How to start an auto repair shop-Finding the right auto mechanic for your car repair business or workshop
The right Mechanic. A profile.
If you have all the right ingredients to market your services you will need to employ at least one mechanic as well as yourself, or if you do not intend to do the mechanical work yourself you will need a top mechanic with a wide range of skills..
Before you hire.
- Ensure that your applicant has the breadth of skills you need to operate all newer equipment with skill and speed. ( A mechanic who can't read a scanner tool or operate and diagnose with a 4 gas analyser is going to be very limited.)
- If you run a brake lathe, ask if he is able to operate that make and model of machine, and do the same with wheel balancers, lathes, welding equipment that you have in your repair shop.
- Be prepared to train him on the use of the hoist if he is unfamiliar with it, and do keep the operators manuals with all machinery including hoists.
- Be sure he understands the importance of daily inspection of the hoists he is using and that he is aware of hydraulic leaks in floor jacks and the potential dangers of leaking hydraulics.
- Pay your best applicants to work in your shop for a day. This way you can see if he is organised and cleans up properly.
During the trial period.
Ensure that he leaves the workshop spotlessly clean after the days work, and operates in an organises and efficient manner. It is also a good time to see his temperament.
When things go wrong, how does he respond?
With good humour?
Does he get angry with his work?
Make certain that he understands basic safety such as the importance of cleaning oil spills off the floor thoroughly enough that any remaining slick is gone.
Try to find a mechanic with the skills to operate several profit centres. There is more than one advantage in having these extra skills.
My ideal mechanic has:
- Good troubleshooting skills.
- Certification as a qualified motor mechanic.
- The capacity to operate any profit centre machinery I have installed such a a brake lathe, air-conditioniong station etc, and either have the required certification or the ability to get it.
- A certificate of excellence from a manufacturer or several for preference.
- Experience in a similar environment with references.
- Engineering skills, such as fabrication, welding (tig mig and arc.)
An understanding of engine management systems is vital as well as mechanical engine management knowledge such as being able to explain when asked what else needs to be changed when for example a modified camshafts is fitted and how is the fuel/air mixture affected?.
It is not an easy find a top mechanic, but you must if you want to succeed in this business, so you need to have a way to find him or her!
Offer at least some of the following:
- Better pay.
- A better work environment.
- Profit sharing
- Closer location.
- Other incentives.
- You advertise for exactly what you are offering and the skills needed for your auto shop.
- You must expect to pay a bit more for the right mechanic, but the right mechanic will make you so much more profit than an "average" mechanic.
- A good mechanic will not only return a better profit for you, but will increase your customer base as people recognise the quality of the work your repair shop does.
- I have found a few exceptional mechanics, and kept them too, but you must understand that they are likely to get many offers while they are working for you if they are first class tradesmen with a broad understanding of related engineering skills.
- The best way to hold a good mechanic apart from offering more money is to gain loyalty.
- I found that loyalty is a 2 way street. If you support your mechanic through hardship and help where you can, you will usually gain their loyalty.
- Remember if you are a thoughtful and helpful person they can rely on to give an advance on pay when needed or allow them to use of the company ute to move a washing machine or fridge or the like, it is your attitude as a human being that matters most to your mechanic, just as it does to your customers.
Never stop looking for a backup mechanic. You need a part-time mechanic for back-up in case you lose your mechanic for some extended time through illness or accident. You also need to have someone in mind to replace him or her permanently if they leave.