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What Is an Automotive Service Writer and What Do They Do?

Oct 30, 2020 ·
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At car dealerships and automotive repair shops, automotive service writers are usually the first and last impression a customer has with a shop. They’re the ones who greet customers, listen to the problems a client is having with their vehicles, communicate to the team of automotive technicians what the problem is, and act as the liaison between the shop or dealership and the customer every step of the way.

Automotive service writers need to have expert automotive knowledge so they can help identify and explain the problems a customer is having. They also have to be great listeners, friendly and excellent communicators.

Car problems are stressful. An automotive service writer can make or break the client's experience. Service writers also affect how efficiently technicians complete the work that needs to be done.

If working as an automotive service writer sounds interesting to you, read on for what a typical day is like for an automotive service writer, how to become an automotive service writer and what the career path of an automotive service writer might look like. 1

Automotive Service Writer Job Description

Automotive service writers typically work in car repair shops or at dealerships. At dealerships, they might have expert knowledge in a particular brand or brands of cars. The typical job duties of an automotive service writer include:

  • Greeting customers and asking them to explain the car issue
  • Writing up customer information
  • Communicating customer information to a technician
  • Inputting customer and vehicle information into a customer relationship management system and service database
  • Writing and tracking service work
  • Creating automotive work estimates by determining labor, supplies, and materials needed
  • Billing clients and managing work transactions
  • Responding to customer questions and communications during the service process

Automotive service writers typically have technician knowledge or experience that qualifies them for the customer-facing automotive service writer role. They thrive as communicators and collaborators since they have to work with multiple parties to ensure the job gets completed successfully.

How to Train to Become an Automotive Service Writer

Different employers will have different requirements for automotive service writer positions. Automotive service writer positions typically don’t require a traditional college education, but some employers will require automotive trade school education. The reason is experience working on the vehicles that a shop or dealership services can prepare automotive service writers to communicate better with clients and technicians.

Sometimes, dealerships require completion of automotive specialized training programs in the brands they sell. Some shops and other employers also expect their automotive service writers to be certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) since it offers the top credentials for service technicians.

Some automotive service writers had experience as automotive technicians before moving into service writer roles. For automotive technicians who crave working directly with customers, making the transition to service writer can keep them working in a shop or at a dealership in a people-facing, more administrative role.

Automotive Service Writer Job Outlook & Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t provide data specifically on automotive service writers. However, it does provide insight into automotive service technicians and mechanics, which is a role that some service writers have before making the transition.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for automotive service technicians and mechanics in the United States was $44,050 in May 2020.25 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.

The ratio of automotive service writers to automotive technicians depends on the shop or dealership. Some locations have one service writer for every one or two technicians. Others may have one service writer for up to five or six technicians. Automotive service writers are an instrumental part of a shop or dealership’s success, so they play a meaningful role in any type of shop or dealership environment.

Because automotive service writers constantly work with both customers and technicians, the communication skills they develop as service writers and the automotive knowledge they cultivate can prepare them for careers in automotive management.

Interested in Training to Becoming an Automotive Service Writer?

Because automotive service writer positions are not always as plentiful as technician positions and many service writers move into their roles after working as technicians, automotive technology training can help aspiring automotive service writers grow their careers. With a formal automotive trade school education background, graduates are ready to begin an entry-level career as a technician or move into a service writer role if they have excellent communication skills.

At Universal Technical Institute (UTI), the Automotive Technology program covers the topic of service writing. Students learn about the written and verbal communication skills they need to help them thrive in an automotive service writing role at a dealership or shop. This training is exceptional to highlight on a résumé when applying for an automotive service writer position.2

Plus, the automotive training at UTI provides students with entry-level technician knowledge, as well as one year of experience toward ASE certification completion. Both of these may also be requirements for certain automotive service writer positions.

To learn more about UTI’s Automotive program, which takes just 51 weeks to complete and is offered at locations across the country, contact UTI online, or call 1-800-834-7308. Ready to enroll? Enroll online.

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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 www.uti.edu/disclosures.

25) UTI’s Automotive Technology program prepares graduates for entry-level positions using the provided training, primarily as automotive technicians. Estimated annual salary is for Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics as published in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2020 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 https://lmi.dua.eol.mass.gov/lmi/OccupationalEmploymentAndWageSpecificOccupations#). Salary information for North Carolina: The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the hourly median wage for skilled automotive technicians in North Carolina is $20.59 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2020 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 percentiles of hourly earnings in North Carolina are $14.55 and $11.27, 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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