When running a collision repair shop, change is inevitable. In order to beat your competition and keep your customers happy, you have to introduce new technologies and procedures. Anytime you make operational changes, your employees need to change, too. But people generally resist change. They do things they way they do them, and who are you to tell them they’re going to have to do things differently? Well, you’re the shop owner. And you get to make any change you like. But to have things go as smoothly as possible, you need to recognize and manage your employees’ resistance.
Helping a new hire adjust to their role in your shop is important. With the shortage in techs, simply finding great candidates may have been a chore, and narrowing it down to the best one probably took time. Make the most of that effort by setting new techs up for success from the first time they step into your shop. The key is great training. Here are four tips.
There is nothing easy about auto body repair. The equipment needed is sophisticated, the tools are specialized and the technicians, very skilled. However, some aspects of a repair are easier than others. For example, identifying the damage of a crashed vehicle; noticing a large dent in the side panel, or a severe twist in the frame doesn’t take a highly trained eye. A trunk that won’t close properly or a door that doesn’t latch can been seen by even the most inexperienced of technicians.
One of the biggest issues facing the auto body industry is the lack of experienced technicians. Many shop owners cite the reason they cannot expand their business, is not because of lack of new clients, but due to the shortage of techs that possess a high end skill set. Smaller independent shops feel the sting more as they cannot offer skilled technicians the wages that larger shops or MSOs are able to pay.
We’ve written a lot about aluminum repair since launching the Collisionology blog in April of 2015. We hope, these posts have provided you with the confidence needed to work on the growing number of aluminum-bodied vehicles on the road.
Whether you choose to weld, use adhesive or rivet, there are numerous ways to join metal. Chief offers a full line of tools to help any shop with materials you would encounter in the auto body repair industry. One of the most common practices in shops today is using rivets to join sheet metal when repairing damage to various non frame parts of a vehicle. Though the practice of using rivet guns may be simple, the guns themselves are anything but. Chief’s full line of rivet guns are some of the most advanced on the market, yet still user friendly.
It’s easy to dismiss customer criticisms. After all, you know they don’t truly understand what goes on in the background or how much work went into that repair they’re not happy with. But if you want to improve your business, don’t stop at “They just don’t get it.” Candidly assessing customer feedback can help you tune into what's going right and what's going wrong in your shop.
Close your eyes and visualize a huge traffic jam. What vehicles do you see? More than likely it was riddled with sedans, minivans or small hybrids. Did you picture any pickup trucks or full size SUV’s? Why not? The number one selling vehicle in the United States for the last 7 years has been a pickup truck, specifically the Ford F-150 and many of those years the Chevy Silverado came in second. This means there are trucks on the road, a lot, and your shop needs to be able to service them. You need racks that can handle their size, tools geared toward working on frames and technicians capable of making the correct repairs.
Today’s vehicles are very different than those produced even a few years ago. As car manufacturers work feverishly to meet the needs and standards of both consumers and the government, they are looking at every opportunity to reduce vehicle weight without compromising safety. With lofty goals ahead, like the CAFÉ standards for 2025, the vehicles your shop will service are changing almost daily.
You need great auto body technicians, but finding those great techs can be a challenge. For starters, your candidate list might be fairly short as the industry as a whole faces a technician shortage. But that doesn’t mean you should settle for whoever applies just to fill a spot. Taking the time and making the effort to hire the right people will pay off in the long run. So how do you do it? Hiring the right techs requires a two-pronged approach: First, attract great prospects. Second, pick the right one.