Author Topic: Repair jobs wages declining  (Read 112 times)

I D Shukhov

  • CCF Winner's Circle - Supporter
  • Wise Sage
  • *
  • Posts: 6355
Repair jobs wages declining
« on: September 06, 2018, 06:55:50 am »
I used to think that some repair professions like auto repair would be a good choice for a decent-paying job.  Apparently not so:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/09/04/how-us-economy-turned-six-good-jobs-into-bad-ones

Quote
The Internet is a likely culprit, but the disruption is very different from how technology transformed the music and warehouse industries. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2015 that repair workers were being squeezed by frugal customers and the rise of a YouTube-enabled “do-it-yourself” repair ethic. The trend appears to be continuing: Home Depot’s latest earnings hit an all-time high.

A diverse and growing group of customers are taking repairs into their own hands, watching how-to videos and ordering parts online. And when they can’t fix it themselves, they’re more likely to simply buy one of today’s relatively cheap new appliances rather than call the repair shop. Appliance prices have fallen 21 percent since 1992, even as consumer prices have risen 62.3 percent overall, Commerce Department figures show.

In fact, I do go to YouTube for any car repair I think I can do myself.   I became an expert on removing door panels when I replaced a window regulator on one vehicle and a door latch assembly on another a couple of years ago.  It would have been very hard without looking at YouTube demos on how to remove the door panels because the fasteners are well hidden.

And just recently a detergent drawer inside of my dishwasher was not releasing.   A quick visit to YouTube showed me how to fix the problem relatively easily without having to do anything drastic like disassembling the door.



The Gorn

  • I absolutely DESPISE improvised sulfur-charcoal-salt peter cannons made out of hollow tree branches filled with diamonds as projectiles.
  • Trusted Member
  • Wise Sage
  • ******
  • Posts: 22412
  • Gorn Classic, user of Gornix
Re: Repair jobs wages declining
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2018, 07:46:14 am »
That's me in a nutshell. I'm Mr. Fixit. I can replace a headlamp bulb in my wife's car that the Walmart service guys claim that they have absolutely no way to get at.

A lot of service jobs have been predicated on civilians - ordinary consumers - having no access to tools, knowledge or parts. That time is past.
Gornix is protected by the GPL. *

* Gorn Public License. Duplication by inferior sentient species prohibited.

I D Shukhov

  • CCF Winner's Circle - Supporter
  • Wise Sage
  • *
  • Posts: 6355
Re: Repair jobs wages declining
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2018, 07:56:29 am »
That's me in a nutshell. I'm Mr. Fixit. I can replace a headlamp bulb in my wife's car that the Walmart service guys claim that they have absolutely no way to get at.

A lot of service jobs have been predicated on civilians - ordinary consumers - having no access to tools, knowledge or parts. That time is past.

I replaced a bulb in a car this week.  I didn't even look at the car first.  First I typed in the year, make and model into YouTube along with "rear brake light".

Of course I ordered the bulb on Amazon which helpfully tells me whether the part fits my car.

I never was all that good with mechanical stuff.   Same with navigating.  YouTube and Google Maps fix all of that!

unix

  • Trusted Member
  • Wise Sage
  • ******
  • Posts: 4014
Re: Repair jobs wages declining
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2018, 04:29:37 am »
I do brakes, radiators, belts even did a timing belt once but it took me 3 days.
Brawndo. It's got what plants crave.

ilconsiglliere

  • CCF Winner's Circle - Supporter
  • Wise Sage
  • *
  • Posts: 3151
Re: Repair jobs wages declining
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2018, 08:46:04 am »
I do lots of things myself and have for years. I have the shop manual for most of my cars. Have to say though Youtube is better for it though :).

Though recently I had the timing belt done - I know whats involved to do it. For that I dont mess around. I let a pro do it.

Bulbs and what not, I do it myself. I have noticed though that on modern cars most of the cars make it incredibly difficult to change the bulbs. You have to take all kinds of stuff off.

This I can say though - if you are handy around the house you can easily be a handyman. The majority of the population cannot do anything around the house. I mean basic stuff like fixing holes in sheet rock, changing switches and outlets.

Richardk

  • Global Moderator
  • Wise Sage
  • *****
  • Posts: 4185
Re: Repair jobs wages declining
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2018, 04:21:10 pm »
YouTube is wonderful! I've learned how to fix all sorts of things, even done some work for friends and family. This started out of necessity when I had more time than money but it continues since I can't see spending good money on something I can do myself.

Though as noted, I'll let someone else deal with a timing belt.

This quote stood out for me:
Quote
A lot of service jobs have been predicated on civilians - ordinary consumers - having no access to tools, knowledge or parts. That time is past.
I think that trend is true overall though there are pockets where that doesn't apply. People still in the learning phase?

In one case I helped a 30+ year old change a tire after watching him try and dropping his car off the jack, just skinning his ankle. Lucky he didn't smash it.

Another was a young 20+ freaking out about a nail in his tire. Insisting that he now needs a new tire & calling shops to see who was still open. I took the tire to a garage down the street and they patched it for the price of a Starbucks latte. He couldn't believe the attendant said he was good to go, as he carefully examined the patch. Kind of like a kid with a new toy.

So there are people still out there that need help or have enough money that they don't care to do it themselves. For the rest of them, the number of DIY or "handymen" is quickly growing.

As for complexity, I wonder how much is intentional to keep the "pros" busy versus poor design? Case in point, 20 year old Buick, two plastic clips and you can replace the entire headlight assembly in 10 minutes. Same year Honda Accord, I'm told it's a major PITA.

I D Shukhov

  • CCF Winner's Circle - Supporter
  • Wise Sage
  • *
  • Posts: 6355
Re: Repair jobs wages declining
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2018, 05:48:13 pm »

So there are people still out there that need help or have enough money that they don't care to do it themselves. For the rest of them, the number of DIY or "handymen" is quickly growing.
I'm amazed at the wage rate for handymen. 

Quote
Our research indicates handymen charge about $83 per hour. Handyman projects are more likely to be unique - expect a general range of $50 to $100 per hour.

https://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-much-does-it-cost-hire-handyman.htm

Angie's list may be biased to the upside, but I've commonly seen $50 - $60/hour.   

The Gorn

  • I absolutely DESPISE improvised sulfur-charcoal-salt peter cannons made out of hollow tree branches filled with diamonds as projectiles.
  • Trusted Member
  • Wise Sage
  • ******
  • Posts: 22412
  • Gorn Classic, user of Gornix
Re: Repair jobs wages declining
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2018, 05:55:14 pm »
Repairs that are amenable to self educated amateurs include those repairs:

- That are non-life-critical to a high degree of confidence (example: I would never work on my own auto brakes. I don't know enough about the system or have the experience with it.. There are several interrelated elements like hydraulic lines, fluid that has to be absolutely clean, etc. Someone else with confidence can do this safely.)

- That don't have expose you to a high degree of risk to financial loss (example: doing your own electrical work might compromise your fire insurance coverage. A bad plumbing job could flood your house.)

- That don't require access to tools and materials that require certificates or licenses, or special handling of materials or waste products (air conditioners and other refrigeration systems are a case in point.)

Handymen are cheap because they only deal with non life critical projects that don't have legal ramifications.

Licensed trades such as electricians are extremely expensive because all areas demand licensing and apprenticeships. The cost of electrical work is so high and I have so much confidence with most electrical projects that I will take on pretty much any electrical project in the house. In part because since I have hired remodelers and electricians in the not distant past, I could blithely claim that new electrical outlets, etc that I put in were installed by them and inspected.  In my case the risk is well outweighed by the cost savings and certainty of a good result.

Also I see extremely low risk of anything I install causing a fire because I am so anal I test the crap out of things.
Gornix is protected by the GPL. *

* Gorn Public License. Duplication by inferior sentient species prohibited.