Service advisors/Shop owners. Help us help you!!

Chris from Commack Diagnostician Posted   Latest  
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Management
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I'm going to start this by warning you that this will be a rant.

As a technician, I make it my personal mission to be the absolute best I can be. I do not shotgun parts. I do not lie to cover up my mistakes. If something breaks and I did it, I'll own up to it. Trust and honesty is the only way to build a healthy relationship between tech and service advisor/owner.

I always tell an employer in an interview that I have one speed: get the job done. When you rush, things get screwed up. Period. I set myself up to work as EFFICIENTLY as possible. With efficiency comes true speed. If you have to do the job twice because you left something loose, it takes twice the time. 

When I make a diagnosis, you can bet your life that I have done all the proper steps and verified it to the best of my ability. If there is/are any maybe's involved, they will be documented at the time of the recommendation. I abhor come backs and misdiagnosis.

All this is explained at the beginning, during interviews and whenever a new service advisor comes aboard.

So why is it that diag time is given away?

Why is it that recommendations are questioned?

Why are jobs promised before the book time?

Why are inferior parts used when quality ones are recommended?

Why do you assume that a returning vehicle is a come back instead of a different issue?

Why are you diagnosing a vehicle over the phone, ordering parts, ordering us to install them, and then holding us accountable when it doesn't fix the vehicle?

Service advisors/shop owners need to understand that we are a valuable resource. We deserve to be compensated for all the work we do on and off the clock for them. We also deserve the respect we have EARNED.

I keep on hearing about the technician shortage. Let me just say this, Great technicians will find a deserving shop, and that deserving shop will be able to keep them. If your repair shop seems to have a revolving door, maybe the fault isn't with the "horrible" mechanics or "tech shortage". Maybe it's you. Yes sometimes the truth is hard to hear, doesn't change the facts. 

I'm 100% sure that I don't speak for everybody. But I can guarantee you that I speak for enough. 

In closing, I will repeat the title to this rant: Help us help you!!

Rant over, you can yell at me in the comments

+16

Brady from Yakima

 

Owner/Technician
 

I feel like I could write a book on this subject, but I'm just going to hit a few points.

I'm not disagreeing with your post at all, just some thoughts on the matter.

First, if the majority of the stuff you questioned is going on, then you;re at the wrong place. There are a lot of bad shops out there and I'm sure these things happen often, but I think there are plenty of shops that have a handle on most if not all, of those items.

As someone who has been on both sides of the matter, I do want to comment on the "get the job done" speed and "deserve to be compensated on and off the clock". A good technician (which there are precious few of) does deserve and will get compensated well unless they're staying at a shop that doesn't know what they've got. However, I've seen techs that do good work but take twice as long as book, that doesn't work. Some jobs will get away from you and I agree you don't want to be rushed but as a competent tech you should be able to kick it into the next gear and get some jobs done, and done well. If you aren't producing at least 40 hours a week(given that the work is available and you aren't doing stuff for free that you shouldn't be due to management) then there is a serious problem in my opinion.

The industry as a whole is in a tough spot, good techs deserve more than they are getting, but since the industry isn't set up to pay these people properly a lot of the times it isn't attracting good techs and we end up with a lot of people entering this field that are never going to have the capability to be all that great at it. Add to that it's only getting more difficult to properly work on cars and we're in a world of hurt. 

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Chris from Commack

 

Diagnostician
 

As I stated in the post. I make it clear that I have one speed, get the job done. Most of the time it is much faster than book. (I apologize for not making that crystal clear) Sometimes, however, you get your ass handed to you. If this hasn't happened to you, you are God, or lying. Yes, a tech should be able to produce over 40 hrs of mechanical per week. It's not fair to ask the same of your diagnostic technician who gets everything that the other guys can't handle, gets stuck teaching the guys under him, and gets stuck with an advisor who flat out cannot sell.

I agree that I have been in the long place many times. My main issue is, and the reason I wrote this post, why do these places have to be wrong? Why are they still around? What gives them the right to treat the backbone of their business this way?

+6

Brady from Yakima

 

Owner/Technician
 

Again, not disagreeing with you at all, and I didn't mean to suggest you or anybody else isn't producing what they should. Just throwing some thoughts out there.

I often wonder why some shops operate the way they operate, I agree with you in thinking that they are wrong but that isn't going to make them go away. There will always be someone out there that will do something worse for less, it's just the way it is unfortunately. 

I think in the end though the shops that treat their techs well end up with better techs, therefore provide a better service, and as a result end up more successful. That of course isn't always the case, but more often than not.

The industry is changing for the better, albeit slowly. When I started not all that horribly long ago, the shop I was at was just starting to charge .5 labor for diagnostics, and it was hard to get the customers to agree to that. Now I have no problem selling diagnostic time if/when it is needed. The consumer is slowly learning and that is what it's going to take.

+1

Ossie from Bohemia

   

Owner
   

After 40 years in this industry and being a tech for a good part of it I feel where your coming from. All I really want to say is if there are techs out there having the issues you listed at their job they are working in the wrong place. Find a shop that works with you there are many mine included. I valve and appreciate what it takes to fix today's cars. And also the skills, training and expertise needed to accomplish quality repairs and service.

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William from Ashland

 

Diagnostician
 

Sadly you are correct in 70+% of the shops. Possibly higher percentage in many areas. I have taught techs from independents, national chain stores, dealers, tire stores, undercar shops, etc. All have the same stories to tell and the same issues. Yes, there are good shops, but they are few and far between. Many techs will never get the opportunity to work for them because the spots are few, and they never get the chance to learn and grow. I read somewhere that for every 100 students coming thru the dealer sponsored training programs, only 5 stay in the business longer than 3 years. It sure isn't because they are treated so well! Many have told me flat out that they will never use what I teach them because the boss/owners won't pay them to use it. Just guess/IdentiFix/Google it and throw parts. No time to diagnose. Get it out and move on to the next one. Still not enough good shops to make a change.

+3

Vince from Commack

 

Technical Support Specialist
 

Chris,

Sometimes there are great techs that end up in bad places and bad techs that end up in great places. This trade can be a revolving door where techs go from shop to shop or dealer to dealer. I truly feel that there is a place for everyone. By what you have said, it seems you may have had some resistance from some shop owners you have worked for and some service writers/managers you worked with. You may have had a tech that even tried to sabotage your work. This trade has some great people in that truly care about what they do, have no problem putting their name to something and really care about customers. We who care are in it for various reasons and it may not be the money alone. If you are good at this, in whatever part of it you can do very well for yourself and those around you. I dont think I speak just for myself when I say that there used to be a very high number of "undesireables" in this trade. We need smart open minded techs, owners, and all the others that go along with it. I truly believe that everyone can be happy at work, no matter what field. And if you aren't then you need to move on or get out. 

Just my 2 pesos

Vince …

+2

Vince from Commack

 

Technical Support Specialist
 

Chris,

One more thing. As far as I am concerned, sometimes shop owners end up with the wrong guys for the wrong reasons. Similarly techs end up with wrong shop owners. When I interview a tech, I get my basic info and then I let him interview me and my staff as well as see my operation(s) in full swing to see if its the right fit for them. Guys like you are so valued in this field and I hope we can keep producing more like you.

+2

Bruce from Spring Hill

 

Technician
 

I worked at a shop that fits your description very well. I worked there for far too long, 8 years, because my Dad worked there. I got paid flatrate, $29/hr when I left, but I had to work my ass off to average 30 hours per week. We didn't get paid diag time for noises, leaks, etc. We only got 1 hour diag time for electrical/warning light type diag. I didn't do any electrical/warning light diag there, he had his diag guy there already. He always would say that most of the time whatever is wrong with the car is bacause of the last guy that worked on it. I had worked at other shops and they weren't much different, which is another reason I stayed. Then everything changed in 2015, I got engaged, lol. And I decided something had to give. I quit in September of 2015, worked at the new shop for 2 weeks. It was worse so I got my old job back. Stayed for a couple weeks and quit again. Stayed at that shop for exactly 6 months. It wasn't a bad shop, they just couldn't sell work so being flatrate I was making less money. Got married in March of 2016 and went back to the old shop again a few weeks later. Stayed at the old shop 4 more months before quitting for the final time in August of 2016. Been at the current shop ever since, over 2 years, and it's the best job I've ever had. Still flatrate, but we get paid for everything that we do and we are always busy. It's not perfect and the management and writers do stupid stuff sometimes. But it's a great atmosphere, everyone gets along, and we're paid well.

So I my advice to anyone on here that is working in a bad shop, don't be afraid to move on, there are good shops out there. You just have to find them. I moved my box 5 times in less than a year, glad I did, or else I wouldn't have found one of the good shops.

+2

Andres from North Lauderdale

 

Diagnostician
 

I’ve been to several shops in Broward county(Like 30 Or at least somewhere close) I’m gonna say 90% of the shops that took me (I have a bad record which is like a curse if you’re looking for a good job)are hole in walls doing things as cheap as possible and expect perfection. Alignment with loose front ends. Making grocery list on cars that have 20k miles on it. I’ve had a shop owner run me over with a car that I was working on... I had many shops that refused to pay me and felt so hopeless. I really didn’t know what to do but go find another job and it domino effect. There was so much I didnt agree with but I had to make a paycheck to pay for everything. Chris I can relate to so much of this and it almost feels like I can’t do much but get what I get and just gotta live with it. Maybe do something of my own sooner or later there is a time for everything. I’ve wanted to quit this career path too many times. Realizing later than sooner of what I was dealing with is I’m surrounded by hazardous and harmful chemicals and there is so much to this job that can be damaging to hearing, vision and other physicallay damaging can happen. if proper precautions are not taken. 10% of the those independent shops were pretty good to work at but the compensation seems unfair. I went out recently looking for a job and someone asked me how many hrs i could do a week and I didn’t have an answer because ive only been paid a unfair salary and when a shop did put me on flat rate there wasn’t enough work for me to even make a consistent 30 hr paycheck. This is my life as I know it just keeping my fingers crossed for one day. Thanks for sharing Chris I feel like I just vented lol

0

Jaxon from Stafford Heights

 

Technical Support Specialist
 

Chris, I hear you.

0

Cliff from Santa Maria

 

Diagnostician
 

Chris in my 27 years of experience in this industry I have almost always seen the “revolving door“ shops typically being a management issue.

It also amazes me how so many give diagnosis work away. 

+1

Bill from Rosetown

   

Technician
   

Hello Chris,

I am going to try and answer your questions from my experiences. The answers will not be my viewpoint of the way it should be, just an off the cuff response. If you could humor me and answer back with solutions.

So why is it that diag time is given away?

Customers expect us to know what the problem is and will not pay for diagnosis. Testing is perceived as something that is done when you don't know what you are doing.

Why is it that recommendations are questioned?

The recommendation is not understood.

Why are jobs promised before the book time?

The customer expects it back before book time.

Why are inferior parts used when quality ones are recommended?

The customer will not pay for the recommended parts.

Why do you assume that a returning vehicle is a come back instead of a different issue?

It's not assumed, but it needs to be checked before anything else is done to "prove" it is not a comeback. It needs to be dealt with if it is.

Why are you diagnosing a vehicle over the phone, ordering parts, ordering us to install them, and then holding us accountable when it doesn't fix the vehicle?

I have no answer to this one. Not something I am familiar with, but would still like to hear your solution to it.

0