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I am new here so bare with me...I am an owner/ operator however I got hurt bad 3 weeks ago so now I can not work on cars for maybe a year now. I have an out of tech school tech for a year now and he is great but now I have to do something different....has anyone went from wrenching to pen pushing?

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How badly hurt are you? The reason I ask is, are you in good enough health to go to work each day? This may be a blessing in disguise. This may be the perfect opportunity to build your business by finding ways to maintain sales and build your business. Ultimately, shop owners need to understand that in order to grow, they need to rely on others around them. If the business is too dependent on you, it makes a situation like yours, devastating. How big is your shop, and how many people do you employ?

 

I am not an active mechanic in my business anymore. I once was. When I made the move to train and trust others, my business took on a different meaning for me. I was able to see things from the sidelines, instead of out on the field. I am more profitable with the pen, then I am with a wrench. Working on my business has become my focus. Entrusting great people around you is the key.

 

I hope this makes sense to you. Keep up the dialogue here, I know I speak for all ASO members when I say, let’s see if we can help you through this.

I am outta work for a mimium of 6 weeks I cut 4 tendons a artery and a nerve in my left forearm. No more wrenching for a while maybe a year. once the swelling goes away in my hand and I can move my wrist I feel I can go in and write estimates and stuff. I employ one first year tech. He graduated a local technicial college for auto repair and I have employed him for a year now. Our geographics is a country setting not a city or even a small city setting. So how did you move from the field to the sideline? Night school? Joining ASA? I have been on one side of the wrench for soooo long getting to the sideline seems so far away.

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A lot of us here are good technicians. Now who here thinks that one may wake up one day, buy a tool set and start fixing cars and be good at it? Sounds crazy right? So it was the same on that day that many of us decided to take the leap into our own business. I would advise anyone who is a technician to wait, take it slow and start reading as many business related books as possible to get an idea of what will be required of starting a business and it being successful. The same I would say to you John13, take this opportunity and as Joe said make it a blessing - take these next weeks while your not able to work and buy some books or audio books (audio is my preference). A good place to start is the E-Myth by Michael Gerber. And yes surround yourself with the right people! Keep us posted and hope you recover quickly.

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  • 4 weeks later...

A lot of us here are good technicians. Now who here thinks that one may wake up one day, buy a tool set and start fixing cars and be good at it? Sounds crazy right? So it was the same on that day that many of us decided to take the leap into our own business. I would advise anyone who is a technician to wait, take it slow and start reading as many business related books as possible to get an idea of what will be required of starting a business and it being successful. The same I would say to you John13, take this opportunity and as Joe said make it a blessing - take these next weeks while your not able to work and buy some books or audio books (audio is my preference). A good place to start is the E-Myth by Michael Gerber. And yes surround yourself with the right people! Keep us posted and hope you recover quickly.

 

Great post Gary! Well said.

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A lot of us here are good technicians. Now who here thinks that one may wake up one day, buy a tool set and start fixing cars and be good at it? Sounds crazy right? So it was the same on that day that many of us decided to take the leap into our own business. I would advise anyone who is a technician to wait, take it slow and start reading as many business related books as possible to get an idea of what will be required of starting a business and it being successful. The same I would say to you John13, take this opportunity and as Joe said make it a blessing - take these next weeks while your not able to work and buy some books or audio books (audio is my preference). A good place to start is the E-Myth by Michael Gerber. And yes surround yourself with the right people! Keep us posted and hope you recover quickly.

 

Gary, where were your words of wisdom when I opened my shop? Better late than never, I totally agree with ya... the more you know the better off you are, whether that's repairing cars or running a successful business. You said it!!

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         3 comments
      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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