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I believe we need to rethink the route entry level techs are expected to be on. If you're a very large operation a trade school tech can be brought up through the ranks by having plenty of meaningful repair tasks. Training, mentoring and experience will advance a bright and eager apprentice tech. A lot of Indy shops end up being the school and mentor at quite a great cost over the first couple of years. Economy of scale is against them. A small be all do all shop is really at a disadvantage. Perhaps an industry wide grass roots apprentice type program could be developed.

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Wow Jeff,

 

I'm in the last stages of opening up my own shop and your experience has me wondering if this has been the experience of most techs? I've done my research and it seems your experience is not typical. Anyone chime in.

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I don't understand how those tech schools can qualify their students as "graduates" if they have very little hands on experience.

Training apprentices is one area that Canada actually does very well in.

 

You become an apprentice (and can have zero skills), then you need 1500 hours per year for 4 years of hands on experience, plus each year you go to 2 months of technical training.

Each year, you earn a minimum percentage of your shop's journeyman pay rate (55% for 1st year, then 70%, 80%, 90% in the 4th year)

Once you finish your 4 years, you become a journeyman technician, which I would correspond to a step or two below an ASE master tech.

 

We don't have a master tech program up here, you just become a better journeyman technician with more experience.

I'd honestly like to see Canada do a master program for techs with maybe 10 years of experience.

 

As you can see though, the real key is the 1500 hours per year of hands on training.

I don't know how you could expect someone with very little hands on training to be certified by a tech school like UTI etc.

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There are some standards being promoted by AYES - https://www.ayes.org/Home.aspx

ASE is also promoting a maintenance and light repair certification with its G1 test. This allows young techs to be profitable for shops to employ as they gain experience in the trade by being able to perform these services. As shop owners we will have to invest in these young kids getting into the trade, it's a cost of doing business.

 

 

You can continue to complain about the lack of talent coming into the trade or you can get involved in the local training programs to help mold some of the young kids getting into the trade. We also need to realistically look at compensation for all techs and make sure we are charging for the talent needed to repair todays vehicles.

Edited by Tires Too
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My problem was I worked at Dealers mostly until I opened my own shop. From 93-04 I worked for Chrysler dealers. I had the mindset the more I learned the more I could make. The problems started when I got to the Chrysler "Gold" level. When you are the best trained tech in the shop you 1) get all the problem cars no one else could do 2) My morals would not allow me to plunder the customers 3) I would work on the problem cars...upsell the easy work and have it shipped off to the next tech so I could deal with the next problem car. I finally got fed up and opened my own place..in 2004. 2005 we got tore up with hurricanes...folks houses tore up, no money to fix car. About the time we started gettin over that the "recession" hit. This area is still tryin to get over that. My locale still leads the country in foreclosures. Then on top of all that I have 4-5 unlicensed "repair" shops within a stones throw that work for 20-30 an hour and sell parts at cost or have the customers supply their parts. Like I said if I had known I would stayed in that old Freightliner I was herdin down down the road!

As far as typical...I have more friends that have quit this trade than I know have joined! One fella got into real estate, another cashed out everything and took early retirement, another got a 9-5 working in a machine shop. I am just waiting for Mcdonalds to start payin 15 an hour! :wacko:

 

 

Wow sounds terrible Jeff! I think your more of a product of your area unfortunately. For the kind of pay you were receiving I should have probably shipped you up here to work for me!

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         5 comments
      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
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So,, I give you a hug and a kiss. Take your glasses or put it in the bag and they wheel you out. So if you want to pick it back up from there, then then that would be great. Kimberly Cotton (00:11:49) - So,, right before she says, okay, we're good to go, the surgeon comes in, he's like, okay, there's you know, he marks the spot, literally marks the spot where, you know, things are going to happen. And so then the two little air ladies come in and they wheeled me down the hall. Kimberly Cotton (00:12:08) - We were supposed to have rooms right next to each other, but,, that didn't happen. So as they were wheeling me back to the E.R.,, or the E.R., the operating room,, I saw my. They'd paused at my brother's door, and that's when it got me. I had been fine. I hadn't cried or anything until that point, and I paused and I said, okay, I'll see you on the other side. And he said, thank you again, I love you. And I'm crying as she's willing me back. I'm fine. Nobody else is with me. It's just the poor ladies listening to me cry with me. Back to the operating room. But once I'm through the doors, it was. It happened so fast.. They killed me in. They got the table ready that I was going to be on. They scooted me over. They laid me on my side. They put the oxygen mask on me, and I didn't even count to ten. And I was out. Kimberly Cotton (00:13:14) - I don't remember anything after that. The only the next time I woke up was in the recovery, and I had lots of blankets on me because I think I was shivering because it was cold., and I just remember I had two nurses continuously checking on me. How are you doing? Do you need this? Do you need that? And the only thing I said was, is where's my husband? Can I see my husband? And so I think that's at the point. They went and got you and brought you back. The problem was, is I had to stay in recovery for quite some time. Our surgery was early and so it lasted, what, four hours, I think something like that. 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Kimberly Cotton (00:14:59) - Yeah., luckily I slept a lot during that time., so it wasn't too bad for me., it was just. I was just down there for a long time, so. Not a big deal. They got me up into a room., and actually, I, I was hungry,, when we finally did make it up to the room,, so I, I think we had tried to order something through the hospital, but they, the time had passed when they were delivering meals and stuff. Kimberly Cotton (00:15:31) - , I did you bring me something or did I? I don't even remember what I had that I. Chris Cotton (00:15:36) - Think I think we, I think I got you, I was able to get you something that you could eat. Kimberly Cotton (00:15:41) - I don't think I was very hungry, but I wanted something small, so. Chris Cotton (00:15:45) - Well. And and to give everybody like the idea of the recovery room you're in, basically, it's just like a long row of beds with like 10 to 15 slots on either side. And when I first went down there, you didn't have anybody next to you. So then we got you some ice water. I think we got you some pudding then or something. Yeah., but because the HIPAA regulations, they were bringing other people down on either side of you, and they had me leave. Yeah., but so we. So we got you to the room and kind of settled in a little bit., and we were trying to manage your pain, and I think, I think one of the important things, if you're listening and you're going to go through this out there, they talk about this. Chris Cotton (00:16:32) - It's not a phantom pain. But what happens is, is where the kidney was. And they insert these robot fingers inside your body and they blow up your abdomen with nitrogen. And and they do this with a robot. And they try to get all the air out, but they can't. And what happens is, is the air or the nitrogen that's left pushes on your diaphragm. And when that happens, your body thinks your shoulder hurts. So it has this like tremendous pain in your shoulder. And I've seen Kimberly,, give birth. I've seen her do all kinds of stuff in 25 plus years that we've been together. And I've never heard her. Yell in pain or anything like that. And oh, maybe that's what had happened. I'd gone and got you something to eat. And then I went and got me something to eat. And when I was coming back, I heard you hollering down the hallway I had. Kimberly Cotton (00:17:30) - Yeah, you hadn't probably been gone 20, 30 minutes maybe. And the pain all of a sudden hit me so hard. Kimberly Cotton (00:17:38) - So I pushed the nurses button and took them, you know, longer than I wanted to them for them to respond. But they finally responded and they said, can we help you? And I said, I need something for the pain. My I'm absolutely excruciating right now. And they said, what on the scale of what to what I'm like, I am above a ten. I mean, this is awful., and so it took them a little bit and then he could hear me moaning and groaning down the hallway, and I think he sprinted to the room after he could hear me., but it just hurts so bad., and it's the strangest thing I don't get it., but it wasn't just one shoulder. It was across my back, right at my clavicle. And it just so hurt, so bad until the pain medication finally kicked in., initially, I had only wanted to stay one night in the hospital, but everybody was like, just see how you feel. See how you're doing. Kimberly Cotton (00:18:41) - Well, the next day, the doctor,, comes. Another one comes in and takes me over, and he looks at me and he's like, yeah, you're spending another night. He could tell the pain on my face. And it wasn't constant, but it was just enough for him to say, yeah, we're going to up the dosage of your pain medication. And you're saying I'm like, okay, so but after they up the dosage, it was much better and much more manageable. Chris Cotton (00:19:07) - So, so out of all the things that they didn't tell us, this was kind of like the big moment or less and not right then. But,, so they wanted me to get her up and have her walking like at 8 p.m. that night. And so that happened. I think we took you for a walk before this happened. Yeah, but but what nobody told us was, was about 30 minutes before you get up to walk, call a nurse, have them give you the pain medication. That way, when you're sore and hurting after the walk, you've already been medicated and you're good to go. Chris Cotton (00:19:44) - So I think I think we walked you that night. I think we walked you a couple times that next day. And then I think the nurse that came in the following night was the one that was like, hey, you guys should be taking pain medication before you walk. And nobody, nobody told us that up until then. And that's,, that's like some Ron White. That's good information to know, right? Like. Yeah. Like,, that would have been handy. That would have been a little handy tidbit for people to tell us., so I, I think... Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
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