Author Topic: Starting a career in Appliance Repair  (Read 12223 times)

Offline Nikolai

  • VIP Member
  • Member Since: May 2010
  • Posts: 4
Starting a career in Appliance Repair
« on: May 16, 2010, 06:33:10 PM »

Hello everyone!

I'm brand new to the forum and excited to have found it! I've been in software sales for the past 8 years, and was recently laid off. While I was rethinking what I wanted to do with my life, I came across a book called "Shop class as a Soulcraft". The book basically talks about how most schools got rid of their shop class programs in the 1990's to make room for new computer labs to train kids to be "knowledge workers". It also talks about how as Americans we basically don't know how to "do anything" for ourselves any more.

After reading it, I decided that I wanted to learn a "trade" or skill. I wanted to learn a skill that was needed, in demand, and that was something they couldn't outsource to China, etc. :)

I have no real experience repairing appliances. I've never used an Ohmmeter, I can't read an electrical diagram or schematic. But I'm good with fixing and building computers and I think with some training I could find personal satisfaction in appliance repair, and hopefully be able to earn a good living. I can see that there is a clear need for more qualified appliance repairmen. I don't imagine that people will stop cooking on a stove, using a dishwasher or washing clothes in their homes anytime soon :)

After a lot of searching I'm learning that there are no classes I can take to learn the art of appliance repair (I'm in Indianapolis, IN). This distresses me. I've been watching videos online, reading a lot, and I ordered a large book about appliance repair to study. But nothing is better than learning hands on in a class environment, or out in the field.

I've thought about getting a weekend job with a local appliance repair company so I could get some training, but with me wanting to go into business for myself eventually I just think it'd be rude to have a place hire me and teach me, then leave them to do it on my own.

I wish there were a school or program here I could enroll in (like the school in washington I've read about on here) but I guess I'm going to have to learn the hard way, which is okay too.

I'd love to hear any advice or tips from any of the experts on here of what I can expect on my journey of learning. Any info would be great, and really appreciate you reading my post!


Offline whirlpooltech

  • Technician
  • Member Since: Nov 2007
  • Posts: 1367
  • Country: us
  • 20 years of experience
Re: Starting a career in Appliance Repair
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2010, 06:40:17 PM »
Hello and Welcome,

Quote
I ordered a large book about appliance repair to study.

Care to share the title of the book with us?

Quote
I've thought about getting a weekend job with a local appliance repair company so I could get some training, but with me wanting to go into business for myself eventually I just think it'd be rude to have a place hire me and teach me, then leave them to do it on my own.

You would not be the first and you would not be the last to do such a thing. A lot of appliance techs got there start by working for some else before going on there own.

It's not only a great way to learn, but also a great way to let someone else pay for your mistakes. ;)



Offline AJ

  • Technician
    Administrator
  • Member Since: Jun 2007
  • Posts: 9428
  • Country: us
    • ApplianceJunk.com - Appliance Repair
Re: Starting a career in Appliance Repair
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2010, 06:44:15 PM »
Hi,

Quote
I've been in software sales for the past 8 years, and was recently laid off.

Sorry to hear that.

Speaking of books here is a good one you may like to read too.

Troubleshooting and Repairing Major Appliances by Eric Kleinert.
Hope you find our site helpful.

Offline Nikolai

  • VIP Member
  • Member Since: May 2010
  • Posts: 4
Re: Starting a career in Appliance Repair
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2010, 06:44:53 PM »
Thanks for you fast reply!

The book I ordered is: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0071481486/ref=oss_product

It seemed like a good place to start. I see your point about letting someone else pay for my mistakes lol. Good point. I think I'm just concerend that if I went that route I wouldnt be able to support my family, have insurance etc. while I was learning. I don't even know what an entry level appliance tech would pay.

Offline Nikolai

  • VIP Member
  • Member Since: May 2010
  • Posts: 4
Re: Starting a career in Appliance Repair
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2010, 06:46:14 PM »
Hi,

Quote
I've been in software sales for the past 8 years, and was recently laid off.

Sorry to hear that.

Speaking of books here is a good one you may like to read too.

Troubleshooting and Repairing Major Appliances by Eric Kleinert.


Okay good! Looks like I at least picked a good book! lol :)

Offline JWWebster

  • Technician
  • Member Since: Jan 2008
  • Posts: 8780
  • Country: us
  • SublimeMasterJW
    • Buy me a beer through paypal
    • JW's Sublime Appliance Advice
Re: Starting a career in Appliance Repair
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2010, 06:58:58 PM »
You picked a good time to pursue a career in appliance repair. The days of the old school appliance repairman are just about gone. Today's repairman must be up to date with the very latest in diagnostic and manuals to repair these machines that are driven by artificial Intel. The old fashioned tried and true mercury based technology is fading. The new fangled gadgetry of the 21th century is here and now my friend. A few folks on this website have their own web blogs and pages. Look for the earth symbol associated with any tech. That is a link to their website. This website should be your base of knowledge. Their is stuff here for the ages. Use the search feature to find answers. Use the manuals provided and the gallery.
We will be happy to pass along whatever it takes to boost you in your new quest. That's what we do. Best of luck to you.  O0
May the hinges of our friendship
        never grow rusty.

About the icons: The beer is tip link, if a tech saves ya some money buy em a 6 pack. The small green square=personal message. The green dot is a link to my web page on appliance repair and other general BS I love to post. The letter sends me email.
I love fan letters! LOL

Offline AJ

  • Technician
    Administrator
  • Member Since: Jun 2007
  • Posts: 9428
  • Country: us
    • ApplianceJunk.com - Appliance Repair
Re: Starting a career in Appliance Repair
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2010, 07:04:14 PM »
The book is a great place to start. I think it's the most up to date appliance repair book out there. If someone knows of other books please let me know.

Here is the one I got.



There are also a ton of service manuals that you maybe interested in taking a look at. At the very bottom of the site there is a link for some Manuals.

As for starting pay that is going to depend on a lot of things.

Books and all the online help in the world will never replace real world experience, but I sure would have like to have the information that is online now 20 + years ago when I started out. :)

You may also want to read these. Lots of good information that relates to all appliances.
Series of Four (4) Appliance Repair Technical Training Manuals


Best of luck to you.  O0
Hope you find our site helpful.

Offline AJ

  • Technician
    Administrator
  • Member Since: Jun 2007
  • Posts: 9428
  • Country: us
    • ApplianceJunk.com - Appliance Repair
Re: Starting a career in Appliance Repair
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2010, 07:07:52 PM »
Quote
I came across a book called "Shop class as a Soulcraft". The book basically talks about how most schools got rid of their shop class programs in the 1990's to make room for new computer labs to train kids to be "knowledge workers".

btw: The two year program I took for appliance repair and refrigeration in Alexandria, Mn. closed it's program in 1988. My dad was the second year instructor for the refrigeration class and I was in the last group to complete the class before the program was shut down.

Hope you find our site helpful.

Offline Nikolai

  • VIP Member
  • Member Since: May 2010
  • Posts: 4
Re: Starting a career in Appliance Repair
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2010, 07:29:20 PM »
You picked a good time to pursue a career in appliance repair. The days of the old school appliance repairman are just about gone. Today's repairman must be up to date with the very latest in diagnostic and manuals to repair these machines that are driven by artificial Intel. The old fashioned tried and true mercury based technology is fading. The new fangled gadgetry of the 21th century is here and now my friend. A few folks on this website have their own web blogs and pages. Look for the earth symbol associated with any tech. That is a link to their website. This website should be your base of knowledge. Their is stuff here for the ages. Use the search feature to find answers. Use the manuals provided and the gallery.
We will be happy to pass along whatever it takes to boost you in your new quest. That's what we do. Best of luck to you.  O0

Thanks for your encouraging words JWWebster! Maybe my computer skills will be more of a value than I thought? :)

It is a bit sad that the old school repair guys are having trouble keeping up with the new technology though. Another thing that book mentioned was that up until the last 20yrs or so, all Sears catalogs had schematics in them, and now days you never see that. It's almost like they build stuff on purpose that's nearly impossible to fix yourself. It's a shame really that we have become such "consumers" that most peoples 1st instinct is to buy a new appliance than consider having one repaired.


Offline john63

  • Technician
  • Member Since: Feb 2010
  • Posts: 496
Re: Starting a career in Appliance Repair
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2010, 10:47:37 PM »
It's almost like they build stuff on purpose that's nearly impossible to fix yourself. It's a shame really that we have become such "consumers" that most peoples 1st instinct is to buy a new appliance than consider having one repaired.

*************

It's the opposite---getting far easier to tear-down/re-assemble appliances.

The "baby-boomer" generation has given us much to be appreciative for...

Thousand dollar washers & dryers.
$3500 refrigerators.
These are NOT likely to be so easily discarded.
Your future in this new business is assured because of this. The skills that you have in computer technology WILL be an asset.

Good luck.

Offline tonyo

  • VIP Member
  • Member Since: May 2010
  • Posts: 1
    • Appliance Repair Help
Re: Starting a career in Appliance Repair
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2010, 03:20:42 AM »
Good Luck in your chosen career.

When starting out it might be good idea to actually get stuck right in and get your hands dirty.
Go down to your local breakersyard and hae a look around.
Here in the UK we have recycling centres for domestic appliances. Speak to the site manager and tell him you want to offer your services.
Say you are prepared to strip down the appliances for a nominal fee and that way you will become familiar with all the components.
Take a log of all the makes and models numbers of the appliances that are being disguarded. This is your target market.

I don't know how old you are or what experience you have but there may be other ways you could start your appliance repair business. I can think of two right now  ;)

Well done for taking the first steps.

Regard Tony.
Self Appointed Appliance Repair Expert.

Offline Wedgeman55

  • Technician
  • Member Since: Aug 2008
  • Posts: 932
  • Country: us
  • Man vs Appliance - Never give up, Never surrender
Re: Starting a career in Appliance Repair
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2010, 02:42:25 AM »
Aah.........a few more bit of wisdom before going to bed.   
I have been in the business for 37 years as of April 16th.   My Dad was in the buisness for 38 years,   bless his soul.  I actually started out when I was 8, or 9.  I could help rip out a belt drive whirlpool tranny,  and my old man would pay me 5 bucks to rebuild them.   Started learning the trade real young!  (in 60's, 5 bucks was alot).   I have alot of history in this business.   It is the only Trade/Career I have ever been in.   
So how do I stay up on everything?    Personally,   I still take every class I can,   I am up on all of the new appliances.   However,  there are a ton of old appliances out there that need tender loving care in my area and most likely yours.   I still fix alot of belt drive whirlpools and old stoves.   Just worked on an old Grand Stove with the double ovens yesterday.  My experience is invaluable.    However,   I still read new manuals,   go to classes,  talk to other repairmen,   Read info on computer sights.  (to me ,  this is the best appliance websight to keep bookmarked.   It's the only one I have time to read )   
So advice time - Read books,  read Blogs,   this websight is a wonderful source of knowledge.  Get some junk machines,   put Them in your garage and rip them apart,  Practice.  Reading is great,  but you need to get your hands on actual appliances.   Pick up trash machines people are throwing out.             
The point - us "Old School repairmen" are not all getting left in the dust.    Only the ones that remain stagnent.     
Commercial Laundry repair Tech and Installer  1973 to 1980
Service Manager / Technician Commercial Laundry repair company 1980 to 2002
Refrigeration - HVAC - Boiler School 1974-1976
Electronic School 1978-1979
Self Employed Appliance Repair Company 2002 to present

Offline bakeray

  • Technician
  • Member Since: Jan 2010
  • Posts: 102
Re: Starting a career in Appliance Repair
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2010, 10:30:02 PM »
I was pretty much in your same boat.  I had to find something "economy proof". I have a background Welding and sheet metal fab, along with computer repair. The computer repair skills you have will be a huge asset.

Schematics are pretty easy to figure out as long as you read the footnotes to see what condition the diagram is drawn in. A sites I used at school are:

 http://faq.rayd.org/read_schematic/
http://www.play-hookey.com/dc_theory/index.html  (This one has alot of parts)
http://www.learn-c.com/schemat.htm
http://www.the12volt.com/   (This site also has alot of info.)

Offline loggerjim

  • Technician
  • Member Since: Jun 2010
  • Posts: 16
Re: Starting a career in Appliance Repair
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2010, 06:38:35 PM »
I have read the same book as you Nikolai; it really changed my outlook on the trades. I am a guy in my 40's that is currently retraining to be an accountant after suffering a workplace injury. I'm currently about a year away from completion of my degree and am concerned about the job outlook when I finish. Thankfully, I grew up on a fairly remote farm where if something broke, you had to fix it with what you had on hand. The tinkerer has never left me as I have been doing different repairs for people over the years.

After reading the book, I wondered why I shouldn't give appliance repair a go for a career instead. I'm currently looking for some start-up capital for advertising, a small pickup, and some extra tools and manuals. I believe an independent working in the local area can make a decent living and build up a good base of clients.

My wife is in favor of the idea as well. As an aside, she was getting a pedicure when she mentioned my business idea to her nail lady. Her nail lady had a GE SXS that wasn't putting out water or ice. I chased the problem down to where the icemaker supply valve was tapped into her main water line by her plumber friend. No water was coming out of the valve and I'm not a plumber. I suggested that she bring her plumber back over to fix the valve. She wanted to pay me but I didn't take any money from her. I'm not in business.......yet.

I really like the site and look forward to establishing some good friendships here.

Take care everyone

LJ

Offline JWWebster

  • Technician
  • Member Since: Jan 2008
  • Posts: 8780
  • Country: us
  • SublimeMasterJW
    • Buy me a beer through paypal
    • JW's Sublime Appliance Advice
Re: Starting a career in Appliance Repair
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2010, 11:44:55 PM »
LoggerJim welcome. Feel free to ask away. Everyone here is on a learning curve. these new appliances are complicated.
May the hinges of our friendship
        never grow rusty.

About the icons: The beer is tip link, if a tech saves ya some money buy em a 6 pack. The small green square=personal message. The green dot is a link to my web page on appliance repair and other general BS I love to post. The letter sends me email.
I love fan letters! LOL

 

starting a Appliance repair buisness

Started by johnnyelectric

Replies: 1
Views: 3277
Last post July 10, 2008, 07:14:14 AM
by Repair-man
Is appliance repair a good career choice?

Started by learning

Replies: 21
Views: 7553
Last post March 13, 2009, 05:46:43 PM
by Icehouse
Starting Appliance Repair Bis. Need Help

Started by bfd_ast

Replies: 26
Views: 7927
Last post November 28, 2010, 12:23:55 AM
by Wedgeman55
Wanted: GE factory authorized appliance repair service technician

Started by AJ

Replies: 2
Views: 8760
Last post December 19, 2007, 01:25:48 AM
by BrntToast
Special Appliance Repair Tools and Test Equipment

Started by AJ

Replies: 1
Views: 4563
Last post November 16, 2007, 08:40:52 PM
by AJ
Question for appliance repair techs

Started by maypo52

Replies: 10
Views: 6191
Last post October 04, 2014, 11:14:22 PM
by wildimaginations