We are open! We continue to offer our “Drop and Go” service. See what we've learned from COVID. Learn more

3208 International St, Fairbanks, AK   |   (907) 312-1447

The Auto Mechanic Hierarchy Business Model

Does your Fairbanks Auto Repair Shop have a pecking order of “master technicians” vs. “lube-oil techs?” 

In the historical and currently prevalent business models in the automotive industry, “Master Technician” refers to individuals who both get run over or left behind because they sit still. 

Evolution is something to keep up with on Earth. We learn and grow in every facet of life. This is a hard process to avoid. However, as humans we do try to get out of it.

Change is hard. Learning requires effort. Growth demands that we embrace a routine of leaning into uncertainty. 

Fairbanks Auto Repair is no exception to this process. Whatsoever. 

Your auto mechanic needs to have a curious mind, unflappable courage, open honesty and rigorous standards for excellence in order to keep a vehicle safe in Fairbanks conditions. 

From changing weather norms to almost monthly vehicle design updates, in 2021 a mechanic who is mastering his trade is someone willing to grow, constantly. A truly “master mechanic” is not the most senior individual with the most tools; not the oldest guy or the one who drives an Audi; not the one with an ASE patch alone.

A Master Mechanic is not someone who has mastered his trade, past tense. In the automotive repair industry, mastering the trade means literally keeping up with daily change by conducting scientific research and cataloguing data. 

A Master Mechanic is a perpetual student. They have gotten their PhD and their career is literally the process of defending a thesis of commitment to both evolving technology and human relationships. 

Where is the Mechanic’s Thesis defended? Before their colleagues and clients. Daily.

This is where the Auto Mechanic Hierarchy business model breaks down and has fallen on its face.

Mechanics who enjoy benefits and pay, based on certifications and time-in, are often individuals who have put themselves out to pasture. They are wandering the fields of approximate diagnosis and hurling new parts at what seem like old problems. 

In contrast, say a journeyman Lube-oil technician who is ambitiously mastering the auto repair trade is a better employee and more integral team member than the seasoned mechanic who has 9 dusty ASE certificates. 

Now, don’t get us wrong. We are not throwing out the baby with the bath water here.

Technical training IS integral to fixing cars today. We are not advocating LESS training. We advocate CONSTANT training. Specific training that happens on the job. Mastery in automotive training happens uniquely in a collaborative atmosphere.

The old hierarchy of Master Technician, Lube Tech, Tire Guy, Broom Pilot, Parts Changer—-all operating in their own bays and COMPETING for repair work—- is a business model that prevails. 

This business model does not serve drivers. It does not serve mechanics as humans or experts in their fields. It does not serve drivers. They would rather a root canal than bring their car to your Shop. 

This Hierarchy serves two things: Automotive Repair as Retail and a Simplistic System of Accounting.

Automotive Repair as Retail. Imagine you walk into a doctor’s office because you broke your ACL and he sells you a shoulder replacement with the knee-work? This is the business model under which auto mechanics have to make a living. 

The “upsell” is what enables most technicians in the industry to ensure their families a decent standard of living.  

But auto repair is not retail Auto repair is a SERVICE. 

If we change our Shop configuration from competition to collaboration, this one adjustment will right the emotional and economic pressures in the industry that have plagued us into the grudge purchase behind a root canal. 

Caring for people by providing them with safe and reliable transportation is a hero’s work. It has value and is a satisfying career. Mechanics love what they do when they are successful and when they can be heroes. 

As auto shops, we need to evolve constantly. This looks like replacing the old competition with sincere and affectionate collaboration. It is the future and the present. 

Don’t get run over or left behind.