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The Things Kids Say - - - As an adult, it's probably not a good thing to say something in front of our kids.... unless we want it repeated to strangers.


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The Things Kids say


Mrs. Turner came up to the service counter with her young son in tow. Her car has been having some idling issues for quite some time. She's a regular customer, and it's not unusual for her husband to try a few things first, but eventually the car ends up at the repair shop to get it taken care of. The boy hopped up on one of the bar stools with a small toy car in hand. He ran his little car up and down the counter, while his mom and I discussed the car.


"My husband tried a few things, but he wasn't having much luck with it," Mrs. Turner went on, "He's very handy around the house you know, but there are times he just needs to step aside and let the professionals take over."


The young boy looks up from his little car with a little quirky look on his face and says to his mommy, "Daddy doesn't like mechanics." The embarrassed mother still blushing and extremely apologetic, looks down at her son and says, "Oh he doesn't mean that son. He meant he thought he could fix it instead of taking it to the mechanic."


"Ah uh, Mommy, he was pretty mad when you told him you were taking the car," the toddler tells his mom.


She turns to me and lays the keys on the counter, "Call me when you have some answers." Mrs. Turner put a firm grip on her young son's hand and led him out the door. As they were almost out of the front door the little boy said to his mom, "But Mommy, daddy said mechanics are dumb, and they don't know how to fix it. Daddy said he could fix it, Mommy."


I can just imagine the conversation on the way home. I'll bet Mrs. Turner was not a very happy camper, and I'm sure the boy was getting an ear full. Me, on the other hand, has to go back and play the part of the dumb mechanic, and see if I make it past the "can't fix it" stage the youngster so carefully informed his mother about.


The actual problem was too simple even for a novice mechanic. As soon as I opened the hood I didn't need any fancy scanners or diagnostic equipment, just a good ear. The idle problem was a loud hissing, leaking vacuum hose. A new section of hose took care of the problem in no time. I don't think Mrs. Turner has even made it to her house yet. She's probably still giving the boy that parental talk about what not to say in front of strangers. I'll wait a bit before I call her, you know… gotta give her some time to finish that speech to her son.


After lunch I made the phone call and told her that I had the car finished, and she could pick it up anytime she wanted. Of course she asked what was wrong with it, so she could tell her husband about it.


"I'll save the old piece of hose I changed out, so you can show him what I found."


It wasn't long before Mrs. Turner and her son were back at the service counter to pick up the car. The little guy had another toy car this time, and he kept himself busy running it up and down the counter. Mrs. Turner was busy writing out the check when the little guy stopped his little race car directly in front of me.


"Did you make smoke come out from under the hood like Daddy does?"


"No, I didn't make any smoke come out of the car," I told him, "Did your dad do that?"


"Yea, Daddy can make smoke come out of his big truck."


Mrs. Turner tore the check out from her book and sweetly patted her son on the head. He looked up at his mom and said to her, "Is Daddy a mechanic? Is Daddy dumb? You said last night that Daddy was dumb."


The embarrassment was showing on her face. I smiled, thanked her for her business, and handed her the keys. She turned towards the door with her hand on the back of her boys head… leading him out the door. As they walked to the door the little guy was clinging onto his little car. Mrs. Turner looks down at her son and tells him, "From now on, the only cars your daddy is going to be making any smoke come out of is one of your little race cars, son."


The little guy, stunned at his mom's suggestion says in a loud voice,

"Uh, uh mommy… he'll break it!"


Ah, yes… the things kids say… no doubt Mrs. Turner will be having another talk with her son on the trip home. I'm not sure at what age our inner thoughts stop becoming so vocal, but as an adult in this polite, politically correct world we live in, we just keep those things to ourselves. It's probably a good thing we do….


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:) ain't that the truth Joe... ain't it the truth.

This was one enjoyable article. Wow, the things kids say...but "there's a whole lotta truth behinds those words". Isn't it amazing sometimes how we are viewed. Even by those who attempt thingS, fail and still cannot recognize that we are professionals dedicated to this craft.


I guess there are some adults that we will never be able to change.



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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      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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