Getting into heavy equipment mechanics

This topic contains 5 replies and was last updated by ben 8 years 6 months ago
Author
ben
March 9th, 2013 5:18am
Post
Hello everyone,



I am new to this forum and looking for some career advice in heavy equipment mechanics. A little background of myself:



I am in my late 20's, airline pilot by profession, and always had a desire and interest in the mechanics field. I might wear a tie to work, but was raised on my grandparents farm...always by my grandfathers side helping fix machinery. Getting my hands dirty is not a foreign thing to me...I hate wearing a tie to work :P



My current job is one I enjoy. But as I progress with my career and knowing at some point I want to start a family, a back up plan is always good to have, and this is the best time to further my education if I can do so. The flying business is very volatile. Job security is nothing to be held dear, and my license depends on a yearly check up to the docters.



I am writing today for input. I have been to college and know that they are in the business of making money too, trying to sell their product. So if anyone wants to take the time to discuss a day in the life of a heavy equipment mechanic, how you got to where you are, realistic salaries, etc it would be a big help to someone who is trying to decide whether or not to go back to school to further my education and have a back up plan if flying ever $hit the bed for me.



I am not sure if this is a Canadian or American site. I am in Canada, so input on this side of the border would be great.



Thanking everyone in advance for your input.
andy-stoecklin
March 10th, 2013 5:12pm
Hi Dale,

It is nice to see some new people with the desire to get into the equipment technicians field. I am turning 40 this year and have been doing this for the last 17 years. I still enjoy going to work every day.

As far as the training goes, I am probably not the best one to give you advise. I took my training in Switzerland, where I grew up. We have several apprentices working in our shop. As far as I understand there are two ways to go about this.

Once you found an employer, you can be enrolled into the apprenticeship program (thats the way I would do it) or you can attend a pre-employment course (I think thats more for younger kids straight out of school).

Your apprenticeship takes about four years, depending on how many hours you put in.

I am not sure what the salary for a first year apprentice is.

You should also consider that most employers require that you own your tools. This can get pretty expensive but you dont need everything the first day you show up.

You can take the apprentice course as a heavy duty off road mechanic or an agricultural equipment technician.

I am an agricultural equipment tech but I work half the time on heavy duty construction equipment. I find that heavy duty equipment jobs are usualy payed a little better, Agricultural equipment is technologicaly more advanced (some guys will disagree on that).

Job security is very good and as far as pay goes, that depends on location. Here in Manitoba a tech with a red seal certificate should make 30 dollars or more an hour.

Let me know if you live in Manitoba, I could probably hook you up with a job.

Good luck with your search
toolchick
March 11th, 2013 6:15pm
Hi Dale,



Welcome to Mechanics Hub! I am sure you will find that this is a valuable site for you - especially if you are looking to get in the trade.



If you look through the search field on the top of the forum, you will see that there hundreds of conversations on that relate to the specific category or keyword search (i.e. career, apprenticeship, new to the trade, etc...) with valuable input given by other Hub members who are active and experienced in the trade.



You can also check out the Training category that we have on the menu. Here you will find a listing of different shcools, programs offered, governments grants, scholarships etc...; these are all broken down depending on which province/state you live in.



Mechanics Hub was created and is powered by Maizis & Miller, www.maizisandmiller.com, North America's largest recruiters for Diesel Machinery Professionals. Although our home office is located in Toronto, ON, Mechanics Hub is neither a specific Canadian or an American site. As we have hundreds of career opportunities across Canada and U.S.A, in addition to overseas, we try to present information that is useful and meaningful to both Canadians and Americans.



Best of luck to you and we look forward to your participation in the forum!
ben
March 18th, 2013 5:40pm
Your job/career is what you make of it. There are many ways too go within the mechanic field to ad some variety. I spent 20 years managing and operating in a reforesting contract operation. We used logging skidders to plow up harvested sites by pulling D8 tracks. This allowed the paper company to seed pine back to these sites.



I was the manager, a skidder operator, lowbed driver, welder, mechanic, for this small 4 person operation. I liked the variety of what I did but not the continually worsening state of the logging economy. Our gear was getting older, and after 10 years with no meaniful raise, and Abitibi/Resolute stealing %35 of our gross under bankruptsy protections, etc I had enough.



Last year I parked it all. Challenged and past both my Heavy Duty and Truck and Coach exams, packed my tools and headed for the oil patch in Alberta. I hired on with a large construction company. After 2 months in the shop they offered me a field truck position, where I have worked the last few months. Now I'm hoping to get into a owner operator situation.

Pay is way better then logging in Ontario has been in years.

Ticketed mechanics make $46 a hour plus overtime at 1 1/2. If I can get working out of my own truck it will be $118 a hour with this company. Best I have heard is some are offering $125 a hour for mechanic and truck plus, room and board, flights, fuel and maintenace to your truck in a attempt to get mechanics. I sure many have better deals then that if you have the specialized experience they are looking for. They love snapping up guys from Finning, Brandt, etc

I work 12 hrs day, 10 on and 10 off, and fly home for 8 days there.

Clearing roughly $400 a day after taxes flights and all other expenses.

I figure if I can get a truck on it should pay for itself in 2 years. (new truck)

Somedays the work is hard, but others is is very enjoyable. Most of the gear is pretty fresh by my standards and in the field we just deal with minor fixes, if we cant get it up in a 2 hours generally send it back to te shop and move on. Lots of trouble shooting on a vary diverse fleet.

So far I mainly work on the small gear like gensets, light towers, pumps, steamers, heaters etc. Lots of variety and always something new to learn. Not sure what would make me any happier.

Generally I look at 6 to 10 units a day and put 3/4 of them back on the up list. I enjoy being out doors most of the time, sometimes the weather sucks, but bring in a noisey , hot/cold shop does not always have all the advantages either..



I don't really envy the guys on the big gear doing undercarriages, cutting edges and crawling around, most days I work standing beside my units and come home clean enough to use my coveralls tomorrow.

Some of them like to look down on the "lawnmower division" but I have the same ticket as them and earn the same money. Most days there is more thought to what we do then them and less bull work

There is lots of variety out there, just a matter of finding what you like, and if your good at at and produce results, your employer will figure that out pretty soon and your services will be in constant demand.

I was a little concerned that not being a full time mechanic I would be playing catch up, but to date I'm putting more units on the up list every day then my cross shift who has been there 2 years. Some days I dig for answers, but it is all about continual growth. Being a good mechanic is about always learning.
rachel-stroup
May 18th, 2013 10:45am
Hello Dale,

Not sure if you can help me, I've been a fast fit manager for the last 10 years and i'm looking to move to California,Is there any work for me?



Any help would be fantastic :)



Regards

Rachel !!!
mrbigwrench
August 4th, 2013 3:00pm


Dale wrote:

Hello everyone,



I am new to this forum and looking for some career advice in heavy equipment mechanics. A little background of myself:



I am in my late 20's, airline pilot by profession, and always had a desire and interest in the mechanics field. I might wear a tie to work, but was raised on my grandparents farm...always by my grandfathers side helping fix machinery. Getting my hands dirty is not a foreign thing to me...I hate wearing a tie to work :P



My current job is one I enjoy. But as I progress with my career and knowing at some point I want to start a family, a back up plan is always good to have, and this is the best time to further my education if I can do so. The flying business is very volatile. Job security is nothing to be held dear, and my license depends on a yearly check up to the docters.



I am writing today for input. I have been to college and know that they are in the business of making money too, trying to sell their product. So if anyone wants to take the time to discuss a day in the life of a heavy equipment mechanic, how you got to where you are, realistic salaries, etc it would be a big help to someone who is trying to decide whether or not to go back to school to further my education and have a back up plan if flying ever $hit the bed for me.



I am not sure if this is a Canadian or American site. I am in Canada, so input on this side of the border would be great.



Thanking everyone in advance for your input.


If a guy has the chance to further his education, he would be wise go that way. The mechanical trades can be a tough go if you're not prepared.

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