A forum member writes:
“I want to give my employees a five-day work week while staying open on Saturdays. I have a six-bay shop that currently is staffed with a manager and assistant manager who serve as the service writers. I have four techs.
“I'd like the managers to rotate Mondays and Saturdays off, and I'd like the techs to get a day off during the week. Also, I'd like to rotate which tech gets Saturday off. We have techs and managers who have acquired large chunks of vacation time. How do you set up scheduling if you have done something similar?”
One forum member responds:
“We do this, though we have multiple locations—so it may be a bit easier for us (we have floaters to fill in on days when needed)—but have done it since we had one location.
In your case, you have two service writers, and you would alternate their days off, however works best. You would have two days a week where only one service writer would be working. We use floaters to cover for these days so we always have at least two service writers (three at the busier stores), and if we have days where we run short a person we typically try to do that on our lighter days.
“With techs, they each get one day off during the week and only one can be off each day, so you always have three techs. In your case, you would have two days where all four would be there. Again, we try to schedule so that we have the full staff on our busier days.
“Also, when someone is on vacation, the others in that department may be asked to work six days if we don't have floater coverage.”
Another forum member replies:
“When you take a tech from one day of the week to another, all you're doing is moving eight hours of labor inventory from one day to another. Consider a four-day work week. On a correct rotation, the employee will have a five-day weekend every three weeks. You can add staff, increase production and not need additional shop space.”
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.