7 Reasons to Become a Freelancer in the Automotive Aftermarket

7 Reasons to Become a Freelancer in the Automotive Aftermarket

This article was originally published on 29 June 2021

The pandemic has put freelance work into overdrive, upending the traditional working world and causing many employees to pursue a temporary contractor career.

7 reasons to freelance in the automotive aftermarket

Growth in the freelance market is not expected to slow down any time soon. The common thread across all workers today is flexibility – they want to have fluidity and agility in their work, whether they are a chef, a plumber, a vehicle technician, or an office worker – and if businesses aren’t embracing that flexible workforce, then they are at risk of missing out on attracting the best talent in the market which could stifle growth.

While originally the mainstay of marketing and IT specialists, all industries have been tapping into the gig economy for some time as it’s about having the right talent, in the right place, at the right time.

So, for any vehicle technician or MOT tester looking for a change in career direction, now is as good a time as any to take the plunge and become a freelance contractor.

Autotech Recruit operates the UK’s largest network of automotive contractors and here we highlight the many benefits a freelance career within the industry can deliver:

1) High demand for temporary technicians

While relatively unheard within the motor trade over a decade ago, the industry no longer spurns the idea of taking on a temporary vehicle technician or MOT tester, regularly employing them on a short-term basis to cover any labour gaps. In fact, the demand is far outstripping the current supply.

Garages up and down the country realise that they could face a large financial hit if they have an un-manned service ramp or MOT bay, and are employing the temporary services of highly skilled, contractors to cover any resource gaps, without committing to costly overheads.

2) Higher earning potential

A freelance vehicle technician or MOT tester can expect to earn anything from 25% up to 100% more per hour than doing the same job as a permanent employee. Although they will need to compensate for un-paid holidays and taxes, becoming a temporary contractor can be lucrative, and the work is out there. Before starting a contracting career, MOT testers and vehicle technicians need to decide the way they will get paid for their freelance work. There are two established options: setting up a limited business or registering with an umbrella payment company, all of which will be explained by Autotech Recruit’s team of experienced consultants.

3) Be your own boss

While Autotech Recruit provides freelance vehicle technicians and MOT testers with all the support needed to set help them establish themselves, they are ultimately their own boss. The decision on when to work, how much they work, and how far from home they work is ultimately theirs. Also, the opportunity to upskill and re-train is in their hands rather than an employer's.

4) Greater flexibility

The availability of both short and long-term work for a temporary vehicle technician is extensive and contractors frequently highlight their better work/life balance when taking the freelance route.

5) Excellent training opportunities

A freelance marketing exec from the 1990s will have faced a multitude of upskilling requirements to enable them to adapt to the social media and blogging of the 2000s – if they didn’t, they were probably usurped by a millennial. A freelance vehicle technician faces the same challenges today. The automotive industry is fast-paced and changing at a rapid speed, those trained in electric vehicles, for example, are increasingly sought after by garages who have yet to send their technicians on the relevant courses.

Freelance vehicle technicians and MOT testers can take control of their careers, choosing which areas they want to upskill in and Autotech Group’s dedicated training division works in partnership with industry recognised training providers to deliver the highest quality MOT, electric/hybrid vehicle, and technical training courses. While this is available across the entire industry, last year, Autotech Group invested £170k in upskilling its network of temporary vehicle technicians and MOT testers. This included access to an exclusive online training portal through OurVirtualAcademy.com, free MOT tester training, and EV training, as part of a pledge to ensure that ALL contractors were trained to a minimum Level 2 Hybrid & Electric Vehicle, IMI standard, by the end of 2021, securing their safety and enhancing employability.

6) Building a cross section of vehicle brand skills

Upskilling isn’t just about attending training courses though. Working across different garages as a temporary vehicle technician will build a strong cross-section of skills. And, while independent garages and workshops originally bucked the trend in hiring temporary vehicle technicians, leading car manufacturers are increasingly tapping into the temporary resource as a way to meet periods of high demand. As these manufacturers tend to want to recruit technicians trained in working on their own specific vehicles, there is now scope for temporary vehicle technicians to embark upon intensive manufacturer training too. Autotech Group’s Manufacturer Led Programme (MLP) has enabled contractors to up-skill, and work with a wide range of vehicle manufacturers including BMW, Volvo, Ford, VW, and Seat.

7) Greater experience

Becoming a freelance vehicle technician or MOT tester will ultimately hone a contractor’s skill set and ability. By working across multiple sites and vehicle manufacturers and embarking upon training, a contractor can increase their employability and earning potential significantly.

Undoubtedly, leaving permanent employment to become a freelancer can be daunting, particularly following such unprecedented times. But the work is available and, as the industry is anticipating a wave of demand for temporary contractors to fill resource gaps, now might be the time to take the plunge.

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