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May 12, 2023 / by

Seven Ways to Attract Top-Notch Auto Repair Technicians

You suddenly lose your top auto mechanic, leaving you without expertise across a wide range of car manufacturers. What’s the first thing you do? Most likely, you quickly create a job advertisement, interview everyone that applies (note: the pool of applicants is bound to be small), and hire someone that, at best, has mediocre skills.

Yes, there is a shortage of qualified auto repair mechanics, and it’s only going to get worse. A study conducted by TechForce Foundation found that by 2024, the U.S. will be short about 642,000 automotive, diesel, and collision technicians if we stay the current course. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t attract top talent. In fact, business savvy repair shop owners and managers are using the tech shortage to their advantage.

Rise Above the Technician Draught and Outpace the Competition

Competition for qualified auto repair technicians has never been fiercer. Hiring the type of talent that will draw customers to your repair shop and turn them into repeat business takes more than just a help wanted sign on your shop window. To put you on the path to hiring exceptional auto technicians, we’ve put together the top seven hiring strategies that will give you a competitive edge.

  1. Know the talent pool: As technicians from the Baby Boomer era retire, they are being replaced by Gen X’ers, Millennials and Gen Z’ers who don’t scan the help wanted ads to find a job. To capture their interest, you need to be where they are and that means social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and job search engine sites. When it comes to this digital native talent pool, be sure to offer video interviews, online communications, and digital onboarding.
  2. Freshen your website: Web presence is critical to not only attract new customers but capture the attention of technicians. If your website is reminiscent of years’ gone by or if you’re one of the more than 25% of small business owners that doesn’t have a website, there’s no time like the present. Need some inspiration, check out some auto repair shop websites that are making their mark in the industry. When setting up or refreshing your website, don’t forget to include an ‘employment opportunity’ link in a prominent location such as the website menu bar. 
  3. Pay competitive wages: What do you currently pay your technicians? Depending on their experience, vehicle tech salaries range from $24.51 per hour to over $34.00 per hour, not including overtime and benefits such as 401K plans, life insurance, medical, dental, etc. Of course, these figures will vary depending on your location. In addition to paying competitively, you may want to start new employees on an hourly basis until they’ve proved themselves. Once this happens offer an annual salary and provide performance bonuses, annual pay increases, and raises for achieving ASE certifications.
  4. Recruit military veterans: All branches of the military have vehicle technician programs, so why not draw from this highly trained and disciplined group?  Check out Recruit Military for job fairs, as well as veterans seeking employment.
  5. Develop relationships with tech schools: This is all about reaching out within your community. Get involved with local technical schools and get to know the students, as well as the instructors. You can accomplish this by offering to give a presentation, hosting a roundtable, joining the school’s advisory board, or conducting a technology clinic at your shop. While this will take time and energy, the results are worth it. Not sure where to begin? Find technical schools that are looking to work with local industry professionals through organizations like the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF).
  6. Offer ongoing training: Considering how quickly and frequently vehicles change, even within the same model, continuous training of your technicians is essential. However, one of the biggest challenges facing shop owners/managers and their technicians is finding the time for training. According to IMR Inc., finding time for hands on training tops the challenge list at 42.6%, staying up to date with advances in diagnostics (31.6%), keeping up with advances in vehicle technology (31.1%), and finding good, knowledgeable and motivated technicians (29.2%). The first step is to develop a culture of training within your shop and make it a part of your new hire orientation program. You can offer in shop hands-on training by pairing new hires with seasoned technicians. Additionally, be sure to supplement your technicians’ knowledge by providing access to an online archive of real-world fixes that are confirmed by L1 Master Technicians and access to ASA Master, L1 Carline Specialists to help solve even the most challenging fixes. Get your team access to Identifix Autodata online training today.
  7. Keep the recruitment pipeline full: You don’t necessarily need to have an open position to interview candidates. Keeping the pipeline full will enable you to maintain a steady stream of qualified resumes, so when an opening occurs, you’ll have your pick of top-notch technicians that want to work at your shop.

Although the number of vehicle technicians is dwindling, incorporating some or all the above hiring strategies will help you and your shop stand out in a crowded playing field. Not only will you have your choice of the most qualified auto repair techs, but many of these strategies also provide additional benefits. For example, attending job fairs, developing relationships with tech schools, freshening or creating your website not only puts you on the fast track to attracting the best-of-the-best technicians, but they also help promote your shop. By keeping your shop top of mind, you will catch the attention of qualified techs, attract new customers, and ultimately set yourself up for long-term profitability.

Learn more or go back to: Identifix.com