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What Is an Automotive Service Manager?

Dec 24, 2020 ·

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There are many different positions to fill at automotive repair shops and car dealerships. One of these roles is an automotive service manager, who is responsible for overseeing the operations at a shop and for ensuring that things are running well. They are there to help the staff as well as maintain relationships with customers to build and maintain a successful service department.

It’s important for automotive service managers to have a background of automotive knowledge and experience in the industry so they can keep things running well at a dealership or shop. Communication skills and the ability to problem solve are just a few qualities a service manager should have.

People come to the service department when they need something checked on their vehicle. Vehicle problems can be stressful, so it’s important that the experience a customer has is as positive as possible. What an automotive service manager does on a daily basis can help make this happen!

If a job as an automotive service manager sounds like it might interest you, keep reading to find out what they do on a daily basis and what the path to becoming one might look like.

Automotive Service Manager Job Description

Before pursuing a role as an automotive service manager, it helps to know exactly what they do. While an individual’s duties might vary depending on the shop or dealership they work at, goals generally remain the same across the board.

Automotive service managers play a very important role at a dealership or body shop. They are responsible for overseeing the entire service department, ensuring it is profitable and running smoothly.

Some of their duties can include:

  • Hiring, training, and managing employees
  • Preparing an annual operating budget
  • Keeping a record of accounts and financial information
  • Focusing on customer retention by building relationships
  • Managing and controlling costs
  • Keeping track of service and inventory records
  • Ordering parts and supplies as needed
  • Forecasting goals and objectives for the department
  • Implementing a marketing plan to promote business
  • Maintaining relations with executives and factory representatives
  • Contacting clients regarding the status of vehicles
  • Overseeing post-repair services (vehicle delivery, test driving, etc.)

These are just a few examples of tasks an automotive service manager performs. It’s a job that requires a lot of responsibility and organization — a vital role ensuring the service department is successful.

How to Become an Automotive Service Manager

There are a few paths you can take to become an automotive service manager. You can pursue higher education at a traditional university and get an associates or bachelors degree in business management or a related field; however, this isn’t required.

Having experience working at a dealership or shop can be very valuable when it comes to pursuing this job. A lot of automotive service managers have backgrounds in automotive repair. You can work your way up from a certified technician or service advisor to a management role.

Attending Universal Technical Institute (UTI) is a great way to gain the foundation and experience needed to become a successful automotive service manager.1 Trade school can be a great alternative to traditional schooling, as it typically takes less time and can cost less.

Apart from having either education or hands-on experience, those interested in becoming a service manager will likely need to have certification from the National Institute for Automotive Excellence (ASE). Certification from ASE can distinguish you from others in the field.

You can earn ASE certification by completing two years of on-the-job training and passing a written test. Training at UTI will give you a head start, however, as you will complete one of the two years of training during your time there.16

Whether you decide to get a degree from a traditional college or an education from a trade school, multiple routes can lead you to becoming an automotive service manager.

Automotive Service Manager Job Outlook and Salary

Getting insight into the job outlook and salary for an automotive service manager is smart when you’re thinking of pursuing it as a career. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t provide specific information or data for automotive service managers.

BLS data does give insight and information for related roles, including automotive service technicians and mechanics. Many managers end up starting in these positions. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for automotive service technicians and mechanics in the United States was $46,970 in May 2022.25 This means half of automotive technicians earned more and half earned less. Keep in mind that salary depends on several factors, including experience, employer, demand and cost of living in the area.

Interested in Becoming an Automotive Service Manager?

Does becoming an automotive service manager sound like a good career path for you? Automotive technology training is a great place to start. Having an automotive trade school background and hands-on experience can help you build a foundation for your future. You’ll be prepared for an entry-level position as a technician and have a basis of knowledge that can expand into new opportunities.2

UTI’s Automotive Technology program is a great place to start. A variety of courses offered in the program can help give you a fully-rounded education that can be applied in positions within the industry. These include a range of service and repair courses as well as automotive service writing, which can help students learn important written and verbal communication skills that are useful in a dealership setting.

You can graduate in less than a year prepared for whatever career path you decide to take.7 If you’re interested in finding out more about UTI’s Automotive Technology program, which is offered at locations nationwide, you can request more information here.

UTI Campuses That Offer Automotive Technician Training

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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

7) Some programs may require longer than one year to complete.

16) Not all programs are accredited by the ASE Education Foundation.

25) UTI’s Automotive Technology Program prepares graduates for entry-level positions using the provided training, primarily as automotive technicians. Estimated annual salary shown above is for Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics as published in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wages. Entry-level salaries are lower for UTI graduates. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary. UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on economic factors, personal credentials, work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer, and their compensation programs. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as an automotive technician, such as service writer, smog inspector, and parts associate. Salary information for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: The average annual entry-level salary range for persons employed as Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics (49-3023) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is $32,140 to $53,430 (Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development, May 2020 data Salary information for North Carolina: The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the hourly median wage for skilled automotive technicians in North Carolina is $21.80 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wages, Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics). The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish entry-level salary data. However, the 25th and 10th percentile of hourly earnings in North Carolina are $15.23 and $13.48, respectively.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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