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Old 01-13-2008, 11:53 PM   #1
XDCX
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Default How difficult is it to find new technicians?

The Auto Industry is in the midst of some major changes. Some franchises are experiencing over a decade of vehicle sales growth while others are experiencing record low market share.

The purpose of this post will be to survey the Service Managers to determine how difficult it is for them to find new technicians?

The survey will be posted in each franchise group in an effort to determine whether it's easier to find technicians for some franchises than for others. As an example, is it harder to find a Toyota Technician because the brand has experienced so much growth? Or, is it easier to find a Toyota Technician because of the popularity of the brand?

So, here's the question for the Service Managers: How difficult is it for you to find new technicians?

Please take a moment and post your thoughts. It will be interesting to determine if there are any trends based on franchise or location.
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:40 PM   #2
s-works
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You have to grow your own. I work with a local Lincoln tech to bring in their top gun students. We have had good experience with them.

The other thing we do is eliminate the favoritism. If we bring a tech in we don't have a place for him at the bottom of the totem pole. I don't believe in a system that rewards the techs based on their longevity or closeness to the foreman or dispatcher. If they are a hard worker and capable of turning 60 hours than so be it. Their are other ways to keep your tenured techs happy without sacrificing productivity and efficiency.

When I interview or talk to techs (especially the younger ones at school) I tell them their are 3 things that make a good technician. They can only control 2 of them.
1. The desire to work hard and make a good living
2. The ability and know-how to work on modern vehicles (that's why you are/were in school)
3. A service department that doesn't place limits on your ability to make money ie. Taking care of the tenured techs, limiting techs that are capable of doing more, and playing the wait for your opportunity to become the go to guy. The so called glass ceilings.

I explain to them if we determine that they have the first two I can offer the third. I don't understand the old school buddy system. It promotes false entitlement and decreases productivity and revenue.

I also stay away from specializations. With they exception of transmissions and heavy engines my techs clean the tickets.

That's how I am able to hire and retain our techs.
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:00 AM   #3
mr4t60e
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As a former technician who has gone though my fair share of dealership closings, layoffs, and periods of slack work, I would say that one of the key factors that made me want to pack my tools as a technician would be the fundamental lack of trust between the dealership and the technician. The barriers to entry for technicians is quite high: several hundred to thousands of dollars worth of tools, some kind of technical training, etc. are all required to get into the business. Even first starting out, most freshly-minted technicians that I've worked around don't seem to be able to make any kind of money until they gain the work experience and begin to work efficiently (this is an area where the trade schools fail, in my opinion).

In the era of ever-decreasing warranty labor hours, the slow decay of customer pay work, and the inevitable workplace politics, the source of frustration for a technician becomes clear: they have bills to pay and have no real income security. So, of course they are going to pursue greener pastures. While management can never totally prevent this from happening, they can adequately compensate their employees and give them a healthy working environment to minimize technician losses. As to how to find good technicians, I haven't an answer, but in every dealer I've worked for, you just had to let the bad ones wash out before you got to the good ones. This represents an unfortunate cost of doing business.

In my time working in dealerships, I've worked around many passionate, highly skilled and loyal people who are dedicated to their work and their employer. But the rest of my former coworkers were simply hucksters who thought that "working" at a dealer meant showing up, doing a half-assed job, and quitting when they realized that, like any other job, you only get out of it what you put into it.
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Old 10-25-2010, 03:34 PM   #4
XDCX
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s-works - Great post, thanks for taking the time to share your insight.

Your comments about a glass ceiling are right on. I remember calling on a dualed GMC/Jeep dealership that was loaded with prima-donna technicians who really weren't that productive. The Service Manager hired a recent graduate from the CAP program and the kid was so hungry to make money that he would run to the parts counter to pick-up his parts.

Some of the old guys laughed at him and pulled him aside suggesting he slow down but the kid wasn't listening. The Service Manager posted everyones production so it wasn't long before the whole shop knew the new kid was making more money than some techs who had been at the dealership for years.
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Old 10-25-2010, 03:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr4t60e View Post
In the era of ever-decreasing warranty labor hours, the slow decay of customer pay work, and the inevitable workplace politics, the source of frustration for a technician becomes clear: they have bills to pay and have no real income security.
Great comments - I think that's the frustration a lot of technicians face.

I remember a dealership that ran a body shop and they lost one of their best painters - he left the dealership so he could do repair work on the local government's Metro Buses. Painting buses was a complete waste of his skill-set but he wanted the safety and retirement benefits that were part of working for the government.

I still think there are great opportunities for technicians but the dealership closing and chaos that has taken place over the past few years have driven a lot of people out of the business.
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:58 AM   #6
gmservice1
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I currently do not find it difficult to find and retain good technicians. There are at least 20 people in our orginization that have left our company and returned (the grass was not greener). I am on the board of my alma mater and have had a lot of success with ASEP and general automotive students. In my opinion, I find it much easier to grow someone new than to retrain an experienced tech that may come with baggage. I'm not interested in stealing a tech and bidding wars. Growing your own and promoting from within is definitely the way to go in my opinion. Supporting local high school and college programs even when you may not need a tech immediately ensures that you will always have someone available to step in when the need arises.
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