Here are some tips from Brett Coker, president of Coker Automotive Consultants of Pensacola, Fla., from the webinar “Sink or Swim: How to Win With Service Technicians.” Free replays are available at autonews.com/sinkorswim.
Fish for technicians wherever the fish are. That includes quick-service franchises, vocational schools and wherever recreational vehicles and boats are serviced. “A lot of RV dealerships, their technicians are not inside. Their technicians are working outside, and in Southern California and Florida, obviously in the months we're in now, it's an uncomfortable situation. They're not in a climate-controlled situation.”
The parts department should deliver parts to technicians. “I'd rather have a $12-an-hour guy in parts deliver parts out to this guy, to these technicians, as opposed to a $110-an-hour in gross profit guy walking to parts and waiting to get served. That makes no sense.”
Punch the clock. Employees may not like it, but dealerships should require technicians to punch a time clock throughout the day, not just when they arrive for the day and when they leave for the day, so the dealership can keep track of efficiency and productivity. “I'm sorry, but technicians need to punch in and out when they go to lunch ... and on every job.”
Be creative to retain valuable, qualified technicians. Consider flexible hours or unusual shifts, like four 10-hour days a week. “We have got to find ways to put some handcuffs on these people.”