Driving Employee Retention In Your Repair Shop

Every time you lose a technician, it hits your bottom line — hard. Empty bays don’t generate revenue so it pays to find ways to keep your qualified and reliable techs on your team.

What does it take to build loyalty? A strong leader who makes employees feel appreciated and involved in the business.

According to Motor.com, 45% of shop owners see skilled tech shortages as their top challenge, compared to changes in technology (20%) and even profitability (18%).

Shop owners say if they could hire the number of technicians they really need, then they could increase their revenue by at least 17%. Some of our allies shared their tips via this webinar if you’re interested.

Let’s take a closer look at what keeps employees in your shop.

Good Leaders Draw Roadmaps

Leadership begins with sharing your vision with your techs. You know you’re doing more than fixing cars because your customers rely on you to get their wheels back on the road. By imparting that overall outlook to your staff, they see themselves as part of the solution to problems.

Ask them how they can contribute to your success and work with them to realize their goals. That’s a powerful motivator.

Actions like this help you to retain the techs you have, saving you from costly turnover and lost opportunities when you have to turn customers away.

Employee Turnover is an Expensive U-turn

Every time you lose an employee, it costs you time and money to replace them. When you hire anew, you lose momentum as you get them settled and trained. Keeping them around longer obviously pays off.

Let’s put this into dollars. Imagine you are without an automotive technician for 90 days and they generate $1,000 in profit each day; you’ve just lost an estimated $90,000.

Beyond that, high turnover increases health insurance, overtime expenses, and stress for the employees who have to pick up the slack. That adds up fast.

Happiness Greases the Wheel

Fixing cars is a dirty, demanding job. It’s up to you as a leader to make it an environment where people want to be.

In his book The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Anchor writes that “happy employees are more productive, more creative, and better problem solvers.” This generates a “happiness dividend” that keeps people in their jobs longer.

When techs work in shops where they feel safe and valued, they contribute to the atmosphere of a great shop. That helps you retain other staff, while keeping customers and increasing sales.

How? A happy employee passes on that sentiment to the customer and, in turn, makes them a repeat customer. Research shows satisfied customers contribute 14 times more revenue than a dissatisfied customer. Eighty percent of customers will switch companies after just one unsatisfactory service experience.

A happy staff is a great dose of prevention.

Give Them A Hand on the Wheel

Technicians leave shops for various reasons. Low wages and poor management top the list but you can stem the tide with a few, low-cost in-house changes. According to the Harvard Business Review, it’s important to pay attention to how you design your employees’ workflow and experience. Allowing them to shape the process increases their satisfaction and efficiency.

If you want to retain your talent, focus how you share information, resolve issues, and make tasks easier for your team. Choosing the right shop management software is a vital step to ensure they can do the job efficiently.

In short, make it easy for them to do their jobs and you will see the benefits with engaged employees and higher ROIs.

Keep Your Eyes on the Road Ahead

As a business owner, you’re at your best when you’re looking at the horizon, not putting out fires. If you are investing time to constantly replacing talent, you cannot grow your revenue. Instead, nurture your employee relationships and provide a roadmap of training and growth to build a sustainable and profitable shop.

Creating a culture when techs get a chance to learn enriches their workdays and makes them look forward to the next one.

For more tips, check out these leadership books recommended by Forbes Magazine. A leader who keeps on learning sets a great example for their team.

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