In even the best of hiring times, finding porters and dealership hospitality staff can be a daunting task. And often, a dealership is more consumed with finding technicians and service advisers, so the search for porters takes a back seat.
Once porters are hired, they need to be retained — not an easy feat. Employment agency Zippia.com estimates that 38 percent of porters stay at their job for less than one year.
Rather than take the time to post porter jobs, interview candidates and manage the staff, more dealership service departments are turning those responsibilities over to outside companies such as Citrin and DealerFlex.
Mark Bailey, service director at Austin Infiniti in Texas, was one of those who used to scramble to recruit porters until he realized it wasn't the best use of his time. Administrative tasks and supervision of the porters took time away from his core duties. And then there was the scheduling.
"If someone was sick, on vacation, left or was let go, the workload was handled by fewer people, which caused 'level of service' and overtime issues," Bailey said.
After crunching some numbers, Bailey decided in 2019 to turn over the hiring and managing of the store's porters to Citrin. He says "outsourcing is much more cost-effective, with a higher level of service offered to both our clients and us."
Citrin, based in Columbus, Ohio, is doing business in nine markets nationwide.
"We specialize in valets, porters, car washers and even vehicle delivery services," said Cody Blair, Citrin's director of marketing and recruiting.
In many ways, dealership service departments rely on porters to help things run smoothly, on time and in an orderly fashion. They are typically the first person a customer encounters when dropping off a vehicle for service and the last they see when picking up their vehicle. While Citrin or DealerFlex employees, the porters still wear the dealership uniforms.