How much can you make in the motor industry?

The motor industry is a crucial part of the UK’s economy. According to SMMT figures, it produces over £80 billion in annual turnover, £20.2 billion value added and accounts for 12% of total exported goods. There are around 856,000 people employed across the entire sector, with almost 1.7 million cars built in the UK in 2017.

These statistics prove that the automotive sector can be an extremely lucrative industry to work in, and a solid choice if you’re considering switching your career.

If this is something you’re serious about, the Insurance Factory can help your transition into the sector by finding motor trade insurance for your new company. Motor trade insurance, also called traders or traders car insurance, will provide you with full cover for your chosen trade, whether you’re a car salesman, mechanic, valet, or work in another trade.


Motor trade jobs available

So, you know you want to move into the motor industry, but you’re not quite sure what you want to specialise in.

As with choosing any job, there’s a lot to consider. You need to think about your work priorities – do you want a job where you can strike that golden work-life balance?
Is career progression important to you? 

Salary is obviously a big factor for most people. You want to be sure your trade will make you enough money to live the lifestyle you envision – and then some!

So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the jobs in the motor trade, what you can expect to earn and what you’ll need to get into them.

Auto engineer

Arguably one of the roles with the highest earning potential is an automotive engineer, where you work in the design, development, testing and building of vehicles. As the National Careers Service explains, you’ll typically need a foundation degree, higher national diploma or a degree ahead of joining a company training scheme. There are also apprenticeships that could offer a gateway into this career.

The National Careers Service says you can expect to earn from £20,000 as a starter to £45,000 as an experienced auto engineer. Though The Engineer’s 2018 Salary Survey is a little more specific, finding that:
  • Junior engineers earn £32,162 on average.
  • Senior engineers/managers earn £48,908 on average.
  • Directors and above earn £81,227 on average.

Unsurprisingly, region has an impact on average auto engineer salaries. Top of the list was London or SE England, at £56,954, with the lowest average recorded in South West England, at £38,933.


If you love rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in, you might be suited to working as a mechanic. You can get into this job through a college course or an apprenticeship, with college courses including a Level 2 Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair, or a Level 3 Diploma in Vehicle Technology.

According to Totaljobs, the average salary for a mechanic is £30,394. Broken down by industries, mechanics working in transport and logistics are likely to be paid the most, with an average salary of £32,500. The good news is, the average salary for mechanics rose in June 2019 by 5% (or £152) – hopefully this trend continues!

Car valeter

You don’t need any qualifications to work as a car valeter, also known as a car cleaner, and you can expect to get a salary of £14,000 to £16,500. In this line of work, you may end up working evenings, weekends and bank holidays to meet customer demand.

Auto salesperson/auto sales manager

If you’re blessed with the gift of the gab, there’s some serious money to be made in car sales. While the average salary is a reasonably low £21,000, you could earn a decent chunk of commission on every vehicle you sell – as well as on other products. You don’t need any qualifications to work as a car salesperson.

Imagine yourself more in a managerial role? Sector experience will work in your favour here, with Reed estimating the annual salary to be £42,212.

Motor vehicle fitter

This job involves repairing and replacing worn or damaged tyres, batteries, exhausts and other parts. You can get into the job through a college course, apprenticeship or by applying directly, provided you have some experience.

Fitters can expect to earn an average of £13,000 as a starter and up to £29,000 with a good deal of experience. Again, as with many auto roles, it’s likely you’ll end up working some evenings, weekends and bank holidays.

Car dealership business

Of course, if you’re thinking about setting up your own car dealership, it’s a bit tricky to predict how much you can expect to take home each year. This is because it’ll be entirely determined by the success of your company – and how quickly those cars fly off your forecourt! If you’re serious about opening your own car dealership, you might want to check out our blog which looks at the cars with the best resale value or what are the best cars to buy a car dealer that focuses more on trends. 

Motor trade insurance from Insurance Factory

Whichever profession you pick, if you choose to set up your own business then you’ll need to take out motor trade insurance.

Motor trade insurance provides full cover for people in the motor trade. At Insurance Factory, we can arrange combined policies that include motor trade insurance and cover your business premises, too.

We can cover a wide range of risks and business types, including:
  • full-time traders
  • part-time traders
  • road risk
  • collection and delivery cover
  • mechanics
  • valets

Even if you don’t feel like you fit in one of the categories listed above, we’re more than happy to chat with you to see if we have a product that’s right for your needs.

We understand that every business within the motor trade is unique. That’s why we don’t offer ‘one-size-fits-all’ cover. Instead, we take the time to understand your individual requirements before finding you the best policy.

Get your motor trade career off to a great start with motor trade insurance from the Insurance Factory. Get a quote today!