Numbers Don’t Tell The Whole Story - Engine Builder Magazine

Numbers Don’t Tell The Whole Story

We ask a lot of questions. Yes, I can admit it – we’re a nosy bunch here at Engine Builder. Sometimes, our requests may come across as discourteous, intrusive or even downright rude.

Because sometimes we ask hard questions, things that even I would probably hesitate to answer.

Let me first say this: I apologize if we ever clog your mailbox, inbox or fax machine with requests to tell us how business is going (yes, we do occasionally still send out fax surveys!). Our latest survey asked nearly 75 questions! Who has time to answer something like that!?

Thankfully, many of YOU took time to give us an inside look at your businesses. From that effort we are able to present our annual Machine Shop Market Profile, which probably could be retitled “The Engine Building Industry May Be the Best Kept Secret In This Country and Congratulations On Being Part of a Great Industry” – except that clumsy headline really wouldn’t fit on the opening page.

Beginning on page 30, you’ll find many pages of information that DID fit – and in my humble opinion, it’s pretty good stuff. For the past several decades we’ve surveyed our readership to determine the typical shop, the typical shop owner and the typical engine building operation. Each year, when analyzing the results, I realize how difficult it is to define “typical.”

As you’ll see in this year’s report, our survey respondents say that business is still pretty good. In addition to the specifics about how many of each type of engine, cylinder head and crankshaft you’re rebuilding, we asked a few more introspective questions such as, what factors are important when you are marketing your engines and work? In this world of low prices and “cover your assets,” you told us that the LEAST important things to you and your customers are warranty and price – the most important? Your reputation.

There’s nothing sudden about creating a reputation for building great engines – it takes time and dedication. The average tenure of your machine shop employees is 17 years, the longest we’ve seen in a while. Of course, we know that many of you have been in business with the same employees for even longer, decades maybe, and we salute your tenacity.

Finding employees seems to be a neverending battle, but keeping them can seem just as challening. Paying well and offering tangible benefits seem to be par for the course.

The national average hourly wage for an experienced machine operator is $31.10 per hour, up from $24.50 last year and $18.95 two years ago. Newly hired machine operators are paid, on average $12.70 per hour; counterman/sales personnel make $15.00 an hour and core disassembly people average $14.87 per hour.

Nearly three-quarters of you offer paid vacation; two-thirds offer work clothes; more than half provide hand tools and major medical. Other benefits offered include end of year bonus (43%), disability insurance (37%), training/education (30%), hospitalization (30%), pension plan (26%) and various other perks.

The real reason we ask all of these questions? So that we can do a better job meeting your needs regarding technical, marketing and business information.

The road to success may not always seem smooth in your particular case – after all, unique businesses have unique challenges – but overall, people keep breaking, building and buying engines on a daily basis, and you’re keeping track of the parts, procedures and personnel needed to keep the process moving along. We’re pleased to be here to help.  n

You May Also Like

Brand Loyalty – is it a Thing of the Past?

Well folks, it’s late September and summer has officially come to a close. If you’re like me, you’ll miss those warm weather days and longer hours of daylight, but it’s been a great few months of race events, car shows, seeing customers, visiting shops, and of course, creating tons of content. In fact, one of

Well folks, it’s late September and summer has officially come to a close. If you’re like me, you’ll miss those warm weather days and longer hours of daylight, but it’s been a great few months of race events, car shows, seeing customers, visiting shops, and of course, creating tons of content. In fact, one of those content pieces that will be big for us this fall is Engine Builder’s Dream Engine Giveaway – a twin-supercharged 427 small block Ford we are building with Chris Wright of Pro Car Associates / MVT. You can enter to win this engine here: . We’ll be sharing updates via our website, YouTube and social media channels as we get the build done in time to be given away at PRI in December. But, all of that is for another time.

Engine Builder Attends SBI’s 40th Anniversary Gala

If there’s anything that these past couple years has demonstrated, it’s that nothing is for certain in life or in business. In these days of such ever-changing environments, economies, consumer habits and the like, it’s more than impressive when a company reaches a major milestone. In July, the team at S.B. International, located in Nashville,

SBI Gala
Summer Vibes and a Dream Engine Giveaway

How can you not love summer? Sure, it gets hot, but it definitely beats the cold, and there’s so much going on to occupy your time. Here at Engine Builder, our team has stayed extremely busy attending racing events, shows, visiting manufacturers and engine shops, as well as our usual content work.

Think You Got What it Takes to Brawl?

First things first, I’m not referring to a fist fight, but I’m sure most of this crowd could hold their own. Rather, I’m referring to a new drag race event called Builder’s Brawl.

Passion Runs Deep

Having had the distinct opportunity to view this industry from my chair as editor of Engine Builder has certainly opened my eyes to a lot of great things this industry has going for it. However, my favorite thing about it – hands down – is the passion. Related Articles – PRI 2021: What a Show

Other Posts

Experience Always Wins

Formula 1 racing often tells smaller stories within each individual race; the final stretches of the Russian Grand Prix proved in my eyes that experience always wins.

Should Driving Be Outlawed by 2050?

As the world changes, so too does the automotive industry. Will self-driving cars eventually take over?

Male or Female – Passion Fuels Our Industry

Whether you’re a man or a woman, you can relate to that feeling this industry gives you and you want to immerse yourself in it. That’s what makes this industry great.

Ed Iskenderian of Isky Racing Cams Celebrates 100

July 10, 2021 marked the 100th birthday of Isky Racing Cams founder Ed Iskenderian. The man is an icon in the industry.