Increase your rates, coaches urge traders
With a severe shortage of auto technicians, there’s a good way to get more of them into the industry and into your shop, according to a pair of coaches: pay them more.
And you can pay them more by charging your customers more.
“Across the industry, we are short of a few hundred thousand technicians and we are not attracting them,” said Cecil Bullard, CEO of the Institute for Automotive Business Excellence.
He was speaking at AAPEX 2021 alongside Vik Tarasik, Managing Partner of Shop Owner Coach, as part of the AMA Coach Shop (Ask me anything).
How do stores pay someone as little as possible and expect them to want to stay in the industry, Bullard wondered. He remembered a store paying $ 8.50 an hour to someone outside of high school – which may have been below legal requirements at the time – and you’d expect she becomes a technician. Then some stores will pay a master technician $ 25 an hour, which he called too little. Many master technicians charge $ 60 an hour.
“And, frankly, they should be paid $ 60 an hour,” Bullard said on the AAPEX stage at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas. “But most stores can’t afford it. They can’t make it work because our prices aren’t high enough. As an industry, we had to increase by 30% five years ago.
“The best performing stores have no problem charging what they are worth because they value themselves. “
Stores can increase their rates from $ 10 to $ 20 an hour and few customers would notice. Even for those who do, straying from your store is unlikely to be enough, Bullard pointed out.
“Other than the cheapest customer you have who’s never going to make you money, who you don’t want to talk to anyway,” he added.
Tarasik agreed. Too many stores are reluctant to even increase their prices by $ 5. But you just have to look at the high performing stores that charge higher prices and don’t experience a backlash from customers.
“The top performing stores have no problem charging what they’re worth because they value themselves,” Tarasik said.
The customer trusts you to do the job. That confidence is not based on the dollar amount you charge, he added.
“What we need to break down is: [The shop owner] want to be the friend of the customer. That’s where that $ 5 comes in, ”Tarasik said.