µ guest editorial
Ways To Make Yourself Unique As a sole proprietor of a newly formed business in a mobile electronics-saturated area, I have learned it is very important to differentiate yourself from the competition. As the Internet has made the sale of mobile electronics at any MSRP or MAP price more difficult, it becomes ever so necessary to make your workmanship take center stage. I have always taken pride in my installations. Co-workers always asked why I cared what it looked like behind the dash. My answer was simple: how the radio fit or looked was a reflection of the manufacturer of the pieces. However, my work behind the dash also reflected on me; if any fellow technician saw my work, I wanted them to know that whoever did the job knew what they were doing and cared about the outcome. By achieving a Master level certification has, in many ways, benefited me as an individual and as a business, and made me a resource to others. In each level of certification there was always something new to learn or a technique that made me more efficient. Here are three elements from earning Master level certification that have helped me become the person and the installation technician I am today:
Efficiency & Troubleshooting Efficiency is key; it ensures the work is performed correctly, to a high degree of quality, in a short amount of time. This yields happy clients that can get back to their busy lives, and nets a greater opportunity to profit. The techniques discussed and communicated through each level of certification cuts down on time needed to do any troubleshooting, which is necessary from time to time. Whether it’s testing a vehicle to determine whether there’s a parasitic current draw, or troubleshooting a remote start that’s seemingly not working properly, MECP provides the knowledge, the information pertaining to the correct tools, and how each circuit can and should be tested to check proper functionality. Skills and information obtained through on-the-job training, coupled with a drill down and expansion through MECP certification, eliminates the “product swapping” game and allows each and every technician to become a more efficient and productive member of the 12-volt community.
Broaden Horizons It’s safe to say not every technician throughout the industry is well-versed in every avenue of mobile electronics. Whether you’re in a market that’s heavily driven by remote starters, basic OEM audio upgrades, custom fabrication, marine electronics or dealer upgrades, there is always an area that you’re not as comfortable or familiar with. Being in a New
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England state, where five to six months out of the year greatly revolve around remote starters, I can easily say some of the more southern states have more business revolving around audio and custom fabrication. I personally have a passion for audio and fabrication; that’s what got me started in the industry a decade ago. Studying for and achieving the MECP Master certification has allowed me to broaden my knowledge and enhance my ability to perform high-end audio builds with predicable results. It’s also helped me to better understand vehicle dynamics and speaker placement, and the importance of proper tuning. It’s essential to me that I provide information to my clients regarding all of the available solutions to achieve their goals, and I never make a promise I cannot keep. Being able to predict, within a reasonable level of certainty, outcomes based on the client’s vehicle, budget, and product, makes that proposition possible.
Differentiation & Awareness From a business standpoint, the Master level certification differentiates me from my competitors, and it assures my clients of my level of commitment to increasing my knowledge to better serve them and properly provide solutions for their vehicle. I proudly display my certifications in my waiting room and on my sleeve. Increasing the public’s knowledge regarding MECP is important. Each and every person who walks into any mobile electronics shop should know to ask for a MECP-certified technician, and that the work to be performed in their vehicle will be done to industry standards. In the northeast there are not many Master certified technicians. As of August 2015, there are only four in Massachusetts and one in Rhode Island, and I know each and every one of them personally. We have either worked together professionally in a business setting, or in attempts to share our knowledge and increase awareness of the benefits of becoming MECP certified. Finally, in my opinion, one of the most important benefits of being Master certified is the notoriety it brings amongst my colleagues. The most positive result of being Master certified is my ability to help others throughout the industry. I am apart of many tech support groups online for 12-volt technicians. In my down and personal time I browse these groups, offering assistance to those that have questions and/or less experience than I. I think it’s important that, as a Master certified technician, I try to make the industry better as a whole, raise standards, and share the knowledge I have. We are only as good as the technician with the least amount of knowledge and experience.