All Mechanics Are A#%holes!
Hi I’m Boz, Owner of Carite Auto Repairs.
From an early age, and certainly for as long as I can remember, I had a passion for all things mechanical.
As a child in primary school, I remember needlessly pulling apart my bicycle on a regular basis, to make repairs and modifications, that may or may not have been required.
By high school I was tinkering with cars, doing services, basic repairs, and even replacing clutches in the driveway on stands with a jack and some basic hand tools.
By the time I got to Senior High (yr 11-12) which was called college back then in Canberra where I grew up, I had enrolled in a local school which had a great electronics program and a leading automotive program with a nationally recognised vocational training scheme, which included regular “work experience” placements combined with theory and hands-on practical lessons in class.
You could say that by this stage I knew what I wanted to do when I “grew up”, but if you ask my wife I’m sure she’ll tell you that I haven’t grow up yet, so lets just say that I knew what I wanted to do when I left school. And I did.
In early 1996, just weeks after successfully completing year 12, I scored a job at a local BMW dealership, admittedly as a car detailer at first, but advancing to an apprentice mechanic just a few short months later.
Over the next few years after working at a dealership and couple of independent workshops in Canberra, I made the move with my wife and my then 2 year old son, to sunny Queensland to escape the cold.
It was here when I worked for a large mobile mechanic firm, that I was forced to become an expert in diagnosing vehicle faults, due to being alone, usually on the side of the road, with just me and my tools to work out the problem.
I soon figured out that with my good problem solving ability, my passion for “all thing mechanical” and my training in electronics, that I had a knack for figuring stuff out that others just couldn’t get their head around.
I guess we all have to be good at something, I’m just greatfull that I’m good at something I love.
In July 2004 I realised my long term goal as a mechanic. I came across the ideal workshop in Caloundra, great location, reasonably priced and not far from where I lived. So I took the plunge and went out on my own.
Boztech Automotive was born, but relatively short lived. Just some 18 months later, I was told that this particular location was closing down, and I had just a couple of months to move.
So move I did, although now the rent was a lot more expensive (nearly double) and the location, well lets just say that although it was a good shed, it was at least 3 streets back from the main road frontage of the previous one, which was less than ideal.
Either way I soldiered on and business slowly started to build again, until another 18 months down the track, the GFC reared its ugly head.
Now it’s fair to say that here in Australia we didn’t feel the brunt of the storm, so to speak. But let me tell you, as a struggling small business owner, it can make all the difference.
I went from being booked 2 weeks solid with a full time employee, to struggling to pay the monthly bills, in what felt like the blink of an eye. Every time they announced another interest rate rise, the phone would pretty much stop ringing for two weeks straight. People weren’t getting their cars serviced and I was relying on cars breaking down, just to pay the bills.
But still I soldiered on, and over the next couple of years things gradually improved again, almost to where they had been pre-GFC.
Unfortunately by this stage though, I had enough. I was working long hours, I was emotionally and physically exhausted and my marriage was under incredible stress for what was really a very average wage.
So in late 2010, I decided jump on the band wagon. I packed up shop and headed to the mines.
What a stark contrast that was. I went from being over worked and under paid to under worked and over paid, and from not knowing what a day off was to having 2 weeks off a month.
It was during this time time that I decided to put myself back through school and get my automotive electrical trade ticket, just to make it official.
The money was great, the time off was great, you think that I would be happy, and for a short while I was. But there is just something about being away from home for 2 weeks at a time, missing my wife, my son and by this stage my two daughters, in a unrewarding and seemingly un-meaningful job, that no amount of money could justify.
So when my contract expired, I headed home to figure out what to do next.
I got a job driving tow trucks, which soon turned into a business partnership, which soon turned into a big mistake. Lets just say it was a valuable lesson in what not to do.
Actually that would be a gross understatement, because I honestly believe that this was one of the most valuable lessons that I have ever learnt in my life.
It was the catalyst that re-ignited my passion for helping people by doing what I do best, and drove me to dedicate my life to changing the automotive industry forever.
Change I hear you say?
Well 20 odd years ago when I first started this great adventure, mechanics were still grease monkeys, some cars still had carburettors and needed regular tuning, auto electricians still used to fix stuff and overhauling starter motors and alternators was still their bread and butter.
And while this is still true for the most part, times are a changing. Fast!
Cars no longer need tune-ups, your replace spark plugs and filters and the computer takes care of the rest.
Thanks to places like China, India and Thailand, replacement parts (and cars in general) are now much cheaper than they used to be when compared to wages, so repairing and overhauling things like starter motors and alternators is becoming much less common.
Sure it still needs to be done sometimes, but spending a coupe hours machining parts, replacing bearings and brushes for a couple of hundred dollars has become much less economically viable when a brand new part can be had for not much more.
Things that were once total science fiction like cars talking to you and driving themselves, are now becoming much closer to reality.
Features like park assist where a car can reverse park itself, adaptive cruise control where a car stays a certain distance from the car in front without you having to touch the controls, and city stop where a car can apply the brakes in an emergency stop situation in order to avoid a collision with the car in front, are not only experimental or available on top end vehicles any more.
These sorts of features are now common on many “mainstream” cars such as Ford’s, Holden’s, Hyundai’s and Kia’s, just to name a few.
Then there are Hybrids. Cars with both petrol and electric motors. Once upon a time these were a big question mark and I even said myself “I wouldn’t touch one of those because I don’t know anything about them”.
Now some years later, Hybrid Prius’ and Camry’s make up the majority of the taxi fleet right here on the Sunshine Coast. They have proven their reliability, more than proven their worth, and there are more company’s releasing hybrid options every year.
And then there’s fully electric cars like the Tesla. An American built car that plugs into your wall socket and takes 8 hours to fully re-charge at home when plugged into a conventional power point.
It’s a full sized car with option for 7 seats because of the extra room that’s not consumed by mechanicals. It has 75% fewer moving parts than a conventionally powered vehicle, does 0-100 in approx 4 seconds (yes it’s very fast) and goes about 400 Kms on a single charge.
In America they now have “super charge” stations where you can reportedly do a full re-charge in about half an hour. And better still, they’re strategically placed so you can drive from one side of the country to the other, without running out of power.
This is tomorrow’s technology available today. They’re coming to Australia in 2015, and yes, I now want one.
What has this got to do with you and your car you ask?
Well there’s no doubt that the industry is changing, in a big way.
Think back to cars of 30 years ago, FM radio, electric windows and central locking were a big deal.
To think that today we have electric cars capable of driving themselves, parking themselves and stopping themselves in an emergency just 30 years later.
I can only begin to imagine what cars will be like in another 30 years time.
But one thing that I do know for sure, is that if the mechanic doesn’t evolve along with the rest of the industry, we will most certainly become a thing of the past.
Automotive dealerships will have a monopoly on vehicle repairs as independent mechanics wont have the technical ability, or the resources to work on new vehicles.
Without competition, service costs will rise dramatically as large corporations endeavour to increase profits, and quality of service will diminish as employees on award wage work out of necessity alone.
Well this got me thinking. “What can I do to change the industry for the better?”
I did some research, conducted several surveys to find out what my customers, and the general public liked and disliked about mechanics, what they would like to experience when they visit a mechanic and what they thought about mechanics in general.
And the result….All mechanics are a#%holes!
Yep that’s right, you cant find a fault, you’re an a#%hole, you find a fault and charge accordingly to repair it, you’re an as#%hole. As a matter of fact I bet that if I spent the rest of my life repairing peoples cars totally free of charge, the majority of people would still think I was somehow trying to rip them off because I was an a#%hole.
Such is the stigma associated with mechanics, and in large the auto repair industry in general, no doubt fuelled by the variety of television shows recently exposing rogue mechanics and their dirty little tricks.
This is the extent of the challenge I had on my hands. So what I did was put together a list of common complaints from people just like you, and figured out a way to turn them all into benefits.
Now of course I’m not saying I’m perfect, I make mistakes on the odd occasion as well, after all I’m only human, but at least I can honestly say that, I don’t believe that you should have to pay for my mistakes.
And that’s why Carite Auto Repairs was born, as was the slogan, “we fix you car right or we fix it for free”.
It’s just one of the many ways that I came up with that I could prove to you that I’m not an a#%hole, but just a regular guy with a loving wife and three wonderful children.
I love helping people and to this day, 20 years on, I still get a kick out of finding faults with cars, specially those really stubborn annoying ones that nobody else can figure out.
Yeah I’ve probably lost years through stress, and no doubt I’m partially blaming them for why I’m starting to go grey, but the reward I get from the feeling of finally cracking it, makes it all worth while.
It really is a win-win situation, if I don’t stuff up everybody wins, if I do stuff up, well you get your money back and your car fixed for free, and I get to keep you happy, so everybody still wins.
I would personally like to challenge every other mechanic out there to join me and step up to the plate, to back all of their work 100%.
Not only for the benefit of all motorists, but also for the benefit of all the honest mechanics around the country, to prove that we are more than just a bunch of a#%holes, out to get your hard earned money.
After all, any mechanic worth their weight in grease should have no problems backing up such an offer, and if it means the industry is not only to survive, but thrive in the years to come, its a small price to pay for a better future for all.
If you have any further comments, ideas or suggestions on what you would like from a mechanic, or what we, in general could do to further improve the industry, please feel free to leave a message on the contact us page or email me directly at email@example.com.
I look forward to your feedback.
Carite Auto Repairs