Let me add caffeine: Take that same employee without a working spouse. Now, they need to make $29 an hour to survive.
Gary Ledoux’s article, titled “Does the Collision Industry Have a Crisis of Opportunity?” published in the March 2019 edition of Autobody News, quoted many owners saying they were trying to attract newbies with $9 to $12 an hour. So, let’s pretend we are young again.
We have binge-watched the Velocity/Motor Trend channel where the image of stench and stigma of a craftsman is gone. (Thank you, Velocity/Motor Trend!) We then see the immaculate shops in the UTI and Lincoln Tech commercials. (More stigma removed!)
So, to further our curiosity, we read the trade school’s online information stating that we would need a student loan of at least $30,000 to earn a professional degree from one of these fine higher-learning institutions. Also, we read we will have to purchase at least $20,000 worth of tools. All this to perhaps indulge in what we hope is a profession that gives us satisfaction as well as pays all the bills and student loans.
That leads us to our step. We seek the know-all/see-all pal Google, where we search “average salary of collision repair technician”.
Result? “Collision repair technicians make an average $41,570 per year, or $19.99 per hour”
That means a single earner WITH some good skills and experience---ALICE! Never mind tool expense and student loan debt.
Hell, if I were young, I would apply to COSCO or Amazon or Disney or Apple or Ben & Jerry’s or Walmart, make at least $14 an hour TO START and continue to binge-watch “All-Girls Garage.”
Further distilling: If our goal is to escape ALICE, we need to make $61,000. That equates to $29.50 an hour. The gap that your DPRs are paying today to support that gross is not a bridge too far---it is a canyon, far and wide!
Conclusion? It’s time to lean in on insurance companies. They must be made aware that keeping their foot on your throat cuts the air off into your gross whereby you are fishing for new employees (and losing good ones) to other industries. Massive efforts nationwide are being taken by railroads, utility companies, oil companies and trucking companies to fill the open positions coming up from baby boomers retiring.