I think we’d agree it’s fairly easy to spot a car lover. Whenever you’re around them, the topic of cars will come up one way or another. You see them customizing their fuel injection system while you struggle to change your oil. They’re the first people you turn to when it’s time to buy a new vehicle. In short, their passion for everything automotive shines through in everything they do.
If you’re one of these automotive devotees, your ultimate dream may be to use all of your expertise to make a sustainable career. It’s a great time to do so. While overall vehicles sales are down (with Ford and GM reducing their output), developments in other sectors are producing some great opportunities to make money with cars.
To help you get started on the road to a career in automotive, here are four of the best ways to make money in the automotive industry today.
1. Become a Certified Auto Body Technician
The most direct path to make money for auto-lovers has always been to become a mechanic. Cars are like any other machine: they wear out, break down, and need to be fixed. Becoming an auto body technician means that you’ll always have a job because there will always be a demand. It’s also one of the easiest ways to get your start in the automotive industry.
How to Stand Out as a Technician
The good news is that you don’t have to have a college degree to become a mechanic. The bad news is that means there are plenty of people competing for jobs. To stand out from the crowd, you need to start by getting your Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certificate. You can also impress your employers by improving in the two areas that make them money – speed, and efficiency. The faster you can perform quality maintenance on cars, the more money your shop makes.
Once you’ve established yourself, you may want to consider going ahead and getting your bachelor’s in automotive maintenance. There are a few great programs around the U.S., with one of the standouts being Lincoln Tech in Nashville, Tenn.
2. Become an Automotive Engineer
Where do cars come from? I’m not talking about the assembly plant that actually puts the cars together. I mean where do the ideas come from? Why does the fuselage look one way on a Chevy and a different way on a Dodge? The answer is automotive engineers, and if you want to make very good money in the automotive industry, it’s a great job to have.
What You’d Do as an Automotive Engineer
Automotive engineers design cars from start to finish. Everything from the safety features to the layout of the dash is designed by automotive engineers. Auto engineers a combination of mathematician, mechanic, and artist. Their goal is to design cars that are safer, have more power, use less fuel, and be better in every way than the generation that came before. Problem-solving and attention to detail are key for automotive engineers, as are solid skills in STEM.
If you do decide to become an automotive engineer, you are going to need some formal training. Most positions require at least a bachelor’s degree. The investment is well worth it, though. Monster.com reports that the average auto engineer makes about $84,000 per year.
3. Start an Online Parts Store
As inflation continues to rise around the world, people are starting to DIY more in every aspect of their lives to save money. When it comes to cars, that means changing your own oil, rotating your own tires, or even swapping out your own brake pads. No matter how knowledgeable or skilled someone may be about fixing their own car, they have to get parts from somewhere. That’s where you come in. By starting your own online parts store, you can meet a growing need and make a healthy profit at the same time.
The Benefits of Going Online
You’ve no doubt heard about the benefits of owning your own business, like:
- Setting your own hours
- Deciding your own pay
- Being your own boss
- Doing what you really love
Those benefits carry into the online world as well. Additionally, unlike opening a physical storefront, you’re not limited by location. You can service potentially anyone in the world, plus conduct your business wherever you go. So long as you have an Internet connection, it’s 100% possible to run your business from your home or lounging on a beach.
What You Need to Get Started
Starting an online business isn’t hard to do. Once you’ve registered your site, all you need to do is build your pages, upload your products, and start doing business. You don’t have to feature your own brand of products if you don’t want to. Amiercommerce.com reported that nearly 35% of all online retailers use drop-shipping for order fulfillment. Drop-shipping means you don’t have to carry your own stock, don’t have to pay storage costs, won’t have to maintain a warehouse, and don’t need to buy bulk.
4. Join a Professional Auto Racing Circuit
Your passion may not revolve around maintaining, designing, or selling parts for cars. You might just want to drive fast. While it’s a more competitive and far more unstable route, you stand to make a lot of money with a great career by joining the professional racing circuit.
A Hard Road for a Smooth Finish
If your dream centers around making money by driving fast, then you’ll obviously want to develop as a professional racer. It’s a long hard road, though. The best thing you can do is start local, competing in nearby races to develop your skills and build a reputation.
As you place higher, you’ll start getting invitations to compete on a national, and potentially international, basis. While Indeed.com reported that most auto racers make around $60,000 per year, the site also reported that top tier racers can make over $200,000 per race.
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