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Got your attention? Good. The truth is, there is no such thing as the perfect technician pay plan. There are countless ways to create any pay plan. I’ve heard all the claims and opinions, and to be honest, it’s getting a little frustrating. Claims that an hourly paid pay plan cannot motivate. That flat rate is the only way to truly get the most production from your technicians. And then there’s the hybrid performance-based pay plan that many claim is the best.
At a recent industry event, a shop owner from the Midwest boasted about his flat-rate techs and insisted that this pay plan should be adopted by all shops across the country. When I informed him that in states like New York, you cannot pay flat-rate, he was shocked. “Then how do you motivate your techs” he asked me.
I remember the day in 1986 when I hired the best technician who ever worked for me in my 41 years as an automotive shop owner. We’ll call him Hal. When Hal reviewed my pay plan for him, and the incentive bonus document, he stared at it for a minute, looked up, and said, “Joe, this looks good, but here’s what I want.” He then wrote on top of the document the weekly salary he wanted. It was a BIG number. He went on to say, “Joe, I need to take home a certain amount of money. I have a home, a wife, two kids, and my Harly Davidson. I will work hard and produce for you. I don’t need an incentive bonus to do my work.” And he did, for the next 30 years, until the day he retired.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. So, here’s mine. Money is a motivator, but not the only motivator, and not the best motivator either. We have all heard this scenario, “She quit ABC Auto Center, to get a job at XYZ Auto Repair, and she’s making less money now at XYZ!” We all know that people don’t leave companies, they leave the people they work for or work with.
With all this said, I do believe that an incentive-based pay plan can work. However, I also believe that a technician must be paid a very good base wage that is commensurate with their ability, experience, and certifications. I also believe that in addition to money, there needs to be a great benefits package. But the icing on the cake in any pay plan is the culture, mission, and vision of the company, which takes strong leadership. And let’s not forget that motivation also comes from praise, recognition, respect, and when technicians know that their work matters.
Rather than looking for that elusive perfect pay plan, sit down with your technician. Find out what motivates them. What their goals are. Why do they get out of bed in the morning? When you tie their goals with your goals, you will have one powerful pay plan.
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Coach Chris Cotton from Auto Fix Auto Shop Coaching introduces "The Weekly Blitz," a podcast focused on enhancing auto repair business knowledge and providing practical strategies for success. Coach Chris emphasizes the significance of apprenticeships in the auto repair industry, expressing frustration with shop owners complaining about the technician shortage without implementing apprenticeship programs.
The benefits of apprenticeships are discussed, including bridging the skills gap, ensuring a sustained talent pipeline, reducing turnover, and providing cost-effective training. Coach Chris advises establishing a successful apprenticeship program, such as having a structured curriculum and pairing apprentices with experienced mentors. The episode concludes with a call to action for shop owners to invest in apprenticeships and support the industry's growth.
Apprenticeships [00:01:10] Importance of apprenticeship programs for auto repair shop owners and the need for a sustained pipeline of talent.
Bridging the Skills Gap [00:02:19] The need for technicians to possess new skills due to advancements in technology and the role of apprenticeships in acquiring these skills.
Key Elements of a Successful Apprenticeship Program [00:04:38] Structured curriculum, mentoring, regular evaluation, and incorporation of soft skills in apprenticeship programs.
Connect with Chris:
#autofixautoshopcoaching #autofixbeautofixing #autoshopprofits #autoshopprofit #autoshopprofitsfirst #autoshopleadership #autoshopmanagement #autorepairshopcoaching #autorepairshopconsulting #autorepairshoptraining #autorepairshop #autorepair #autoops #onlinebooking #serviceadvisor #serviceadvisorefficiency #autorepairshopmarketing #theweeklyblitz
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Our panel discusses the benefits of "Today's Class" software, a key training tool for technicians and service advisors in the automotive industry. David Boyes, President of "Today's Class" explains that Today's Class uses adaptive learning technology to make training sessions accessible and tailored to the strengths and weaknesses of each team member. The episode highlights the importance of continuous training and its impact on team building and knowledge retention in the industry.
David Boyes, President of ‘Today’s Class" An online learning organization that has been supporting the automotive industry for more than 20 years. Rich Young, Charlie & Rays, Essex, MD Weston and Tenise Chapman, Black Hills Tire, Rapid City, SD Matt Fanslow, lead diagnostician and shop manager, Riverside Automotive, Red Wing, MN. Matt’s previous episodes HERE Matt Fanslow Podcast: Diagnosing the Aftermarket A to Z
The concept of training resume (00:01:00) Discussion on the importance of recording training attendance and assessments for technicians and shop owners. Leveraging technology for adaptive learning (00:03:42) Explanation of how adaptive learning technology is used to deliver training sessions that adjust to the strengths and weaknesses of the team. Impact of daily learning sessions and quizzes (00:06:11) Testimonials about how the daily learning sessions and quizzes have improved communication and knowledge retention among technicians. Training and Team Building (00:08:11) Discussion on the importance of training and how it leads to team building and improved knowledge levels in the shop. Motivation and Engagement (00:09:38) Exploration of how the use of technology and gamification techniques can motivate technicians and service advisors to engage in training. Adaptive Learning Engine (00:12:24) Explanation of the adaptive engine used in the training platform, which assesses individual knowledge levels and focuses on areas of weakness for personalized learning. The importance of training and knowledge reinforcement (00:16:07) Discussion on the training system that includes content, tasks, and observations, and how it helps reinforce knowledge over time. Using Today's Class for technician training (00:16:44) Examples of technicians at different levels using Today's Class for training, with a focus on electrical repairs. Benefits and challenges of implementing Today's Class (00:18:04) Discussion on the reactions and experiences of employees when implementing Today's Class in an automotive shop. The importance of grooming and teaching youth in the industry (00:24:23) Discussion on the need to bring in and develop young talent in the automotive industry. The need for effective systems to train and progress technicians (00:24:38) Exploration of the lack of good systems to take technicians from a low level to mastery, and the importance of continuous improvement. The challenge of retention rate in traditional training methods (00:26:13) Discussion on the low retention rate in conventional training methods and the potential of using technology to reinforce learning and improve retention. Training as a Tool (00:32:13) Discussion on the use of training as a tool for employee development and the challenges of getting technicians to engage in training. Recruiting Younger Technicians (00:36:45) The potential of Today's Class as a tool to attract younger technicians to the automotive industry and showcase the industry's commitment to training. Training for service writers (00:41:26) The shop owner highlights the unexpected benefits of Today's Class app in training service writers and improving their automotive knowledge and people skills.
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By Joe Marconi
By Joe Marconi
While at the Ratchet and Wrench Management Conference, I was able to review most of the management software packages available. I have a few observations to share that might be helpful. Each software package has its own pluses and minuses, but, I see some high-level commonalities amongst them.
At a high level, you can separate software packages into two groups based on age. The longer a software package has been available, the more likely that many of its features are highly refined and give you the most controls. The disadvantage of an older software package is that they are too busy keeping their customer base happy with fixes and minor features that they don't have time to take the leap of innovation (e.g. DVI). If the platform is really old and/or they are not charging enough money monthly to have the revenue to hire a good team, they may not be able to completely rewrite their software to utilize newer technology features. For these software packages, you are forced to change vendors to adopt new the new features. On the other hand, if the software package is new, they go straight for the snazzy features and also, try to fix the perceived problems of the legacy software packages. They excel in the basics, but lack the depth of feature functionality that only time brings. Mind you, both types of companies are trying to reach feature parity. New companies need to flush out features, adding complexity and older companies are working to build the snazzy features. Both of these take time.
For the record, I'm using Protractor. I can tell you all of the good and bad of this package. I used my in-depth knowledge of this program to compare it to the newer packages. In other forums, the two main contenders for new appear to be:
TekMetric ShopWare Other New: Shop Monkey AutoLeap Older More Mature Systems: Protractor Mitchell (I didn't look at this one) NapaTracs (I didn't look at this one) Many others not at this show I liked the snazzy new features that I saw in each new package, but quickly recognized that in my daily use, I'm using certain mature features that are not present in the new packages.
Another observation is that each software package somewhat enforces a workflow methodology. You can choose to fight their internal structures (and lose), or go with their model. I noticed a few idiosyncrasies, but, they are all trending towards a seemingly similar workflow. This requires scrutiny when selecting a software package. The new guys are often pushing their "better way" as a solution to the problems of old. For instance, ShopWare had a unique approach to canned jobs that deserves investigation that I didn't notice in other packages.
So, when shopping, make note of the real features that you must have. Don't be fooled by the shiny new outer skin. Balance it with your real needs.
I do see that some of these new contenders are investing much money into development of new features, so over time, they will likely build the feature that you need today. As well, some mature packages are investing in the future.
I will say this loudly. Your software vendor must be charging you healthy monthly fees to have the money necessary to continue to innovate. If you gravitate to the lowest price, features could take longer or never come. Just like us, we must first survive before we can do good work and be able to pay the bills.