Auto Recycler

Duties: Recycle quality auto parts and provide expert dismantling to ensure complete customer satisfaction
Alternate Title(s): Auto Salvage Expert
Salary Range: $20,800 to $41,600+
Employment Prospects: Good
Advancement Prospects: Good
Best Geographical Location(s): All parts of the country can provide opportunities for auto recycling positions
Education or Training--High school diploma, with courses in automobile mechanics, marketing education, mathematics, business education, and computer applications
Experience--Experience working on cars an asset
Special Skills and Personality Traits--Attention to detail; good research skills; good people skills

Auto Recycle Shop Owner
Auto Recycler
Apprentice Auto Recycler

Position Description
Cars that reach the end of the road are still far from being thrown onto the junk heap, regardless of their condition. Due to the high cost of replacement parts and the vast number of cars on the road, auto recycling has become a highly organized, efficient means of getting the most out of available parts. In fact, recycling car parts and materials has become big business--the kind that helps keep the automotive service and repair industry moving.       
As cars became more complex, with onboard computers responsible for monitoring everything and special tools and equipment required for even small jobs--auto recycling in recent years has changed. Once dealing primarily in junkyard sales, Auto Recyclers now focus on inventory management for the resale of quality, reusable parts. Nothing is wasted. Auto Recyclers work in independent recycling businesses. Because of the high resale value of many components, many Auto Recyclers now manage indoor warehousing systems so parts are not damaged by the weather. This inventory is then available for ''instant'' sale.      
This process has also helped to increase quality control, since the condition of the part is assessed before it is added to inventory.       
Hundreds of salvage companies list their available inventories on shared computer files. When a customer calls looking for a specific part, the Auto Recycler can access the inventories of many locations until the right part is found at an acceptable price. The part can be ordered and shipped via computer.      
The Auto Recycler spends time helping employees dismantle and inventory cars. Some days the Auto Recycler may spend time buying cars for salvage through auctions, insurance companies, or private vendors. Since some cars the Auto Recycler buys are relatively new, they may be rebuilt with parts from another similar car and resold by the Auto Recycler as a reliable used car or truck. Customers for these used cars include auto body shops, general repair garages, and materials recycling plants.

The starting wage for an Auto Recycler is about $10 an hour, for an annual starting salary of about $20,800. After five years, the Auto Recycler may earn more than $20 an hour, for a yearly salary of about $41,600. Owners of recycling businesses can earn much more.

Employment Prospects
The outlook is good for this growing business, and many more employees are expected to enter the auto recycling business. This is driven in part by the high price of car parts today, which creates an ongoing demand for high-quality used parts.

Advancement Prospects
Auto Recyclers may advance by getting a job with a larger recycling shop and may eventually buy a shop and go into business. Some Auto Recyclers go on to become auto/body repair shop managers, used car dealership managers, or materials recycling experts.

Education and Training
A high school education is required for most auto recycling jobs, and courses in math, English, computer science, business, and mechanics may be helpful. Additional experience in auto repair is very helpful, and related business experience is valuable for Auto Recyclers who eventually want to open their own shops. Most Auto Recyclers participate in on-the-job training or begin as an apprentice to a more experienced Auto Recycler.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
An Auto Recycler should have good business management and computer skills, and be excellent at handling customers. Auto Recyclers also must be able to handle a busy pace with multiple responsibilities. An Auto Recycler must rely on a detailed knowledge of cars to ensure the recycler buys cars that can be salvaged for high-quality parts in excellent condition. He or she must know how to price the purchases and parts for sale to ensure good business profits. Being able to work well with people--customers, suppliers, and employees-- is an important part of keeping a business thriving. Important skills include good planning and organizing skills, mechanical knowledge, and bookkeeping and customer service skills.

Unions and Associations
Auto Recyclers may belong to associations, such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and the Automotive Service Association.

Tips for Entry
1. Hands-on experience is important; try to improve your skills by working on your own cars, and by taking every relevant course available during high school or vocational school.
2. An internship or summer job at an auto recycling shop, car dealer, service station, or car repair shop can provide invaluable experience.
3. Check Web sites of local auto recycling shops to spot job openings.
4. Positions should be advertised in the newspaper classified ad section under ''trades: mechanical'' or ''auto.''


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