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wal-mart mechanic


mower17's Avatar
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11-05-03, 11:15 PM   #1  
wal-mart mechanic

Hey Cheese, today the local wal-mart had called my teacher at trade school and get this, they want to either send all the mowers that need warrenty work for wal-mart to the trade school to be fixed, or hire someone at wal-mart to fix them. They used to have a very well established mower shop that would do all of their warrenty work for them but I have no idea why they stopped. I find it kind of strange that wal-mart would send mowers to the diesel shop at school to be fixed. I need to find out more information about the whole story but one of my class mates works at wal-mart and he was thinking about taking the job and trying to get me as his partner. It seems like a perfect job to start out at because I wouldn't have a mechanic watching over my shoulder like at a normal mower shop. It would be nice since I still have many tools to buy before I could work on farm tractors and mowers for a living at the dealerships. What do you think about this? Most problems would probably be, "my mower ran out of gas, what do I do"? I remember a guy had brought a brand new $250 snapper push mower that he bought from wal-mart and it threw a rod and made a fist sized hole in the side of the block, the mower was so new that it was still clean and it still had the price sticker on it. I have already tinkered with chain saws, string trimmers, push mowers, and riding mowers, so it wouldn't be anything new to me and plus it is all murray mowers so it isn't exactly state of the art equipment. I would be working after school from about 3:00 to what ever time they close. I don't know if they made a final decission on what they will do. I will see in the morning what they told my class mate. So what is your opinion on it? I know that wal-mart's parts inventory isn't exactly extensive but it doesn't seem like a hard job. They had told my teacher that they had 12 mowers sitting at wal-mart waiting to be fixed under warrenty. Any thoughts??????????

 
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cheese's Avatar
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11-06-03, 12:22 AM   #2  
Hi Mower!

Sounds very strange, I agree. Is walmart wanting to put you on their payroll as an employee for this, or do they want to contract you for the work? Will they be responsible for tools and a work area? Will they supply the parts, or will you have to? Will they provide service literature? Some questions to get answered before making a decision.

What happens if you run into a problem you can't figure out? I know some of these mowers won't be high tech, but there are some really strange things that can happen on most any engine. Will they provide you with some sort of tech support for these type of situations? (of course you can ask any questions here any time, but you may need support immediately, not just when you get a chance to get online).

It sounds like a possible good opportunity for some experience and extra income. Just be sure you aren't getting in over your head. My honest opinion is that someone with little experience will not be able to tackle the responsibility of being the sole person in charge of repairing customers' equipment unless they have some readily available and well qualified tech support. Two stroke engines can really be a pain even to a seasoned repairman.

Just some things to think about.

Personally, I would want to be in charge of the whole thing...my tools, my parts, my responsibility to schedule, order, have tools, etc... and give them the bill. In your case, you will be better off not being responsible for any of this until you have the tools and experience necessary to do this efficiently.

Let me know the detials when you find out what they are. It might turn out to be a great thing!


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!

 
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11-06-03, 10:23 AM   #3  
Joe_F
Mower:

Could be good, could be bad. You'd have to delve into it, old champ.

Get the details, namely:

1) Who your employer is.
2) What the salary is.
3) What is expected of you.
4) Are you independent of Wal-mart?
5) What support is available to you?
6) Where will you work?
7) Why are they hiring you? Growth? Frustrated people you're replacing? A niche?
8) What literature is available to you. If they expect you to know everything out of your head, then, forget it.

I have to think that WM has some ties to the OEMs making the stuff for them, so Murray and the rest of the mid range equipment suppliers have folks dedicated to you. Much the same way that Waterloo Industries has a dedicated account person/people for handling the Sears account (Waterloo supplies the Sears toolboxes for them).

Sounds like to me, in reading your posts, you are eager to start out in this business and want to get a start. I've also seen that you seem to have a good attitude and you are eager to learn and share your knowledge. This is half the battle here, old friend.

Just to give you an idea, Mike Merritt (moderator here) correspond weekly and sometimes daily to share ideas, help each other out and pitch in with what each is doing. While we are many miles apart, an e-mail or a phone call puts us both on the same page. Shoot, Mike can coach me through fixing something over the phone and I would do the same for him.

What we basically do is share our expertise in our given fields (me, automotive, he small engines). Networking is key in this business.

This could be a good start for you and a great resume builder. It is my opinion that you need more details and information. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

Small engines may not make you rich, but they are fun to work on and rewarding. Shoot, half of my yard equipment is either recycled or from the curb. LOL.

Good luck.

 
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11-06-03, 02:32 PM   #4  
Thank you both very much for the help. Unfortunetely my teacher was sick today so we didn't have school and I couldn't find out anything about the job. The thought had ran across my mind that since it would be part of the garden center and not the automotive department, they wound not have any air compressors, impact wrenches, hoists, jacks, etc... They would be starting from scratch. Chances are I would have to bring my own tools, which is no big deal, since they are going to get dirty and break one day, and they all have lifetime warrenties anyway. Ya'll were both right about the experience needed for the job. Chances are, with a job like this, they would not furnish the manuels or tools. If they expect me to know by heart every valve setting for every briggs and tecumseh engine out there, then they are way off track. I do totally understand the workings of an engine and also understand that 2-strokes can start one day, and never start the next. My class mate had said that he made the mistake of telling his boss that he is going to trade school and he said that they almost made him fix their forklift. Keep in mind that he works in the produce department!!!!!! My teacher and another teacher was discussing the job yesterday and they said that there are people that work at wal-mart that are called 99's. He said that one day they might be putting a mower together and the next day, be mopping the floors. I do remember one time how my brother went to wal-mart to get his oil changed and they forgot to put the oil cap back on and the hot oil ruined the entire wiring harness and burnt the underside of the hood on his car. I don't know how much experience wal-mart is expecting for the job, after all, to work in the tire-lube center, all they have to do is take a short how-to class while sitting behind a computer!!!!!!!! I know that some people understand they it takes time to fix something, and other people think that all you have to do it touch the engine and all of a sudden, it runs like brand new, though farmers with $100,000 combines are probaby going to be the same way so I might as well get used to it. Well, I will find out more information tomorrow, hopefully!!!!!

 
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11-07-03, 12:43 PM   #5  
Joe_F
Let us know what you find.

 
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11-07-03, 06:00 PM   #6  
mikejmerritt
Sometimes these things can be what you can make them. In the beginning it could be as simple as using you to go over mowers and other returns to make sure there really is a problem before it goes out for warranty repair. As time goes by you could take on more and more.....Mike

 
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11-08-03, 04:39 PM   #7  
Sorry fellas, teacher was still sick friday, so I will definiatelly find out monday.

 
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11-10-03, 10:01 PM   #8  
Well fellas, I guess wal-mart isn't going to fix them at the store cause when I got to school today, there were 20, yes 20 brand new push mowers waiting to have warrenty work on them!!!!!!!! Most of the problems were rediculas such as the starter cord didn't wind back up, or my favorite, the battery went dead on an electric start!!!!!!!! Just about every single mower didn't have a drop of gas in it which makes me wonder, if they didn't check the gas, they must have never checked the oil. Well, by the end of the day, nine mowers were already fixed. I know one perticular mower had the caburetor diaghram pinched on one side, which is not the first time I saw this on a brand new murray. I also remember a guy bringing in a brand new $250 snapper push mower that had threw the rod, the mower didn't even have a chance to get dirty, the price sticker was still on it!!!!!! On one of the tags on a mower, they wrote "engine went", I'm wondering where it went to? I know some people aren't a "greese monkey" but WOW, I was sure amazed!!!!!!!!! So far, every mower had been fixed without buying a single part!!!!!!!! They had just about every type of design you could amagine, regular push mowers, self propelled, side discharge, rear bagger, pull start, electric start, briggs, tecumseh, honda, snapper, murray, stanley, etc... Now they have people coming to school to see if their mower is fixed, what is this, a repair shop or a school?????? I don't know if they will continue this or if they will start bringing riding mowers and trimmers also. I know they can't sell that many mowers so how can they get so much warrenty claims?????? I think I won't be buying any wal-mart mowers for a good while after see this. There's no telling what else is still at wal-mart waiting to be fixed under warrenty.

P.S. Someone gave my teacher a brand new yard man rear tine tiller, I am so jelious!!!!!! Then again the owner was the same man who brought in the mower with the thrown rod!!!!!!!!!

 
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11-11-03, 06:14 AM   #9  
Joe_F
I'm still confused at this arrangement. I think you, the Walmart manager and your teacher need to have a sit down to get this ironed out. LOL.

 
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11-11-03, 11:07 PM   #10  
Yeah!!!!!! That's the bad part about that school, they come up with all kinds of ideas and never follow any of them. I asked the teacher today and he said that wal-mart is getting these mowers fixed for free!!!!!!!! And they will probably bring all kinds of other equipment in. Well, I said I like small engines so I guess I got my work cut out for me. Now if only I had a car, I know a big mower shop that's been looking for good help. Dang. It's kind of funny how the school works, automotive department=automobiles. Diesel department=diesel trucks, gasoline cars, diesel and gas tractors, riding mowers, chainsaws, pushmowers, trimmers, tillers, outboard engines, etc....... Working on these mowers is going to be one heck of a learning experience since every tractor dealership in town sells tons of very expensive mowers. It's nice working on small things for a change, ie: less things to worry about!!!!!!

 
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11-12-03, 09:09 PM   #11  
Are you satisfied with learning on these small engines when you went there to learn diesels? I mean if you are wanting to learn diesels, but you are going to be working on small engines, you aren't getting what you paid for. If that's what you want, then ok, but if not, they can't expect you to abandon diesels and work on these things. I wonder how you will be getting the needed credits for diesel mechanics when you are working on a bunch of small engines?

Just for your info...Good diesel mechanics can easily expect to make $1000.00 a week. Few small engine mechanics make anywhere near that.


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!

 
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11-13-03, 06:47 PM   #12  
The funny thing is, I worked on small engines for one full year before I took a diesel engine appart for an overhaul, now I have two diesel engines under my belt and plenty of small engine experience in that one year. So far my experience has to do with trimmers, push mowers, riding mowers, tractors, and industrial engines. In fact, when ever someone needs help on a lawnmower, they ALWAYS ask me!!!!! Even when the teacher gets mowers in he usually puts me on them. He even couldn't wait for me to finish with the diesel engine so he could put me on those wal-mart mowers!!!!!! I am happy since I will be doing all of this work for a living, however at first I was starting to wonder if I would graduate without ever working on anything other than mowers!!!!!!!!! I couldn't imagine showing up at a mower shop with a diploma for "diesel technition". The teacher does know that I spend a LOT of time on the internet reading about small engine repair (which accounts for half my small engine knowledge) !!!!!! One other thing, since I get off of school at about 3:00 and most shops close at 5:00(one local shop closes at 4:00 and on fridays at 3:00) working at wal-mart would have been just about my only option for mechanic jobs. O well, six months from now I will be working full time, so I guess I will just enjoy the free time.

 
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11-13-03, 10:12 PM   #13  
Cool. You know...the two can go hand in hand on machines like the kubota 3cyl diesel front cut mower I have now at my shop. It was run hot....really hot. It burned up a piston and has to be rebuilt. A guy like you would probably be right at home on something like this. (a little of both worlds). I'm not sure if I'll get the job approved though...might run 2 grand or more. (the radiator even melted at the solders).


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!

 
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