Message from Doug McDougall
Everybody needs technicians, but do they? I see a lot of dealerships looking for technicians, with promises of signing bonuses, etc.
We had no shortage of technicians at Sisley for Honda, and here’s why:
- We offered employees a concise program to begin as a lot person, then to a lube tech, then to a tire technician, then an apprentice, then the technician role. It was a five-year plan, and our employees knew exactly what would come next.
- We always “filled the Ferris wheel” and ensured that we had two graduates per year.
- We promoted some technician personnel to shop foreman positions and, at times, to assistant service manager and even service manager. (The current service manager was a shop foreman.)
- Our technicians did not perform LOF (lube, oil, filter) and tire work. A hospital wouldn’t put their brain surgeon in the ER putting bandages on scraped knees. Why would you put your highest skilled person on low-skilled jobs?
- By carefully assigning our work, we kept all of our people busy.
Focus on the skill level required for the work in your shop. By doing so, you may realize that you do not require additional technicians. Instead, you may require lower-skilled personnel. If you do require lower-skilled employees, make their life rewarding (and yours) by offering a concise five-year plan for their progression. Your fixed ops will shine.
About Doug McDougall
Doug McDougall has had various roles during his 40-year automotive career. His most recent role was general manager for Sisley Honda, which was recently sold to Pfaff Automotive.