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Best Auto Shop Training Program


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Hello everyone 

 

I am looking to open up my new shop within 3 months and honestly feel a little in over my head, I’ve spent days reading on here and while it’s awesome I feel I need something more formal. The main 2 things I’ve found has been the RLO training course or the Ron Ipach fast lane training program. Has anyone one taken either of these courses or have a different one to recommend? 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Great Tire Deal

I suspect there is no less than 100 different automotive service coaching organizations in existence today. Only a handful are referenced in the following information. You will probably have more than one during your time in this industry. A good start to learn specific information would be any industry or trade groups in your area. This link may help with that:

https://www.automotivemanagementnetwork.com/automotive-service-association/

 

Below are a couple resources designed to help you make a good decision when it comes to hiring a "good fit", that may be helpful:

https://www.ratchetandwrench.com/articles/3211-coach

 

 

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Just realized this was about business coaching and not shop training.  I'll leave it but have nothing to add about business coaching that hasn't already been mentioned.

The most underutilized and underrated service to training while working is Identifix.

Identifix is often used as a short cut method and when used improperly... it will lead to technicians starting to get lazy and develop bad habits.  However, a few years back we adapted our Identifix strategy and instead of relying on short cuts, we rely on them to educate us in matters we don't know much about.  

The shop logic we have adapted here is:

  1. Everyone gets a certain amount of time to try and figure a problem out
  2. Within that time frame, certain basics are expected to have been completed.  Things like - full code scans, freeze frame data evaluation when available, bulletin search for customer concern, and some form of basic diagnosis based on the repair information the code indicates.
  3. If no luck, we open up an Identifix ticket, we get 2 free per month... but in addition to that, we pay $37 for each additional call.  Those $37 pay for themselves in gold and while we use them as necessary... we use them A LOT less as we interview the Identifix "fixer" a lot better than we ever did in the past.
  4. When we open the ticket, we relay all of our information to the Identifix Hotline.  When their expert calls back, he will have usually taken a few minutes to understand where we are in our diagnosis and when he gives us information... it's either to correct us in a wrong path... or to have us continue down that path to further examine data and variables.
  5. The most important question we ALWAYS ASK to the hotline is "WHY?".  Why are you having us do "X"?  They will usually have a great explanation based on their years of specific vehicle experience that will help us better understand the vehicle logic we are dealing with.  
  6. We document EVERYTHING in our shop management system, including all communication back and forth with the Hotline

In 50% of the instances we actually uncover and determine root causes on our own, after Identifix helped us understand the logic we were dealing with through their experience.

What has this done for us?

Problems vehicles that would take weeks to determine root causes, have been greatly reduced to a couple days in over 80% of the scenarios we encounter now.  We still occasionally hit roadblocks and when we do, we follow the same process forward.  It still works great, but we have a major headache and it takes time to resolve them.  We accurately track all of our time through our SMS and we bill accurately for diagnosis and have a really solid rate of resolving problems well over 95% of the time now.

We are also fortunate enough to have a local vendor host learning classes each Spring & Fall in a variety of topics.  To say that these two combined strategies have improved our business, reduced headaches and expanded profitability... isn't an understatement.  It's how things work for us now and we couldn't be happier that we changed out mentality from shortcut to education opportunity.

We have no relationship with Identifix other than paying for their service like everyone else.  This is a completely unbiased post on how we maximize our use of Identifix.  To put their service in perspective... we even acquired a dash harness from a 2014 Silverado with some modules... and had them help us get it working on a bench.

 

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This is truly great advice!!! Thank You for sharing. We have wasted our free calls for far to long, which means we have wasted hundreds of training opportunities. We are introducing a new practice in our store where we will be using our free calls every month and encourging techs and service writers to use the paid service whenever they feel it prudent. $37 is incredibly cheap for technical assistance. 

Thank you for the insight.

This should be a post under it's own heading. 

Randy

 

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37 minutes ago, rpllib said:

This is truly great advice!!! Thank You for sharing. We have wasted our free calls for far to long, which means we have wasted hundreds of training opportunities. We are introducing a new practice in our store where we will be using our free calls every month and encourging techs and service writers to use the paid service whenever they feel it prudent. $37 is incredibly cheap for technical assistance. 

Thank you for the insight.

This should be a post under it's own heading. 

Randy

 

When we started to think about how we would handle this... we came up with this...

For $37, you get an OE level tech that you can ask a bunch of questions to.  If you spend 1 hour chasing your tail, at $100 an hour, you've now wasted 61% of the customers money and 100% of your time.  We spend the time documenting everything and relying on the experts to guide us.  It also gives us a couple of hours to work on other things while we are waiting for a call back.  Sometimes that break of walking away from a vehicle and clearing your head, will also lead to better thoughts on how to tackle the problem.

It's truly been one of the best moves we've made as a business. When we call them now,half of the time it's to confirm our diagnosis and thought process and the other half is really hard things that we have little experience with.  As an ADAS shop, we're running into the hard things as the learning curve has been steep.

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  • 2 months later...

This is still great advice. I am not planning on telling my techs that we have discovered that we get zero free calls a month. 

Can you tell me what program you are affiliated with that gets you 2 free calls and $37 after that. We are at 155 a month, no free calls and 39 per call. 

Thank You

Randy

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57 minutes ago, rpllib said:

This is still great advice. I am not planning on telling my techs that we have discovered that we get zero free calls a month. 

Can you tell me what program you are affiliated with that gets you 2 free calls and $37 after that. We are at 155 a month, no free calls and 39 per call. 

Thank You

Randy

There are several shop programs that offer some hidden benefits with Identifix.

 

AC Delco PSC and Motorcraft PSN are the two that immediately come to mind.

 

 

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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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