a bit tight though. Road and wind noise are kept to reasonable levels, but engine noise can get intrusive under heavy acceleration.

The wide opening tailgate and high roof means that large and awkwardly-shaped objects are easily accommodated, although loading can be quite tricky as it’s quite high off the ground. The load area on the five-door is good, while the boot space offered by the three-door is acceptable for a couple, rather than a family. The seats tumble and fold, which gives even the three-door near van-like practicality. Both have a hidden storage bin under the boot floor which is useful for hiding your valuables. Inside there’s a large glove box, centre storage bin and bottle holders in the door pockets.

The Grand Vitara gained an impressive four star rating from Euro NCAP for occupant safety and standard safety equipment is good. You’ll find ABS and electronic brake force distribution, dual front, side, and front and rear curtain airbags. All cars have remote central locking and an immobiliser so it should still be there when you return to it.

Like many Japanese manufacturers, Suzuki has a reputation for mechanical durability and like the successful Swift supermini, the Grand Vitara has been designed and engineered for European buyers who now expect a quality interior with a high-grade finish. There are no reports of any reliability problems so you should not encounter anything untoward.

The Grand Vitara has proved to be a worthy adversary against its counterparts from the other 4×4 stables.