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When it rains, it pours

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Not coming to complain or get any sympathy, just hoping my story might help someone feel better about their day.


It's Monday... Both employees pull in the parking lot 10 minutes late. It's 34 degrees outside and raining. I grab my tablet from the charger in the office, only to notice the screen is cracked (most likely my fault from when I took it out of the case to clean it Friday evening).


Me and the other tech go to work on replacing 6 control arms on a car in the shop, we find the last 2 control arms are seized on the ball joints, which are part of the knuckle. About this time, my dad shows up with breakfast burritos for everybody, bringing all work to a stop. A customer is in the waiting area to witness this (customer LOVES our shop and doesn't mind, but still). Dad leaves to go buy a special tool to remove seized control arms and forgets to save the receipt for the shop tool (accountants love when you don't have receipts for purchases).


2 customers show up at the same time for oil changes, we only have 1 other empty stall. A 3rd customer shows up, walks directly into the shop and I say hello, small talk for just a few moments (I assume my service writer will be out any moment to properly greet the customer and find out what they need). Before I know it, the customer is pulling out of the parking lot without anyone ever really speaking to them!!!!


We get the control arms loose after air hammering, MAPP gas, pry bar, sledge hammer, die grinder, and a tons of WD40/PB blaster. Of course we will need 2 special castle nuts to replace the old ones that got damaged (special order of course, 2 days out). The car is now stuck on my lift until the parts show up.


The phone rings and I hear that the Prius battery will be delivered tomorrow morning, 8 AM. Prius battery's come with a $1350 core charge. If I do not have the old battery out and ready to swap in the morning, I will get charged the core and they will refund me the money via check at the end of the month. It's now 4:45 PM.


I mention to my service writer that I need her at work at 8 AM sharp, like we discussed during the interview process. Long story short, she will try to make it on time from now on or will let me know if she decides to just go back to her old job... FML


I make it to the cell phone repair place after work where they told me over the phone that they could probably fix my tablet screen. They now tell me they can not order a replacement screen, I will have to order one on ebay or amazon and bring it to them.


Pay roll taxes are due Friday, sales tax is due next week, it's 9 PM, 44 degrees outside (my shop has no insulation), and I just finished pulling out a Prius HV battery... The cables on HV battery are corroded and will need to be replaced, and I know these are special order.


On a good note, I got a new deWalt cordless impact delivered today along with the new service writer's name tag (hopefully she doesn't quit).


Keep your chin up, this too shall pass. Try to remember those great days where customers bought every recommendation, every bolt turned smoothly, and know that more of those days lie ahead.


Hopefully this helps someone down the road, or at least gives a few of you a laugh or two

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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