New website promotes top mechanical techs with plans to expand into collision repair

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Jan. 4, 2011—For many vehicle owners, finding a trustworthy mechanic can be tough. It can be just as hard for mechanics to gain that trust.

A new website, autotechnician.org, aims to solve both those problems. The site, launched in December by veteran technician John Kelly, is a national directory for auto technicians, but not just any technicians. They have to be good.

The site currently lists only mechanical technicians, but Kelly plans to expand the offerings to include collision repair techs as well.

Kelly, from Rochester, N.Y., said the idea to create the list came to him during a frustrating search for doctors that turned up names, but no qualifications. He said he never did find a good doctor.

Thinking he could improve the search process within his own profession, he developed a 25-question assessment with a group of select contributors that technicians can take online for free. The questions rotate at random, so no one can cheat, and they’re based on standard industry tests. Diagnostics are a part of the exam. To be listed on autotechnicians.org, technicians need to score 80 percent or higher.

Test-takers generally score above 92 percent or below 50 percent, Kelly said. So far, about 30 percent of test-takers haven’t qualified.

“It’s definitely doing what it’s supposed to be doing,” he said.

Kelly’s hope is that the site will help customers find good technicians and technicians to find good customers. Those new relationships should help shops and mitigate the industry’s “grease monkey” stigma, he said. The site might also bring much-needed new talent to an increasingly overlooked profession, he said.

“I think there is a huge percentage of people out there who don’t understand what it takes to be a technician and the huge amount of work that goes into it,” Kelly said.

On the site, mechanics can list their shop name and location, experience, areas of expertise and other details. Customers can leave feedback on the technicians and rate them out of five stars.

Though the site is in its infancy, Kelly said he plans to expand it to include heavy truck professionals as well as collision repairers. When that happens depends on the growth rate, he said.
 

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