Auto Service World
News   September 21, 2023   by Greg Aguilera

From the Magazine: Investing in staff

A look at the other kinds of tools today’s trade needs

Let’s talk about technician training and see if it’s really all that different from the “good old days.”

To answer this, we need to look at the skills required for our business today.

The first and the most obvious one is that we need the technical know-how to deliver diagnosis and repairs to vehicles. As we all know, the complexity of vehicles is and has been increasing for years. So this is for me a continuation of education.

Now that we are entering a time in automotive technology where we no longer have one component with one function, but multifunctional and split functionality, this makes in a lot of cases our lives easier when it comes to the diagnosis of function loss or component failure.

This is not to suggest that we don’t need ongoing diagnosis and repair training. But this will not be the only thing that our technical teams are going to need in their skills toolbox in the future.

These are the areas that you should focus on when it comes to hiring, developing and training your technical team.

Communication skills

The need for customers to see and understand what is required to fix their vehicle will be the biggest change to our industry in the coming years. Too often, “needs brakes” is the entirety of the note for the customer. Better communication is needed. Technicians play an integral role in customers receiving value for the services that they pay for. Effective communication training is essential.

Personal development

We almost exclusively have personal and people development for management and owners but neglect to think about this for our teams. For example, personal finance, self-management or time management. All critical topics to build a strong and happy team. Dismiss this one at your own peril.

Beyond technical know-how

We focus our technical training on complex and difficult problems. But as important as service and repair work is, all too often technicians are rushing through general service work with little or no care for the customer or pride in the work that they carry out. Being a world-class technician means looking after every car as if your family owned it. This needs to become a priority for shop owners as the satisfied customer who feels cared for is what drives the largest portion of revenue.

So the shop owner’s list of focus If we want our business to thrive, then it’s not just about turning wrenches anymore. As businesses, we employ people and serve people. Therefore, we need to restart how we think of our teams. With every struggle a shop owner has, staff experience the same. So invest in them as you would yourself with a fully rounded program of leadership and development, including technical training.

Greg Aguilera is a director of IAC Canada, an organization dedicated to the management development of repair shops in Canada. He can be reached at

This article originally appeared in the August issue of CARS.

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