Most automotive and HD truck shops—mechanical and collision-repair shops—need more technicians.
Over the years, shop owners have sought to hire new techs and have ended up with various results.
Since 2002, S/P2 has provided industry-specific online training in mentoring and soft skills. S/P2 Careers takes highly-skilled workers within the automotive service and collision repair industry and helps place them with the right first employer.
Now, S/P2 is on a mission to help shops find, recruit and hire entry-level techs.
“42 percent of students that graduate from automotive programs and enter the industry end up leaving in their first two years,” said Kyle Holt, president of S/P2.
Around 50 percent of shop owners look to hire an experienced tech; however, Holt wants to help the other 50 percent of shops that do want to grow their business with entry-level techs.
Car dealerships are open to employing entry-level techs, but HD shops are the most willing to take on new techs, said Holt.
“Our goal is to connect the entry-level tech with the right shop as their first employer,” said Holt. “Not just any shop—a shop where they can plant themselves. We want to reverse this turn out after two years trend.”
Most entry-level techs have an ideal employer in mind. Below, Holt outlines five key points for employers who wish to employ a new tech.
Outline an Effective Career Path
Nobody wants to be in a dead-end job. Nothing kills enthusiasm more than knowing there is nothing to look forward to. Shop owners should design a path showing entry-level techs where they can go in their career and what they can earn based on training or education they receive.
Implement a Systematic Mentoring Program
Many times a shop owner will pair a new tech with the most experienced tech; however, this distracts the more adept tech. Instead, look for someone who is knowledgeable yet empathetic. Your expert tech is not necessarily the best teacher.
Address the Pay Issue
As a tech gains more knowledge and skill, they are worth more and should be paid accordingly. A beginner tech should be aware of how much they can make.
Leverage a Free Tool System
A toolbox and a tech go hand-in-hand. However, buying tools is expensive. Many starting techs cannot afford to cover these costs.
Holt said many shops are starting to buy tools for their techs, which is a great idea. Others are giving techs a monthly tool allowance.
“I suggest that shops buy and own all of the tools, but makes the techs responsible for them,” Holt said.
“People learn at different speeds and in different ways,” said Holt.
Don’t expect your entry-level tech to retain a ton of new information in a short amount of time, he said. Be patient and let them learn at their own pace, he added.