By Debbie Holden 16 Sep 2019 5 min read

Advice on working in the motor trade


Ray Burling, Director at CarWiseUK, has been in the motor industry for the past 30 years and has seen a variety of changes over this period of time. This has ranged from how salesmen in the industry sell their vehicles to the fast pace of models that become available on the road. 

When being asked his career advice to work in the motor industry, Ray was able to give the following comments:-

“Job stability is so important and the motor industry is still a key part in our economy in the UK. Your job would remain secure whereby in excess of 856,000 people work in this industry. It is one of the biggest, multi-faceted and wide ranging industries to get into.

Knowing the commodities that you would be working with is key, as to sell your vehicle(s) you need full knowledge for your customer. Being a salesman, you have to be customer focused as you are wanting to fulfill their dreams of owning their own car. 

Concerning the benefits financially of working in the motor industry, you get what you put in. Work hard, put in the hours and reap the rewards at the end. 

It is a 24/7 in the secondhand sector. You have to be prepared to put in extra hours as your customers will be viewing adverts online and in motor magazines. Main dealer groups are more 9-5pm. You can make a six figure salary, but you will work more than 40 hours a week. You will be working primarily on commission, hence the hours, but the time flies by when you are buying and selling cars. I have found I have met so many interesting people everyday and 80% of the population drive cars. 

I have found my own strategy of selling cars simple, which I have implemented to staff who have worked for me. The vehicle always has to be appealing to the customer, so having a clean car inside and out is essential – give the car curb appeal. I then set my price to reflect on that individual vehicle. This could be down to mileage, age or condition of the car. Create a great ad on social media/website/car magazine, and screen your customers – you know instantly whether a customer is genuine or not by their line of questioning and response. Insist your customer test drives the car. Putting them behind the wheel gives them a reality of what they will be driving away with and with those steps, you have made your sale. 

When you have a positive attitude about what you do, you not only enjoy making more money but also enjoy what you do for a career. Being positive results in sales, as nobody really wants to buy a car from someone with a chip on their shoulder or a negative vibe. 

You may be more interested in working in the mechanical side of the car industry. Going into this area involves more knowledge of performing maintenance, testing, repairs, inspections and engine work, transmissions, drive belts, steering, brakes etc. Attending a college/university after you have finished your education at 18 would be essential for this. Additionally, you may choose to be an auto body technician, engineer, rental agent, car detailer, or tyre technician, for example – the list is vast for this industry, and it’s ultimately down to deciding your niche and what interests you. I personally chose to be a salesman, where I love to sell a customer a car that I see excites them. I also enjoy attending car auctions and seeing how cars are evolving with detail.

Take advantage of any training and development opportunities that are given to you. You may start at a dealer group such as Ford, Renault, Peugeot as an apprentice and be given the incentive to progress within the company. This could range from delivering vehicles to day to day running of a dealership. 

Technology is also important as companies are continually looking for the next game changers. This is due to designers and manufacturers innovating and developing new vehicles.”

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