When I went through an automotive technical program in 1995, I was given a list of tools I needed. I had the option of buying a reduced-cost kit through the school or getting my own. I opted for a kit from a local vendor at a discounted price of about $4,000.
We recently hired a service technician who graduated with no tools and a ton of tuition debt. I ended up buying a kit that was just shy of $4,000, including the box. Obviously the kit was not high-end stuff, but it had all lifetime warranty tools. Other than a few air tools, the tech has everything she needs to repair a vehicle with a rational investment.
I have had discussions with techs from other dealers who claim to have $50,000, $75,000 or even $250,000 in tools. Most of my longtime technicians have between $5,000 and $15,000 invested over a 20-plus-year career.
Dealers need to take a serious look at what specialty tooling they provide in their shops. If we can't afford to be without good technicians, we need to figure out how to help them afford their tools.
PHIL ABBETT, Vice President/Partner, Ruxer Ford-Lincoln, Jasper, Ind.
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