Cries come from the NADA and national automotive publications that there is a technician shortage. Really? There is a reason. Having foreseen there is a coming drought, did decision makers not realize they are the cause?
There is the most simplest of solutions in the world for this " dilemma". Oh, but it will cost money. Yep, lost dealers, operators and general managers' attention with that line.
It’s an "investment" into your business and brand's future. You expect to "grow your own" techs by making a 12-13 dollar an hour apprentice buy a few thousand in tools just to start out? Nope, not going to work.
You work your apprentices hellacious hours for little pay and wonder why they disengage and abandon becoming a technician. Otherwise, they work shorter shifts and make what they could make flipping burgers. What's easier? Flipping burgers or learning the art of being a nobody that takes the blame for time, quality and mistakes. We take mistakes out their checks. The checks that barely eclipses the standard for poverty. If I am trying something with no guidance or support and screw something up then you make me pay for it...LATER!!
These apprentices work around untrained and disgruntled staff that consistently work long hours and receive new compensation plans everytime "expense" becomes a factor. That morale acts as a contagious virus. It spreads even to the most upbeat and charismatic. If you are surrounded by something, you tend to adapt naturally to your surroundings.
The apprentices look around and see techs who have done it for years and are still young. These techs ranging from late 20's to their 50's have bodies and morale that are broken down. Why? They all don't have the comfort of climate-controlled shops, improper tools being used due to cost factors a dealer won't address, antiquated equipment and facilities, lack of proper safety training and working bell to bell to feed a family on FLAT RATE hours. These people are the MOST PROFITABLE PRODUCERS IN THE DEALERSHIP. The technician. Yes, I AM correct. Prove me wrong!
Dealers and GM's don't feel their pay rate is in compensation guidelines. The whole business model revolves around increasing and protecting the bottom line. The blinders keep the amateurs from looking UP to grow the top line.
The tenured techs receive no appreciation or recognition for their work, talent, awards or commitment. Some get factory recognition if any. They are the most overlooked position in most dealerships because they are not customer facing. They pour blood, sweat and tears to repair vehicles correctly and quickly so they can make a check. Meanwhile, a car salesman who sells 10 cars (all minis) makes more than the average seasoned technician. This seasoned technician has on average about $35,000 PERSONALLY invested in tools. That's just a low average of what I have been privileged to know.
Special tools and new advanced tools and equipment are usually "too expensive". Techs can't afford $10,000 diagnostic equipment. Dealers seem to have the same attitude.
Have you realized what the solution is? If not, contact me. My advice has an ROI so high that NO ONE, I just stated that, NO ONE can come close to. I am not here to write "Managing a Car Dealership for Dummies". That would be too easy. I am here to tell you, there are always solutions to everything. It comes down to priorities. What is yours? Making money, you say? Then re-read this article to make A LOT more.