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Are you guys charging your techs for parts they break? In the past we have never made our techs pay for something they broke, the shop did and talked to the tech about what they need to do to prevent this in the future. It's getting old though. 2 weeks ago one young tech back a mirror into a pole so we bought a new mirror. This week, a different tech while removing a fuel tank, didn't discount the fuel lines on top first and ended up dropping the tank too fast and broke the fuel sending unit. On this truck that is a $300+ part that we are now eating on a $500 ticket. I want to tell the tech he is responsible, and will have to pay the shop back for the part. What say you? 

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That would destroy morale at your shop IMO.

Hold the techs responsible with reprimand in private, give them first a verbal write-up and let them know that if it happens a few more times they would be formally written up then possibly terminated.

There are consequences to your actions, even if it is a mistake, but hitting your techs with deductions to their pay should not be one of them.

Damages like this are a cost of doing business unfortunately. Things will sometimes get damaged. Check with your accountant, there might be a tax loss provision you could claim on something like this as well.

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I agree with bstewart, unfortunate cost of doing business. Everyone makes a mistake occasionally hence erasers on pencils. Most people learn from their mistakes but some do not. If a tech is constantly making mistakes that is a sign of being careless. I would then be worried about the mistakes that go under the radar and are not noticed, sooner or later they will surface. I don’t know if requiring payment for something like this is legal so I would investigate that further if you choose to go that route. Documenting the mistakes, private meetings with the employee with eventual termination for chronic offenders would be my route.

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Mistakes happen. Small, sub-$200 stuff, I'll eat if it's a once every few months kind of deal. I tell my techs when I hire them - If they damage a customers car, or break something due to their negligence  - first time, it's on me. 2nd time, it's on you. If there's a 3rd time, you won't be here.

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First off, you would need to check with a lawyer to find out if you could even do that.  Second, its a cost of doing business.  Your technicians should not be breaking parts to the point its seriously costing you money.  Stuff happens but when it's consistently happening, there's a training issue at hand.  I have to agree with bstewart, your techs need to be reprimanded.  If they continue to break things, eventually you will have to let them go.  Don't put up with carelessness but also don't jump to conclusions.  Handle the situation with a calm and level headed demeanor.  Protect your business and yourself.

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1 hour ago, ATSAutomotive said:

First off, you would need to check with a lawyer to find out if you could even do that.  Second, its a cost of doing business.  Your technicians should not be breaking parts to the point its seriously costing you money.  Stuff happens but when it's consistently happening, there's a training issue at hand.  I have to agree with bstewart, your techs need to be reprimanded.  If they continue to break things, eventually you will have to let them go.  Don't put up with carelessness but also don't jump to conclusions.  Handle the situation with a calm and level headed demeanor.  Protect your business and yourself.

that's what I've always done. Just wanted to hear from others

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  • 1 month later...

I watched this happen to a fellow tech before I was an owner. We were working at a good year shop. This technician leaned a wheel against the building. The wheel then fell over (on its face) when he turned around. Of course this was an expensive aftermarket wheel. It scratched the finish, and the customer demanded a new wheel. The manager pulled the tech aside to talk with him. I later found out that they made him pay for this wheel (couple hundred dollars) and were docking his paycheck for it. I was furious. The tech was kind of a push over, and didn’t want to make waves so agreed to pay for it. I remember telling him : if we are taking all the risk, then we should be getting all of the reward. It gave me a bad attitude, and I wasn’t even the one taking the hit. As an owner, it is very frustrating watching $ go up in smoke for careless mistakes, but as long as I see some remorse from the technician, I try to shake it off and make money on the next one.


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I agree with pretty much everyone here it’s the cost of doing business but if it’s a daily thing guys need to be let go. Another thing to remember is your techs are the most important part of your business, you start docking guys pay they will find another way to get it back, I.e. charging your customers for things they don’t need and not doing them, just my thoughts here in a shop owner now but never left my flat rate dealership mindset 

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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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