The old saying “many hands make for light work” can sometimes go both ways.
Being shorthanded in any situation, especially in terms of staffing at a small business, can make it seem like you’re swimming against the current, and every day is a struggle just to make a dent in your to-do list.
In the auto repair industry, making do with a smaller staff is fast becoming a reality. As we’ve all noticed, the quantity of quality techs entering our field in recent years has dwindled significantly, and the average age of an ASE-certified tech is getting higher and higher, currently sitting right around 45.
There are several reasons for this trend, all of which seem to stem from societal factors and none of which can be remedied easily. While we can’t control how many techs are entering the industry or how many “hirable” techs are available in our given market, the one thing we can control is being proactive and putting ourselves in a position to do more with less by having good systems and policies in place. In my experience, the best way to accomplish this is to make sure your shop’s culture is the very best it can be and that your staff members are 1) educated, 2) energized and 3) efficient!
Knowledge is power
Training is an element of this industry that a lot of shop owners are guilty of ignoring or taking for granted. Your employees need to constantly be on top of emerging trends, new technologies and modern equipment if you want to have a competitive advantage in your market, and they need to understand precisely how things work in your shop and what is expected of them for things to run smoothly.
There is no substitute for giving clear expectations. Proper training provides an opportunity to get everyone on the same page and working together, towards the same goal.
Training removes any confusion or blurry lines from your process. It gives your culture a chance to grow in a direction that ownership can define and maintain influence on.
By choosing to constantly train, you quickly notice the chaos dissipating and the team engaging with customers and one another in a positive, confident manner. Training allows people to really shine as they begin to understand the parameters within which you wish them to operate. If knowledge equals power, then training is precisely what you need to fire up the engine of your shop and improve productivity no matter what your tech count might be!
Incentivize to energize
In order to properly motivate your staff and get the most out of your employees, having a good incentivized payment plan in place is an absolute must. Properly and positively rewarding good work and good workers who go the extra mile will ensure your staff is operating at an optimal level regardless of its size.