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Health Insurance

Gary A

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I would like to know the best way to offer health benefits. This is for a single employee, not a family plan. Do you guys think it's better to pay them in full as part of a total package and reap the benefit of a tax break or have the employee contribute a percentage? Just wondering what makes the most sense....





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We use health insurance as a benefit for our current and future employees. I have noticed that older technicians value the health insurance much more so than younger technicians. We currently pay 100% of the health insurance costs. When competing with other repair shops, especially dealerships and chain shops, it helps differentiate us from other repair shops when trying to attract top talent. I have noticed that in our area, most dealerships pay a portion of the health insurance cost and the employee picks up the remaining balance.

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  • 10 months later...

When I had the shop and had 5 full time employees I paid all the health insurance for everyone under a group plan. Then on night two the the star players went out and got drunk and had a 1 car accident in a parking lot. Police came and arrested both of them. Courts assigned alcohol school and the insurance company sent a nasty gram a few months later that my 'group' was experiencing an unusually high percentage of expenses and raised the whole groups rate by about double what we had been paying. New rules went into effect, I would write a check once a month for the old insurance rate and the employees could shop and find whatever insurance they wanted, I was only giving the amount i used to pay. Oh yea, if they decided they did not want any insurance, they got no check. I got to see the policy and the bill and made sure they were actually using the money for insurance. I had to do the same thing, cancel the original policy and go shopping for myself a new policy. No more groups for us.


If I was to reopen I would make the employees pay something, I want them involved and aware of the real costs to have insurance. What percentage would depend on my bottom line and how much i wanted to keep those guys.

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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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