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Automotive Technicians

UPDATED May 08, 2020

Please note: Automotive Employment NZ Ltd has attempted to be as accurate as possible and to provide guidelines for the most popular sectors of the New Zealand motor industry but take no responsibility for the accuracy of the information. Any hiring decision should be based on a range of knowledge from a variety of sources.

​Due to the impacts of COVID-19 workers are on average receiving 20% less than the rates listed due to consultation agreements which are commonly being rolled out as the virus disrupts the economic cycle. 

It is possible our opinion will differ from other independent surveys however the information is based on actual hires occurring through Automotive Employment NZ Ltd. All rates assume experience in specific fields of expertise and where applicable the relevant industry qualifications.

Employees should note that while these rates may provide a guide, to gain an accurate indication of rates you may need to consider how your skills and experience compare to others in the workplace. Your work performance, the stability of overall employment, knowledge of the product, development of your skills and or qualifications, personal grooming, communication skills and the length of service you have extended to your current employer may all impact on potential earnings. These aspects of your employment should also be weighed against the economic conditions prevailing in the location you work or intend to move to.

Offshore candidates should note rates and salaries are quoted in New Zealand dollars. Please also check the date above as information provided is current only to this date.

Automotive Technicians/Mechanics Light Automotive
National median rate of $28 per hour

Trade qualified Automotive Technicians are presently paid NZ$24 to $35 per hour for new hires.

The upper end of this scale is for certified master technicians or forepersons with specific franchise diagnostic skills and five years plus experience with one marque.

Other factors affecting rates are population density or a specific difficulty in securing skills due to a particularly remote location. As a rule of thumb, the larger the population the higher the rates, the higher cost of living in these centres is usually the income driver.

Lower rates are normally paid where an employer has concerns as to the depth of skill held by the employee or a more transient or poor employment history. Trainees or apprentices should expect to commence on rates considerably lower than the rates shown.

In locations outside the main centres where the cost of living is lower skilled automotive technicians may expect to secure $24 to $30 per hour. There are always exceptions but even in areas outside the main centres, we have observed a median rate is $27 per hour. European dealerships tend to pay toward the top end of the scale. Smaller non-franchise companies may struggle to secure skills and are also found to pay above-average rates where skills are hard to secure.

Employees should note that there are many aspects relevant to employers in structuring wages rates and principal among these is the ability to gain a return from your skills. Tenure of employment, your productivity, technical skills and qualification extensions such as an AVI certificate or A Tech qualifications may all contribute to earnings. Top end master technicians can earn up to $35 for volume brands and the extreme end in the euro sector up to $38 per hour in the larger cities.

It is also common for many employers to pay productivity bonuses. There are clearly many variants on these bonuses but often achievement of productivity bonuses can add $1 to 3 per hour.

Team Leaders/Forepersons
The national median rate of $32 per hour

Responsible for technical supervision of staff, technical training and sometimes content of hands-on work, the team leader may work as much as 50% on tools [occasionally 100% off tools]. Employees will note the title and duties of this role are not consistent throughout the industry. Assuming however that it is a senior technical role as described above, the rates vary between $29 and $38 with an extremely high-end rate of $40 per hour which is rarely ever seen. The top end of this scale would be for a master technician/foreperson with combined hands-on technical and supervisory responsibilities or for technicians employed in areas that are deemed hard to fill. The top end rates are usually only paid in Auckland in very few dealerships where these top end, brand-specific skills are still hard to secure.

Automotive Service Advisers/Service Writers/Service Consultants
National median rate of pay providing for an OTE of $70,000 per annum

Service advisers are defined as a trade qualified automotive technicians who are employed in front line roles. The positions include upselling service and liaison regarding technical issues as well as costing, invoicing, booking and dealing directly with the customer.

Salaries range from $55,000 per annum at the lower levels to $80’000 PA with an extreme upper range of $90’000 which is rarely found. Service advisers at the lower end of the salary scale tend to have secured employment in regions with smaller populations. Candidates operating from large flagship franchises tend to be earning $65000 although the base salaries are commonly $55000 to $65000. In the Auckland region often a loading pushes rates above $65000 to offset a higher cost of living.

Summary, most companies are paying a base of around $55000 to $60’000 with the remaining income derived from performance-based bonuses.

While there have been exceptions, the upper end of this scale is usually paid by luxury prestige franchise dealerships to service advisers with specific product skills.

The roles in many cases include a company car and companies are not unknown to include a performance bonus as a portion of the income. Such bonuses are usually paid out in line with key performance indicators such as labour sales etc.

Company cars are most often provided in Auckland as added incentives for highly skilled employees. Currently, we estimate 70% of Auckland employers are providing company cars to their higher skilled and experienced employees.

Service Controllers
The national median rate of $68,000

Service Controllers are responsible for distribution and control of incoming work to the technicians, employees are trade qualified automotive technicians [mechanics] The pay scales range between $65,000 and $80’0000 dependent on location. Company cars are often provided to senior staff with extended employment tenures.

Service Receptionists
The national median rate of $55,000

Defined as front line receptionists in a service department these employees are generally not trade qualified.  This role differs from a service adviser in that it is more administrative.  The role is meeting and greeting the customer, booking in vehicles, liaising with customers re-delivery, invoicing and customer follow up. The role is salaried and pays between $50,000 and $60,000. The extreme end is $70,000

Vehicle Inspectors and Compliance

Vehicle inspector,  AVI/WOF light passenger vehicles

Median rate $26 per hour

Vehicle testing inspectors: AVI, “COF A” Roadworthiness Inspectors
Median rate $26 per hour [Taxis, School minibus, commercial light passenger carriers]    

Vehicle testing inspectors, “COF B” [Heavy Diesel] 
Median rate $30 per hour

Responsible for ensuring vehicles comply with government, NZTA standards as to roadworthiness and the issuing of “warrant of fitness” and “certificate of fitness”.

The roles range from $30 per hour in some regions up to $35.00 per hour at the extreme end for COF B accreditation. New employees from outside New Zealand usually commence at the lower end and cannot commence inspections until an AVI certificate, “authorised vehicle inspectors certificate” is attained. Technicians are required to have a minimum of five years of recent experience as a technician or diesel mechanic to qualify.

COF inspectors secure a higher hourly rate due to previous experience in the heavy diesel sector which generally commands higher rates due to skills shortages.

Compliance Inspectors 
Median rate $28 per hour  

Inspecting vehicles entering New Zealand to confirm compliance with local standards

Warranty Claims Administrators/Fleet Maintenance Controllers
Median rate $63,000

The roles tend to have a wide variance of around $50,000 to $78,000. National distributors and leasing companies tend to pay towards the higher end. Aftermarket warranty companies usually target salaries either on or near the median rate. We note that employees may find the upper end of these wage rates difficult to secure.

These roles are rarely found outside Auckland as many of these companies are located in Auckland. Candidates possessing heavy diesel skills and able to provide these services in the heavy diesel sector may be paid a higher amount. This is due to the higher rates that are generally paid to Diesel Mechanics.

Assistant Service Managers
National median salary $75,000

This is usually a second in charge role to the service manager. Pay rates range from $70,000 to $95,000. It is noted the larger the responsibility in terms of staff management responsibilities the larger the income. Employees working for small satellite sites for an example would tend to the lower end of the pay scale. An assistant Service Manager operating in one of New Zealand’s larger dealerships may secure a salary towards the upper end of this scale. A company car is a norm for assistant service managers.

In recent times it is quite common for employers to link a content of the aforementioned income to the achievement of Key performance indicators [KPI’s]

Service Managers
National Median Salary $100,000

Responsible for total control of the workshop operations and the service department profit centre, service managers can be paid as little as $85,000 P/A for small satellite sites to as much as $185,000 for Flagship sites in the Auckland region.  At the lower end of the scale, e.g $85,000 applicants would be employed at a site with five or 6 employees.

Upper-end service managers may have responsibilities for as many as 60 plus technical personnel. The larger dealerships tend to have a base salary coupled with performance-based bonuses paid on a percentage of the department’s profit to make up the total income. A company car is standard with such roles, as is a cell phone.

Packages at the upper end in some cases include medical insurance and superannuation.