We are getting calls from dealerships all across the country and they are increasing by that day regarding their need for technicians. Unfortunately, the solution to the concern doesn't have an immediate reward and is generally not the answer that they want to hear.
The solution to this problem has to involve the day-to-day operations and compensation programs technician's desire. We have to make it so attractive to work at your dealership that the talented technicians hear about the commitments and programs you run that make their life better and come to you.
When people tell me they are working hard to find technicians, I generally hear things like "I ran an ad in three local papers and haven't had anyone with experience apply." So they've done their duty by placing the ads and no one is responded. So they keep needing technicians and provide poor performance to their customer base along with reduce customer satisfaction, growth, and profitability.
The Dollar Amount Matters, Right?
We don't understand why the technicians wouldn't want to work for us. We pay almost $20 per flat rate hour. We do offer them a one-week vacation after they've been there for a year, and even co-pay major medical insurance. We should have technicians lined up!
Unfortunately, the technicians might be getting three weeks of vacation you're asking them to give up. There are already receiving co-pay on major medical. The hourly rates of technicians are climbing dramatically, and what you used to be thinking was reasonable is no longer even close.
Let's not forget that a typical technician will bring in $15,000 a month in gross profits. What is that multiplied by 12 months? And let's not forget the gross profit margins on labor are generally in excess of 70%. We have to rethink the business model of how we compensate technicians.
We must be creative. Offer programs and commitments that other dealerships haven't even thought of to attract the talent we need. Recently I wrote an article in fixed ops magazine that was published in the March/ April edition of this year.
This article had a lot of creative ways to assist technicians and maximize in the income for their family. When I was writing it I had doubts that it would be well received because there are programs in there that will have additional incomes for technicians.
The reality remains we must rethink the value of technicians and customer service. Dealerships won't have an easy solution for this problem. One needs to have an open mind, while understanding the solution to this concern has no easy answers. Do you need Techs?
Rob Gehring, President
Fixed Performance Inc.
Rob is President and Founder of Fixed Performance Inc. which he began over 15 years ago. His passion for customer care and helping others has assisted hundreds of dealerships with their fixed operations performance. His common sense coaching and training lifts people up as individuals and team members. With over 30 years of dealership management experience, he understands and respects the daily challenges of fixed operations. Placing a strong value in people and best practice processes always provide growth. His articles have been published regularly in national publications and weekly newsletters are read by thousands.