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what is a realistic number of labor hours charged for a 40 hr per week tech


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I have 2 great,hard working techs. Our car count is fairly consistent at about 45 cars per week. We use a worksheet to check out every vehicle that comes in and we sell a lot of recommended work from those inspections. We consistantly produce about 55 hours total per week. Is it really realistic to achieve 80 hours for these two techs?

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You didn't say what level techs these are. I have two A techs who consistently pull 45-55 hours per week each, but if the second tech is a general service guy doing oil changes and other loss-leader work, it will be difficult for him/her to earn the hours.

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One tech is a veteran tech with about 30th years experience. While not a strong diagnostician, he has years of experience and does excellent with mechanical work like brakes, chassis, engine, transmission work. Our second tech has just graduated from Alfred tech, a great auto tech college. He's very intelligent but only has about 1 year work experience. Both techs have a great work ethic and really hustle every day. They are both paid hourly.

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Thanks for the clarification of tech levels. With that i would classify them as B and C techs. I have no doubt that our C tech will eventually be an A tech. Our B tech will likely always stay a B. Would you recommend hiring a C tech to do the oil changes and tires and keep the current techs doing repairs ?

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Now you have touched on the mystery of shop management. Having the right labor mix for the work you can reasonably expect to bring in is probably the biggest challenge we all face. Assuming you are paying your techs on some kind of incentive plan based on hours earned, you probably feel pressure to feed them as many hours as possible, so you hesitate to bring in additional techs and water down the available hours. If you are short on labor, overtime can destroy your labor margins if not carefully managed. Let's say your successful in increasing car count and your SWs are selling work, when is the right time to bring in another tech? And will you be able to find a great tech? Techs leave, and the ones you hire after great deliberation turn our to be, well, not great. You don't ever solve this one - you attempt to manage it on a continuing basis.

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There is always a mix of work to be done on every vehicle that comes in the shop. Since we only have these two great techs, who are happy to do the mix, perhaps it might be best to not complicate our processes by changing things up right now. I have been considering an incentive for improving billed hours. Any advice on incentives would be greatly appreciated.

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If your technicians are as good as you say they are and also you are selling a lot of work maybe the problem is you are not selling the work at its full value. You could easily bump your numbers up by selling the proper time on each job and also selling your diagnostic time for proper value. Something I learned recently that I am still working on.

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We believe that ALL employees should end up on a pay plan that rewards them for meeting and exceeding performance goals, whatever those goals may be. We spent months with our ATI coach working on technician pay matrices that

 

1. increase pay scale for obtaining additional professional certifications

2. Reward production (hourly pay for the week increases as they achieve production thresholds)

3. Insure that we are paying time and a half for overtime

4. Tell us when we can let a tech work OT and preserve our labor margins

 

If you have a tech who has turned 20 labor hours by Friday and he ends up working 45 hours, your labor margins are probably taking a beating. If your techs are not on an incentive plan, what motivates them to pull that last car in at 4:30 in the afternoon and do a through courtesy check on it? Because they're nice guys? Because they really like you? I want them to do it because we ALL materially benefit from it.

 

Why did it take us so long? First, it's a difficult concept to absorb, it takes a while to actually develop the individual pay matrices, we're not "strongarm" managers (we're wimps), and we were taking people off of pay plans they were comfortable with and moving them to a challenging new pay plan that rewards them for performance.

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You have an average hours per ticket of 0.81 hrs per car, that is low. You should be up around 1.5 hrs per car where you would be looking at 67.5 hrs. Which would be 84-85% efficiency. You have a good car count coming through your shop but you aren't selling enough hours per ticket.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Your per vehicle average is low. I suggest you should be averaging about 2.0 hours per vehicle as an initial goal. Along with that, an equivilent amount of parts. The actual ratio is .80 parts to 1.00 labor. For your shop, 45 cars with an average of 2.0hrs per r.o., you will have 90 hours of production for those two technicians. That would be about 110% productive. This is a realistic goal, and can be achieved with some good processes in place. There needs to be a graduated pay scale to create incentive to find and do the work, I know with the numbers you mention, you are leaving work on the table. This is a particular concern because your customers count on you to let them know what is going on with their car. If you miss something during their last visit, they may wind up at another shop that will show them everything that is wrong with their car. However if you document and prioritize all the concerns, you will develop loyalty with your clients. I call it "we report, you decide". Give them what needs repaired first, then things in the near future, then recommended services, etc. They will be happy, you will also make more money, which means a brighter future, all because you are doing it right. I love this part of the business. You have good car count....now you need to make the cars count.

Edited by Shopcat
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