Management Vs. Employee Relations

Michael Mobile Technician Clinton, Utah Posted   Latest  

A few weeks ago I saw an exchange between a service advisor and a technician. The technician was being questioned on a particular job that the shop was estimating. The technician stated that the "book time" was not enough to cover his time on the job and it need to be adjusted. Instead of talking about the reasoning behind it they threw words back and forth without a resolution. This situation could have gone much better.

I would like to present a series of questions intended to spark a conversation.

  1. You have a technician that has been with you for five years. His work quality is good. He completes his work in a timely fashion with few complaints. On a particular job he makes a serious mistake which destroys a vehicle engine. The parts alone are $5000. How do you address the problem with the technician?
  2. You have a technician that has been short on work for a few weeks. One morning he calls and states that he is out of money and can't afford fuel to make it to work and back. He has always been reliable. His story seems plausible. What do you do?
  3. A young man approaches the front counter. He asks if you would have some part time after school work he could do to make some extra money. He has no tools. He has a little experience helping his family with simple car repairs. Next step?
  4. Your top technician has a drastic drop in work quality and production. His demeanor has changed. The other employees are starting to complain about his attitude. How will you handle him.
  5. A technician who has been with you for 3 years approaches you. He states that he can no longer afford to live and work at your shop. He tells you he needs to be making double the amount he is right now. This technician has skills that the others lack. The whole shop looks up to him. You can tell that he is uncomfortable coming to you but sense that he is serious about walking. What do you do?
  6. You have a service advisor that is great with the customers but abuses the technicians. All the technicians hate him. What do you do?
  7. During the hiring process an new hire explains that his Father is a technician and now works as a Wal-Mart greeter due to health concerns. His Father is 58 years old. He wants to know how he can prepare for the future so he can retire comfortably. He wants to know what path you have available for him when he can no longer produce work like he does at his young age?

These questions are for both the technician to answer how they think it should be and the shop owners to tell it like it is....

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Chris Technician
Bryans Road, Maryland
Chris
 

Great topic! I will answer the best I can base on what our shop has done in the past with some of these issues and what I would do as the shop foreman in these situations. - Unfortunately this has happen to one of the tech that work at our other shop not sure it was exactly 5k probably more 2,500 dollar mistake. The way I would handle it is mistakes happen unfortunately. It sounds like this

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Martin Diagnostician
Burleson, Texas
Martin
 

1: I think the shop should pay for parts for sure. Things happen and the shop can't take all the gains and none of the losses. I damaged a hood once replacing an engine and it was said to me that I would have to pay for the body shop repair. I said "that's gonna be a problem" and explained the gains and losses situation and nothing ever came of it. Now the labor, it sort of depends on how the

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Luke Instructor
Buellton, California
Luke
   

Fantastic conversation! while the reality is that the answer to each of these questions is “depends”, I will avoid being a smart ass and dive into the discussion... - “Shit happens” This is exactly what insurance is for. Five years and then a mistake? Pretty good track record in and of itself! Now, the question is why? Was it an honest mistake? If so, the shop picks up the cost of parts and

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

Can we consider a few of these that really stand out. #1 Ethically it is understood that the tech would want to make it right by taking care of the labor. He feels responsible for the damage. On the other hand by having to do the rework he may not be able to meet his financial obligations. Are there any other skilled trade that requires their workforce to work for free? When you work for most

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Michael Owner/Technician
Montague, New Jersey
Michael
 

To my knowledge few if any carry that kind of insurance. I looked into it at one time and it was prohibitive price wise. There is also something known as accountability. I don't know why everyone hates flat rate so much. I worked as a flat rate tech for 27 years. The only time I didn't make money was when I lived in El Centro CA. That had to do with poor management policies and non existent

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

Hi Michael, During the time you worked flat rate were vehicles different than they are today? Is diagnosis harder? Are the engines packed in tighter? Do we demand more from a technician than we did in 1980? Why don't we pay them? If a top technician can make $80K to $100K working 40 hours a week it does not matter how you pay them. Flat rate, salary, hourly, hourly plus commission…

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Michael Owner/Technician
Montague, New Jersey
Michael
 

- It depends on the technician's attitude. Over 7 + years i have put up with quite a bit. Someone with a remorseful attitude who is willing to fix it on their dime I would retain and pay for parts. A prima donna would get fired. - I have never had this happen as I pay pretty well. I might lend him money over a short period. - Because of state law and insurance, I cannot hire anyone under the

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