Your local automobile dealership has entry-level positions, with no limit on advancement opportunities, and internships in a variety of areas that may interest you. New Vehicle Dealerships employ more than 1 million people in the United States today, in a wide range of occupations including management, administrative support, sales, financing, insurance, service and repair. Here are some of the exciting opportunities that may exist at your local automobile dealership:
Salespeople are the front-line professionals representing the dealership, as well as the manufacturer of the products they sell. There are over 230 million vehicles on the road in the U.S. A salesperson's job is to make sure that when one of those vehicles is purchased in their dealership that it's done in a professional and pleasant atmosphere. Retail salespeople help customers decide what model of vehicle they want and what features suit their needs. In addition to having vast knowledge of the vehicles they sell, good salespeople are highly motivated, enjoy working with people and are able to express themselves well. Most new sales professionals receive extensive on-the-job training, which in some cases may include classroom learning. Success in automobile sales depends largely upon a person's ability to win the respect and trust of prospective customers. Entry-level salespeople make about $25,000 per year, and top salespeople can earn $60,000 per year, or more.
Keeping cars and trucks in good working condition becomes more and more of a challenge every year. Automotive service technicians must continually adapt to changing technology and repair procedures as vehicle components and systems become increasingly sophisticated. In addition to understanding how automobiles work, service technicians must have extensive knowledge of mechanical, electrical and computer technology. They must be able to interpret the customers' complaint, diagnose the cause of a problem, and finally, repair the offending component. Technicians use the latest in diagnostic and repair equipment including computers and on board diagnostic schematics. Entry-level technicians may spend a large part of their day involved in maintenance and light repair, in other words, preventative maintenance. Successful technicians are mechanically inclined, have good mechanical reasoning as well as reading and math skills, and a desire to succeed in a highly skilled profession. Refined diagnostic problem-solving skills are essential, and chemistry, electronics and computer training are also required. Qualified technicians are paid well, because they are in such high demand. Annually, the estimated 840,000 service technicians in dealerships perform over 200 million repairs. An entry-level technician earns about $20,000 annually, and the best technicians can earn $100,000 per year or more. Technicians who work on heavy-duty trucks can earn even more.
Service consultants, sometimes called service advisors, are basically interpreters between the customers and the service technicians. They schedule vehicles for service, and translate the customer complaint into technical language for the technicians. Service consultants also keep customers informed about the repairs to their vehicles. Service consultants must have a general knowledge of how vehicles work, and possess good conversational and customer relations skills.
Parts Department Employees
Working in the parts department of an automobile dealership means knowing where parts are located, how those parts operate, and to which vehicles they belong. Parts department employees will encounter inquiries from their own service technicians, independent repair shops, and customers who do their own repair work. Some Parts Department positions include the pick-up and delivery person, parts helper, shipping and receiving clerk, counter salespeople and Parts Department Manager. Automobile dealership parts departments have an inventory management and control system that allows the part department employees to check current inventory, order parts from the manufacturer and charge parts to a customer repair order. Parts department employees need a technical background, which many gain from working in the service department, good organizational skills, a keen eye for detail, and they should enjoy working with people.
The Parts Department Manager is responsible for the hiring, training and supervising of parts department staff, as well as parts inventory control, parts merchandizing, displays and advertising.
A dealership's Office Manager is responsible for organizing, supervising and coordinating administrative operations including payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable, inventory control, benefits management and human resources.
Finance and Insurance Manager
The Financing and Insurance Manager establishes relationships with financing and insurance companies and sells those products to vehicle purchasers at a dealership. A finance and insurance manager must have good math, computer and accounting skills as well as excellent interpersonal skills. The F&I Manager is typically very detail oriented.
The top administrative position at a dealership is the General Manager, who is often the dealership owner as well. The General Manager is responsible for the successful operation of the entire dealership. This position requires excellent business management skills and experience in all dealership departments.
The job of porters is to wash wax, polish and maintain control of the new vehicle inventory. In many cases, porters drive vehicles for receipt and delivery, and drive courtesy vehicles and or shuttles. Being a porter is a great entry-level position in the service department of the automobile dealership.