In a large auto repair shop, the customer describes his vehicle problems to an automotive service advisor, also called a repair service estimator or service writer. This advisor then writes up the order for the mechanics; the repair order also serves as a cost estimate for the customer. Automotive service advisors typically receive commission in addition to salary, so their earnings vary greatly depending on their sales skills.
Car dealerships and large repair shops employ automotive service advisors. These workers initially find out whether a customer is there for routine vehicle maintenance or if the vehicle needs repair. The service advisor may inspect the vehicle or test-drive it. He creates a service order using a computerized estimating system, and keeps data entry records of each customer’s vehicle, updating the records whenever work is done. The service advisor also answers questions about the completed work or the final cost, referring dissatisfied customers to the service manager.
Salary by Experience
A high school diploma or equivalency, a basic knowledge of automotive systems and excellent interpersonal and writing skills are the usual requirements for automotive service advisors. Starting pay for these workers is in the median range of $9 to $12 per hour as of December 2010, according to the PayScale salary survey website. Hourly rates do not increase much until the employee has five to nine years of experience, where the median range is $10.70 to $15. Those with 10 or more years of experience are earning in the median range of $11.50 to $17.60 per hour.
Automotive service advisors commonly receive a commission as well as their base hourly rate, and may also receive a yearly bonus and profit sharing. Commissions can be substantial. Automotive service advisors responding to the 2010 PayScale survey reported annual commissions ranging from $8,200 to $53,000 in 2010. They also reported bonuses from $800 to $9,000 and profit sharing of $600 to $1,500.
Benefits and Work Schedule
Full-time automotive service advisors often receive health and life insurance, paid vacation and sick days and a company-matched retirement plan. The employer may assist with payment for uniforms, if required. Many service advisors work evenings or early morning hours and also work on weekends.