I enjoyed a brief chat with Toronto-based Bento De Sao Jose the other day. He owns Bento's Auto and Tire Centre in the city's west end and he had his showroom fitted out as a training centre for one of the many training sessions he hosts for...
I enjoyed a brief chat with Toronto-based Bento De Sao Jose the other day. He owns Bento’s Auto and Tire Centre in the city’s west end and he had his showroom fitted out as a training centre for one of the many training sessions he hosts for local techs. Bento noted that he often loses techs he trains to competing shops that don’t do or support training themselves. Why? The more I speak with shop owners, the more excuses I hear. Here are a few:
Training is too expensive
What defines “expensive?” The problem is it’s difficult to measure the profit lost from not doing the job because nobody in the shop can fix the vehicle. Lucky operations have techs that “specialize” in subsystems like ECUs or traction control, but most simply don’t have the staffing to allow this, so everybody has to do everything. When was the last time you calculated how much business you turn away or farm out to specialist shops?
There’s no time/we’re too busy
I know a doctor that routinely takes training days to get up to speed on what’s new in medicine. She “loses” a ton of money, but considers it an investment. Want your cancer treated by a surgeon who hasn’t read anything since medical school? You get the picture. Some shops are lucky enough to have techs that train themselves, at their own expense and on their own time; but that effectively adds unpaid hours to the employee’s work week. Think they don’t consider paid training as a desirable benefit when looking for a better job? I would.
Other shops just steal the tech I trained
Employee retention is a major issue with some shops. Some are geographically challenged. It’s tough to compete if the “oil patch” or an assembly plant looks for skilled trades. Some face tough competition from new car dealers and big independents. These aren’t problems, they’re market forces. You can’t blame a quality worker from moving up, and if it requires moving on, that’s a signal that your business is not a competitive workplace, something the shop owner needs to understand. If your shop is a revolving door, training may not be a priority; but if you have a program it’s a sign you’re serious about career development for your staff as well as shop profitability. They notice.
We don’t fix the high-technology stuff anyway
Planning on selling your business when you retire? Wanna be in business five years from now? You have to sell a lot of brake jobs and oil changes to make up for an increasing stream of owners whose computer-laden vehicles are turned away or are sub-contracted by your shop. Major chains have picked the easy-job low-hanging fruit and the fleet of vehicles now coming off warranty is dripping with electronics. It is useless complaining about it … this is the reality. And if you have to lure a tech away from another shop because your current people aren’t up to speed, that’s a sure sign that you’re not investing enough in your people.
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