Nearly every dealership in his market has extended its service hours, says Joe Miller, service manager of Webster Groves Subaru in suburban St. Louis. But service departments need to make sure their technicians don't get burned out working longer days, he warns, so shops need to be creative in developing work shifts and tech schedule rotations.
The workweek for the 10 service technicians at his dealership's main shop consists of four 10-hour days (except for eight hours on Saturday). Miller divides his techs into three teams; on any day, two of the teams are working and one is off. Two "floater" techs focus on recall work but also fill in as needed.
The tech teams' rotating schedule is for three weeks at a time. During the first week, one team works Wednesday through Saturday. The second team works Monday and Tuesday, takes off Wednesday and Thursday and returns to work Friday and Saturday. The third team works Monday through Thursday, then takes five days off until the rotation repeats.
"It's a minivacation," Miller says of this extra-long weekend, adding that the techs "love the schedule."
Getting five days off in a row every three weeks "recharges the battery" for his techs, Miller says, enabling them to work more productively when they return. The four-day workweek permits more efficient use of the service department's eight service bays for line techs, he adds.