Any auto repair shop owner who’s been in business more than 5 minutes knows – finding great automotive technicians is getting harder each year. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, at least 76,000 mechanics are needed each year between now and 2026 to replace those retiring or leaving the industry, and to fill 46,000 new openings. Finding and keeping mechanics is a top priority for shop owners struggling to keep a staffed and profitable shop running.
If you’re having trouble finding and keeping good auto technicians, here are the top 5 reasons why:
1. Poor Pay
It’s no secret you’ve got to pay to play. For every experienced technician, there are thousands of job openings. Money is not always the deciding factor – but an ad that offers less than great pay and benefits won’t get looked at twice.
2. Bad Reviews
Prospective customers take to the internet first before deciding to try you out – so do potential applicants. Negative reviews of your shop will turn technicians away and drive them to shops with more positive ratings online.
3. Poor Management
In every survey on why employees leave a company, poor leadership/management is in the top 5 reasons. People want to work for someone who inspires them and makes them feel their job means more than just fixing cars. If you are seeing talented auto techs and service advisors walk out your door, it might be the guy in the mirror causing it.
4. No Opportunity to Grow
Do you offer training to technicians to grow their skills? Did your service advisor receive in-depth sales training when they started? If you don’t have training programs in place, there’s a good chance someone else does. Smart shop owners recognize that to keep great technicians on their team; they need to grow them from inside the shop and invest in training.
5. Toxic Workplace Culture
Technicians who felt devalued, dehumanized and overworked left the industry. Few young people chose to pursue automotive technology as a career. We are paying for this today with the shortage of technicians. A recent Gallop study revealed that an employee who feels valued, listened to and that they make a difference in the world is 59% less likely to leave. Ask yourself – do you foster a culture of positivity, inclusion, and teamwork in your shop? If your answer is “no, or I don’t know,” that could be a problem.
The automotive technician shortage isn’t going to get better overnight. Smart shop owners make efforts to hold on to their talented mechanics, while growing entry-level (apprentice) technicians in-house. They also know what it takes to entice the best techs to work for them and how to add value to the workplace so that techs never want to leave. It’s more than just providing great pay – any competing shop can always offer more. It’s about making employees feel like a valuable part of the team.
Need more tips on how to hire and retain the best techs? Click here to get ATI’s FREE Hiring Checklist. It’s a simple, step-by-step tool that provides guidance for key areas of the hiring and onboarding process.