Stokes: Never Stop Recruiting Technicians

Aug. 21, 2023
The search for good auto technicians doesn’t stop when you hire, that’s when it starts.

We can all agree that you can hire up to three technicians before you find one good one. The average is probably every two before you find one that's good or one that stays. Maybe you find a good one, but they don't want to stay. This is why I'm a big believer in always recruiting.  

How to Approach Recruiting 

Once you hire, it’s easy to think, “Positions filled. I can stop recruiting." Nope, that's not how this works. Once you've gotten a new technician on your staff, you need to keep recruiting. Let's say you have five technicians, one of them left and now you're down to four. Every month you don't have that fifth technician, you lose on average about $40,000 a month in gross sales. That’s because the other four are paying your overhead. The last represents your net profit, so you're kind of screwed. And so as shop owners, we try to hire somebody and finally make some offers. We go through one, then two, maybe three people get some somebody good. And what happens? We stop recruiting. We now have nobody on the bench. It's just like professional sports—basketball, football, baseball. If we’re not planning for injuries, we won’t have insurance. This is why professional sports teams always have a bench full of A-players ready to go—some of the best in the world. But as shop owners, most of the time don't have a bench.  

Building Your Bench 

"Aaron, what am I supposed to do?" You may ask. Well, once you get down to the last three people, one of them you’re definitely not going to hire. So, call that guy and say, "Hey, you're not a fit." You're now down to the last two and you're leaning towards one over the other. Hire one and don't tell the other no. The worst part is a lot of us do. We don't call back at all, but we "need technicians." Call the person and say, "Hey, I am so excited you interviewed with us. We would like to make you an offer soon. We can't offer you anything yet. We've got to get a couple of things settled, but we are going to be sending you an offer very soon. I'm excited to be working with you." The goal is to stall them at their current job until you're ready. Remember, now you're a five-tech shop. Your goal is to grow that shop so you can hire that sixth person, or if one of these others doesn't work out, you've got a guy on the bench you can drop right in there at any moment. That means as soon as you get that fifth person, you keep recruiting.  

Adding Depth 

It's exhausting hiring people, but we need to be focused on not giving in to hiring fatigue. The goal here is to focus and say, “I’m going to be disciplined. I'm going to follow my questions, get through my interview and not waste time.” Be sure to let them do the talking. Once you get to the end, switch gears, dive in and make sure that they're a right fit. If not, get off the phone, go to the next one. If they’re a right fit, set them up for the next interview. As you run through this, there's an entire process for interviewing. Once you hire, and soon as you have a full crew, keep recruiting. Once you get one the on the bench, now let's go get two on the bench, then three. 

About the Author

Aaron Stokes

A nearly 20-year veteran of the automotive repair industry, Aaron Stokes grew his business, AutoFix, from a one-car garage to a six-shop operation that is widely regarded as one of the top repair businesses in the country. Stokes, the founder of Shop Fix Academy, is an operational guru with a unique business and leadership philosophy that has led his business to great heights.

Sponsored Recommendations

Find the right shop management system to boost your efficiency

Find the right shop management system to aid in efficient scheduling, communication and payment processing

Craft a strategic marketing plan

Develop strategies and communicate them to your staff to keep you on track

Establish and track your KPIs: Technician Productivity

WHAT IT IS: Technician productivity refers to the time a technician is available to work measured against the actual time spent working on positive cash flow repair orders. Tracking...

Empower your technicians with the right tools for efficient repairs

Foster a highly motivated and efficient team to get vehicles out the door faster