Episode Description

In this week’s episode of Beyond the Wrench, we are joined by Zach Espinosa, Automotive Technician, Honda. We are discussing the main reason Zach left his former shop, the opportunities presented to him by his new employer, the different pay structures between the two shops, and more!

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Jay: Do young technicians feel intimidated or scared to ask questions in the shop?

Zach: I think more often than a shop would like to admit, it is a frequent occurrence. You get a lot of guys coming into the industry, and they see flat rate technicians putting their heads down and working. Young technicians think, “Oh, that guy looks mean, or I don’t want to talk to him.” They are afraid of creating relationships or talking with experienced technicians. Experienced technicians should be making the first move, and make a point to introduce themselves to a new technician. This will open a line of communication, and allow new technicians to feel comfortable going to experienced technicians for advice and asking questions.

Jay: Were you unhappy at your former shop?

Zach: No, I wasn’t unhappy there. I liked the people I work with, and the company. If I had to black and white define what it was, it was a dollar amount issue. But, I did like where I worked, and I didn’t want to move. I find it’s an often occurrence in this industry, and I see it all the time.

Jay: Did you look internally at the dealership before looking for outside opportunities?

Zach: I was given a couple of opportunities while at the dealership to progress, but not necessarily upwards. I had been given opportunities which seemed more lucrative, but they turned out to not be as lucrative as they were presented. I’m always looking at new opportunities. I’m not always looking to make a move, or jumping around for a dollar. Just looking if shops have something they want to say to me, and I always listen. For this instance, it got to the point where the shop said the right thing. They gave me the right incentives, and ability to progress. I moved forward talking to them, and it worked out.

Jay: What was it that caught your eye about the other dealership?

Zach: The pay structure was a huge thing. Flat rate technicians are not something that should be pushed for nowadays. The flat rate pay structure is so outdated, in my opinion. In the last two years, we have seen a significant amount of changes in the automotive industry. They caught us by complete surprise, and work isn’t coming in the same way or in the same capacity it has in previous years.

Jay: Did your productivity change when you were on flat rate versus a hybrid pay structure?

Zach: Yeah, it did change. The closest example I would have is going from the lube rack to a flat rate technician. I exponentially was more productive when I was a flat rate technician. From what I understand, if you’re over 92% in your productivity, you are making money for whoever you’re working for. They would feed me as much as they could, because the higher percentage of productivity, the more money they were making. On the adverse of that, the less money they’re paying me in the long run because they’re making so much labor dollars. This is where technicians get frustrated with the flat rate system.

Technician Recruiting & Retention — Pay & Pay Structure

Show Notes

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About Our Host:

Jay Goninen
President, WrenchWay
jayg@wrenchway.com | 608.512.7330

About Our Guest:

Zach Espinosa
Automotive Technician, Honda

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