Dealership Technician Retention Initiatives - Too Little Too Late?

Scott Manager Claremont, California Posted   Latest   Edited  

My observations lead me to state that the industry has not been too kind to the folks that make service happen. I came across this article in Automotive News where a dealer group claims to be “Taking the Bull by the Horns” to address the technician shortage. What are your thoughts? Is this just more talk or is the actual problem finally receiving the attention it deserves?

If you'd like to see what you can do to support tomorrow's technician, I‘ve been actively involved with NASTF’s Road to Great Technicians project since its inception back in 2016 and I would encourage anyone with interest to join and help guide and support this initiative. 

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Craig Mechanic
Rowland Heights, California
Craig Default
 

On a somewhat related note, there is a new Mercedes ad (radio) that opens with "what parts is your non dealer technician installing on your Mercedes". The ad is touting their 5 year bumper to bumper used car warranty. At the end of the ad there is a final flame stating to bring your vehicle to the dealer where you get genuine Mercedes parts that last longer and are installed my Mercedes techs…

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Rick Diagnostician
The Woodlands, Texas
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Scott, I've watched with great interest all of the plans being touted to gain and retain technicians. One of the things that I think is being overlooked by our industry is the employee satisfaction pyramid. Here is a link to one with some interesting explanation of how it works. blog​.​techsoft3d​.​com/blog/bid/20498… When I started out in this industry way too long

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Scott Manager
Claremont, California
Scott Default
 

Thanks Rick, That perspective makes sense and in my opinion, the key here is to make sure that management truly has a deep understanding of what the ground floor is and what it takes to make it work. When upper level management begins to make calls without this, the outcome is usually not what they expected.

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Rick Diagnostician
The Woodlands, Texas
Rick Default
 

Scott, The real eye opener is looking at the employment site for your state. Here is a link for Texas forcasting jobs over 36K per year. These numbers do not take into account the amount spent on tools. On a list of 25 Auto repair is number 24. Take a look at the jobs is above it on the list. Think about tooling costs. Every job where a technician could be other than our field requires less

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Scott Manager
Claremont, California
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Interesting, knowing how the career provides benefits, retirement etc, I'd be looking to become an electrician working for a school district (I hear my state has great pensions) or other established institutions providing real retirement benefits. No tooling investment, just show up with your skills and knowledge! Looking at the description they list for auto mechanics, this may be a little

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Tanner Instructor
Wellford, South Carolina
Tanner Default
 

I believe Rick hit the nail on the head. I wrote an article for autoinc that brought up this very point. If you talk with high school students about their career choices and how they chose them the first thing they will say is I googled it! Students are taught all through school to do research on every topic at hand and make sure they use multiple sources. This means they know without a doubt

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi Tanner, I could not agree with you more. We ask technicians to be a business within a business. The Caveat is they have no control over what walks in the door. I have been doing some research and according the the BLS, automotive technicians only make about $1000 more now then in the year 2000. The average Snap On tool goes up 7% a year. So in 18 years the cost of tools has gone up 126%

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Tanner Instructor
Wellford, South Carolina
Tanner Default
 

Hi Michael, Given the length of time an RN degree takes to achieve and the similar way in which the degree is obtained (co-op during school semesters) I would say it is logical that the wage should be the same. They certainly have to be intelligent people and I believe technicians do now as well to fully grasp the electronic and drivability side of our career. I am not sure I could do their job

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Randy Analyst
Denver, Colorado
Randy Default
 

Circa 1990 I was paid $28 a flat rate hour. Using the BLS CPI calculator that’s about $55 in today’s money. Factoring inflation, that time was the highlight of my wages as a technician but I submit diagnosing was much much more difficult back then. The shop overhead was much much lower as well not to mention cars broke down more often so the work load was higher per mile driven. Diagnostic

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi Randy, So what I am hearing both here and on the street is that technicians are not valued as much in the shops as they were nearly 30 years ago. It seems to me that technicians today are worth more than ever. Everything has become more complicated. I will say I would much rather deal with electrical diagnostics than the vacuum hose clusters that we saw in the 1980s.

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Randy Analyst
Denver, Colorado
Randy Default
 

It depends on the perspective. The average motorist values technicians below the parts counter man since they check stuff for free. If you can change that, you’ll solve all problems. The industry has a strong desire for cheap labor as referenced in the article in this thread. So it can be said the majority of shops undervalue technicians . Having said that, none of that matters on an

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William Diagnostician
Ashland, Virginia
William Default
 

I agree completely!! I was on flat rate for most of my 50 years. I did very well, but it is NOT going to work anymore! If I was doing all shop work today, I would not work for flat rate. I have had many a tech take their yearly income and divide the total hours worked, and they realize all that wasted time with no cars to fix drops their hourly pay way down. The good weeks don't cover up the

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael Default
 

On Linked In I just saw the most pathetic post regarding employees I recall ever seeing. automotivemanagementnetwork​.​com/forums/topic/a…. We need to create a working climate where automotive technicians can be self reliant. A technician should be able to afford an apartment, food, insurance, car, ect.. on his or her salary. Last night when doing training I asked a new graduate what

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Randy Analyst
Denver, Colorado
Randy Default
 

I probably shouldn’t reply but that article was humurous to say the least. It’s that type of thinking that makes things worse, not better. Their average technican staying at the dealership is dropping so they are throwing 3.5 million dollars at a project to develop more cheap labor. No attempt to understand why technicains wont even stay 4 years, 3.8 years according to article. Think about that

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Scott Manager
Claremont, California
Scott Default
 

Thanks Randy, Some truly believe all that's needed is for the tech to plug in and get a report of what to replace. We all know that's not the case and I believe the industry is going to experience some disruption in the next few years...

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael Default
 

Scott, You are not too far from the truth. A couple of years ago at industry week in Las Vegas, my former employer invited many of the OEMs to view our soon to be released product. One of the products was a labscope. The comment from the tool buyer was that they had service manuals and advanced scan tools that would bring the technician to the correct conclusion. They did not need tools like

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