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Old 01-01-2015, 10:23 AM   #1
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Porsche Mechanic as a Career Choice

A little background about me, I am getting honorably discharged this year after 8 years of service in the Marine Corps. My background has been 4 years Contract Management and 4 years accounting. I also got a Bachelors of Business Admin while in.

I was considering going to UTI and then follow up with the Porsche program because I was getting bored of sitting in an office all day and I really like working on my own vehicles. My test scores in the military are very high in mechanical and the Veterans Admin. Aptitude test showed very high aptitude for mechanical. However when I went to talk to the Veterans Admin. Career counselor to interpret that test she said that I am best suited to a technical trade like auto mechanics but with my current qualifications I would be stupid not to stay in contract management. That I am looking at 80k a year in contract management vs 30k being a mechanic. While money isnt everything to me I do like to have enough to support my family, save for retirement and work on side projects. I have read that good master mechanics can make 70k-100K a year but I also read that those earnings figures are not realistic. I am very interested in being able to do everything on a car. I'm just looking to see if I can get different perspectives. My career counselor told me to keep mechanics as a hobby and go where the money is but I think with the proper training and years on the job I could become an expert in the field.

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Old 01-01-2015, 10:55 AM   #2
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A little background about me, I am getting honorably discharged this year after 8 years of service in the Marine Corps. My background has been 4 years Contract Management and 4 years accounting. I also got a Bachelors of Business Admin while in.

I was considering going to UTI and then follow up with the Porsche program because I was getting bored of sitting in an office all day and I really like working on my own vehicles. My test scores in the military are very high in mechanical and the Veterans Admin. Aptitude test showed very high aptitude for mechanical. However when I went to talk to the Veterans Admin. Career counselor to interpret that test she said that I am best suited to a technical trade like auto mechanics but with my current qualifications I would be stupid not to stay in contract management. That I am looking at 80k a year in contract management vs 30k being a mechanic. While money isnt everything to me I do like to have enough to support my family, save for retirement and work on side projects. I have read that good master mechanics can make 70k-100K a year but I also read that those earnings figures are not realistic. I am very interested in being able to do everything on a car. I'm just looking to see if I can get different perspectives. My career counselor told me to keep mechanics as a hobby and go where the money is but I think with the proper training and years on the job I could become an expert in the field.

First, thank you for your service in the Marines.

Your career counselor has a point. While a "class A" Porsche mechanic can easily pull $75-95K down a year, they don't do that right out of a training school. I employ several highly experienced Class A techs in my shop, but they all spent years at Porsche dealerships and in other Porsche specialty shops before we hired them. They each also own probably $20-30K+ (or more) in tools and tool storage equipment, which is another prerequisite to getting hired in any shop environment. While my people can do very well financially, the earn it by getting a working base salary plus a percentage of the labor rate charged to the customer. And if they have a "come back", that is repaired the second time on their own time.

If you are going to make it in the Porsche service industry, you are going to have to "pay your dues", both acquiring knowledge and a substantial set of tools before anyone will hire you, and then your will start as a "D" or entry level tech, probably doing normal oil services and new car prep at a dealership. Once you have gotten ASE and some OEM tech certifications, you would have a chance to move up to a "C" level, assisting a more experienced tech on more complicated repairs. Eventually, once you have demonstrated both to the management and your more senior peers that you have what it takes, you would move up to a "B" or even "A" rating, where you would be working on your own and earning top level income. But that process takes both financial investment and years to accomplish, so you need to be committed to the career path.
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Old 01-01-2015, 10:57 AM   #3
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Porsche Mechanic as a Career Choice

Mechanic doesn't pay near enough to what it should. It's up to you but based on the mechanics I know, porsche or not, 70k plus is highly inflated.

Stick with contract management and you'll have enough side money for some toys to wrench on.

You can know how to tear a carrera gt apart and put it back together and you'll still be only on par with other job options. Do what you love, but don't expect much money being a mechanic unless you put several years in and get out on your own.
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Old 01-01-2015, 11:26 AM   #4
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First, thank you for your service in the Marines.

Your career counselor has a point. While a "class A" Porsche mechanic can easily pull $75-95K down a year, they don't do that right out of a training school. I employ several highly experienced Class A techs in my shop, but they all spent years at Porsche dealerships and in other Porsche specialty shops before we hired them. They each also own probably $20-30K+ (or more) in tools and tool storage equipment, which is another prerequisite to getting hired in any shop environment. While my people can do very well financially, the earn it by getting a working base salary plus a percentage of the labor rate charged to the customer. And if they have a "come back", that is repaired the second time on their own time.

If you are going to make it in the Porsche service industry, you are going to have to "pay your dues", both acquiring knowledge and a substantial set of tools before anyone will hire you, and then your will start as a "D" or entry level tech, probably doing normal oil services and new car prep at a dealership. Once you have gotten ASE and some OEM tech certifications, you would have a chance to move up to a "C" level, assisting a more experienced tech on more complicated repairs. Eventually, once you have demonstrated both to the management and your more senior peers that you have what it takes, you would move up to a "B" or even "A" rating, where you would be working on your own and earning top level income. But that process takes both financial investment and years to accomplish, so you need to be committed to the career path.
Great advise. Building on this and your business degree and accounting experience you can eventually open your own shop. Good Porsche shops are not always easy to find in parts of the country. The shop I go to started this way a few years ago and he did much of what JFF mentioned. When he opened his shop he started small by renting a small space in a central localation with just himself and his wife doing the work On bigger jobs he partners with other out of area Porsche mechanics. He started by competing on price ($80 an hour), good service and most importantly honesty. He also advertises heavily with the local PCA chapter and partipates in many events including track days.he he done well and is growing into new areas including prepping cars for the track and HPDE training. A Mecedes shop I know the owner did much of the same and after 15 years he has 5 guys working for him and he basically manages the shop. At and hourly rate of $100 he pulls in about $20k a week. Plenty to cover expenses and leave a very nice income for himself. He loves it and is glad that as he is getting on in age he no longer needs to do the physical work.

Good luck.
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Old 01-01-2015, 12:13 PM   #5
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J higgi. I am just about to send u a pm....
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Old 01-01-2015, 02:57 PM   #6
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Sometimes the fastest way to take all of the fun out of a hobby is to do it for a living. Right now you can pick and choose what work you do but not so when it's your bread and butter.
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Old 01-01-2015, 03:19 PM   #7
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My wife agrees that it may take all the fun out of it and if I take the job with more money then I will have more liberty to take on any projects that I want to.
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Old 01-01-2015, 04:09 PM   #8
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Thank you for your service!

I work with many ex-military people like yourself and I have found them to be smart, motivated, and highly capable. I agree with your counselor - with your education and background, you should open a repair shop, not work in one. Find a good mechanic and open a shop where you run the business, handle the customers, oversee the operations, but hire others to actually fix the cars.
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Old 01-01-2015, 06:59 PM   #9
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I'd agree with Mark, never mix business with pleasure. I have seen so many people make themselves miserable after they sucked all the joy out of their hobby by doing it for a living. Plus, with that extra 50k/yr you could afford a pretty nice home garage..
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:23 PM   #10
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Thank you for your service and I wish you the best in whatever field you choose.

It sounds like you have a very exciting year coming up!
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:56 PM   #11
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You may find it interesting to study the career path a an ex-Marine Porsche expert called Jake Raby.
This will get you started:
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You would be a most welcome comrade in arms :-).
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Old 01-02-2015, 06:44 AM   #12
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My wife agrees that it may take all the fun out of it and if I take the job with more money then I will have more liberty to take on any projects that I want to.
Thanks for kicking some arse! You have my respect and honor. I think your wife a few others have nailed it here. pursue a sustainable career that will support your family without taking you away from them. Build on your existing talents and enjoy the wrenching on the side.

I was faced with this same life changing career decision back in High School. I loved working on cars and even had developed a plan. At the end of my Senior Year in HS I decided to pursue an engineering degree...I didn't even know what an engineer was or did at the time, my counselor told me I was good with Math and Science and indicated engineering would be the way to go. Now, 23 years later. I'm a senior Automation Engineer working for a large oil/gas producer and would never had imagined the value of this degree to support my family and others. I have the time and the resources to play with my hobby project cars as well.

I've seen people who can build beautiful houses and go home to a dump every night because they don't have the motivation to work on their own house.

Hope that helps.
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Old 01-02-2015, 11:17 AM   #13
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Congratulations and thank you for your service. My son in law was recently honorably discharged from the USMC after 9 years of service. He was last stationed at Miramar and they live in Oceanside.

A couple of realities: The average Master Porsche Tech in SoCal makes about $45k/yr. This means that 1/2 make more and 1/2 make less. Very few make over $60k unless they work 60 hr weeks. With your degree and experience you should be able to make a lot more $$ in a business environment instead of turning wrenches. Find a business that suits your personality and talents and get established.

Your local PCA is a great way to make contacts with existing business owners who manage commercial real estate, operate successful machine shop and fabrication facilities, build rockets, fabricate F-1 parts, supply medical equipment to hospitals and on and on. These are often the most successful business leaders in the area. Time to make some new friends?

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Old 01-02-2015, 12:40 PM   #14
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Getting back to this thread. I actually got an AS degree in Auto Mechanic in high school (Don Bosco Tech in San Gabriel, CA - check them out) in addition to a HS diploma. One summer wrenching on cars at a local shop cured my desire to do this type of work. It's dirty, you generally are exposed to the environment and as you get older can be back breaking. I went off to college and got a business degree and have never regretted it.
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Old 01-02-2015, 01:07 PM   #15
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Semper Fi!
My son got out of the Corps 2 years ago. Staff Sargeant in HMLC 369 up at Pendleton. His mos was Air Framer, and he wound up being quality assurance guy for the unit's new Hueys and Cobras. He's very skilled mechanically, but didn't want to pursue a career as a mechanic or turn wrenches for a living. He's a manager for a high end gun shop/ shooting facility here in N Atlanta, and makes money on the side buying and selling cars and guns. Adjusting to civilian life is tough. Make the money to support your family via contract management and play with your hobbies. You can make a good amount of money buying high end cars that need some tlc, fixing them, and selling for a profit. Plus it's on your schedule and not all the income is taxable😎.
Anybody can be a mechanic, only a select few can be a United States Marine!
Thanks for the sacrifices you and your wife made for all of us civilians.
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Old 01-02-2015, 06:57 PM   #16
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1st and foremost, thank you for your service and dedication.

There's already lots of great wisdom given, I can only add my similar experience. My Dad loved to restore old cars - Model Ts and As. In my early teens in the early 70s, we started buying late model wrecked cars and fixing them up. First it was for family members, then we started doing it as a hobby. I attended our local college and stayed home. This allowed me to work on our cars when I had time or do homework when I needed to. It was a fairly lucritive hobby so I didn't need a part time job during school. I'd work full time during the summer and work on cars in my spare time. My Dad was a postal carrier. He said it was a boring job but gave him time to think when we ran into a problem working on a car. When I graduated from college, it was the spring of '81 and we were in the throws of a pretty good recession. Most of my classmates went back for their Masters degrees because there were no jobs.

After a couple of months of job searching and coming up empty, my Dad said we could get a dealer's license and we could start a business rebuilding cars. He was about 5 yrs from retiring from USPS so I would be the main cog in the wheel. I was extremely honored that he felt good enough to make that offer. But at my young age, I had an inkling that turning a hobby into a profession may take the fun out of it. Plus I had ambitions to make good money and I didn't see enough value in it. We talked it over and I thanked him but kept on persuing other options. A month or so later I got a job in the Marketing Dept at Mutual of Omaha and I've sailed past my 33rd anniversary there last summer. I plan to retire in just over 6 yrs. I make a good salary. 5 yrs after I graduated from college my Dad retired and a mo later had a heart attack and passed away. Working on cars wasn't fun after that.

About 5 yrs ago Velocity started showing Wheeler Dealer and it inspired me to get back into the car hobby. I'm a golf addict but in Neb you can't play yr round. So for the last 5 yrs I've been buying a winter project and getting it ready to sell by spring. Gives me something to do during the "off season", is fun, and is generally lucrative. I started off with investors who would front most of the money to buy the car and I'd cover the fixing costs and the selling aspect. We'd split the profit. I'm to the point now where I don't need investors.

I'm sure your wife would approve of such a hobby since it will keep you close to home and out of trouble.

Good luck in your pursuits.
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Old 01-03-2015, 04:27 AM   #17
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Desert Storm era Marine here.
What was your MOS?

If you want to explore opportunities, call me. Always have time to consult with a fellow Marine, and I need another body around here too... Would always prefer one with the same bloodline. If you know how to twist a wrench, I'll train you my way.:-)
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Old 01-25-2015, 10:51 PM   #18
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Desert Storm era Marine here.
What was your MOS?

If you want to explore opportunities, call me. Always have time to consult with a fellow Marine, and I need another body around here too... Would always prefer one with the same bloodline. If you know how to twist a wrench, I'll train you my way.:-)
I am a 3044 Contract Specialist. We are a small part of supply responsible for buying stuff on the civilian economy that cant be ordered through the supply system. If I went the mechanic route I would apply to work for you in a heartbeat. Nothing better than learning from the source. My wife keeps pushing me away, telling me if I make enough money being a buyer I can buy whatever tools and cars I want to work on as a hobby. I do enjoy following your webpage and posts. Marines like you inspire the young generation Marines by showing us you can succeed outside the Corps.
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Old 01-26-2015, 08:03 AM   #19
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I am a 3044 Contract Specialist. We are a small part of supply responsible for buying stuff on the civilian economy that cant be ordered through the supply system. If I went the mechanic route I would apply to work for you in a heartbeat. Nothing better than learning from the source. My wife keeps pushing me away, telling me if I make enough money being a buyer I can buy whatever tools and cars I want to work on as a hobby. I do enjoy following your webpage and posts. Marines like you inspire the young generation Marines by showing us you can succeed outside the Corps.
Thank you for your war time service! Your wife is giving you good imput, I imagene there is more demand for good mechanics these days.
I was a 3522 MOS.
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Old 01-26-2015, 08:41 AM   #20
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Before I joined I was just a shade tree mechanic. So naturally when I signed up I went for being a wrench. Got talked into being a track mechanic, but ended up loving it. Tanks are so fun. When I got out, I went to school for wrenching (Southern Illinois - Carbondale) and from what I picked up in school, I pretty much learned that there is no way I could be a mechanic. That would have sucked all the fun I had for it, out of me. I enjoy turning wrenches on my car and helping a friend in need, but to do it for a living? Ugh. That takes a special type of person. I'm just glad I figured out that I wasn't that person before it was too late.

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