Most dealerships already find it difficult to recruit technicians. With the influx of warranty and safety recall repairs expected to increase, and as manufacturers pump out more electric vehicles, the need for experienced techs will explode. Some dealerships have found creative ways to recruit technicians – mostly for quick service – because they can be trained on the job. Strategies such as placing recruiting messages on oil and air filters have garnered some success because, when customers take their vehicle in for an oil change at some retail lube-only express facility, it’s usually the quick service technician who is removing the oil filter. And, so these techs see a message like, “Do you want to make more money? If so, call us!”
While this could be a clever way to find those quick service technicians who can be trained to handle more complicated repairs on the job, what if there were no master technicians, or even experienced ones, to do this training?
According to a recent article in Automotive News, some experienced techs – including those with lots of experience – are leaving the dealership environment to work for companies such as YourMechanic, where the future of vehicle servicing is taking shape. These experienced technicians feel they are at a ceiling in their dealerships as far as making more money, flexible schedules, and the wear and tear on their bodies from working in a dealership environment.
This type of work could be viewed as similar to an Uber driver (for an easy analogy). Because the technician can choose their own schedule and control their income while lacking any pressure to handle the heavy load and fast pace of a dealership. And they are not expected to continuously upsell services to customers.
Some dealers offer similar services, such as small jobs akin to quick service at a customer's home or office. This, however, can be costly and, from what I've seen, not that many dealerships currently offer this level of service.
If these services are indeed thriving, it may be worth your time to investigate and consider incorporating convenience into your offerings, if you don’t already do this. Assuming that these services can provide increased pay, flexibility of schedule, and decreased pressure for your technicians, while, at the same time, providing the “convenience” factor for your customers, technicians may start flocking to your dealership.
Fewer students are choosing the career path of automotive technicians, and many dealerships are forced to be increasingly competitive to attract the experienced technicians already out there. As these new companies keep popping up, it will create an even larger void for dealership service departments. It's obvious that these new servicing models not only appeal to consumers, but they're also luring technicians out of your service bays. If our industry doesn't adapt, the talent pool will slowly drain from our service departments.
And that will not bode well for service revenue, manufacturers, and customers.