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Retaining Auto Service Techs: What's Your Plan?

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You managed to hire several young, motivated, skilled auto service technicians before COVID-19 hit. How are you planning to retain their services after the economy reopens and there’s more work to go around?

Justin Morgan, chair of Sinclair Community College’s automotive technology school in Dayton, Ohio, has a few thoughts on the subject. (Several Sinclair auto service students have graduated to full-time positions at Grismer Tire Co., which is based in Dayton.)

"Talking positively about the (tire and auto service) profession is important," he says. "Make technicians feel valued for the work they do.

"Having different pay structures for different technicians can help retain employees. That could be a tiered flat rate structure. However, sometimes people prefer time off over money, which is why I believe you need to have two to three options."

Millennials, he says, place a higher premium on flexible scheduling than older technicians.

"For technicians going through a high school or college automotive program, I think a career plan, on paper, is important," Morgan adds. "All too often, this is verbal. But I believe if repair facilities put in attainable goals for efficiency and training, young people will work to meet those goals. The plan needs to be in writing and is something the technician and manager should revisit every so often to ensure they are meeting the goals that have been laid out.

“With the aging workforce and dropping birthrates per year, we have fewer people to fill employment opportunities,” he says. “With the technician demand so high right now, some shops are left to ‘poach’ from other shops, which becomes a vicious cycle to break. 

“I believe that we, as an industry, need to think outside the box. We cannot continue to say, “Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it.’” 

What are you doing to retain young technicians? What methods have proven to be effective? Drop me a line and we’ll share with fellow MTD readers in an upcoming edition of this blog.

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