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The Shop Radio: A right or privilege?


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It seems that in shops across this great land of ours, the shop radio is a constant tug of war between the owner and some techs. I don’t understand why some techs value the radio so dearly.

 

I enjoy music too and I really don’t mind music in the background. However, when the music becomes more of the focus than working on cars, I have a problem. I set strict rules with respect to volume and choice of stations.

 

Recently, in my maintenance shop, we had a tech that constantly worked on his “play list”, The volume inched up little by little and he spent way too much as a disk jokey than I could tolerate.

 

We had to put a stop to it. I asked the manager how he felt. He said to me, “You know Joe; the radio is a privilege, not a right. If they can’t understand that, it’s their problem, not ours.”

 

So, how do you feel about the radio, and how do you handle this issue?

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I have worked at shops that had radios on and the shop I work at now doesnt allow them. I usually have a radio on when I am working at home but honestly I dont hear much when I am working on something so I could really care less about having one on. I would think they fall into the same category as cell phones.

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I have run across more than handful of techs that almost can't seem to work without the radio playing. These guys not only think it is their god given right to have the radio playing, but that anyone who does not agree is from mars or venus and not earth. I understand just like the next guy that music in the background makes the work environment more pleasant but no one should forget that this is work, not home. I recently visited an Audi dealership and actually went into the shop work area and it was a sight. Completely spotless, no radio or music playing, and all techs had their shirts tucked into their pants. This screamed professionalism and this is the type of image that most independent shops OWNERs want in terms of public perception for their shop. At our shop we don't have music playing and that's that. We explain why and hope the newer techs understand.

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I have run across more than handful of techs that almost can't seem to work without the radio playing. These guys not only think it is their god given right to have the radio playing, but that anyone who does not agree is from mars or venus and not earth. I understand just like the next guy that music in the background makes the work environment more pleasant but no one should forget that this is work, not home. I recently visited an Audi dealership and actually went into the shop work area and it was a sight. Completely spotless, no radio or music playing, and all techs had their shirts tucked into their pants. This screamed professionalism and this is the type of image that most independent shops OWNERs want in terms of public perception for their shop. At our shop we don't have music playing and that's that. We explain why and hope the newer techs understand.

This sums it up: Professionalism!

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  • 2 years later...

Older topic, but shop radios have been an ongoing issue for me as a technician.

 

I am ALL FOR listening to music. My objection is that there are usually at least 3 radios on in our small (10 bay) shop, each playing something different. It's like I have all the worst song mash-ups in my ears all day and I can't even think sometimes - not to mention it can interfere with noticing or diagnosing an abnormal noise.

 

The other techs insist on playing radios (these are the same guys with their phones glued to their hand) and management is either totally unconcerned or unwilling to fight the battle. I wear ear plugs most of the time, but this only reduces the annoyance.

 

So to you owners out there, you may actually be making some technicians happier by limiting radios. At least make everyone listen to the same thing so it doesn't add to the noise - there is enough of that in an auto shop as it is.

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Years ago I worked at a shop where we played radio yoyo. The boss would turn it down we would turn it up. One day upon returning from lunch we found the radio smashed to pieces. Apparently it needed one final adjustment to find the correct volume.

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I dont mind the radio on, and they can listen to what every they want as long as they would play it on public radio, If I can hear F*** yo Hoe A** N***** word to your drug dealer I F****** your mom, from the office or standing out side with the door open then something is wrong and that is not cool at all.

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I think it boils down to who the people are working for you. I don't have a problem with the radio on just keep it positive, not too loud and if there is such a thing a station all can listen to.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Edited by Gary A
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There's only one station that comes in clearly at my shop, so that's what we get to listen to. Country. I'm not a huge country music fan but that's what life dealt us. I don't allow cell phones at work so playlists are out, nobody is exempt from the rule even me. Its the airwaves or nothing. When given too many choices disagreements can happen.

 

I used to work at a place with 5 other techs, each with their own radio. I'll estimate that I spent 20% of my day turning down the other guys' radios so I could hear mine. The other guys did the same to me. Guys would almost get into fist fights. This went on for years. The boss didnt care whatsoever.

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Wow I never thought I was the only one this happened to but it is interesting to read the stories of what's out there. An ex employee was hired and requested an internet connection so he could "look up " repairs at his toolbox, I agreed. Next thing he had a play list on with some F### words of course you could hear it outside and it did not go well when I shut it off. I have a hard time understanding how anyone could think it was appropriate music for a public shop.

Dave

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I would not allow three radios. There can only be ONE and only ONE in my shop. Your situation is ridiculous and I blame it on management.

 

I worked for a large dealership group that went so far as to ban radios company-wide. In the 25 bay shop at Toyota we would have about 10 radios on - mixed stations/playlists. Unfortunately, there was no enforcement after the memo was issued. The guy next to me was really into metal - what a nightmare.

 

I agree that it is a management issue. While I absolutely love my manager, she is hands-off when it comes to the shop.

 

What is the best way to approach management when things are awry? The radios are not the only issue.

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Hello, I haven't been on this site in years, but I have re-kindled my thoughts of opening up my own shop. I thought I would give you my shop experience with radios. I work in a shop with 20 techs. We have one radio playing over the top of all other radios. We have two guys who will play their radios a little quieter. And most of the others, including myself with ear buds in and listening to my own music. Management does not care as long as you get the work done. Now, I refused to use ear buds for years, thinking that they were a safety hazard, etc, etc. Then one day I was on a really big job and tried it at a fairly low sound level. I got the job done quicker than I ever had in the past (by a lot). So I tired it again. Same results. There is something about listening to your own music that will make you more productive overall. I do not wear them on quick services, mainly bigger jobs that require my attention to detail, and I do not want to be distract by other techs. Just my take on it and I'm sure most will not agree.

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I worked for a large dealership group that went so far as to ban radios company-wide. In the 25 bay shop at Toyota we would have about 10 radios on - mixed stations/playlists. Unfortunately, there was no enforcement after the memo was issued. The guy next to me was really into metal - what a nightmare.

 

I agree that it is a management issue. While I absolutely love my manager, she is hands-off when it comes to the shop.

 

What is the best way to approach management when things are awry? The radios are not the only issue.

I have a no radio policy now for 5 years - music or news, etc. at the shop. It was too much of a distraction to customers and employees alike. To much mis-emotion (guy starts thinking of his ex-girlfriend or wife) and goes to lala land or another guy loves hip-hop while someone else wants to listen to classic rock or customers asking what the hell are they listening to. And then the disagreeable volume is its own thing, one guys loud is another guys deaf spot.

The most agreeable solution and least distracting was no radio. I have not had a single employee or customer complain about the no music/radio policy. I had customers and employees comment, criticize and complain about music choices, radio stations and volumes.

 

As for how to approach management when things are awry this is what I have in place at the shop.

 

I have an employee sheet to be filled out at the end of every work day. It asks for any complaints, problems, concerns, issues, emergencies, or upsets and if there are None write down NO ISSUES and sign it and date it. If there are issues, write down a workable solution. DO NOT PRESENT A PROBLEM WITHOUT INPUT OF A REAL WORKABLE SOLUTION! When someone presents problem after problem without solutions typically they become the problem. I cut and pasted the exact written sheet below that I use on a daily basis word for word.

 

"At the end of every workday I want a full written report of any complaints, problems, issues, emergencies or data that needs to be known and handled including workable solutions written along side. I want this signed and dated. If there are none of these issues I want "No Issues" written on the sheet of paper for that date and signed and dated a second time. It must be clear. If the issue is an on going issue write it down every day so it is known every day till it is handled. This is your chance to have and create solutions to day to day issues."

 

 

The purpose of this is for the manager or myself to know and be able to catch any of these potential crisis at there inception. If we are not aware of these issues, we can do nothing about them to correct them and the employee or individual with the complaint harbors resentment towards the manager or myself for some time becoming more critical and less productive over time. The disgruntled employee then says I told about this problem September 5, 1942 through the bathroom door and you still haven't done anything about it. You suck, this place sucks, I quit! And you know what if he didn't bring it up during quitting and then written down on a to do list it would be forgotten for time immemorial. So, it needs to written down, made known, presented with a solution.

 

If you want to make things better in your environment you must make management aware of what's SPECIFICALLY happening and you must present a fair workable solution that is cleary stated and easily understood. The solution does not have to be easy but the assimilation and understanding of both the problems and solutions by another or others must be.

 

PS - The problems - solutions sheet works for my home life as well. That way I know what's happening especially when I'm running around trying to get other things accomplished. Since my wife is my biggest supporter and greatest asset I need to know what's happening even when I don't see what's happening. It's not a daily demand like the shop but it is an outlet for communication and a relief to her to know I have enough caring to look at it, understand it, acknowledge it and do something about it.

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The shop where I work use to have a radio, now we don't . I my self do not like the radio while working I find it annoying when trying to listen for things vacuum leaks, noises under the dash etc.. It is also distracting in my opinion you should concentrate on what you are doing not singing along to a song, which brings up a whole new set of problems having to listen to a tone deaf person singing at the top of their lungs over the radio. My personal opinion radio out concentration and work in! I think it may be a distraction for many. Would you want to go into surgery had have to doctor blasting the radio as he performs surgery on you ? not me . I think there are enough dangers around a shop we don't need any more distractions

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Interesting that I logged on today and checked this out. My techs listen to a radio. This week we reassigned a tech from our collision operation to the mechanical side. He likes his radio loud and when I walked out in the shop I thought what the heck is that noise? It was three radios playing different music. I actually prefer they wear earbuds, and I encourage them to listen to podcast, books and even other things other than music. Why not learn while you work?

I tell them part of the reason I can do some of the things I do today is because of what I listened to while working on cars.. I could listen to a book a day working in the shop. Did I take it all in and hear every word? Nope but if it was that good I would listen to it again, if it was bad then no big deal it's not like that was the only thing I was doing.

I tell them listen to podcast on how to be a better dad, husband or whatever. Got some challenges with a child? Listen to something that will give you better insight in how to deal with it.

My favorites today are. Dave Ramsey's Entreleadership, they always have great interviews and I learn something from every 40 min podcast.

I listen to Harvard Business review,

Your move by Andy Stanley

Family Life Today

Ted talks

And a host of others as well as a number of books

I actually provide all my employees with access to Right Now Media which is filled with all kinds of audio and video lesson on all kinds of topics. I don't mind it when I walk up to a tech and I have to wait for them to pause their playlist or whatever they are listening to.

The best headsets? LG Bluetooth.. No wires hanging down and they just hang around their neck with easy access to controls on the headset.

I've often thought about why nobody has started to produce content geared toward techs on various topics.

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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We have one central stereo system that is connected to Sonos. It has more than 10,000 songs in it. Plus it utilizes music sites like Pandora Radio. People can pick and chose throughout the day. Its a system that works well here.

 

At another shop I worked at the was only one radio and we tuned into radio stations. The radio stations were picked during our monthly meetings.

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I have a no radio policy now for 5 years - music or news, etc. at the shop. It was too much of a distraction to customers and employees alike. To much mis-emotion (guy starts thinking of his ex-girlfriend or wife) and goes to lala land or another guy loves hip-hop while someone else wants to listen to classic rock or customers asking what the hell are they listening to. And then the disagreeable volume is its own thing, one guys loud is another guys deaf spot.

The most agreeable solution and least distracting was no radio. I have not had a single employee or customer complain about the no music/radio policy. I had customers and employees comment, criticize and complain about music choices, radio stations and volumes.

 

As for how to approach management when things are awry this is what I have in place at the shop.

 

I have an employee sheet to be filled out at the end of every work day. It asks for any complaints, problems, concerns, issues, emergencies, or upsets and if there are None write down NO ISSUES and sign it and date it. If there are issues, write down a workable solution. DO NOT PRESENT A PROBLEM WITHOUT INPUT OF A REAL WORKABLE SOLUTION! When someone presents problem after problem without solutions typically they become the problem. I cut and pasted the exact written sheet below that I use on a daily basis word for word.

 

"At the end of every workday I want a full written report of any complaints, problems, issues, emergencies or data that needs to be known and handled including workable solutions written along side. I want this signed and dated. If there are none of these issues I want "No Issues" written on the sheet of paper for that date and signed and dated a second time. It must be clear. If the issue is an on going issue write it down every day so it is known every day till it is handled. This is your chance to have and create solutions to day to day issues."

 

 

The purpose of this is for the manager or myself to know and be able to catch any of these potential crisis at there inception. If we are not aware of these issues, we can do nothing about them to correct them and the employee or individual with the complaint harbors resentment towards the manager or myself for some time becoming more critical and less productive over time. The disgruntled employee then says I told about this problem September 5, 1942 through the bathroom door and you still haven't done anything about it. You suck, this place sucks, I quit! And you know what if he didn't bring it up during quitting and then written down on a to do list it would be forgotten for time immemorial. So, it needs to written down, made known, presented with a solution.

 

If you want to make things better in your environment you must make management aware of what's SPECIFICALLY happening and you must present a fair workable solution that is cleary stated and easily understood. The solution does not have to be easy but the assimilation and understanding of both the problems and solutions by another or others must be.

 

PS - The problems - solutions sheet works for my home life as well. That way I know what's happening especially when I'm running around trying to get other things accomplished. Since my wife is my biggest supporter and greatest asset I need to know what's happening even when I don't see what's happening. It's not a daily demand like the shop but it is an outlet for communication and a relief to her to know I have enough caring to look at it, understand it, acknowledge it and do something about it.

Your radio policy and practice of requiring daily feedback from your employees are great; clearly, you cannot correct a concern that you are unaware of and it is better to fix any concern sooner, rather than later. Aside from the annoyance of the stereo mismatch, I am diagnosed with ADHD and also have moderate hearing loss in my right ear; the last thing I need is more distractions and more noise. I am consistently turning 10 hours + per day and we are desperate for another technician, so I don't understand how radio privilege is more valuable than a highly productive tech. My options presented by management were to move my box where I can hear even more radios (2 techs, detail department, and train traffic control - yes, really) or to the front and center of the observation window, where I can still hear the same radios I hear in my current bay, with the added benefit of glaring customers. Maybe I need to buy everyone headphones - it would be worth it to keep my job.

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