What Is A Shadetree Mechanic?


mechanic under car

Growing up around garages, cars, and car people the term Shadetree Mechanic got thrown around quite a bit. Whenever I heard it the sentiment was positive, it was always in reference to one’s own description of themselves or someone they admired. So what is a Shadetree Mechanic?

A Shadetree Mechanic is someone who works on vehicles in a driveway or home garage. This work can be done as a hobby or as a source of income. The term has nothing to do with the skill level of the mechanic but rather where they do the work.

How Did The Phrase Shadetree Mechanic Originate?

The term became popular in the 1960s and 1970s and quite literally referred to mechanics working on cars in the driveway under the shade of a tree.

When I was growing up in a small town in Indiana during the 1970s my dad was the neighborhood Shadetree mechanic. People would drop by and call from the entire town whenever they needed some work on their vehicle.

This was a time when a mechanic could fix most things on a car with basic tools filling their toolbox. That doesn’t imply that a lot of knowledge and skill wasn’t required to be considered the local Shadetree mechanic, it was a skill that most didn’t have or care to have when you had someone who could do the job.

Are Shadetree Mechanics Good At Working On Cars?

It seems people are always looking for a local Shadetree mechanic to work on their cars because of the high prices being charged in many shops but will you get the same quality service. The fact is Shadetree mechanics come in every skill level and amount of vehicle knowledge.

Some Shadetree mechanics just work on their own vehicles or maybe do work for friends. Many, however, are skilled mechanics doing work part-time from home to earn extra money, or maybe they work full time in their home garages.

The only way to find out if your local Shadetree mechanic is any good is through personal references or by talking to them and maybe giving them a chance to do some work for you. You might be disappointed and regret it or you might find a mechanic you can trust and save hundreds of dollars over the following years.

Are Shadetree Mechanics Trustworthy?

No doubt there are some crooks in this world that will rob you blind but I find most people I come in contact with are hard-working, honest folks who are trying to do right by others while making a living. Truly the only ways you can know is through references or personal experiences.

How Much Do Shadetree Mechanics Charge?

Hourly rates for mechanic work vary greatly depending on the location. In an article from AAA.com they say auto repair shop rates in 2017 varied from $47 – $215 an hour.

There is no way to determine exactly what a Shadetree mechanic should be charging to work on your vehicle but it should be less than the local auto repair shops. The reason it should be less is not based on their skill level but because they should have a lower overhead expense.

paying the mechanic

Can You Make A Living As A Shadetree Mechanic?

You certainly can make a good annual income as a Shadetree mechanic if you are good at what you do. If you are going to do it as a business there will be additional business expenses you will acquire but you should still be able to make a significant profit if you are smart about it.

Are Shadetree Mechanics Insured?

If you are a hobby Shadetree mechanic working on your own vehicles or those of your friends and family you probably don’t need to be insured for the work you are doing. If you are running an auto repair business out of your home garage you should have insurance.

Running an auto repair shop business from your home involves many risks. Your customers will depend on you to fix their vehicles, but working on them can create risks. Using tools and operating machinery can be dangerous, so you need business insurance so you can have the confidence that no matter what happens you can cover it.

How Do You Become A Shadetree Mechanic?

If you are a beginning Shadetree mechanic you should probably just start by working on your own vehicles then move on to family and friends as you gain experience as a mechanic. If you are a mechanic looking to work from home then you have the experience you just need to be squared away on the things you need and the business needs.

If you are good at what you do and charge a fair rate the business will flow in and you will probably have more to do than you can handle. That’s usually a good problem to have.

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