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Your next tech is working for a competitor

Monday, April 16, 2018 - 07:00
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This article was written with the help of ATI Coach Steve Privette

We are all aware of the technician shortage in our industry. There are likely more shops out there looking for a tech than not. One thing we need to realize is the tech we are looking for is currently working for someone else. With the supply and demand situation what it is, if a tech is not currently working, that’s an elective choice. Do we really want to hire a tech who is not working right now? It would seem to me that individual would not be hungry, motivated or responsible.  

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That being said, the tech we want is currently working for a competitor. So how do we attract them to come to us, and away from where they are? Let’s listen to veteran ATI coach Steve Privette explain how it is done. 

In many cases, if a tech is looking to leave his current job it is usually for one or more of these five reasons: 

  1. Money 
  1. Time 
  1. Convenience 
  1. Environment 
  1. Relocation 

In our search for a tech, we need to be focused on these five motivators. Your ads need to touch on all of these areas to give you the best chance of finding your next technician. Let’s look at each. 


This is, in many cases, the most popular reason when a tech is searching — more money. Let’s face it, if we don’t pay them well, someone else surely will. In our search, we certainly do not want to use words like “competitive pay” in our postings. The word “competitive” equates to average. They can get average anywhere, and if a tech is searching based on more money, he will fly right by your posting with that description. How about this instead: “Industry top pay for the right individual.” That will pique the interest of a tech searching for more money. Another idea is to offer a hiring/signing bonus, which can be paid out over service time. Are you thinking you cannot afford to pay more? Realistically you can’t afford not to. You may have to adjust your labor rate to compensate for paying more, which is what every industry does. As costs go up in any business, this gets passed along to the consumer. If you view yourself as the best shop in town, you should be able to pay the best and charge the best. Are you the best shop in town? 

As important as money is, many techs are not as motivated by money as we would think. There are many that are more motivated by the next reason. 


Many of the techs you are looking for are currently working five or more days per week, and some including weekends. These days it appears more and more employees value their time just as much — or more — than money. One of my members was getting very minimal response to his tech search, so we decided to modify the listing he was running to say “four- or five-day work week, your choice.” His responses increased a good bit as he was getting interest in the four-day work week option. We talked about this and decided that getting a good tech four days per week was better than currently zero days a week. Long story short, that shop owner ended up doing four-day work weeks for all of his techs, and just added another tech for full weekly coverage. He hasn’t experienced a work force issue since. Also, this helps with the convenience for the tech as he would only need to commute to work four days per week as opposed to five or more. A potential tech who is on the fence about coming to work for you due to distance might be swayed by commuting one less day weekly. Do not underestimate the value techs hold with respect to time. 


This one is the one we have the least control over. Some techs are searching for a change due to a long commute. We of course cannot move our shop to where the tech is, but we can offer to assist with the costs related to his/her commute by helping with fuel expense and/or even offering a car to drive for the right individual. These can be worked into a pay plan. Also as mentioned above you can offer a four day work week to help compensate for the commute.  

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