Auto body shops restore, repair or refinish the frames and structures of vehicles. Despite a relatively low percentage of female workers, auto body careers can provide a great opportunity to exercise your passion for cars. If you have the necessary skills, you can overcome gender stereotypes and land a job or even start your own repair shop.
Technical Auto Skills
Regardless of your personal qualities and soft skills, you won't get a job as an auto body worker unless you have the necessary tech skills. High school classes and trade schools offer education and training. You can get a two-year associate degree in auto and diesel at many community colleges as well. An understanding of the frame construction, power tools and repair processes are essential technical skills. In a December 2012 "Gaston Gazette" article, female auto body shop owner Angel Griffin noted that the best way she can overcome customer doubts about her abilities is to prove that she knows her way around a car.
You also need a great combination of hand-eye coordination and detail-orientation for auto body repair success. Auto body work often involves a process of deconstructing parts, replacing or fixing them and repainting. To deliver quality service, you need to watch for fine details in matching the original look of the vehicle. Additionally, the actual repair work demands that you have good hand strength to remove and replace parts, pieces and screws.
Auto body work isn't just manual labor, it is a problem-solving service business. Each customer's situation is different and the general role of the repair shop is to provide the best quality experience at a reasonable rate. Typically, the first step in body repair is to look over the vehicle, assess the damage and research costs for repairs and replacement parts. In instances where an auto owner doesn't have insurance coverage, your problem-solving may also include working out a plan for payment of services.
Customers have a lot of choices in auto repair shops, and one way you can separate yourself as a woman is to convey a strong customer service orientation. When customers arrive at the shop, they are often disappointed in their predicament. A helpful attitude, good questions and a pleasant demeanor can win over a customer. If you operate your own shop, your customer service and helpful attitude can help you generate repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.