One Way To Combat A Shortage Of Good Technicians Is To Develop Them In-House. - J.R. Martino
For the past few years, I have been in various performance groups, which have taken me across North America. We compare best practices and speak about what keeps us up at night. The one consistent factor, industry wide, is the lack of technicians. Let me clarify: the lack of GOOD technicians. This can pose a big problem to those facilities looking to expand and grow. So what’s the solution? Quite simply, to build your own technicians.
How It Works
The process begins by working with local high schools and trade colleges and getting students interested not only in collision repair but also in the business. As a result, all of the licenced technicians we’ve developed over the years have spent time working in the parts room, have been taught how to write a thorough estimate and have an understanding of how the front office works. Having the potential technician understand there is a method to our madness truly helps speed up the learning curve in their progression.
There’s also the process of teaming an apprentice up with a licenced, certified technician. They spend a predetermined amount of time with the respected certified technician, teaching the apprentice not only collision repair but how to be a professional—all while the apprentice is enrolled in their schooling and completing the levels necessary towards becoming a licenced technician.During the time the apprentice is serving under the licenced tech, we develop time frames for “milestones,” which we feel the apprentice should be able to achieve during his or her training.
This is managed by monthly meetings with both the senior technician and the apprentice. Not only are we building technicians to repair vehicles a certain way but we are also building a culture. A culture where the senior technicians have a vested interest in the junior ones’ development because they helped get them to where they are professionally.
Now there are some challenges with developing technicians in this way. Most senior technicians are hesitant to train and develop younger ones because they feel this will slow their production, especially if that tech is working on a flat rate.