How to Make Money in Automotive Industry

So, you like cars so much, you want to make them your career. Well, you came to the right place. Today, I’ll tell you how to make money in automotive industry. Whether you have a degree or no experience at all, it can be working in lube shops, the aftermarket, service centers, racing, sales, even media. I talked to a bunch of people who have done it all and are waiting to work with the next generation. Let’s make it happen.

If you’re still in school and have the opportunity to take an auto shop class, take the auto shop class. This is where you can get your feet wet and work with a bunch of tools you probably wouldn’t have easy access to. After you graduate, now what? Well, you can go to college or go right into the workforce. If you want to work for a big manufacturer as a designer, engineer, or in their marketing division or whatever, pretty much have to go to college, but we’ll talk about that later. There are a lot of ways to get into the industry that don’t require a formal education, but first let’s talk about the mindset you need to have.

how to make money in automotive-industry

Don’t think of your job search as finding a job in the auto industry. That’s too broad and won’t help you get focused. Think of it as finding a job you’d want anyway that happens to be centered around cars. Once you decide on what kind of work you want to be doing, you got to have a plan or at least a goal in mind. It’s okay if you don’t have an entire timeline laid out. I don’t really either, but if you don’t at least have an idea of where you want to end up, you run the risk of falling into a rut with a job you don’t really love, and I don’t want that for you.

How to make money in automotive industry

So let’s talk about a great first step for someone who wants to work with cars who has no experience or college education. Oil and tires. Changing oil and installing tires might not be the most glamorous gig in the world, but you don’t have to do it forever. These are entry level jobs. Think of them as your education on how to work and behave in a shop environment, which is valuable experience.

These businesses have no problem hiring people with limited skills, even if you’re a teenager. If you stick around in a lube shop or tire shop, you might be able to work your way up to a manager or you can put your experience on a resume for a new job in say, the aftermarket. If you don’t want to work with oil or tires, there are plenty of entry-level jobs in the automotive aftermarket.

All of those came from dedicated manufacturers that you could work at, but without experience, you got to start at the bottom which in many cases means working in the warehouse.

You’re also going to be learning perhaps the most valuable knowledge of knowing how the company operates and integrating into that company culture. From a warehouse position, you can probably work your way into the sales department, where you can focus on either retail or wholesale, selling directly to customers versus selling to other businesses.

The cool thing about sales is that you don’t need specialized technical training. You just need to be good with people, and if you show interest in that sort of work, your employer will probably train you in it, and that doesn’t just go for sales. Say you think you have good ideas for products, and your employer does too. It’s likely they’ll show you how to develop those skills if you show you have the drive to learn.

How to make money in automotive industry

Let’s move on to a more obvious way to work around cars, working at a dealership. The most well-known car job besides mechanic is probably car salesman, but there are plenty of jobs at a dealership that require little experience and that you probably didn’t know you could get paid to do.

You could work inside a dealership answering phones for their business development center. You can work in the back office handling DMV. They usually call this position a porter. You can also work in dealership finance, but that does take a bit of previous experience.

So who you are just starting out, you’re going to be shooting a lot of stuff for free. This is a period of building your portfolio.

Think of it as an apprenticeship that you’re paying yourself for. Another thing, you got to watch a lot of stuff, but not passively. Pay attention to what makes content good and why people like watching it.

Finally, what if you actually want to design cars? Unlike most of the jobs I’ve talked about so far, becoming an engineer does require a formal education, usually a degree in mechanical engineering to start. Formula SAE competitions are regularly scouted by recruiters from the automotive industry.

So that’s a great place to make an impression and also just gain a lot of experience designing a car, but it’s not the only way. .

The common thread in every story is that they all studied super hard in college and got any internships they could in the industry. They might not have landed their dream job right away, but internships allow you to integrate yourself into the company culture and find out how things really work in the office.

Another key to breaking into the biz doesn’t just apply to working in an OEM, but many, many other industries, and that is being persistent. The truth is, there’s no predetermined path to your dream job, and the journey is different for everybody. You’re going to have to feel some things out on your own, but something we all possess is the ability to keep on trying until you get there. You might not have the skills right now to do what you want to do, but that doesn’t mean that you never will.

You’ve got to write some emails, call some people up, knock on some doors and an opportunity will present itself eventually. It pays to be professionally persistent. Don’t overdo it, don’t be annoying. Certainly don’t harass a potential employer because that’s bad, but do remind people of your existence and something should happen, but maybe the most important thing to keep in mind is to find a job where you can go home happy on a regular basis because that’s worth a lot more than a fancy job title.

So whatever it is you want to do, I sincerely believe in you.

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