Considering Mobile Diagnostics

Damon Technician Macclenny, Florida Posted   Latest  

This is my first post here. I am a diagnostic technician at a shop here in Northeast Florida. I am considering opening a mobile diagnostic business in my area. I feel there is a big need for it, but just need some input from those of you who are actually doing it. How did you start? What type of clients do you target? I would like to hear from people who are running a mobile diagnostic business and have made a go at it. I do not need to hear any negative comments as I received hundreds of these when I made a similar post on IATN last year. I am tired of negativity on that forum and that is why I posted on this network.

Thank you in advance for your input.

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Nick Diagnostician
Affton, Missouri
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Following. Id like to see suggestions as well

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Robert Mobile Technician
Newark, Delaware
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I'm 8 years in now and looking back it's the best decision I ever made but it's not for everyone. Think of it like jumping off of a cliff and then learning how to build a parachute on the way down. It has its highs and lows as with anything. I will also say that it requires a completely different skills set. No matter how good you are right now, you will soon learn how little you actually know…

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Terry Diagnostician
Milton, Florida
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I was let go at my last job because covid-19. Nobody is hiring techs, let alone diagnostic techs! So I started , really out of necessity, I had no other job to go to! Fortunately I started doing mobile programming for a few body shop and other mechanical shops. I just expanded and started to go to around to other shops that needed a diagnostic done on vehicles. Much like a “hired gun.” The auto…

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Allan Owner
Sterling, Virginia
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Make sure you can go 3-6 months without a paycheck. You will eventually need a good chunk of the OE tools and multi store shops particularly body shops will want an account. A major one right now pays at 90 days. So the bottom line make sure you can afford it. If you can afford it AND you are the man then it’s a great way to earn a buck. Mediocre won’t cut it. They won’t call for a misdiagnosis…

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Brian Instructor
Parma, Ohio
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I agree with Allan, Save up some cash to get you by for a while. I started my mobile business in 2011 , and I am glad I made that move. I quit my "real"job with only 4 or 5 paying customers and hit the pavement marketing the old school way of knocking on doors. This day in age I think you can have good results mixing FB with knocking the doors down. If you are a good tech and have a good way of…

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
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$65 USD or about $90 CAD is about the going rate in this area for programs.

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Allan Owner
Sterling, Virginia
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I don’t know about Canada but US pays $40 to GM per vin. Can’t be mobile and make money on that

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
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I agree. 100%

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Sam Mobile Technician
Flint, Michigan
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@Bill Hamilton, My minimum is $149 USD, I do not know where you get your figures, GM costs $40USD per vin to do unless you get an annual account. No way I would drive to a shop and program it for $25

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Edward Owner
San Antonio, Texas
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Sam TIS2Web has an annual program subscription 🤔

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Scott Owner
Moreno Valley, California
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Hi Edward, That's what I have, but you have to be a Professional Service Center, which is now - mygmpartnerperks​.​com/#!/login to be able to buy yearly subscriptions.

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Edward Owner
San Antonio, Texas
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Got it thanks for the info 👍

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Allan Owner
Sterling, Virginia
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Not that I can access. Have they brought it back?

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
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There is no market here for a mobile technician. That is something worth considering when making that kind of move. That may not be relevant to the OP, and may be relevant to someone else considering it reading this. I am in no way saying to charge this rate, but that would be the going rate. In some cases the businesses will do them free of charge. In my case I can only get my programs for $53…

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Gord Owner/Technician
Regina, Saskatchewan
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We charge $220.00 per vehicle at the shop. Need to cover the equipment, subscription fee and diagnostic techs pay.

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
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Good for you Gord, I am not saying that in a condescending way. I hope that way of thinking spreads.

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Phillip Diagnostician
Anchorage, Alaska
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I support what Robert says. I just started back in 2019,But I will add that If you can do not quit your job at first. Take time to learn the in and out of starting a business. It is a lot of work getting started. Going to shops and convincing them of your abilities(depending on your area). Tooling up(yes you will more then likely find the tools you have are not enough). If you do not already…

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Sam Mobile Technician
Flint, Michigan
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7 years ago I made the decision to go mobile. Thought I had a pretty good shot at it since I was the go to guy between 4 shops for diagnostics and i could always figure them out relatively quickly. If i had that skillset today i would be bankrupt. I have always been a person who likes to have the right tools to do a job. That being said when i started i had a 4 channel scope, a mastertech and…

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John Owner
Medford, New York
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Damon, I have been at it doing it awhile ;). You have gotten some really good advice from others so far. The one thing everyone underestimates when jumping into the mobile diagnostics/programming field is the mental part of it. You have to be mentally tough above everything else. There will be good days and bad days. You will have your ass handed to you more than once. You have to have the…

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Stephen Educator
Bethel, Ohio
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If your a good tech and have access to test equipment and service info, I say do! It bets running a shop. Less overhead and there is a real need for guys like yourself to supplement what a shop can't do. I suggest you talk to someone who is currently doing it and has a successful business. They would know the ins and outs of it and the pitfalls. It may keep you from making some of the mistakes…

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Edwin Mobile Technician
Charleston, South Carolina
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I have been doing mobile diagnostics since the early 90's.I got inspired back when my friend John Anello started out. Technology has changed and staying up on training is mission critical. You will hit alot of bumps in the road. You will need to spend alot of money if you work on everything. Going mobile is not for the lazy or faint of heart. YOU HAVE TO HUSSLE! and you have to know what you are…

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Scott Owner
Moreno Valley, California
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Hi Damon, I wish you well! I can't offer any insight into your question, but maybe some guys already doing this can chime in on some questions I have, in no particular order. What percentage of your business is diagnosis and how much of it is programming? Do you only do one, as in programming? How are intermittent faults handled? Is there a set fee, or maximum? Maybe some areas are…

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Tom Technician
Jacksonville, Florida
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I am from the Jacksonville FL area. There is a real need for competent diagnostic and Programming services. In addition there is room for key programming and immobilizer services as well. There are lot's of individuals doing Locksmith services but few that are really sharp and most of all dependable. This area is growing by leaps and bounds with Jax and St Augustine almost a mega city. Probably…

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Chris Owner/Technician
Martinsville, New Jersey
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You have gotten some really good advice in here and when I started my business 3 years ago I spoke with some of these same guys for the same type of advice your looking for. I got a similar reply from john Rogers and I took him up on the phone call. That being said if you’d like to chat you can email me at … I’d also be more than happy to give you my advice based on my…

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Damon Technician
Macclenny, Florida
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Thank you all for your replies. All of you gave some very useful advice and I appreciate the time you took to give me some direction. There are many things that were mentioned that I never thought about.

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Edward Owner
San Antonio, Texas
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Damon I've been doing mobile service for five years now and won't look back it's hard work but very rewarding aways keeping me on my toes. You will always be challenged and the key it persistence. (Tip build up your clientele first before you leave your daytime job, build up cash reserve)....

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Geoff Diagnostician
Lahaina, Hawaii
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I am glad Bill H said, "There is no market here for a mobile technician." Now I know I'm not the only one. Like you, I do all the diagnostics at this shop, but I have talked to enough people over the years, to understand that the mindset of most shops AND the car OWNERS, on this island, is to "try this first and see if it fixes it". After a few tries with failure, the shop and the owner decide…

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Gabriel Owner/Technician
Hialeah, Florida
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Originally, when I started my business it was mobile based, and diagnostic and programming orientated. This was back in 2010. I was a VW tech at a dealer for many years, so I took my show on the road. I started with what I knew VW/Audi, and slowly added BMW, Mercedes (back when they played fair with the aftermarket), and Land Rover/Jag. The most important thing I learned was that on the road…

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