“Make more money.” — It’s likely the most basic desire of auto shop owners, but it takes time.
“Time” is something most auto shops feel short on. Many shop owners become so bogged down by just trying to keep the shop running that they can’t spend time strategically working on revenue-generating initiatives and opportunities to grow and expand the shop. Can you relate?
Often, it’s easy for software companies like PartsTech to share how using our product will save you hours each year. And with this time savings, you can go forth and spend time on initiatives that will “Boost Your Bottom Line,” allow you to “Upgrade Your Shop,” and “Expand Your Operation.” Don’t get us wrong, we stand by these statements (in fact, we wrote a whole blog post about them to give you some helpful ideas 🙃 – link), but there is a significant opportunity to reallocate time savings in a way that many shops miss…
In an industry that struggles to attract and retain talented technicians, we cannot emphasize enough how important it is to take some of the time you save with software like PartsTech and reinvest it into your employees. And it’s also important to not forget about someone else — you. By spending time nurturing your employees and yourself, you will indirectly make steps toward creating a healthy and thriving shop on all fronts.
Ideas For How to Use Time Savings To Attract And Retain Technicians
There are actions you can take (both small and large) to become a shop that technicians want to work for and remain loyal to. Here are some ideas:
Get Your Employees Home On Time
Show that you value who your employees are inside and outside of work by getting them off on time. Having efficient operations opens up opportunities to increase your daily car count, boost revenue, AND ensure you’re getting your employees off the clock and home on time.
- Action: Strategize ways to achieve a higher car count without your technicians working into the evening.
Buy Staff Lunch Once A Week
Buying your team lunch may seem like a small gesture, but it goes a long way in showing your technicians and other staff that you appreciate them. It also helps build healthy team relationships and camaraderie between your employees.
- Action: Select 3-5 places you can easily order lunch from on a rotating basis.
- Action: Create a standard order for each restaurant (taking everyone’s order each week will be a time sink — creating a regular order is best).
- Action: Put weekly lunch into your budget, decide what day of the week it will be, and make it happen.
Start A Recognition Program
One reason technicians leave the industry is because they do not feel appreciated. They feel overlooked and overworked. Regularly recognizing and appreciating your employees is crucial.
- Action: Brainstorm the type of recognition program you wish to have, such as “Employee of the Month.” Is there a single recognition category or multiple?
- Action: Determine how the award is achieved and when winners will be announced.
- Action: Be thoughtful about how the winner is recognized. Do you install an employee of the month photo wall? Do you ceremoniously give out a gift card each month to the winner? Make it fun. Make it meaningful.
Create A Monthly Incentivization Program
Incentivization is a fun way to gamify performance with a healthy dose of friendly competition.
- Action: Determine the incentive(s), how employees can achieve them, and when they will be distributed or announced.
- Example: Whoever does the most <insert desired outcome here> each month will receive a $50 gift card. Keep a scoreboard and make it fun.
- Note: Create incentive opportunities for your entire team (i.e., Your technicians may need one incentive program and your service advisors another).
Invest In Your Technicians’ Career Development
A clear career path is essential in any industry and role. Auto technicians are no exception. It’s important to be proactively involved in their career development to ensure they don’t feel stuck in a stagnant career.
- Action: Show interest in who each technician wants to be “when they grow up.” Ask them about their career goals, create a clear path for achieving those goals, and proactively help them achieve them.
- Action: Train or send them to outside training and certifications to expand their knowledge and skill set.
Upgrade Your Employee Benefits
Refreshing benefits may seem like a heavy lift, but it’s vital that your employees feel appropriately compensated.
- Action: Spend time evaluating the wages, benefits, and bonuses you offer your employees.
- Are they competitive? — No? How can you fix that?
- Could they be better? — Yes? What are the steps you need to take to make them better?
- Action: Get help. Don’t be shy about getting outside help if you need to change your benefits — no one expects you to be a benefits expert.
Create A Desirable Work Environment For Your Technicians
Working conditions matter to your technicians. Be intentional about creating a positive work environment. Here are some ideas:
- Provide a well-stocked break area — Do you have a nice place for your technicians to take their breaks?
- Action: Even if you don’t have the space for a break room, create a nice break area. Have a clean fridge, a table, seating, cold water, hot coffee, etc.
- Install AC and/or heating on the shop floor — The working environment on many shop floors is brutal — far too hot in the summers and way too cold in the winters — creating less than desirable conditions for employment.
- Action: Find out what HVAC costs and what your shop would need regarding space, prep, etc.
- Action: Don’t have the budget for HVAC now? That’s OK! Create a savings plan instead of passing on HVAC altogether.
- Organize and maintain the shop floor — Not only do you want the shop floor to be clean and safe, but all equipment should be well maintained, and the shop should be well organized so that your techs can quickly find and use what they need when they need it.
- Action: Organize your shop and get the whole team onboard to keep it organized.
- Action: Maintain your equipment. If it’s barely hobbling along, consider replacing it.
- Give them modern tools — We’re not talking about the latest and greatest impact driver….we’re talking about the diagnostic tools, software, computers, laptops, tablets, (and more) that will make their jobs easier. Remember, the younger generation of technicians was essentially born with technology in their hands — having modern solutions in your shop will not be lost on them — in fact, it may be a detractor to them if your shop does not have such tools.
- Action: Do an audit of your techs’ day-to-day processes and find out if there are modern solutions to help them with their efficiency and performance. (Hint: Check out shop management systems if you don’t have one.)
Don’t get overwhelmed by the list above. Step one is to be aware of opportunities to help attract and retain technicians. When you are ready to take action, the next step is to start with the lowest-hanging opportunities that will be easiest for you to implement in the shortest amount of time. After that, prioritize the larger initiatives and create a plan to tackle them.
Ideas For How to Use Time Savings To Invest In Yourself
Are you taking the time to invest in yourself? Prioritizing your employees is fantastic, but don’t be bashful about prioritizing yourself too.
How’s your work-life balance? When was the last time you took a vacation? Are you burnt out?
Depending on your answers to the above, consider how you can use saved time to invest in yourself and your well-being. If you’re at the helm of your shop, investing in and taking care of yourself will have benefits that cascade down to your employees and your business.
Here are some ideas:
Be Intentional With Time Savings
Regardless of how you use time savings, always look for new ways to save time in your shop. Modern technology and tools are constantly changing and evolving to service your shop to help you run more efficiently so that your business can grow and thrive from the inside out. Seconds saved add up to minutes saved, which adds up to hours saved. See our latest infographic to learn more about how saving time in just one area of your shop can significantly impact your business – click here.