Discussion:
frustrated road tech ready to make a change?

I've been working as an electric and I/C road tech at the same company for about twelve years now, and for a bunch of reasons I feel that a change of scenery is over due. I don't want to stop wrenching, but I think its time to do it for some one else, and possibly on some altogether different type of machinery. I'm a highly skilled and adaptable tech, maybe not the best ever but definitely a top ten percenter in a big company. To me all machines are just machines, and I haven't yet found one that I can't handle If I have access to the right information.

I've had offers in the past, and turned them down because they came from lift truck companies that I felt weren't all that reputable, or the job would have required long distance travel, which for me is a deal breaker no mater what it pays. But that was then, and at that time I felt like I had a long and prosperous road to travel with this employer and wasn't seriously looking to make a change, now things are a lot different.

Something happened recently that made me want to quit right on the spot. It was the latest big rusty link on a growing chain of discontent with my employer that been growing for several years. If not for the seriously bad state of the economy I may actually have turned in my resignation that day, and I am not the kind of guy that makes irrational decisions in the heat of anger.

So I'm sticking with the miserable job for now because a miserable but stable job better than no job, but I am going to start shopping my resume around in earnest this year. There are a few lift truck companies that I want to target, and a couple that know I should probably avoid but I will talk to them this time anyway. I'm also planning to contact some heavy equipment and Ag equipment dealers since their machinery is similar. Before I worked in the fork lift business I worked with stationary industrial machinery, and I will consider it again, but most of companies that service that type of stuff require frequent long distance travel, which is no good for a guy with young kids at home. I also have a friend that runs a successful auto repair shop who keeps suggesting that I come work for him, I'd hate to give up the roadie life, but then again it never rains or freezes inside the shop and a two post lift is a lot easier on the back & knees than wood blocks and rail-road jacks.

So, as I begin this process (at the worst possible time/economic conditions), I would like to solicit the advice and wisdom of the wise old elders of the forklift repair world that lurk in this forum. Are there any secrets to spotting the best companies to work for and getting them to recognize just how much of an asset you can be to them?

The things that matter most to me in my career and in my relationship with my employer are stability, proper compensation, respect and honesty. I've gone above and beyond the call of duty for every one that I've ever worked for and I do every single job with quality and pride, and I won't do it any other way. I treat every single customer like I am XYZ Lift co.*(*not a real company) and they are my most important client. I hope to find a company that recognizes the value of a worker like me. Its a shame that XYZ lift has found every possible excuse (since before the recession)to treat me like just another grease monkey, this is the type of employer that I don't want to be with.

I fully understand the dire condition that the forklift industry is in these days, and I don't want seem insensitive to the unemployed tech's who would love to have any job right now, but something in my career needs to change, and that won't happen if I don't make it happen. Like Steve Forbert sang "you can't win if you do not play"
  • Posted 26 Jan 2010 16:28
  • Discussion started by fixitandy
  • Pennsylvania, United States
This industry has a lot of ups and downs
Showing items 1 - 7 of 7 results.
I agree with these other guys go out on your own best thing I ever did alittle scary at first but well worth it in the end. I started out slow and picked up some smaller customers that I could service in the evenings or on saturdays while still working at my other job,when its time to go it full time you will know GOOD LUCK
  • Posted 11 Aug 2010 20:37
  • Reply by luke_h
  • Ontario, Canada
Sounds like you work for the biege color. Take some time, plan it out, figure what your costs would be and make a go of it on your own. Then you can eventually hire your own techs. Maybe offer other techs you work with a couple of bucks more an hour with better working conditions and they can bring their customers with them. You can also start a fleet management and invoice review venture. Large lift truck companies fall flat on their face when it comes to "watching out for the customer" in lieu of their bottom line.
  • Posted 7 Aug 2010 09:36
  • Reply by KevA
  • California, United States
I never made it more than 3 years each working for the 4 repair companies I've been at. Two were dealers selling new equipment and one was a independant. Then I went out on my own. It really didn't cost much at all to get going. That was 25 years ago.
I did have 2 big customers all set to go when I started. Things have been good and I would not have done it differently. I'm totally free, I do things my way.
Along the way I joined another independant but that only lasted 6 months and I went back the way I was, all by myself. I had another company want to buy me out and come work for them. I commented, "But then I wouldn't be the boss and I would have to work 8:00 to 5:00", no thanks!"
Three times, over the years, my biggest customer has gone out of business but I always picked up another afterwards.
It is very easy to blow the dealers out off the water with my rates, quality of service, and honesty. My customers know this and seem to like me a lot.
I almost like my job, except for the dirt and grease.
  • Posted 28 Jan 2010 06:20
  • Reply by mrfixit
  • New York, United States
Normandy,
Yes go on your own!! If u provide good services and you like poeple and fear the money worth it!! big money.You work for your retirement.Harder u work ez retiring.Time to retire
bring someone in, give them good money treat them like human.He bill's you and you bill the customer.I work hard for a major corp.o eh they had everything (image)and i was the number.So being on my own without any corp customers and money I took a chance! struggling,happy and waiting too retire!!
  • Posted 28 Jan 2010 05:21
  • Reply by LOGIC
  • Ontario, Canada
Fixitandy

I don't know your age profile but go out on your own if you can.

A guy like you probably has lots of customers willing to help

If you don't try then you will spend the rest of your like always wondering " What If"
  • Posted 28 Jan 2010 02:28
  • Reply by Normandy
  • Co. Cork, Ireland
Well stated roadtech. Just to add a short one liner. "The devil you know can often be better than the one you don't know."
  • Posted 27 Jan 2010 22:51
  • Reply by johnr_j
  • Georgia, United States
"Have An Exceptional Day!"
You scared the **** out of me when I saw your subject line "frustrated road tech ready to make a change?"

I started thinking "How's he know what's going on in my head"????
Then I read your post, I really feel where you are coming from right now.

You come home every night feeling like you're the worlds whipping boy and everybody took a extra large crack at you today.

I cover 8 counties and have over 200 trucks in my A/R, some customers treat me like family and I bend over backwards to help them and have been toe to toe with the service manager for them too, others treat me like I'm something wet & slimmy that was clinging to the bottom of their shoes, and feel it's their right to walk all over me when ever they get a notion.

The wife has told me a few times to just call in and tell them to come pick up my van & uniforms, but like you I just can't go out and find a job on a moments notice with the pay & benefits I currently recieve.
Ever heard the saying "Same ****, different shirt", that's all you'll find if you go to another lift company. The grass isn't always greener as I have found out.

I had over 3 years as a road tech with a small company in Ohio that was home based out of Alabama, We saw the company President maybe 3 times a year, The week I had my resignation typed up and sitting on the dash of my van and ready to turn in, we were all called into the shop and it was announced that our branch was being bought out by another larger company, That was 5 years ago.
I kept my time and vacation and got much better benefits with the new employer only thing is after all this time we still feel like we're the "Red-headed stepchildren" of the company and not a real employee of the new company.

I've had 8 customers within the last year either offer me a job or tell me when and if I go out on my own or go to another lift company they'll come with me. That just makes me work harder to keep them happy and do what I can to keep their business.

Right now everybody is hurting for business, and managers are learning new ways everyday how to mess with your head and what buttons to push to make you mad enough to quit, it's what they want, I found out 1 thing a long time ago, We're all replaceable. There is plenty of people who would be happy to step into our shoes for less money and tell the managers 'Thank you sir, May I have another??".

Talk to your General Manager off property, make him take you out for lunch or dinner and let him know how you feel.
Don't accuse or point blame at any one issue or person, be consructive and positive and let him know you want more from the company and your ready to grow or go. If that doesn't help, contact your HR people, it's your right and that's why they are there.

The past few years the company has been on this big push about PM compleation and new PM sign up's even though they will turn around and whine that it's a money loser. I am so sick of spinning oil filters I could puke, I knew it was about time to start looking when I did a complete PM on a I/C truck with my eyes closed. I even started to do PM's different ways or try to do something different just to keep my sanity.

In todays economy I would be careful of shopping with competators, We work in a small close knit industry where bad news,rumors and gossip always travels twice the speed of a "Atta Boy" or a "Thank You".
Many employers will fire you on the spot these days if they might think your talking to the competition or one happens to call for a work reference.

We work in a VERY stressful and thankless job, sometimes I feel almost like a prostitute with a pimp for a service manager. Sit down sometime and think how much both jobs parallel each other. It's stunning when you write it down, then you realize that a good prostitue make 3 times as much money as we do.

Take a few days off if you need to and gather your thoughts, then talk to somebody that can either help you find the answers you seek, or at least help you unload your van.
  • Posted 27 Jan 2010 13:46
  • Modified 27 Jan 2010 14:03 by poster
  • Reply by roadtech
  • Ohio, United States

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