Lately, factories are justifiably focused on the crescendo of long overdue tech recruitment and training programs. However, there is not, as of yet, a feverish discussion to save the precious techs we have, nor how to keep apprentice techs from “washing out” either in training or on their new job.
I contend that this should be widely understood as the root cause of the jittery tech shortage and they are ultimately far more important. A continued decline in the technician pool holds the potential to ignite panic. These developments would strike at the very heart of dealership economic foundation that has supported the country since the end of World War II when GIs came home and bought a new car.
The wave of tech shortages threatens to push the dealership’s economy into a recession that not even the Fed could bail out!
We need a solution that would actually do something to stop the skid of good techs getting recruited out of our industry, or how to keep newly anointed techs from ripping off and throwing their safety glasses across the shop when discovering that they got paid 35 hours (flat rate) after spending 40+ hours at the dealership.
Believe me, I constantly hear this from seasoned and beginner techs who have vaporized from our industry.
Continuing to pay techs on the antiquated flat-rate system is like driving a high-performance car faster down a cul-de-sac!
Here’s my advice:
OEMs: Give your dealers approval to move warranty and door rate up 20 percent to support more gross.
Dealers: Take your A and B techs, give them a guaranteed weekly plus production bonus so they make the same as engineers — $75k to $150k a year — without killing themselves or smoking every ticket they can get their latex gloves on. Provide C techs $50k with production bonuses, D techs and apprentices should be guaranteed $35k to $40k with career paths to make perpetually more.
If we all lack the courage to administer such medicine, this will add up to a rough road for car companies and dealerships.