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Working at Carmax — Reviews by Employees

Learn what employees have to say about Carmax pay, work/life balance, care potential, job security, and much more by reading our anonymous employee reviews.

Reviews of Jobs at Carmax

3.3Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect3
Benefits3
Job Security2
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth2
Location4
Co-Workers4
Work Environment5

From Tulsa, OK — 03/07/2010

This is a store where you can't get ahead by proving yourself to the bosses, because their opinions are not respected by corporate management, and store-level managers are routinely ignored and overridden. They are essentially just there to be mouthpieces for decisions that come down from above, and that's a shame, because the store would be a lot more successful if they had some authority.

When this store first opened, the hiring managers (the store managers) lied to the technicians they hired. They base your initial pay grade on the number of ASE certifications you have, but they also told the technicians (some of whom had already taken multiple tests whose results were pending) that they would get promoted as soon as they got more certifications. This was a lie, and it caused pretty bad morale problems with the techs because they ended up with some of the best guys having the most certifications making the least pay. When the store managers tried to promote them, corporate shot them down, and they lost good employees because of it. I should make clear that I don't think the store managers were trying to mislead the techs, I think they were lied to by corporate, then they passed on the lies. Also keep in mind that techs are not considered Carmax management material beyond being shop leads.

This is also a company with really rigid and restrictive rules and procedures that micromanages the way all their employees do each and every task. This makes it hard to do your job there as a technician, because the whole operations department (shop) is badly understaffed and you often have to wait for other people who might be on break or in the bathroom before you can proceed on a job, and just generally spend a lot of time on procedures that accomplish nothing. Techs are paid by the hour, not flat rate, so this might not seem like a problem--but techs are judged by something called an "efficiency rating" that is based on speed. It's hard to be efficient if you're one of 3 techs in a big shop that was meant for thirty guys--but don't, for instance, install a windshield wiper outside in the lot, because that can get you fired. In addition, Carmax supplies your tools, but you won't necessarily have the specialized tools you need for a job. If this happens, send it to the dealer, don't try to make do because that hurts your efficiency and especially don't bring your specialty tools from home--that can also get you fired. Also, they give a $1,000 reward to any employee who reports another employee for breaking a policy that gets them fired, so don't go above and beyond and make your coworkers look bad in comparison. Always remember that any rule-bending can get you fired, even if you do it to make the shop work better and no harm could ever come of it--the rules are always more important than the employees. Employees are interchangeable here.

That said, there are some good things about working at Carmax. The people who work there are mostly pleasant to work with, and the shop is clean and new. They also have air-conditioning in the shop, but it's never worked properly since the store was opened, so it still gets really hot out there (especially since they won't allow the doors to be opened because the so-called AC is on.) It's a low-pressure environment. You're not constantly harassed to hurry up like you are in most aftermarket shops, and the bosses usually don't try to tell you how to fix cars, because they have never been techs themselves and don't know anything about it. My only complaint in that area is that sometimes Carmax standards are lower than industry standards, particularly for things like tires and brakes.

So all in all, this is a pretty easy place to work if you are good at following rules and not making waves. You don't have to be a great tech, but you need to get all your ASEs before you're hired if you want good pay. If you are the kind of person who always tries to make things work better and faster, you will feel stymied by all the rules and procedures here. Doing things the "Carmax Way" is always the most important thing, even if it costs Carmax a lot of money and doesn't result in any added value for the customer.
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4.5Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect5
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers4
Work Environment5

From California — 02/27/2010

I've read every review on this website and know quit a bit about CarMax from almost every department. I can tell you that a disgruntled employee will be MUCH louder that one that truly enjoys their job. I feel that most of the people that have vented on this site want a lot for not a lot of work. If you are hard working and a good individual..... you will love CarMax. I spoke with a Technician that works for CarMax today and he said he would NEVER work for another company. This is not unusual in my experience. CarMax takes care of their employees and does all they can do to keep them happy. They also do their best to take care of their customers. Look into the BBB and any other corporate watch dog and you will find raving reviews. Their products and service are far superior than the treatment people get at traditional dealerships. As far as the lay offs last year.... yes they did occur. And no CarMax did not want to let associates go. In a time when most people were receiving 10% pay cuts and THOUSANDS of people were getting laid off from other companies, I feel that a couple hundred people who were offered other positions is not that bad. In fact its fantastic compared to other companies that just shut doors and did nothing to warn their employees of their pending unemployment. If you have a chance..... apply for CarMax!!!! Don't let a couple of individuals who are angry that their experience was not what they expected discourage you. You will not regret it.
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5.0Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect5
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers5
Work Environment5

From Richmond, Va — 01/30/2010

Fortune Magazine's Top 100 Best Companies to Work For...6 years in a row. Nuff said.
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3.2Rating Details
Category
Pay3
Respect3
Benefits3
Job Security3
Work/Life Balance3
Career Growth3
Location5
Co-Workers4
Work Environment3

From San Antonio, TX — 04/08/2009

The Pay is the same as it has been for 15 years. To make the big bucks you have to be there over 40 hours/week and your social life gets massively hit.

Respect is a word that I have mixed feelings about. I respected certain people, and this was most of my store as the group were around since the store opening and we built camaraderie from the start and welcomed new comers. I feel that some people did not respect each other, and felt antagonized by some of the managers.

Benefits now that I look at them cost higher than what I have seen at other companies that have similar costs and benefits being awarded.

Your job is as secure as you make it. While they won't really fire you for under performing, as you work for free, with the unfortunate layoffs last year it made you wonder daily if you were next.

My work bled into my personal time, meaning coming in a lot of my days off, getting phone calls on my days off and at very inconvenient times, and not being able to spend time with those I wanted to be with, like family and friends.

In this current economy, the potential for growth seems grim, and unless they get a good shot in the arm, the entire chain will suffer.

The store was down the street from my house, 10 minutes to work tops.

Most of my co-workers were smart, and some no so much. A few of the managers seemed to care, while others had ideas of old so ingrained in their skulls they couldn't see what was happening. We're in a recession.

The environment itself was clean and open. While the pipped in music did get annoying, thankfully being able to have a more relaxed uniform like khakis and shorts during summer, made it a lot more enjoyable.

Overall, it's a decent company, with good ideas, morals, and values. Appraisals are based on live auction data, and guess what, a sales business is in the business for profit. So to bad mouth and say that they raise the prices...well, so does everyone else. The problem is right now commissioned sales are rougher than ever. And when you're that desperately trying to make ends meet, it doesn't help when you're there for 12 hours on a Saturday, and you don't make a cent.
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4.8Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect5
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers5
Work Environment5

From suburban Chicago — 02/23/2009

Carmax is a great place to work. In our suburban Chicagoland market they value their employees, they train in order to continue to grow and develop the business and they are a very fair-minded company. I have never worked for a company that was a fair, about their dealings with the customers as well as their treatment of employees, as Carmax. Other companies I have worked for exist in a 'dog-eat-dog' world. Not Carmax. I am very content with my position. It is challenging, ever-changing, and rewarding. I look forward to continuing to grow with Carmax. I have been employed with Carmax for over 3 years and I am thankful each day for my position.

Thos that say negatives about Carmax and the fairness of their appraisals/offerings for cars, do not understand the process. Carmax is the epitomy of fairness.
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3.7Rating Details
Category
Pay2
Respect5
Benefits4
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance2
Career Growth3
Location4
Co-Workers5
Work Environment5

From Dublin, OH — 12/10/2008

Pay: I was told that some people make 75,000/year when I started. At our store that doesn't seem terribly feasible for a sales consultant. Like most commissioned jobs it has its ups and downs. We are dependent on the general economy and as many people have noticed it isn't great now. There is no base pay so no sales means drawing off of your next check.

Respect: This is one of the best work environments I have been in. We get along well and I feel I can trust my fellow employees. That counts for a lot.

Benefits: The health insurance and leave policies have been great for me so far. The pay for bad weather and training is cruddy. We are on the clock when we are shoveling and when we have meetings or training. This makes our sales per hour lower and affects our paid time off calculations. There are rules about how sales are split that aren't always followed even with manager involvement. Carmax has tuition benefits but as we are on a rotating schedule it is next to impossible for a sales person to use those benefits as we have no set days off. Carmax does have stock matching, tuition assistance, 401k matching, etc which is good.

Job Security: For sales people it seems if we follow our training you are pretty safe. We pretty much leave on our own due to not making enough sales. If we aren't performing we get no pay so in a way we fire ourselves.

Work/Life Balance: We are encouraged not to come in on days off or time off. The challenge there is that your customer might come in. You could loose a half to a whole sale that way. The other problem is that if you have a transfer come in the managers are encouraged to get the car out that day if we aren't making budget. Doesn't matter if you have worked hours with that customer. There is a good chance you will loose at least half of it. Also, hours are retail hours. We do have a rotating schedule though. This helps you to have a few nights, weekends, and days to yourself. Every 6 weeks we get a 3 day weekend. In between that we get 1-2 Sundays off and 1-2 Fridays off.

Growth: I have seen some people get really hurt on this one. Carmax has a policy about individual development plans. This doesn't mean that anyone will follow them. You can do a year of IDP work and then get dropped and watch someone who has put no effort in end up in the position. On the other hand, many of the managers at my store worked there way from sales people. I have seen other people also move on, up, and out to new stores in my time there. I am not sure what helps one person move when another person who has done lots of solid work doesn't.

Location: 15 minutes from my house, in a suburb, it is great.

Co-workers: as above we get along, sometimes we have spans where quality is down but it tends to get fixed.

Work environment: it is great, the hardest part is the retail hours and commission.
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4.7Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect5
Benefits4
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers5
Work Environment5

From Atlanta, GA — 07/20/2008

I'm a Buyer in Training for CARMAX. I should be promoted to Buyer within the next month or so. So far everything has been really cool. As a Buyer, I am responsible for purchasing all the inventory for the store, be it from auto auctions or through customer appraisals. I also help coordinate our in-store auctions, which occur every other week or weekly depending on the store.
Pay. You start off between 40-50K depending on your background and experience.
Respect. Everyone is very cool within the department, but I will say there is a natural tension between Buyers and some of the Sales Consultants, because they often feel like we low-ball customer appraisals, which often kills their sales.. But all in all, everyone is cool. The overall culture of the company is pretty laid back.
Benefits. OK I guess.
Job Security. From what I've seen, you would have to be a total flake to get fired from Carmax. And the company is doing well and growing fast, so layoffs are unlikely.
Work/Life Balance. Cool I guess.
Career Potential. There's plenty of opportunity for a Buyer to advance to a Senior Buyer and then a Purchasing Manager IF you are willing to relocate. The company is growing very fast, so there's plenty of room for advancement.
Location. OK for me I live only a few miles away.
Co-worker Competence. Everyone in the department is a college grad and has been through the long interview process (1 one-hour phone interview, 1 full day of interviews, 1 interview with Regional Manager), so you know all those working alongside you are very capable.
Work Environment. Very hands-on. Buying cars means being outside in the elements, popping hoods, peeking underneath cars, etc. You might get your hands a little dirty, but thats it. While inside, we have our own office where we can eat and listen to music while we work. Very cool!!

In my opinion, this is a very good company to work for, especially the Buyer's position. The culture of Carmax is very young and doesn't feel "corporate".. I've had a few jobs before, and this by far is the best one yet. I plan on being with Carmax for a very long time.
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3.9Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect4
Benefits4
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance4
Career Growth4
Location4
Co-Workers4
Work Environment4

From birmingham — 09/09/2007

This place is a decent place to work. I have experience with the other one- price dealership and this one far exceeds . There is order here,and a plan to help us sale the cars and trucks. The general manager is here, helps the sales associates. Whew, who knew working for the competition would be SO EASY!!!!!!!!!!!!! I should have made the move to Carmax years ago.
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3.8Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect4
Benefits5
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance3
Career Growth3
Location4
Co-Workers3
Work Environment5

From LAurel Md — 09/06/2007

I was a sales associate for 3 years

PAY: Its all commision, so the rate per car could be a little better, but it is reasonable.
RESPECT: They management was respectable of the team members for the most part, there is always at least one idiot.
BENEFITS: If you have a family, you may be looking for a bit more, but for a single guy, in his 20's early 30's, it should be fine

JOB SECURITY: You have a monthly quota as long as you are coming at least CLOSE, and putting up a good effort, you'll be fine, if you are following their process, you should have no problems getting your numbers.I actually NEVER saw anyone fired for performance in my 2 years.
WORK LIFE BALANCE: here is a tip, if you dont need the benefits take the part time position, you can come in when you want pretty much and you monthly quota is lower.

CAREER GROWTH: Not much here, a sales manager thats about it, but most of them went back to sales, more money.

Location: Umm...it not in a swamp or anything?

Co WORKER COMPETENCE: MEh, this is a group of sales guys, so these are not Phd's or anything, but they have the gifts that count whwn it comes to sales, confidence, charisma, and the gift of gab.

ENVIRONMENT: Very cool environment, music constantly going, hundreds of customers, very live, and FAR more fun than the office I work at now, everyday was kinda just hanging out and making money while you were doing it. Good times!
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4.6Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect5
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers5
Work Environment5

From Las Vegas — 06/22/2007

I work as a buyer in training for Carmax. It is a very good position, in my opinion. I get paid very well for what I do and I am considered one of the management associates. I travel about twice a month with all travel paid by company--fun! We price all the cars and do all merchandising through management and hands-on, both. The schedule is ultra flexible, where we can switch schedules with others every day. Different schedules every week and every day. You do have to work in the elements--cold, heat, rain, snow etc. etc. and that's definitely a down side--but this job is very phisical so you won't need a gym membership :)
You will get a company phone, so you won't need your own cell either. As a buyer in training, in about 6 to 9 months you will go to an interview panel after which you will get promoted based on how well you do, usually within one to 6 months post this interview process. Once you get promoted, you get stock options and bonus structure in addition to salary increase. As a buyer in training, however, you still get good benefits (a bit pricey, but you get what you pay for), a pension plan, 2 weeks vacation and no limit sick days. Pretty awesome package! I like the job, especially where the pay, flexible schedule and benefits come in play, there aren't too many good positions out there right now. I will stay as buyer with Carmax for a while. Oh, and you barely ever have to deal with customers...so no annoying people. Very competent, younger co-workers, good people!
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