Auto Shop Coaching Blog

The “No Mechanics Left” Reality

It’s the reality we don’t want to admit — there are no mechanics left.

You’ve seen this in your own shop. In the past few years, the search to find good technicians has become harder and harder. The same job postings that got you plenty of applicants don’t work anymore. The job board websites are much more expensive, and that investment is not getting the return you were hoping for.

The only auto repair shop owners who don’t know we have a catastrophic shortage of automotive technicians are the ones who are out of business, the ones who haven’t been looking for techs (but likely have a crew close to retirement age) — and the ones who got in front of this issue years ahead and aren’t feeling the pain that the rest of us are.

The automotive industry has done a terrible job of recruiting young people and keeping people in the automotive technician field. However, hope is not lost. Organizations like the MikeRowWorks Foundation and the Automotive Training Institute are leading the charge to show young people the benefits of choosing Automotive Technology as a career. Through partnering with independent garages nationwide, becoming an automotive technician — and staying in the industry — is becoming better and better. Here are some of the things you can do in your shop.

Ideas to grow your businessNon-ATI Members: Discover more valuable tips and strategies to find qualified techs or grow your own in ATI’s shop owner events. Register at www.atievent.com.

Build an Apprentice Program In-House

Grow your own technicians. A fully developed, certified apprenticeship program in your shop will make you the preferred shop for new graduates of tech schools, as well as those individuals who may not have the formal education of a tech school but do have the desire and competency to become a great technician.

At ATI we offer a Technician Apprenticeship Program to help shop owners develop their own in-house training program.

Pay Well — Really Well

The average pay of a Master Technician should be around six figures. The average pay of an entry-level apprentice should be more than the fast-food restaurant down the street — and they are paying much more than minimum wage in most states.

Create a Work Environment People Want To Be In

Is your shop clean and organized? Is the equipment in good working condition? Does your team look forward to coming to work on Monday morning? Do they like each other? Do they like and respect you?

If you can’t say yes to all of those questions, figure out what needs to change and change it.

Add Continuing Education Into the Work Schedule

Yes, you heard me right. Take that tech off the floor for a few daylight hours to go to an electrical diagnostic class. Send that general service tech to a class on using tools and resources. Make continuing education and training mandatory and during the normal workday.

Why do we have so many technicians with poor diagnostic skills? Because we didn’t make training just as important as production. Teach them the skills they need during the workday, and you will get that investment back tenfold.

There are mechanics left — they work for your competition. What does your shop offer that is better than the place they work now?

Want to learn more about attracting qualified techs or growing your own? Start with a shop owner event at www.atievent.com. We have virtual and in-person events, fee-based and free, for both auto repair and collision repair shop owners. Find one near you today!

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Charlene is an Executive Coach at ATI, is a former shop owner, and has been coaching since 2014. Charlene helps clients find the right solutions to their challenges and encourages them to make the changes that result in having the life they dreamed about when they got into business ownership.