Hiring and retaining auto technicians are some of the biggest problems facing the retail automotive industry today. According to Crain’s, ‘Across the country, auto dealers and repair shops are facing the same reality: not enough auto technicians are in the pipeline to fill the looming gap of skilled service workers as people retire.’
There is a severe lack of qualified auto techs in the market these days, for many reasons:
1) Since 2008, the education market has significantly transformed-causing less people to be enrolled in tech schools and therefore, less experienced/skilled techs in the market
2) There’s an inadequate number of tech schools, due to a shortage of training schools across the country
3) Those entering the workforce are unaware of the career possibilities associated with tech school education
4) Baby Boomer technicians are beginning to retire-at a record rate
As a result, dealerships’ hands become tied-having to resort to hiring entry-level talent and immediately develop them as a way to supplement this lack of experienced technicians. Before worrying about retaining auto technicians at your dealership, you first need to know how to find them and encourage them to apply to positions with your dealership.
To help you do this, we’ll walk you through 10 perks you can use to attract highly engaged and talented techs to apply to your dealership.
The Top 10
1) A climate controlled shop-Maintenance requires hard work. Offering a comfortable environment for your auto technicians is a key plus for job seekers in this field. If a fully heated or cooled workstation isn’t feasible, minimally consider providing heaters and AC units for regions that experience extreme weather.
2) State-of-the-art locker room-This is a growing trend with some of the best dealerships. Providing a modern facility where technicians can clean up and store their uniforms and tools is a huge benefit that’s sure to attract any top technician.
3) Provided snacks and drinks-A little can go a long way, especially when it includes fueling your employees with food and drinks to get them through their shifts. Most employee appreciate this perk, and dealers benefit from this extra boost of energy and motivation resulting from a relatively minimal investment. .
4) Lunch on Saturdays-Watching the sales team get treated to lunch on Saturday can make a tech’s exhausting day seem even longer. Offering free lunch for your technicians on Saturdays is an easy way to help make the weekend workday a little better. It also helps boost morale around the dealership, especially if it’s a busy day.
5) An apprentice program & visible career path-Many dealerships today end up hiring entry-level talent for technicians. An apprenticeship program that outlines a set career path helps train and develop younger technicians by giving them an incentive to stay with your dealership for the long haul.
6) Tool allowance-If your dealership does not provide tools for your technicians, consider providing them with an allowance credit to help them buy their own tools. This is an essential benefit that many top technicians are looking for in evaluating top dealerships.
7) Anniversary tool allowance-If you don’t have the budget for a tool allowance for new tech hires, consider offering an anniversary allowance to celebrate key career milestones and incentivize your long-term employees.
8) Reimbursement for ASE classes-Short of Automotive Service Excellence, ASE classes allow aspiring technicians to become certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Offering to pay for these classes is a win-win for your dealership. You help out your technicians gain on-the-job experience while you build a better technician team that’s fit to last.
9) A signing bonus-Who doesn’t like a bonus? Offering a signing bonus upfront places your dealership (as a preferred employer) ahead of your competitors who may also be looking to hire auto techs.
10) Up to 100% insurance coverage-This is a huge benefit for your employees, especially those who must provide for their families. It’s also to important to note that accidents happen on the job, and you want to make sure your technicians are taken care of, as well as have the type of security that all employees deserve.
These are just a handful of benefits that top technicians are looking for when looking for their next opportunity. There are plenty of other steps dealerships can take to ensure they’re hiring and retaining the right type of technician talent-but it all starts with knowing what they want.