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How to Make $4, 000 More a Year

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Writer James Rossman, 37, has been in the autobody industry since 1989 and has been employed as a painter’s helper, a painter, production manager, a wholesale area manager for a paint company, a wholesaler rep for a local jobber and a production manager. These days, he’s the business development manager for Vision Collision in the Lansing, Mich., area. Rossman’s been involved in nearly every facet of the industry, short of doing his own frame work. (“Although I think as a manager, I was actually framed for a couple of things,” says Rossman.) He enjoys spending time with his family and restoring his 1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass.

Let’s see if this sounds at all familiar … Come in to work, punch in, grab a coffee and talk with the guys about the game last night or how you bowled. Then it’s off to your little slice of heaven, and you figure out what to start on. Before you know it, lunch time is here. So, it’s off to the local burger barn or pizza palace. Order up a bit of pure ecstasy with onions and you’re off. Next thing you know, you’re looking at 2:30 p.m. and you think, “Wow! Where did the day go?” It seems like you just got there.

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I realize that there have been a lot of studies done and articles written about time management. That’s because it’s a worthy subject Ñ and one that’s sorely overlooked. If I could show you a couple of ways to increase your annual income by more than $4,000, would you listen?

Heck, I’m listening! Here we go …

I’m going to base these examples on the following criteria.

1. The pay rate is $14 per commission hour.

2. The tech is at an efficiency rating (ER)of 150 percent.

Are we straight on that? Great! Let’s begin.

If you’re at $14 per hour at 150 percent ER, then you’re making $21 per hour. Breaking that down a little further, you’re then making 35 cents a minute. Here’s one scenario that can make you an additional (don’t you just love that word?) $900 per year:

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In the morning (or whenever really), if you take 10 minutes to yak with the boys, grab coffee, read the paper or even just figure out where you want to start on the cars in your area, here’s what it’s really costing you:

10 minutes X 35 cents per minute = $3.50

$3.50 X 5 days per week = $17.50

$17.50 per week X 52 weeks a year = $910

Tah Dah! There’s that $900 I spoke of. Could pay for some vacation time, ayy? And that’s only taking into consideration 10 minutes a day. And if you’re at a higher efficiency rating than 150 percent, well, you do the math.

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Now, let us take a look at another little opportunity …

Let’s take a look at lunch. Caution: This article is best when used by the date on the bottom of the carton.

Off to lunch we go, never really thinking about what that lunch is costing us. In the good olÔ US of A, lunch costs about $5.50 on average. But that’s not all! If you also include the time and gas it took you to go get that classic combo (super-sized I’m sure), it gets even more interesting. Most techs take an hour for lunch (that’s 60 minutes if you’re left-handed) Ñ effectively bringing the total cost, not including the cost of gas burned, to …

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1 hour X 35 cents per minute + $5.50 for lunch = $26.50

Now, just for giggles, let’s see what it would make us in income if we did it differently. Let’s pack our lunch at a cost of $2.50 per day, which doesn’t take into account if you’re using leftover spaghetti (my favorite). Then, let’s just take 30 minutes for lunch. That looks like this …

30 minutes X 35 cents per minute + $2.50 = $13

Shazaam! That made us $13.50 in one day, and we probably avoided an angioplasty at the same time. So, in one year …

$13.50 X 5 days per week X 52 weeks per year = $3,510!

Okay, I’m not heartless. Let’s make it an even $3,000 so we can go out to lunch once in awhile and run an errand at lunch every so often. Still, we re-cooped more than $4,000.

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Sounds simple enough, but it will take some planning. When you get ready to leave at night, plan out your morning for the next work day. Although things change sometimes with the jobs, overall we can get a lot more done if we hit the ground running first thing.

Also pack your lunch the night before to avoid rushing in the morning. And try bringing your coffee from home in a thermos. You can add your favorite creamer and have hot coffee in your area all morning long. The less you stray from your workspace, the more you can accomplish.

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Sure, it’s a lot of fun working on cars, but would you do it for free? I like the guys I work for, but I also like to get paid for the time I’m there Ñ all of it. That’s fair. Give it a shot and see what happens. I double … no … I triple dog dare ya!

Writer James Rossman, 37, has been in the autobody industry since 1989 and has been employed as a painter’s helper, a painter, a wholesale area manager for a paint company, a wholesaler rep for a local jobber and a production manager. These days, he’s the production manager at Vision Collision in the Lansing, Mich., area. Rossman’s been involved in nearly every facet of the industry, short of doing his own frame work. (“Although I think as a manager, I was actually framed for a couple of things,” says Rossman.) He enjoys spending time with his family and restoring his 1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass.

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