LAS VEGAS — Shops can attract quality technicians by raising their labor rates so they can afford higher wages, better benefits, new equipment and updated facilities, according to industry experts.
"We're looking at guys coming in now and saying 'I want to be paid $60 per hour' and, frankly, they should be paid $60 per hour but most shops can't afford that," Cecil Bullard, CEO of The Institute for Automotive Business Excellence, said. "They can't make that work because our prices aren't high enough. As an industry, we needed to go up 30% five years ago."
Bullard was one of four "shop coaches" who offered advice during two Shop Coach sessions at the AAPEX 2021 in Las Vegas. Shop coaches advise repair shop owners on how to better run their businesses and attract technicians.
The shop coaches claimed that a shop can raise its labor rate by $5 or $10 per hour and most customers wouldn't notice or complain.
"The top-performing shops have no problem charging what they're worth because they value themselves," Vic Tarasik, managing partner of Shop Owner Coach, said.
A lot of owners are resistant to raising prices, he said, yet shops need to make a profit in order to pay for their staff, update equipment and make improvements to the business.
"Sometimes we think if I'm making a profit, then that's a dishonest thing or it's not a good thing," Bullard said. "But if you're taking care of your customers and your cars and taking good care of your employees and their families, then you are doing an honorable thing."