The defection of veteran dealership technicians to the mobile service market is a new wrinkle to an old problem.
"Loss of experienced techs is definitely an issue for dealers," says Meredith Collins, a director with consulting firm Carlisle & Co. "We do hear from dealers and OEMs that many technicians are aging out and nearing retirement, with average U.S. technicians having over 20 years of experience."
The auto repair industry has an estimated annual shortfall of 20,000 to 25,000 technicians, Collins says. There aren't enough newcomers from vocational schools and other sources compared with the number of technicians who retire or leave for other reasons.
"We've found that on average, one lost technician costs a dealership upwards of $172,000 in annual revenues, which is largely driven by lost productivity — getting a new technician up to speed of where the experienced tech used to be," she says. "This is a big problem for dealers today."
The National Automobile Dealers Association has made facilitating recruitment and training of technicians a top priority.