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Automotive Service Management Major

Job Outlook

Significant Points

  • About half of all workers in this industry have no formal education beyond high school.
  • Employment is expected to grow, but will remain sensitive to downturns in the economy.
  • Opportunities should be plentiful in vehicle maintenance and repair occupations, especially for persons who complete formal automotive service technician training.
  • Earnings in this industry are relatively high.


Average weekly earnings of nonsupervisory workers in automobile dealers were $634 in 2004, substantially higher than the average for retail trade ($371), as well as that for all private industry ($529). Earnings vary depending on occupation, experience, and the dealerís geographic location and size. Earnings in selected occupations in automobile dealers appear in table 1.

Most automobile sales workers are paid on commission. Commission systems vary, but dealers often guarantee new salespersons a modest salary for the first few months until they learn how to sell vehicles. Many dealers also pay experienced, commissioned sales workers a modest weekly or monthly salary to compensate for the unstable nature of sales. Dealers, especially larger ones, also pay bonuses and have special incentive programs for exceeding sales quotas. With increasing customer service requirements, some dealers and manufacturers have adopted a sales force paid entirely by salary.

Most automotive service technicians and mechanics receive a commission related to the labor cost charged to the customer. Their earnings depend on the amount of work available and completed.

In 2004, relatively few workers in automobile dealers, 4 percent, were union members or were covered by union contracts, compared with 14 percent of workers in all industries.

Table 1. Median hourly earnings of the largest occupations in automobile dealers, May 2004
Occupation Automobile dealers All industries

First-line supervisors/managers of retail sales workers

$31.80 $15.73

First-line supervisors/managers of mechanics, installers, and repairers

25.22 24.20

Retail salespersons

18.61 8.98

Automotive service technicians and mechanics

18.30 15.60

Counter and rental clerks

17.87 8.79

Automotive body and related repairers

17.73 16.68

Parts salespersons

15.16 12.32

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

12.93 13.74

Office clerks, general

10.55 10.95

Cleaners of vehicles and equipment

8.98 8.41

Suggested citation: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Career Guide to Industries, 2006-07 Edition, Automobile Dealers, on the Internet at

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