Dealership service departments that have switched to flat-rate pay plans for their advisers say the system creates a more cohesive shop environment, in which advisers and technicians share the same goal: selling more service labor hours.
Although the term "flat rate" is commonly applied to both tech and adviser pay systems, the plans are quite different for each group.
A flat-rate plan is based on how many service hours an adviser books at a designated pay rate. For example, if an adviser at a pay rate of $5 an hour for labor sales writes a repair order for a job with a defined flat-rate work time of 3⁄10 of an hour, he or she would get $1.50 for that ticket. If a job takes a full hour, the same adviser would receive $5.
Joe Lishman, the service director at Stohlman Subaru of Tysons Corner in Vienna, Va., says flat-rate pay for advisers aligns with the service department's goal of keeping technicians' bays as active as possible.
"You book your customers' appointments by the number of available hours per day, based on technician count," Lishman says. "Why would you not pay service advisers to fill that time, when the only thing you have to sell is time?"