Inexperienced TechniciansPosted by dabram on October 8, 2013 at 8:06 am
I need some advise,
I just recently took over the service department of a used car lot. I have not been in “management” very long, And honestly the techs in the back are just not up to par if you will. I have been in the automotive Industry for going on twelve years now and these guys are just not experienced. I have 4 lifts and 6 stalls and 3 techs, 1 of which goes to auto tech school part time. (hes gone 2 days a week). My problem is these guys have been here long before I was set as manager and are really hard good employees. I don’t really want to just come in here after working a month and say “you guys are fired!” I have some good GM Certified techs that are ready to come aboard. (85% of our business is GM products). Any ideas how I can overcome this and get this shop up to par?
MemberOctober 8, 2013 at 9:54 am
That all depends on a lot. Old dogs that can’t/wont be taught new tricks? Younger and inexperienced? Older and inexperienced? Does anyone have the will to learn or increase their skills? My biggest obstacle lately is the aging tech (57) who will gladly tell you “He’s forgotten more than most guys know” and was great back in the day but fails to accept that his body, eyesight, hearing, and failure to learn new technologies and procedures is pushing him right out of a job. Low productivity, missing things, diagnosis way off– luckily have others to carry him but he can’t do this much longer..Most young guys in my experience have to “want” to do this. Otherwise it’s a waste to invest in them.Dennis
MemberOctober 8, 2013 at 10:46 am
The techs I have are young recent grads. They are not ignorant. I suppose alot of it comes from where I was before this. I had some amazing technician working for me before here and maybe I am just setting the bar too high for these guys. I really don’t know. I am at a loss and thats why I am on here asking for advise! lol….i feel the need for a new tech. I still have one lift left, only we use that for oil changes and tsi’s. Looks like I am in a pickle!! Thanks for your reply!
MemberOctober 10, 2013 at 6:36 am
Can you go into a bit more detail on what you see as the issues and why?
MemberOctober 10, 2013 at 10:29 am
Really the only issues I can see is the inexperience. I mean, I was once there, young and learning. And had a great employer that gave me the chance and it really paid off for him and me. And also no motivation. I see them in the back jacking around and goofing off and have to go out there every 30 mins to check on them. And get them “in gear”. I mean these guys hired me on to turn this place around and I see why now it was the way it was… My problem is I know I could let go of two of the three guys I have and replace them within two weeks with Certified Techs and turn the shop around. So I guess I am just looking for some advise from somone who has been in management longer than I…
MemberOctober 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm
I’m guessing they are paid hourly regardless of productivity?
MemberOctober 10, 2013 at 12:21 pm
They are paid on flag hours.
MemberOctober 10, 2013 at 12:31 pm
Well if they are jacking around and goofing off then they aren’t making money for themselves or you. When I was at a corporate facility the guys had to have an 80% or better productivity rate or progressive discipline would begin. You need to let these guys know your expectations if you haven’t already. Guys that are willing to learn and seem interested when you explain the business side of things are worth your time. Others can goof themselves out of a job when they are on the clock for 48 hours and get paid for 20. I’ve had many flat rate guys that wanted to be handed everything–never worked for it–never checked cars out. Slowly those 20 hour paychecks took their toll, the good guys/producers would find legit work and obviously I would feed them in return. They always whined they weren’t getting “good work” and eventually quit. Took a few months but being corporate it was easier than going thru “prog discipline”.
MemberOctober 10, 2013 at 1:54 pm
So how do you calculate the 80% productivity? Might sound stupid me asking but remember i am new to this!
MemberOctober 11, 2013 at 9:03 am
If they clock in/out for 48 hours (they are in the building “working” for 48 hours), their flag hours should be at least 38.4 hours for 80% productivity (48 multiplied by .80) (although any good tech would probably crank out 60+ hours in a shop with good car count and salesmen/advisors). The way I look at it is if you worked 48 hours, you should want to get paid for 48 hours or more.. Therefore the shop I am in now, being very busy, I constantly monitor my tech’s billed labor hours and let them know where they are at for the week. It gets them rev’d up when they are ahead of the game and they can expect a good check. Keeps them off their phones and focused on efficiency.I have one tech who was consistently producing 60+ hours per week, working 48 (really working 44 if you take his lunchbreaks out).I moved him to a nice hourly rate because he was having trouble getting a mortgage with the incentive based flat rate system. They wanted a steady hourly income.His productivity is now at 30-40 hours per week. Now that his pay is guaranteed regardless of what he does, he doesn’t hustle. He smokes more, bs’s with others.. basic human nature man.I’ve discussed it with him several times but he doesn’;t see it that way. He’s got excuses for everything. He is a very good tech so I will figure something out but it’s looking like he will be back on flat rate soon. I tried to help him out with this but he is producing 1/2 of what he used to.Dennis
MemberOctober 19, 2013 at 11:43 am
I see them in the back jacking around and goofing off and have to go out there every 30 mins to check on them. And get them “in gear”.
Even if they are paid on an incentive pay plan they still need to have the desire to work. Goofing off, or just lazy is a bad habit and just because they make more if they work more doesn’t mean it will fix the underlying issue.
I mean these guys hired me on to turn this place around and I see why now it was the way it was…
Why not discuss your expectations with them, let them know the production numbers you have personally been apart of and offer to help them get there. Ask how can we help you (the techs) be more productive? Maybe they will have some good ideas. Seek out training for them, commit to helping them, give them an opportunity to learn how it should be done, how to work hard and efficient. If they are receptive -GREAT encourage and praise them for it. If they buck the changes well…you know what needs to be done.
Set weekly goals, use a white board and post hours produced by each tech each week- publicly praise and reward Improvement- reward should be public in a staff meeting -hand out cash -or candy – or whatever they are always munching/sucking down throughout the day. Throw in a bonus for quality work or as we call it in our shop the OTT award (Over The Top) going above and beyond. Add a shop goal where the team benefits if it is reached (we have a sales goal and if we hit it I buy lunch the next Friday)
They key is getting them onboard and watching for improvement- gradual steps in the right direction.
My problem is I know I could let go of two of the three guys I have and replace them within two weeks with Certified Techs and turn the shop around.
Working through the process above will sort the wheat from the chaff and reveal who should stay and who should go. Maybe there is a “ring leader” that has a strong pull on everyone else, if you turn him or release him it may improve the bunch. I have a hard time just pulling the trigger without working through a process and knowing at the end of the day I gave them what they needed to succeed…but that’s just me.