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Service advisors per tech?


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I have been to many seminars and read countless articles about the "perfect number" of service advisor per tech. I know that a shop with not enough service personnel will hurt productivity. The waiting time for techs to get approvals is critical to the shop's bottom line. Plus, the effectiveness of how well a service advisor can sell is also critical.

 

I would like to know what other shop owners feel is a "perfect" number, or is there such a thing?

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I have 2 advisors for 6 techs and one foreman. Like you, I do jump in where needed. I also have a women in a separate office who takes care of the books and answers the phone. In a busy week we can write 200 plus cars. Answering the phone can be an issue too.

 

Right now in the winter, the service staff is adequate, but I don't think it will be adequate when we get into our busy season starting in March. I think I will test the waters and hire another person in service. Someone who can handle walk-ins, the phone, follow up on part orders, etc.

 

I don’t want my techs near a phone or getting involved with pricing or talking to customers. You are right, that’s old school. I still go to management seminars where they tell you that the service writer should have the tech talk to the customer. Are you kidding?

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We have 2 facilities on the same property, a total of 10 bays. One building has six bays. In this building we do all major repairs: engines, transmissions, diagnostic work, etc. In the new 4-bay facility we have 3 quick maintenance bays and an alignment bay. In the new building we do LOF's, state inspections, tires, brake work and all other maintenance work. We are large enough and can cater to most walk-ins.

 

One of the reasons for expanding was to increase car counts. My marketing strategy is a bit different than what we were taught years ago. We once concentrated on high ARO. I like to create opportunity through high car counts. I do track ARO, but want high traffic. If you want to build a business, you need to increase market share. One of the easiest ways to do that is to make your shop convenient for the consumer.

 

4 years ago, I scheduled my work by appointment only. I had the 6 bays at the time and we did about 80 cars per week. In 2007 we started a new program: "JUST SAY YES", where we tried to accommodate the customer on their time. We increase car counts to 120 per week and sales followed.

 

We jumped to 180-200 the very first week we opened the new building, largely in part due to this strategy.

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I guess it's a combination of things. We are open Mon thru Fri (8-5) and Sat till around 2. We have a great crew and worked really hard at refining our dispatching and workflow. We actually had teams of techs with a stop watch timing how long road tests took, lof's, brake work, state inspections, etc. We became very efficient without sacrificing quality.

 

Also, we give productivity incentives and offered overtime when available. And, of course, we set high goals with high standards.

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