Thursday, September 8, 2022 | September 2022
Have a plan for all possibilities
BY BRIAN WALKER
ONE THING THAT’S NOT A SECRET RIGHT NOW is the biggest challenge to the automotive industry, and that’s the difficulty in finding qualified technicians to work in your shops. It has become such a hot topic that we’re all tired of hearing about it. The phrase “technician shortage” is akin to phrases like “supply chain” and “unprecedented times”. We’re just done with it.
Tired as we may be of hearing about it, it doesn’t change the fact that the technician shortage is a real thing. That doesn’t mean you can’t still hire great techs. You just have to be smarter and more creative than the other shops in your area.
Let’s talk about some of the things you can do to make your shop stand out in a sea of shops that are in desperate need of an additional tech or two.
YOU MUST HAVE A MINDSET SHIFT
If you’re like me and have been around the sun a few more times than those who you’re looking to hire, you probably remember the days of a paycheck being the only benefit someone needed to work for you. Those days are gone.
Technicians today are in search of a higher quality of life. We all are. So the first place to start is by asking yourself, does working at your shop provide a higher quality of life than working at your competitor’s shop?
Not only do you need to paint the picture that the grass is greener at your shop, but you need to make it so that the grass actually is greener!
CREATING A GREAT WORK ENVIRONMENT
To create that greener grass, you need to know what technicians are looking for. You can start by talking to your current technicians (preferably the ones you wish you could clone) and asking them what they like about working at your shop and what they would change if they could. Just know that you may hear some things you don’t want to hear. That’s just part of the process. Some of the things we often hear that technicians are looking for are:
- Climate controlled shops
- Salary, hourly, or guaranteed pay plans
- 4-day work weeks - or at the very least no weekends
- Tool allowances
- OE diagnostic tools
- Training opportunities
This list could be much longer, but it’s enough to get you started. If your shop offers these benefits, you need to showcase them. If you don’t, you need to consider and prioritize what benefits and amenities you are willing to put into place in your business.
BUILD OUT YOUR CAREERS PAGE
The careers page on most shop’s websites is nothing more than a boring list of available jobs. Remember, you want your shop to stand out. Your careers page should be a highlight reel that shows how great it is to work for your shop. On your careers page, include things like:
- A welcome video from the owner
- Pictures of your shop that showcase cleanliness, equipment, and special tools
- Pictures of team outings and training events
- Testimonials from your current staff
- Benefits - think beyond the typical stuff
- A place to apply even when you don’t have any openings
When you’re having this page built out, have a graphic designer make it look great. Aesthetics are important. Remember, this may be the first impression someone has of your shop!
For inspiration, take a look at our careers page on the Shop Marketing Pros website: shopmarketingpros.com/careers
YOUR MARKETING ISN’T JUST FOR NEW CLIENTS
Every time you’re marketing for new clients you also have the opportunity to market to new teammates. Think about it. The things that matter to clients are very often the same things that matter to new hires.
Customers want to see a full parking lot. If you’re not busy, you must not be good at fixing cars. Well, techs want to see full parking lots as well. It means there is plenty of work to be done!
Clients want to see that you invest in new tools and equipment. They want to know that you have the proper diagnostic tools if they’re trusting you over the dealership. Techs want to know that they have access to those same tools that will make their job easier and their diagnosis more accurate.
Clients want to see a team culture. They want to know that they are doing business with a shop that values their employees and likes to have fun. This is huge for “know, like, trust factor”. Potential employees definitely want to see this as well!
See what I mean? You should be sharing this type of information in your marketing every chance you get.
WRITE YOUR HIRING ADS STRATEGICALLY
When you write your hiring ads, you want to pull all of this together. Remember, you’re painting a picture that the grass is greener. That may mean that you need to point out how dead the grass is in the candidate’s current situation. A simple framework to use when writing ads is to start by calling out your audience (Hey Auto Techs!). Ask them questions that bring out negative feelings about their current job (Are you tired of broken promises?). Introduce yourself and your shop. Paint the picture of the greener grass (benefits and amenities). Tell them what to do next (Stop in and tour the shop).
Do these things and watch the quality of applicant go through the roof!
Brian Walker is co-owner of Shop Marketing Pros, an agency that provides marketing services for auto repair shops. Brian is a 26-year automotive industry veteran. He was ASE Master Certified and was a Mercedes-Benz Master Technician. He and his wife, Kim, owned 3 shops in the Raleigh, NC area.