A dealership president from Flint, Mich., writes:
"We recently placed an ad for a new quick-lube/maintenance tech. So far, we have had about 20 male applicants and three female applicants. This is interesting because I can't remember ever receiving an application from a female for a technician job.
"The female applicants seem to be better prepared, more organized and interview better than the male applicants. In fact, the three female applicants are at the top of our prospect list! All have prior experience with a dealership, quick lube or independent repair facility.
"With the exception of our female employees in the office, we have never had a female tech work in the shop, but we are definitely open to the idea. Has anyone hired or is currently employing a female tech? Did you run into any issues between the male and female techs in the shop? Many thoughts have gone through my head, like employees dating, 'typical male talk' possibly offending and the physical demands of automotive repair, etc."
A forum member responds:
"We have a female lube tech and are looking for a couple just like her! No problems in a year, or at least nothing I am aware of has come across my desk. The girl is tough, can run with the best of them and pays much better attention to the details."
Tom Ham writes:
"Ask your other employees—both in the shop and office—for input. Ask your spouse, too. Perfect situation for a 30-day trial period."
Another forum member replies:
"We hired a female tech student this summer for a lube/tire tech position. She has done very well and the other male techs all got along well with her and helper her when needed. It did clean up the language in the shop without anything needing to be said by us. She is a second-year student working part-time for us this semester, and we will be employing her full-time after graduation this summer."
A fourth forum member replies:
"I have had two female techs over the years and had no issues with them fitting in with the other employees. To address some previous comments, there should be no issue with rough language since it has no place in a shop. To Tom's comment, if you normally include shop and office personnel, by all means do so based on the same criteria as anyone else. As for the 30-day trial period, I would say only if that is how you do all your hiring."
A fifth forum member writes:
"We have employed female techs and greeters for 15 years. Having a female owner makes a big difference, also. We have had no issues; actually, we think that's what sets us apart from our competition. But it takes a different type of female to be good at it. When you find one, they're like gold. Most of the girls we have are five-years plus with the company, one 15."
The questions and responses are posted on the Automotive Management Network website, which is operated by Deb and Tom Ham, owners of Auto Centric (formerly Ham's Automotive) in Grand Rapids, Mich. The comments have been edited for clarity and brevity.