With technicians in such short supply, Herrera says dealers need to increase their efforts to find and train them.
“We can’t be asking the manufacturers to help us with techs and the industry to help us with techs,” Herrera said. “That’s our job. … You have to get into the community and you have to be involved in the schools so that you can supply yourself with technicians, and then you have to grow them.”
Once dealers have enough technicians on staff, they need to work to keep them, Herrera said, by treating them well, laying out clear growth plans and paying them appropriately.
It’s important that managers realize technicians are certainly of the “more detail, less retail” mindset, she said.
“These young men and women that are technicians are serious-minded and problem-solvers,” Herrera said. “So when you respect that and you know it, then they tend to respond and want to work for you.”
Bosses should also be clear about the type of work they want technicians to handle. Spelling it out is key, as is establishing time frames for when a technician will be expected to move up to another skill level, Herrera said.
Above all, paying technicians enough and clearly denoting when they will get raises is crucial.
At Toyota of Cedar Park, technicians start at $17 an hour. Level 2 techs go to $18 an hour, while main-shop technicians are paid $18 to $26 an hour. Rates increase based on level of certification, Herrera said.
“Don’t pay somebody more for the same kind of work and pay somebody less,” Herrera said. “If they’re the same skill set and they’ve been with you the same amount of time, don’t play any games with pay, just pay them.”