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I have a technician that I hired about 10 months ago. He came with 8 years experience from a Mazda dealer and some quick lube experience. We knew there would be a transition from going to a dealer with one make to our independent shop. He was hired with the understanding he would diagnose, repair and also do state inspections. I'm finding after 10 months that he is still lacking on the diagnosis side and sometimes even repair especially if he runs into something difficult. He is currently being paid $16 per hour on a 40 hour week and then $10 a flag hour. My lead tech is leaving in March and my dilemma is this tech will be lost with my lead. It took him 2 hours to diagnose a overheating issue which ended up being a cracked radiator and then the following day 3 hours to diagnose an ac issue. My question is should I cut him now, or change his pay. I feel like I'm not getting the bang for the buck.

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I wouldn't cut him loose just yet. If he isn't breaking anything, keep him on board while you look for a replacement. In the mean time, I'd start to transition him toward full flagging. Cut a $1 per hour guarantee and add it to his flagging rate every 2-4 weeks. In the meantime, I'd be looking hard for another tech. 2 hours to diagnose a cracked radiator is clear sign he needs to go or step up his game. Moving more toward flag pay may help increase his output, but I don't think it will help that much. It will at least limit your expense on him.

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His hours really depend on if my lead is doing all the diagnosing. If he isn't diagnosing he averages about 30 hours per week.

Tell him he gets what he can diagnose, cause that's how it's gonna be when your other guy leaves

 

*BTW, my technician trainee that has no ASE certs and only about 2 years of mechanical experience can flag about 30 hours a week, and that's probably letting him diagnose a car once a week for experience

Edited by mmotley
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Your running a business and your techs will leave you for a better deal elsewhere, its human nature. It is OK for you to continually strive for a better deal yourself. Always search or advertise for technicians, you may find a better tech or deal and it is in your interest to take it. I have been burned with the "today is my last day boss" too many times to be unprepared. Now I have applications that are constantly refreshed and ready to hire. When I get an application and I don't have an open postion I interveiw the applicant and then notify them 3 days later the position is currently filled but I will contact him at the next opening. This works well and I can handle any unexpected departures. Also, strive to move your techs into a production pay plan. You know you have too much "salary" built into your pay plan when you feel your techs; produce 30-35 hours, don't buy tools, show up right at start time, don't clean a dirty bay or stay to finish a job, have weak diagnostic skills, and worst of all don't train.

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Hire attitude and Train skills. I look over all cars that were checked in and see many issues upon writing up the car. I would have pointed out the leaking radiator to even my lead tech. I research each car for tsb's and recall's . I look on Identifix and use a tech hotline if search for an answer is a struggle. All things being equal we paid good people wage that they could not refuse. If a person has a good heart , asks questions and is not tearing up things it's cheaper to keep them.

Edited by FROGFINDER
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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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