Author Topic: Help a newbie get started in appliance repair  (Read 4416 times)

Offline Gaz

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Help a newbie get started in appliance repair
« on: September 23, 2012, 11:54:26 AM »
Hello

I'm very happy to have stumbled across these boards. There is a wealth of information that I hope is going to help me in the coming months.

I'm a complete newbie to the appliance repair business. I would like to hear from some more experienced technicians as to how I can start to build my knowledge of appliance repair.

Ultimately, I would like to buy and sell second hand appliances in my spare time to supplement my income. I would like to feel comfortable fixing any problem appliances that I may come across when dealing in this market.

Over the past few days I've come across these resources that may help me towards my goal:

- Penn Foster online appliance tech course: the school doesn't have very good reviews and also I read a post here saying that someone quit the course because they weren't receiving info on how to actually repair appliances, just how they work. Has anyone taken this course and found it worthwhile?

- Uncle Harry appliance training: this seems to be the sort of thing that I'm looking for. However, I can't afford the expensive price tag for the course. Has anyone signed up and found the site worthy of the price tag?

- http://www.amazon.com/Troubleshooting-Repairing-Major-Appliances-2nd/dp/0071481486/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_y/186-2608408-3657660 - would anyone recommend this book for a newbie to start studying this area? Is there anything better?

- http://www.amazon.com/Major-Appliances-Fix-It-Yourself-Time-Books/dp/0809462044/ref=pd_sim_b_1 - would this still be a worthwhile read in 2012 or is it outdated?

- I also read some info recommending that newbies to appliance repair should gain a thorough understanding of basic circuitry and electronics. Would someone be able to recommend a good resource that will allow me to do this.

I suppose what I'm looking for is a guide to what I should study that would cover appliance repair 101. Can anyone help me with this?

I realise this type of knowledge is usually learned whilst actually getting the job done. Unfortunately, I'm overseas at the moment so I'm not able to get my hands on any appliances just yet. I have a lot of spare time so I would really like to understand this area as much as possible through studying. Any resources or recommendations that anyone can offer would be much appreciated.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2012, 11:56:44 AM by Gaz »

Offline JWWebster

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Re: Help a newbie get started in appliance repair
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2012, 12:04:31 PM »
Lots of great guys on this site willing to answer any questions you might have. Ask away. As far as these online tech service guides they are ok I guess but nothing beats hands on experience. Best of luck in your endeavors. I have learned quite a bit here myself.

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Offline AJ

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Re: Help a newbie get started in appliance repair
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2012, 12:12:01 PM »
Hello and welcome,

Quote
Uncle Harry appliance training: this seems to be the sort of thing that I'm looking for. However, I can't afford the expensive price tag for the course. Has anyone signed up and found the site worthy of the price tag?

I have heard from some of our members that have taken the Uncle Harry program.
Maybe some of them will post their thoughts about the programs here.



Quote
-
- would anyone recommend this book for a newbie to start studying this area? Is there anything better?

This is a awesome book. I first read it a few years ago when I found a copy at our local library.

Photo from a couple years ago when I first posted about the book.





Quote
-
- would this still be a worthwhile read in 2012 or is it outdated?

I don't know anything about this one, sorry.



Quote
I also read some info recommending that newbies to appliance repair should gain a thorough understanding of basic circuitry and electronics. Would someone be able to recommend a good resource that will allow me to do this.

Maybe you would be interested in something like this.
http://appliancejunk.com/forums/index.php?action=store;sa=view;id=148

Some other training manuals here.
http://appliancejunk.com/forums/index.php?action=store;cat=25

The best deal is our master collection.
http://appliancejunk.com/forums/index.php?action=store;sa=view;id=118


What type of work are you doing now?

Hope you find our site helpful.

Offline Patricio

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Re: Help a newbie get started in appliance repair
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2012, 11:31:27 PM »
Uncle Harry's course is expensive, good on theory, outdated on appliances & their specific repairs.  He seems to get agitated when being persistant with how to & why questions.   Most everything I had problems with & tried to get his help he told me to condemn the unit & not answering why.   At one point he told me to find the answers online at these forums.   Although I have gleamed my basic understanding from his course, I feel it is overpriced for the info I received.   I wish my money was better spent going to a better hands on facility.

Best of luck with your endevor.   I am still learning putting a lot of Hands on.
Great Old Fashion Hometown Service

Offline Bailey

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Re: Help a newbie get started in appliance repair
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2012, 03:20:27 PM »
If you can't read a wiring diagram or schematic, you will always struggle in this business. The mechanical part is pretty straight forward. If it is noisy, figure out where its coming from. Even us guys that have been it for awhile run into stuff we haven't seen before. but if you can grasp the electrical theory part it sure is easier.

Offline PerrysRepair

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Re: Help a newbie get started in appliance repair
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2012, 10:22:16 PM »
I agree with Bailey about the electrical therory--VERY important to know and understand. Knowing how to properly use a multimeter is also important in diagnostics.

Offline AJ

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Re: Help a newbie get started in appliance repair
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2012, 10:27:01 PM »
Lots of good appliance repair videos on youtube too.

Here are a couple good channels.
http://www.youtube.com/user/shawnryan111  (one of our members)
http://www.youtube.com/repairclinic
http://www.youtube.com/appliancepartspros
Hope you find our site helpful.

Offline wildimaginations

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Re: Help a newbie get started in appliance repair
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2012, 08:00:07 AM »
Took me awhile to read electrical schematics properly but the one advise I can share is this.  When there is 120v going into something, you should get 120v at the destination it's going to or at least to the transformer.  If not, then trace back where you can get 120v and look at the schematics and see why.  The hardest problem would be a wiring issue because wires are not supposed to break but in some rare cases, they do from rodents chewing wires, wires were improperly shielded from sharp corners at the factory or just bad connections.
Appliance Service Technician
Authorized servicer on LG appliances.
About 45 mins east of San Francisco

Offline RAH52

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Re: Help a newbie get started in appliance repair
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2012, 07:28:29 PM »
With the price of a basic VMW washer at between $349-$399 and a basic fridge at $399 iI find it harder and harder to sell used and make any money .You have to have the appliance given to you ,you can't offer to pay anything for it .I had a customer today tell me $50 bucks was too much for a good working used WP dryer .They also wanted a year warranty LOL. I think if I had to do it over again I'd get myself trained on the real high end stuff .People think twice about scrapping an expensive appliance .In my opinion our industry is in decline .People just dont want to pay for repairs like they did even 10 years ago .We are a throw away society .This is partly because the companies have made the price of replacement parts too high.


Offline Patricio

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Re: Help a newbie get started in appliance repair
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2012, 11:24:10 PM »
Yes I have learned folks do not want to pay for repairs or good used appliances.   I installed a brand new dishwasher for a client with rent houses because She purchased it for the same price as the parts cost to repair the old one, which was less than 3 years old.   I have been working on the high end units to keep afloat, it is still a struggle.
Great Old Fashion Hometown Service

Offline Brent@CanBC

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Re: Help a newbie get started in appliance repair
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2012, 04:06:45 AM »
Will be starting my 30th year in 2013.   I lost my job,  and there was two small kids, and a morgage,  and vehicle loan.   I was pretty good with Commercial Refrigeration, Ammonia plants 200-300 ton plants.  I was good at trouble shooting,  using a meter, and amp probe, so I might have a head start on you if your just starting out.   Am in my late 60's,  and have to use a cane now,  but am still able to do useful days of service.

I would stay away from debt, and going for a loan.   You mentioned you wanted to off set your present wages, by doing appliances.  Good for you.   Here are some of the things that come to mind, to get started.   1st off, you say you have a lot of time on your hands, so you must be working part time.   You didn't say if you had a vehicle or not.  so say you don't have a vehicle.   I am in a small 2700 population town,   and I could walk down just one street, say a block,  and I could come out of there with 4-5 appliances.   The owners would give them to me,  plus they would go get some muscle to load them up and take them to my shop, all for the taking.    I very seldom pay anything.   I get mostly the newer stuff, high end stuff.

If you have a vehicle,  and got muscle to help,  or even a trailer,  you go down the other streets,  that have all that good stuff in their garages,  just waiting to give it to you.  As you know, there are different situations,  one will say you can have it,  then when you go to take it,  they want to know if you will pay them 20 bucks, or 50 as some here say,  or will they give them a free service call.   Stuff like this is interesting to me,  as I have been at it for a long time.   Some will say,  you fix it and we will split the money.  So you can see how that end of the "used appliance repair" can come into play.

Another area in the Used appliance repair business that works, is they come to buy a washer, or dryer,  or a set etc,  they don't want to pay much,  ok,   have they trade in material.  Again, some will want warrantee,  that is ok with me, I give them 90 days, at my selling price.  If they want a cheap sale,  and no warrantee, then the price comes down.  But I always want the trading factor involved,  as if you sell below your price tag,  you then get their set, and can fix them up and make the balance involved.    If you are trying to get rich in a week,   this will not take place.   I am not rich,  but I always have money in my jeans,  always.   Wheeling and dealing is a lot of fun.

I am old and crippled up,  so most of what I do now, is drop off.   At one time, many years back,  it did Appartments,   Restuarants,  Well sites, you name it.   Roof top A/C,   vehicle A/C,   walk in coolers and fast freeze meat freezers and coolers, domestic refrigeration, major appliance repairs, and service, plus sold good used parts,  and new parts,  and now depending on the customer,  I tell them to oreder the part them selfs and I will install it.

The biggests area of concern in building from scratch your business, is be smart, be honest,  and know all them people out there have kids that can go on line and look things up,  and know the prices.    One thing they don't know, is how to diagnose, and order the right part.   Again, be honest,  and be reliable,  and don't think for a minute you are smarter than them.    They have these iPods,   that tell them pretty much what they are up against, so again,   know what you are dealing with.

Another area of huge concern, is deal with people that can pay you when your finished.  In my case,  I only have one, that gives me a cheque, all the rest its cash period,  and right after I am finished.  No exceptions.   Also, all parts are paid up front, before being ordered, no exception.

By dealing in used appliances,   theres many appliances with good used parts,   parts to use for testing to find the problem,  to comfirm you testing findings.   With the used and work able parts, you can get them up and working,   plus paid for your new part that you order,  plus the labour etc, all at once, then you are "running your business, not them".    If you leave and come back with the new part,  and haven't been paid in advance,  it only takes once,  to come back, and they say they decided to buy new, or they ordered the part from Sears etc.   Again, run your business, or they will.

They call, and I tell them I can have it done and ready in the morning, or the next day,  if they drop it off.    At first it was a bit testy, but it all has come together, and is working just fine.   I had kinda retired at 65,  but when I turned 66,  well I had to get back, even though I have to use a cane,  I do ok, and I am 67 and thought that I would see if I can do 2012,  well I am still standing, still doing very well,   and my get up and go, is a bit slow, but am still this side of the ground.    My son does the Appartments in the City,  and if I need help, he comes and helps me get current with my end.   If you find a good young buck, or even a really reliable young girl, or married woman that you can train,  and use,  you will do very well.

I kinda do what I want,  and I am more tired, than retired,   but love to work,  have a faithful clinetel,  and if I wanted to, I could do 10 calls a day.   I do one or two, now, so my drop offs are working out very well.    Drop offs,  you don't waiste all your time going and coming for calls, and parts.  So some here will not like what I post,  but when you get older,   and don't want to hang up the badge yet,   this is the way to survive.   Also if you are just starting out,  its a way to manage,  and a way to get going,  and no debt.   No debt cards,  cashs only.    I pay my bills from my suppliers, with a money order, or pay them on line the ones that have set me up for on line payments.

This might be long winded, but there is a lot of things, that just don't matter any more.   If you want more info,   I'm loaded.   Am all ears also.  Never know when you will learn something new.    Finding this site, you are as lucky as me.   I love to read the posts, and information that AJ has put together,  priceless for people that just want some help, or want a opinion.    Also the guys that help here,  good on them, great bunch of good techs here.    Good on ApplianceJunk. com    Brent@CanBC

Offline Brent@CanBC

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Re: Help a newbie get started in appliance repair
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2012, 04:38:09 AM »
RAH52, you mentioned that you might be better off dealing in the high end stuff.   I have  them drop them off out front of my shop, and go buy new, some do, some don't.    I get them,  and if there is no play in the bearings, or noise in the bearings when I turn the inner basket, or no gunk coming out of the rear beaing,  that is fine with me.   Out of the 20 that has been drop'd off out front,  I have fixed all put the one.   I got another one with motor control problems, so took the inner basket and holding tub out,  and installed it into another good one with the same board,  but bearing problems.   I have a large area for storage under the roof,  so I get for free,   always free, just take it,  as at the land fill they have to pay, plus the gas to go there.  I don't have to use up my gas, or reck one of my older muscles to lift when they come to buy, or pick up, or drop off.

If you are honest,  and care about your customers,  you will always have money in your jeans.     I charge what people can handle.   I do have the people that have the money.    I also give away to people that can't afford, so all in all,   I am in a small community,   and things are up and down, but its always been that way.   I do manage ok.   Brent@CanBC

 

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