Pay Them

Can I get an amen that it’s hard to find good technicians? Heck, can I get an amen that’s it hard to find technicians period?

I’m going to be more specific. How about used car technicians? Tough gig isn’t it?

Regardless of how you slice it and dice it there are only about 3 models to pick from when you think about how to get used vehicles through the mechanical shop.

1. Goes thru your regular shop, assign vehicles to technicians in the same rotation as a retail customer. Everybody in the shop works on your used vehicles. Works well for the shop, not so well for the used car department.

2. A separate used vehicle shop. Works much better for the used car department, but there can be issues with keeping the technicians busy when there is any kind of slow down with incoming used vehicle inventory. And, very difficult to do due to space restraints.

3. Within your regular shop you have separate used vehicle technicians that only work on used and a used vehicle service writer who coordinates their activity. Of the three choices, given the issue of facilities and staffing this is the one that has the most potential to create efficiency and harmony.

The major problem when service managers think about having someone dedicated to working on used is they don’t want to pay them what they are worth.

There are many reasons for this and one of them of course is the service manager doesn’t want to upset the top “franchise” technicians in the shop by paying the used vehicle technicians at the top level.

And even more to the point, they have been taught very well that they must keep their cost of sale in line in order to make a profit and for their numbers to look good to upper management.

The reality is a good used vehicle technician needs to be one of the highest paid technicians in your shop. A good used vehicle technician’s skill level has to be equal or greater than whoever your top dog might be. And, you need to pay them as such.

So, if you’re mentally fighting with the cost of sale thing, let me suggest that you can keep your cost of sale in line for service and let the used vehicle department participate in some of the additional compensation required to get and maintain top level used vehicle technicians.

It might be an incentive that’s paid based on some formula that in the end compensates the used vehicle technician for what they are really worth, not for what the shop thinks it can afford.

Paying more is not always the answer. But, paying people what they are worth is far better and a lot more productive than paying them what the shop thinks it can afford.

If you can improve your speed and efficiency it’s money well spent. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs