Auto Service World
News   April 25, 2024   by Adam Malik

When to know it’s time to fire someone

A shop owner and coach has one simple task he wants all shop owners to go through with everyone in their shop.

Sit down, write down everyone’s name on a piece of paper and ask: If you were to fire that person, how would it impact your shop? And what would your employees say about it?

That’s what Jay Huh, a business coach at Shop Fix Academy and owner of CarMedix, advised hundreds of attendees of the session Run your Shop Stress Free at the Midwest Auto Care Alliance’s Vision Hi-Tech Training & Expo to do.

If your business will run the same and “Thank God he’s gone,” will be the response from your staff, “you might want to let them go,” Huh advised.

If you have techs or advisors who are bad employees, they suck the energy out of the staff who are great performers. Those great performers see you tolerating the bad work and they bring themselves down a few notches. Or they leave, which is something that happened to Huh.

Jay Huh, a business coach at Shop Fix Academy and shop owner, speaks at the MWACA Vision 2024 event in Kanscas City

“High performers do not tolerate low performers,” he emphasized.

Huh had two advisors who used to be great. But then their performance started falling. Average repair orders fell. Closing rates fell. Hours then followed suit. Those techs who eagerly showed up early for work were coming in late. One of his top techs then handed in his resignation. Then his highest performing tech did the same soon after. He had four staff members leave in three months.

Huh admitted he let those poor performers drive away his good staff because he was afraid to fire people.

“Do you think that might cause a little bit of stress?” he asked rhetorically. “Your low performers, it will drive away your best people.”

And when you look around, it’ll just be your B- and C-level staff in your shop. And they’ll come up to you saying they’ll never leave, that they’re loyal and you don’t have to worry about them, as they did to Huh.

“I know you’re never going to leave me — I’m trying to shake you,” he said.

It ties back to fear. And fear leads to poor decisions, Huh warned.

“Now I’m hiring on all these people that are not qualified. Now. I’m just trying to fill a seat,” he said. “You lower your standards for the inadequacies of the team.”

The spiral begins when you pay attention and put energy into your low performers and ignore your high performers. As the owner, you have to have your employees’ best interests in mind.

“Prolonging the inevitable when you know you have to deal with something and when you know you have to let somebody go — that’s bad leadership,” Huh said. “You have people right now in your business that don’t belong on the bus. And it’s your selfish interest that keeps them there.”

But you have to take a stand, he added.

“When you fired that employee, that means you’re standing up your business,” Huh said.

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2 Comments » for When to know it’s time to fire someone
  1. BARRY says:


  2. Stephen Osellame says:

    Performance can mean different things to different people.
    Some value speed, while others like to see high success rates. Some see high billable hours as high performing.

    So defining “high performing” needs to be made more clear.

    I personally prioritize success rate over speed or billable hours (to an extent with the latter). While I am not the fastest in my shop, I try to keep my times as close as possible to the quote. If I’m not happy with the final work, I’ll go over the quote time to ensure the repair is sound. Does this make me a poor performer? Does my employer or my colleagues hold different views and therefore question my abilities/worthiness/contributions to the revenue of the shop?

    Being all 3 is obviously the magic bullet, but like the old adage says, “speed, quality and cost, pick 2 of the 3”.

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