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OVER PAYING HELP


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I just recently lost 2 techs and I'm in the process of looking to replace them. The problem is there is way more jobs then there is workers, and it is causing all the employers to pay outrageous hourly wages here. For example one of my employees daughter made  $16.00 an hour to watch cheese go by on a conveyer belt this past summer.  Now I have done some research with 3 other of my companies locations with in an hour away from me and its seems they are paying about $6.00 an hour less then where I need to be according to what my competition is paying here in town. 

Is there anybody else out there that is seeing this in other areas and how in the heck do I explain this to my main office?

 

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  1. I wish that was the case here.. It seems that in the automotive industry here there are far more "self proclaimed mechanics" which really hurt the good ones.. Also shops don't seem to care who they hire if you are able to utter the words I am a mechanic, you are hired.. sad state of affairs . Until regulation and laws are put into place here nothing is going to change. Yes you need a license to cut hair or do any other job, but mechanic the license is a simple phrase " I am a mechanic " .
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On 2017-04-14 at 7:56 PM, carolinahigear said:

If you charge top dollar for your work and parts then you can pay top dollar to your personnel!

 

Hi-Gear

At the risk of high-jacking this topic I'll comment on this. But employee pay and shop rates are definitely related.

As long as your customers are willing to pay top prices... in some towns/cities there are not enough of those customers to support a first class 'white glove' shop. I have seen first class shops fail because there weren't enough customers who wanted, or could afford, that level of service and pricing.

To charge top dollar you have to pay top dollar wages to provide that high quality of service. Any business who charges more than their competitors for same level of service will fail quite quickly. Supply and demand again.

Like everything else shop prices are controlled by supply and demand. For a business to succeed there has to be an unmet need. If there is nothing but low cost shops who have lots of unhappy customers there might be room for a shop offering higher level of service at a higher price. The key indicator is "unhappy" customers. If customers are happy they won't be motivated to pay more... Also, there needs to enough of those motivated, unhappy customers to support a shop. Check out the online reviews of your competitors. You can gain a great deal of insight into what they are doing well, and more importantly what they are doing poorly. Most areas don't need another shop. They need a shop that will provide what the customer wants, and are not finding...

In some local economies people simply don't have the income to afford auto repair. In many cases at any price (think back to 2008). Food and shelter are first priority so it is unfair to criticize people who find themselves without. I always cringe when I hear business owners calling their customers cheap. "Cheap" is when you have the money, but won't spend it to better yourself. I have met lots of shop owners who are "cheap"... ;-)

A good book to help understand employee needs and motivation is "Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow" by Chip Conley. Also very good for understanding customers!

Second, there has always been "back yard" mechanics. Just a fact of life if local bylaws don't restrict it. Similar to lack of technician licensing requirements. Often the root cause of backyard mechanics are shops who don't, or can't, pay their techs enough. Techs realize they can make more working in their driveway... sometimes it is out of necessity to supplement their income. Remember family comes first and if your employees feel insecure or aren't making enough they WILL leave or look for another source of income. Can also lead to employee theft. And techs who are working 18 hours a day (a full day at your shop plus working at home) can't perform well at your shop when they are exhausted...

Often shop owner's are not aware of what the current market prices are for both their shop rates and employee pay. If you are too busy working on cars and not managing your business your sharp competitors will always have the edge over you...

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On 4/14/2017 at 7:20 PM, skm said:
  1. I wish that was the case here.. It seems that in the automotive industry here there are far more "self proclaimed mechanics" which really hurt the good ones.. Also shops don't seem to care who they hire if you are able to utter the words I am a mechanic, you are hired.. sad state of affairs . Until regulation and laws are put into place here nothing is going to change. Yes you need a license to cut hair or do any other job, but mechanic the license is a simple phrase " I am a mechanic " .

I've been telling people this for years. It's stunning the number of jobs that require proper training and a test to get certification to do the job. It's really crazy that working on cars for a living isn't one of them. Unskilled people masquerading as qualified technicians devalues the worth of what real technicians do.

That being said, it's a double edge sword. Inviting the government to come in and decide who can do the job an who can't leads to stupidity like the Cosmetology board inspections to make sure a spray bottle with water in it has a label that says "Water". There are very few things in life that the government can't make worse, and charge us a wheelbarrow full of money for the privilege.

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It is up to us to police our industry. Most frightening words in the world? "I'm from the government and I am here to help".  We  should have regular training, a defined career path, apprenticeship programs, etc to build technicians. A lot of owners simply wait until they need, say an A tech, then are surprised when they are hard to find.

 

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17 minutes ago, Shopcat said:

It is up to us to police our industry. Most frightening words in the world? "I'm from the government and I am here to help".  We  should have regular training, a defined career path, apprenticeship programs, etc to build technicians. A lot of owners simply wait until they need, say an A tech, then are surprised when they are hard to find.

 

I completely agree. The thing that seems to be most damaging to this plan is the number of people who can't (or most likely don't want to) see the value difference between a qualified tech and a guy who can barely speak the words "I'm a mechanic". 

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The only people who will be affected by regulation will be the shops. The back yard guys and street guys won't be bothered by the state. What you charge and what you pay depends on local market. You also need the right customers. You don't want the bottom feeders looking for the cheapest repair.   Provide quality work done right and have no come backs. Shop owners and techs should study everyday to gain more knowledge. A happy customer will tell two people an unhappy customer will tell ten. Charge what you are worth and pay your tech his worth.

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On ‎4‎/‎16‎/‎2017 at 1:27 PM, RobMax said:

As long as your customers are willing to pay top prices... in some towns/cities there are not enough of those customers to support a first class 'white glove' shop. I have seen first class shops fail because there weren't enough customers who wanted, or could afford, that level of service and pricing.

This is one of my biggest problems here they all want top end money but don't want to have to pay top end price. I have lived in many towns in my life and I have never seen an area as cheap as this one.

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  • 1 year later...

I'm just curious but I'd like to know how others are finding mechanics to hire? What types of media or job advertising? Online versus print? Schools, etc...?

I'm located in Montgomery County, PA and we're having the most difficult time finding qualified help. We ask our tool guys, sales reps, etc and advertise on online job boards - but we find the pickins are slim.

It's not a money issue; we're willing to pay top dollar for those that are worth it, we just can find any that are even close. We have a fairly full crew but we have room for 1 more and finding this last piece to the puzzle has been proving to be exhausting.

We either find those without much experience or those that have plenty of experience but set in their ways & unwilling to learn new ways... Any ideas that might prove helpful would be much appreciated..! Thanks!

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My daughters boyfriend works at a factory. He lifted over 150,000 lbs during his last shift. $21/HR no stress no brain needed except to lift fast and consistent and sweat for 8 hours. I'm ready to buff myself out and work there. 

I pay my help very good, overpay maybe. They get tons of time off and flexibility. Some people think I'm nuts but I don't want my tech to quit to go work at a plant somewhere where he's not worried about comebacks. 

Edited by alfredauto
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Well in fairness, I should say our pay is "commensurate with experience". If a guy is asking for let's say $27/hour and the skills and experience he has are worth it, we'll pay it. I guess it just depends on what the candidate is bringing to the table, however we're open to at least considering any salary a candidate is looking for. Honestly we just can't seem to find anyone qualified. The ones that do apply have less experience, licenses, etc than we want, and the qualified ones that have come through seem to be looking for "managerial" type positions. They clearly want something different than we want. We can't seem to find the person in the middle.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I put the word out to the tool truck drivers and parts reps and anyone who matters that I pay my techs the highest rate in town. I have no way to exactly verify that, but I do pay a high rate. The labor rate you charge is mostly in your own head, not your customers. There are ways to charge more, but that is another discussion. In my opinion, you have to pay a high pay rate to be successful long term, both to attract and retain good employees. Then charge accordingly to hit the numbers you need.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         0 comments
      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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