Where do you find master techs?

Jason Volny

Techs are a pain point in a lot of dealerships. What are you doing to acquire and retain higher-level technicians?

Joe Henry

Jason, in an unemployment environment of 3%, there is NO such thing as an unemployed Technician (especially Master Techs), ONLY UNDER EMPLOYED TECHNICIANS. That means simply, if you are offering the same pay, career growth and conditions that they currently have, why would they apply to yours?

To acquire Techs, your dealership opportunity must be Steller these days. Here are some examples of what dealers are offering:

  • -Up To $XXXXX sign-on/relocation - This is the most aggressive tool to get Techs to at least respond. Some aggressive employers where the shop has so much work, or the shop’s Techs are being picked off by Boeing, Exxon, fracking and mining companies, shops have to pay as much as $30,000 sign-on/relocation/longevity bonuses. That is not a misprint, up to $30k, but spread over 3 to 5 years. 
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  • -Some dealers are paying 1.5 to 2 times whatever warranty pays
  • -Up To $XX Per Flat-Rate Hour - In high cost of living or very completive parts of the country, some shops are paying Techs up to $30 to $50 a flat-rate hour. If your shop is paying an extraordinary flat-rate amount, then include it in your ads.
  • Temporary Housing - Excellent tool for re-locators.
  • -Talk to Our Techs in our shop - A prospective Tech will always feel better if he can find out from a “Bro” how your shop operates.
  • -5-day work week and NO weekends - If this is possible, include in your ad.
  • -Customized career path - So important
  • -Minimum Weekly Hours Guarantee ,  if possible.
  • -40 Hour Guarantee with production bonus - For recruiting less experienced Techs.
  • -State-of-the-art shop - If you have one.
  • Heated and A/C shop
  • -Weekly/Monthly cash spiffs
  • An Owner who cares about his/her Technicians
  • Service Advisors who KNOW how to sell, and with honesty and integrity
  • -Our upper level Techs make $XXXXX per year
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Joe Henry

So to retain, here is what I did when I was a Fixed Ops Manager - 

Take the Techs total hours turned in a quarter, set aside an additional $X per hour they have turned that quarter. Repeat each quarter. After 1 year and 1 additional quarter, the Tech is eligible for his FIRST quarter bonus. Each quarter after the Tech gets the next quarter. However, Tech leaves …. wamp wamp, forfeits the bonus. I can tell you from experience, when a Tech gave me the notice and I reminded them of leaving $5k+ on the table, that flipped them faster than a Pro Wrestler in WWE.

Example using assumptions: Let’s say Tech turns 48 flat rate hours every week, we will use $2.25 per hour retention bonus, 52 weeks a year = 13 weeks in a quarter year, $2.25 x 48 hours = $108 each week, x 13 weeks (amount of weeks in a quarter) = $1,404 per quarter. After a year, if they leave, bye bye to $5,616 Bonus Money!!!!

Bart Wilson

Another question here would be how do you retain technicians?  It's a competitive market out there.

Joe Henry

Bart, see above - Joe

Jason Volny

Great feedback Joe, thanks for taking the time. I like the retention bonus. It should definitely keep some techs. I think what Bart is asking is how else can we retain technicians if they are not driven by money? According to Herzberg's two-factor theory of motivation, money alone does not motivate people. What are we doing at our stores today to push people out? What else should we be doing to keep our people? 

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