From the Desk of Mike Anderson: Measuring Your Body Shop’s Performance Based on Gross Sales Per Tech

If you're not hitting average monthly gross sales of $65,000 to $75,000 per body tech, there are several possible reasons to consider.

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One of the things we’ve been tracking in our 20 Groups, the Spartans, are average sales produced per month per body tech and paint tech. A lot of people talk about measuring technician efficiencies, but I prefer to monitor the average sales produced per person.

In the body department, for example, I would say the average shop prior to COVID had monthly gross sales of between $55,000 and $65,000 per body tech. If a shop had gross monthly sales of $275,000 produced by three body techs and two body apprentices, the average is $55,000 a month for each of the five people working in the body department.

Today, we see shops averaging about $65,000 to $75,000 in gross sales per person in the body department. Sure, there are some outliers, those with an average far below that, and some north of $100,000 per person in the body department. But when you exclude those high and low outliers, the average is in that $65,000 to $75,000 range.

So what if you’re not hitting that average? I would bet it’s because of one or more of the following reasons.

Estimate quality. There are likely labor operations your techs are performing that aren’t being included on estimates or final invoices.

Administrative bottlenecks. Your technicians could produce more, but they’re waiting for an admin person to write an estimate or supplement, so they’re not making the most of their time. Or the techs might be performing some of the administrative functions -- checking in their own parts, for example -- because the shop is running lean on admin staff. It’s important to understand what that’s costing you. If your shop is making 45% gross profit (unloaded) on the $75,000 a technician is producing in a month, take that $33,750 and divide it by the 160 hours the technician works in the month. Having that body tech checking in his own parts is costing you about $211 per hour in lost potential gross profit.

Skill sets or training. Maybe you have a lot of entry-level apprentices. Your average sales per tech may be low in the short-term, but it’s a little pain for the longer-term gain. But also think about what training you can get techs -- from I-CAR, 3M or BETAG, etc. -- to boost their productivity.

Overstaffing. I’ve seen some shops be overstaffed at times ahead of opening another shop location, or because of some upcoming staff retirements. But those should be shorter-term issues rather than chronic overstaffing.

Scheduling. A low average could also be a sign you’re not scheduling in the right mix of work based on the skill sets of your techs.

Pay plans. Could your pay plan improve how incentivized your team is to produce? Again, pay plans vary based on shop leadership and culture, but it can contribute to monthly sales produced per technician.

These are the most common reasons I see why shops’ numbers per tech aren’t keeping up with the industry, but there certainly are other potential nuances as well. A high average gross sales per body technician could be inflated by a lot of PDR work after a hailstorm, for example. It could be affected by techs staying late to work, or coming in early or on weekends. A high labor rate, or a mix of work that includes a lot of high-end vehicles, will affect your average. So it’s important to look for all the contributing factors like these when tracking your average gross sales per person.

Mike Anderson

Columnist
Mike Anderson is a columnist for Autobody News and president of Collision Advice, a consulting company for the auto body/collision repair industry.

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