In Search of a Good Technician
Is this you? Mitch from Premiere Auto needed a tech – a great one and NOW! He posted the job opening on all the usual sites. He hoped to be inundated with resumes…but he’s not. Plus the resumes he’s getting aren’t what his shop needs. Tomorrow’s shop schedule is already stacked up and the last thing he wants to do is turn business away. And he sure doesn’t want to go back to turning wrenches, but he may have to. Mitch is in a no-win situation. But is he? The problem may not be hiring another tech.
Do You Really Need Another Technician?
In some shops, the solution will turn out to be getting more production out of the technicians you already have. In other shops the problem can be too many people on board. There is a guideline you can use to sort this out. Take your gross sales (minus sales tax) and divide by the number of production people you have. The resulting figure should be at least $25,000 per production person per month. Most shops should be in the $22,500-$27,000 range. If you are a specialist, your numbers should be in the $30,000-plus range. If your number is a lot lower, you’re not getting enough production out of the techs you already have.
All too often, an owner’s solution to low production is to hire more people. However, if the shop is not properly organized for production, more employees will only add to the confusion and adversely affect your income.
You Really Do Need Some Techs!
But sometimes you really do need additional help or a replacement. While you may have had some frustrating “adventures” trying to find a new technician, rest assured that there are good employees out there. You just have to maintain a good attitude and persist in your search. If you believe that “there are no good techs”, or “nobody wants to work,” you probably will prove yourself right and you won’t find anyone! So that is the first step; decide that it is possible to find someone. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready for the next step.
Get the Word Out
One of the most productive ways to find your next team member is to tell people you interact with every day – Word-of-Mouth. They’re in the industry and in your community – so don’t be shy! Tell everyone that you are hiring. Here’s a breakdown:
Tell them what you need and want in a tech; give out your business card. Keep mentioning it to them WEEKLY.
Talk to the salesperson you deal with, and even the parts delivery people that go into most of the shops in your area. Again, give them a business card or two that they can pass on to prospects. Some parts houses have a bulletin board on which you can post a small ad.
This is probably the most ignored resource available to you, your loyal customer base. Put up signs in your sales and waiting areas. If your zoning codes allow it, put a similar message on your marquee or on a signboard in front of the shop. Your customers might have a friend, a relative or a neighbor who is a technician looking for a job.
Local Trade Association
Many local trade association chapters actively help members find technicians. They place ads online (paid for with membership fees), they contact tech schools, interview applicants and sometimes will even build a pool of prospects and resumes that their members can utilize. Usually, the pool includes people with all levels of skill and experience.
Churches and Synagogues
Talk to your minister, your priest or your rabbi. Let him know you want someone to join your family of employees. Give him a business card and run an ad in their Bulletin.
Local Business People
Spread the word via everyone you do business within town, from the person you see every week at the grocery store, to the business right next to yours. Give them all business cards and let them know what you need and want.
Contact the local Vo-Tech or call one of the teachers and ask for the names of the best graduating students. You might even end up hiring one of the teachers!
Military Placement Agencies
A local military base will sometimes have a placement service for people leaving the service. Call and see if they have one of these offices. If so, send them a description of what you need and want in an employee. People with motor-pool experience and military discipline usually make good employees.
By now you’ve got the idea that you cannot ignore any possible avenue of communication for your search. The more you tell people what you need and want, the better your chances are that you will find what you need and want.
It’s important to investigate all avenues of outreach you have available. So don’t leave it to only word-of-mouth. At the same time it’s also important to get the word out online. This includes not just job posting sites but also your own social media network accounts. So go ahead and post on the big job posting sites, but be sure to post your hiring needs on Facebook and other social media accounts you have for your business.
The Most Important Part of Your Search – WHAT YOUR AD SAYS!
Your ads should be worded so that they will attract people with good attitudes and some experience. It is better to hire someone with less experience who wants to be part of the team and is willing to work than to hire some “Super-Tech” with a giant chip on his or her shoulder. An employee with a bad attitude will affect everyone’s production and drive you crazy.
Your positive attitude can create a good, secure atmosphere that will attract and keep good employees. On the other hand, a negative disposition can repel the best employees. Good people don’t want to work for a grouch, and sane people don’t want to work in a chaotic, insane environment.
Sloppily run, unprofessional shops that have no systems or policies in place will attract non-productive, unmotivated technicians who cost you more money than they make for your business. On the bright side, a tightly run, efficient shop in which everyone is making decent money, will attract good technician prospects.
The bottom line is that despite any difficulties you might encounter in the adventure of finding technicians, over 80% of the people out there are decent and willing to help you achieve your goals. Positively decide you are going to find the right one of them for your team. And good luck with the hunt!
“Recruiting is very complicated now. Especially based on how scarce the qualified Techs are.
I can show shop owners how to find Master Techs, but it’s a combination of strategies. We can no longer put all of our eggs into one basket. But if a shop owner knows the techniques that will show results, they will soon become a Master of Recruiting.”
– Jim Smith, Senior Shop Consultant DRIVE
Published in SHOP OWNER Magazine