Everyone needs to have their car repaired eventually. Body shops handle everything from routine maintenance to repairing cracked windshields, buffing out scratches, and custom detail work. Each of these duties could be specialized in or required of a single body shop worker, depending on the retailer and garage.
Before repairs can begin, however, it will be the body shop’s responsibility to perform diagnostic checks to determine whether any structural damage has been sustained to the vehicle. Each shop must follow any federal and state regulations regarding safety and emission standards. Duties could include aligning and replacing wheels, fixing a cracked axel, repairing an engine, and any number of other tasks.
The job of a body shop technician is similar to the position of a regular mechanic or other automotive tech. You will be expected to be able to use a variety of tools to perform maintenance, bring vehicles up to manufacturer specifications, and notify management and the customer if any additional repairs are needed. Moreover, you will also need to comply with any laws and regulations affecting paint, thinners, and other hazardous materials. Workers may also need to repair or replace cracked and broken mirrors, windows, and windshields.
Job Qualifications and Compensation
Working for a body shop is considered skilled labor, so the position isn’t entry level. The job usually requires you to be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and have some mechanical experience with a professional garage or vocational training. Typically, the position requires at least one to three years’ experience. Degrees and certifications are always useful throughout the hiring process and you may need your own set of general tools. Workers will also need to be in good physical condition to lift parts and work without restrictions.
As with any other job in the automotive industry, it is expected that you have a valid driver’s license. Of course, the job is highly technical, so familiarity with computers and technical equipment is also an advantage if not a must. Since you’ll frequently be explaining to non-technically trained customers what work their vehicle needs, you will also need excellent people skills. Finally, additional certifications or experience may be required by specific employers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a body shop worker ranges between $13 and $23 an hour. The position is almost always full-time and may include night and weekend overtime when there is a backlog of work. Beyond competitive pay and company standards like healthcare, many body shops also encourage their technicians to get continuous certification training to enhance their knowledge base.