View Full Version : Young body helper needs advice

VCTech Grad 05
04-12-2006, 07:31 PM
Hi. My name is Ryan and I am a graduate of VC Tech in Pelham AL. I want to start by saying that this site has helped tremendously in my career, and the people on it answered so many questions for me in the past years. The last time i was on this site was when the old boards were still up. I posted pics of some projects i was doing out of my garage (shelby kit car, 72 el camino) and have since decided that this is the career path i want to take. I went through the motions of collision repair/refinishing at vc tech. It is a good, quality school, and i have to admit that i learned more than i thought i would. Not so much from the books, but from the personal experience of the instructors and the repair time. This brings me to my current problem. Upon graduation, i did the responsible thing and put my face in front of every body shop that was reputable and got several call backs for my diligence(btw the school does offer a resume service which sends the resumes to prospective employers, but of all the businesses i went to, i was the only student to actually show up in person showing i wanted to work, a lesson to any students reading this). I took a job at a busy body shop that has a reputation for quality work. I was hired with the promise that I could work under the two head body men in the shop, and at April we would re-evaluate my status to see either a pay raise, go to flat rate, or stay the same. No such meeting was had, and im still at the same rate. That is not what i have a problem with. The problem is i dont get to do anything. I take bumpers off, and the occastional door apart, although usually i dont get to build doors. I have not done filler work in nearly 2 months, I don't get to weld(although I'm I-CAR Certified structural and non) or make any pulls. I can understand the no frame machine use part. But the reason i dont get to do repair work is the shop manager would not pay the body men i'm working under for the repair time i did. They do get paid for the R+I and R+R time that i do. So what am i supposed to do. I cant get jobs for myself because i don't have enough experience, and i cant get the experience because im not allowd to repair.

I know most of you guys have seen fresh out of vo-tech students who think they know everything. I don't. I want to preform these repairs while under the supervision of experienced body men so I can learn more. I'm not a bad straightener, just a little slow due to lack of experience. 9 of 10 times i beat book time on the repair things ive done, and i almost always cut r+i times in half(given at first several vechicals threw me, but im getting better).

So I'm asking for your advice. How can I show my employer that I don't want more money, I don't want to go on flat rate for myself right now, i just want to get some quality experience in so that in 1, 2 or 5, however many years it takes that ill be ready. I understand going to school doesnt make you a body man. Any suggestions?

Btw Feel free to email me or post a message if anyone wants any information on the type of school vc tech is, even though i had a good automotive "hobby" refinishing background, it is well worth it.

04-12-2006, 11:40 PM

It takes a while before you have enough experience to make money for your employer but he/she should be able to see when you're ready. I would discuss this problem with the boss in a way that tells him that you want to do anything that needs to be done so that you can improve your skills. If you drop that hint once in a while he may put more work in front of you. However, it may take a change of jobs before you find the place that treats you like you want to be treated. Know your employer and pick your time to talk to him because if your timing is off he may take offense or may not be listening. You want him to understand your concerns and not be defensive about your work in his shop. Be positive and upbeat.

While the name of the game is talent the hardest thing to find in an employee is honesty and dependability. If you have those two traits AND you develop your skills you'll be a valuable person in ANY shop.

By the language in your post I can see you are an intelligent person, you'll do well in this trade. When you're good at this type of work you can go almost ANYWHERE and find work.