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Guide to Small Engine Repair Careers

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Are you mechanically inclined and want to have a career in small engine repair? If so, you will want to know some of the facts about what this job is really like, what is expected of you and what kind of a future does it have. If so, you have come to the right web site as we are going to discuss small engine mechanic careers.

Even though small engine repair works on small engines, doesn’t mean that the job is small. Heck, the demand for small engine mechanics continue to rise each year and the need for those qualified and trained becomes more important. If small engine repair flows through your veins or you dream of owning your own repair shop, then you will need to know more about the career you may want to join.

This page can serve as your resource for all the important information you need to know about small engine repair careers. It should be easy to read and provide the answers to questions most people have about this profession. We feel that this is the best source of information you can find on the internet about small engine mechanics and we hope you agree.

If you have any suggestions on how to make this page better or want to ask a questions, you can contact us via email and we will get back with you shortly.

What is Small Engine Repair?

Much like other mechanic fields, the job of small engine repair is to inspect, repair and provide routine maintenance for engines and motors. The difference between small engine mechanics and other mechanic fields is the types of machinery and vehicles they work on. While auto mechanics work on cars and trucks, small engine mechanics work on a wide variety of things from lawnmowers and chainsaws to motorboats and dirt bikes.

Small engine repair is about fixing the equipment when it breaks down. To quickly diagnose the problem, find a solution and repair it. Their knowledge and skills must be able to cover everything from mechanical, fuel based and electrical issues on any number of devices or vehicles.

Some of those who work in small engine repair specialize in particular areas that interests them the most, for example outdoor power equipment or motorcycles. While others choose to work on all sorts of small engines to open up more avenues of income. The choice is really up to you which path you take when it comes to small engine repair.

EducationPersonality TraitsJob DescriptionTypes of Small EnginesWork EnvironmentSalary and Outlook

Recommended Education for Small Engine Mechanics

Although you may have heard that all you need is a high school education to start a career in small engine repair, you may quickly find out that some employers are looking for more. Since almost everything mechanical is becoming more complex with the addition of electronics, formal training is becoming the norm in this field. The following are some things to consider if you want to increase your chances to succeed in small engine repair.

  • On average those who have some post-secondary training earn more than those with just a high school degree
  • An increasing number of small engine repair jobs require some formal training
  • Small engine repair training can be found at a number of vocational/technical schools, career centers and community colleges around the country
  • There are even some online courses that can help you started in your training
  • You can earn a certificate or an associate degree at most of these training programs
  • Typically students are able to complete the certificate program in 4 to 9 months
  • Certificate programs are becoming the barrier of entry for those looking to start a career in small engine repair
  • Those seeking an associate degree can expect to complete their training in 20 to 24 months
  • Associate degrees can provide the owner more opportunities for better jobs, advancement and higher wages
  • It is highly recommended that you try to earn an associate degree if you plan on opening your own small engine repair business or want to work in a supervisory role
  • Although industry certifications are considered voluntary, you can improve your standing and possibly open up more opportunities by earning them
If you like to know about training, please go to our article on small engine repair schools.

Traits and Skills of Small Engine Repair

Like most professions, there are certain traits and skills that help separate the good from the bad. The following are some examples of traits and skills that those working in small engine repair typically have and that help make them successful at their job.

  • Mechanically Inclined: Have a basic understanding how and why mechanical devices work and how to figure out a way to repair them
  • Strong Work Ethic: Making sure that the job is done right and not giving up
  • Curious Minded: The desire to learn along with keeping up with the latest advances or new procedures
  • Solving Problems: Figuring out ways to diagnose and fix problems such as malfunctions
  • Good Judgment: Have the ability to understand the costs of your decisions or actions
  • Customer Service: Being able to speak and understand what a customer wants while providing a good service so they will return in the future
  • Communication: The ability to speak, write and listen to others effectively
  • Dexterity: The ability to use hand-eye coordination when working on engines or motors including putting replacing small parts or taking something apart without damaging it
  • Dependable: Being very reliable on doing your job on time and taking responsibility for mistakes
  • Handling Stress: Having the ability to deal with stressful situations
  • Independence: Being able to work on your own without supervision
  • Focused Mind: Having the ability to get the job done without being distracted
  • Flexible: Able to bend, twist and stretch without much difficulty
  • Strength: To be able to lift, carry, move, push or pick up objects, tools or parts within reason
  • Stamina: The inner strength to stand, crouch or bend for long periods of time while working
  • Memory: To be able to remember where parts go or what needs to be done according to the schematics or plans
  • Safety: Knowing and following the safety rules and procedures so you don’t put yourself or others in harm’s way
  • Visualization: Being able to picture in your mind what something looks like or where a part might go
  • Detail Oriented: Being thorough with your work making sure everything is complete

Small Engine Mechanic Job Description

Those working in small engine repair typically fix, inspect and maintain machinery and vehicles that are powered by smaller engines or motors. A general list of some of the jobs that most small engine mechanics perform includes:

  • Meet with customer or supervisor to find out what problems the engine or motor is experiencing
  • To execute work orders and report back to supervisors about jobs completed
  • Keep track of all repairs, parts and labor used on a job for billing or inventory purposes
  • Write out cost estimates for customers
  • Tear down or overhaul engines and motors to fix problems or replace worn out parts
  • Make adjustments to points, valves, spark plugs, distributors and carburetors
  • Explain to customers how to properly take care and maintain their vehicle or equipment
  • Use diagnostic tools to help locate broken or malfunctioning parts that need to be replaced
  • Test and inspect engine once work is completed to make sure the problems are fixed correctly
  • Help maintain the engine by performing routine maintenance replacing spark plugs, checking wires and lubricating parts
  • Fabricating or welding to fix broken or cracked areas
  • Ordering parts and keeping inventory up to date
  • Replacing wheels, chains or gears if worn down or broken

What Are Some of Things that Small Engine Mechanics Work On?

The field of small engine repair is fairly large since there are so many different types of machinery and vehicles that fall under this category. Here is a partial list to give you some idea how big the small engine category actually is.

  • ATVs
  • Chainsaws
  • Dirt Bikes
  • Edge Trimmers
  • Electrical Generators
  • Electric Golf Carts
  • Electric and Power Wheelchairs
  • Garden and Landscaping Equipment
  • Garden Tractors
  • Gas Golf Carts
  • Go-Carts
  • Jet Skis
  • Lawn Mowers
  • Leaf Blowers
  • Mobility Scooters
  • Motorcycles
  • Motor Scooters
  • Outboard Motors
  • Outdoor Recreational Vehicles
  • Power Saws
  • Snow Blowers
  • Snowmobiles
  • Wood Chippers

Where Do Small Engine Mechanics Work?

Generally those working in small engine repair work in well-ventilated and lit shops and garages. However, sometimes they may be called onsite to repair something which can mean they are working in horrible weather such as rain, snow and blistering heat. Most small engine mechanics work for either equipment dealers or repair shops with about 11% them being self-employed.

A breakdown of the industries where most small engine repair professionals work can be found in the following chart.

Work Location % of Employed
Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers 34%
Garden Equipment and Construction 16%
Recreation, Gambling and Amusement Industries 12%
Self-Employed 11%
Other 27%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary and Job Outlook for Small Engine Repair

Fast Facts: Small Engine Mechanics
2013 Median Pay (Yearly) $30,540
2013 Median Pay (Hourly) $14.68
2012 Number of Jobs 31,000
2012-22 Added New Jobs 8,100
2012-22 % Job Growth 7%

Source: O*Net OnLine

Are There Any Certifications for Small Engine Repair?

Industry certifications for small engine repair professionals are one way to help you stand out from other job candidates, possibly earn more money and instill trust with both employers and customers. Here are few of the certifications you should consider getting.

EETCASEFactory Training

Equipment & Engine Training Council (EETC)

Small Engine Mechanic CertificationThe EETC is full recognized as one of the top certifications for those working in the small engine repair industry. Small engine mechanics can choose from seven different areas of certification. These areas are:

  • Two-stroke engines
  • Four-stroke engines
  • Electrical
  • Mobile generators
  • Reel technology
  • Drivelines/hydraulics/hydrostatic
  • Compact diesel engines

Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)

Small Engine Technician CertificationASE is one of the most respected certification names in automotive repair and for good reason. Their symbol indicates to customers that they are getting quality service they can depend on. While the ASE certifications are not really aimed towards small engine repair, it is still possible to use your knowledge to become ASE certified.

Factory Trained

small engine repair certificationThe idea behind factory trained is that you gain the knowledge necessary to expertly repair or provide warranty covered care for a specific brand. You will find that most employers will send their best workers to special training courses held by various outdoor power equipment, motorcycle and motorboat manufacturers and dealers. At the end of the program you could be certified as factory trained to work on that brand for small engine repair. Some of the top companies that offer this type of training include:

Thoughts on Small Engine Repair Careers

One of the greatest aspects about a career in small engine repair is the freedom to work on so many different types of engines. One day you could be working on riding lawnmowers then the next you could be working on your buddy’s outboard motor. With such a diversity, the life of a small engine mechanic will always feel like a different day.

Another great aspect of becoming a small engine mechanic is that this is career that is great demand. As more people buy their outdoor power tools and toys, the need for qualified trained professionals will rise. Starting a small engine career now could set yourself up for long and profitable career.

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