As we compete in the small pool of potential new hire technicians, I ask you to take a walk through your shop and ask yourself, “If I were a technician, would this be a place that I would want to work? Does my shop environment support technician productivity and efficiency? Does my service department appear at a higher standard than my competitors?”
Often, the answer to this question would be no.
Here are some suggestions that can make a difference in your facility and entice a prospect to come on board:
- How is the housekeeping? Are the floors clean, trash emptied, discarded parts disposed of daily? Oil and fluid spills should be removed immediately.
- Is the tool room organized and arranged properly, with tools easy to find and in good condition?
- How is the lighting? Will the technician have proper lighting to easily see in the engine bay? Consider parking a vehicle in a work stall, open the hood, and take a look for yourself to determine.
- Are the walls freshly painted? Does it appear that ownership takes pride in the appearance of the service department?
- Is a workbench with closing doors and a vice offered to each technician’s bay?
- Can parts be easily obtained? Please consider a staffed in-shop parts kiosk with high-density bins that support all fast-moving maintenance and repair parts.
- Air hoses and drop lights should be mounted from the ceiling, eliminating the possibility of a trip hazard, such as in a wall mount.
- Exhaust systems with hoses in proper working condition should be supplied to each work stall.
- Oil reels or oil bars, and washer solvent taps, should be easily accessed, one for every three bays, that distribute the most popular fluids.
- Consider installing anti-fatigue floor mats in the service bay areas to provide comfort and relief from standing for the technician.
- Parts washers should be supplied with clean solvent and be easily accessible.
- Is the shop comfortable to work in? Ample heat during cold months or air conditioning or large fans for the warm months. Consider a wall-mount fan in each technician bay.
- Examine your tire, brake, and alignment equipment for condition, updating, and speed. Technicians are seeking new technology that supports less physical output and greater speed and efficiency. There should be ample brake lathes, tire changers, and wheel balancers to support the number of technicians and the dealerships around the wheel business.
- Is the parts back counter properly staffed? Is there a wait line to get parts? A good ratio is one counterperson per seven technicians.
- Job cards should be easily accessible for dispatching, with the vehicle’s keys for the technician.
- Examine your parking lot for technician efficiency. Have parking available for awaiting service vehicles close to the shop, with parking spaces numbered for ease of location.
- Clean restrooms with individual lockers for the technicians should be provided and maintained daily.
- There should be a climate-controlled room that is comfortable and clean for technician breaks, meals, and meetings, equipped with a clean microwave and refrigerator.
These suggestions will not only provide a pride of ownership environment but will also support our service teams in taking pride in their workmanship and employer. Making these changes will attract a more professional technician and set you apart from the competitors in your market.