Marco Galindo has always liked being around cars. He started helping in his uncle’s repair shop at just 11 years old. After graduating from high school, Marco joined the team at Heppner’s Auto Body, where he continues to advance his career. Marco has worked in detailing, painting and in his current role, estimating. As a lead estimator, Marco works closely with auto techs to assess damages and estimate the cost of repairs. He is responsible for guiding repairs through the auto shop, discussing estimates with insurers, ordering parts for repairs and delivering finished vehicles to owners. His love for the work has convinced him this is more than just a job – it’s a career.
Position: Collision Estimator
Job description: Act as liaison between customers, their insurers and auto techs to guide car repairs through the shop. Order parts to repair cars and provide excellent customer service./p>
Salary: Median salary for a collision estimator is $46,5001
Job outlook: Average
Education: High school diploma required. Auto-specific degree recommended.
Character traits: Excellent communicator. Technical know-how. Attention to details. Ability to multi-task.
Considerations: Challenge to constantly manage multiple projects.
The estimator role is a great position for people who like to work with a team and solve problems. Marco’s favorite part of being an estimator is the sense of a job well-done when he delivers a repaired vehicle to a customer and knows the project went well.
Another benefit is that the day-to-day work is less strenuous on your body, compared to an auto tech. Marco says there is less variety in an estimator’s workday, but there was a significant learning curve when he started. With experience, the next steps in the estimating process become second nature.
Estimating is not a career many people know about, but it is a well-known, respectable position in the auto industry, especially if you do your job well.
Marco’s best advice for aspiring estimators is to be organized and proactive. Sometimes work gets busy with a lot of customers or unexpected interruptions, so it can be hard to focus on the task at hand, but Marco notes that estimators can’t leave anything on the back burner. When something needs to get done, Marco takes initiative and resolves it right away.
Marco advises people who want to enter the auto industry to be self-aware, and take a hard look at whether they prefer working with people or working with their hands. Would you rather be in an auto shop in front of a car, or in an office in front of a computer? Having worked in both scenarios over the last few years, Marco learned he enjoys both of them.
As an estimator, Marco regularly completes continued education courses from I-CAR. Formal certification is required for some auto positions, auto shops or even insurance companies. It always helps auto professionals to have certification, especially if they want to advance in their field.
Designs and features in today’s vehicles make new vehicle models much more complicated to repair. Vehicle systems and components have changed radically over the last few years, making it essential for auto professionals to learn the latest repair methods.
The good news about all this change is that the auto industry is here to stay, even with new technology designed to decrease accidents, like auto breaking and backup cameras. People will always have accidents, and cars will always need repairs.