Roughly ten years ago, I was embarrassed that I installed car audio for a living. I started to feel maybe I made some wrong choices when I pursued my passion for car audio. Until I spoke to a trusted friend, an ear, eyes and throat surgeon.
My friend, Dr. Jones for the sake of this article, asked me “are you the best alarm installer in town?” I replied, “yes I am”. Then he said, “what’s wrong with that?”. He went on to explain “if I wanted the best roofer or bricklayer, I would hire the best, and I would pay accordingly. Regardless of the profession.”
He asked me how much I made last year; I replied roughly $70,000. In British Columbia, Canada, you can look up what doctors make on the internet. He asked me if I looked into his earnings. Sheepishly, I replied, “no, I did not.”
He proceeded to tell me he made roughly $350,000. He looked me in the eye and said, “does that seem like allot? I went to university for nine years; I pay roughly 50% taxes, pay $50,000 for a nurse, $20,000 for my practice including rent and taxes, etc. That equals roughly $105,000 take home after taxes. You made $70,000, for being the best car audio and security system installer…what’s wrong with that?”
This changed my perception of our industry. In the past three years, the industry has made considerable steps in presenting ourselves professionally. If we went and got a job at the local sawmill, would probably be making roughly $27.00 an hour. Did you know that $27.00 an hour equals, approximately $55,000 a year? Most professional installers make more than $55,000 a year with no university or college training. Think about this, we as professional installation staff and making more than a union worker at the local mill and only $35,000 less than a doctor.
Yes, I am talking in generalizations for this article, but you can get the idea. What’s wrong with being a professional installation specialist? Nothing, we belong to an awesome industry and every day we see the fruits of our labor. Every day, we get to see what we did with our own hands. If it’s a radar detector installation, radio upgrade or adding bass to a vehicle; we are reminded every day of our skills in automotive electronics, finishing carpentry and upholstery.
I shared my conversation with my wife. She told me, “you have never been out of work, and car audio has provided a home, a good environment to provide and care for our children.” She went on to say, and this all came from the car audio industry. She looked at me and said, “this industry has been good to us.”
Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely love our industry. But when I was thinking about making a career change, these conversations changed my outlook. My friend and my wife were right; this industry provides me with good living, great people and I get to work on cars all day every day! What’s better than that?
This isn’t one of our regular blog posts, but during a recent dealer visit, I remember the conversation with my trusted friend. When we are getting down on the economy or slow period in our business, remember there are allot for worse jobs out there. We are part of a fun industry, surrounded by automotive enthusiasts and industry “freaks” who love our industry as much as us. Hopefully, my story with making you fall in love with our industry again.
Very cool article. I love what I do and we strive to be the best shop. I am very thankful for what my business has done for me and my family. I love our industry!!!
Another great article.
You’re right, no matter what we go through as an industry, we seem to prevail and even excel at new growth. There is always something to modify to someone’s car to get better: sound; lights; video; security; safety; radar protection or even video surveillance.
I pay my guys really well. The Government of Canada says that the minimum that I can pay immigrants as an installer is $52,500.00/year. All of my guys make more than that. It’s a good gig. We have fun.