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Recruiting Pays Big Dividends

by Art Little

Transmission Digest Magazine
This article appeared in the July 2012 issue of Transmission Digest.

Most transmission shop owners  would rather wear a dress than recruit. Who can blame you? The numbers are stacked against you as a recruiter. I get it. But I also know, it’s part of your responsibility as a shop owner and, if you are going to be successful , you need to keep your recruiting skills sharp . The facts are, if you hire the right people you can stop working for the numbers and have the numbers start working for you. I will show you how that works in this article.

There are a lot of really good reasons why you do not like to recruit.  First of all, It takes a lot of your time to recruit and your dance card is already full. This becomes just one more thing you have to take care of. Now, you have to figure out how to find someone to talk to. Then, you have to talk to a lot of people before you run into a candidate that is even close to what you want.

When you do find someone , you have about  a 50/50 chance of him actually showing up after you hire him. When he does show up its back to the 50/50 deal again in regard to whether or not he can really cut the mustard. He said he could. Right? But ,can he ?

There is no way to know until  “ the iron hits the cement”. Sometimes you buy your ticket to the show, get your pop corn, go sit on the front row and wait for the show to start...and there ain’t no show. I’m just saying.

But, lets say there is a show and he is competent.  Now the question becomes can he fit in and be a team player with your existing team ? Yep. 50/50 again. A lot of variables here. Is it a young, fast crew? Is it a group of seasoned vets that don’t like drama ? Are they  family men? Single? Strong personality. Quiet personality. No personality. Good ole boys or hot heads?  The list goes on and on . How do you know if it will work out?

The real answer is you don’t. It is an educated guess at best. And, sometimes you just luck into a good team. However you do it, if you build a team that is qualified to do the work , they all respect each other and they like to work together, you will have pretty much done your job as a recruiter.

While it is true, that the numbers are not pretty when you are in the process of team building, the numbers become very attractive when the “dream team “does come  together. Let’s talk specifically about how you recruiting the right team can put more money in your pocket.

We will start with a few simple hiring scenarios

We will assume the average major repair = $2,000.00  just to make it easy to figure

How your recruiting skills can  make you money.

  1. If you hire a manager that sells major transmission repairs for an average of 100 dollars per job more than the previous manager, here is how the numbers work for you. If he sells 8 major jobs a week, that increases the total sales amount for the week by 800.00 . For the year, 41,600. The best part is that it did not cost you anything. The manager's sales talent  allowed the team to put 2,100 instead of 2,000 in the bank on every major repair. That is pure profit after commission.

  1. If you hire a new manager and he retains and sells  2 more repairs a week  than the previous manager by using proper telephone procedure , he has increased the shops earning capacity by 4,000 per week or 208,000 per year. Recruiting that manager’s telephone skills for the shop could be the difference in the shop making a profit or going out of business.

  1. If you hire a builder and he can build one more unit per week than the last builder and everything else is equal, you have just increased the shops earning capacity by 2,000 a week or 104,000 per year.That is huge considering most shops don't make a profit until they deliver the last two jobs.

  1.  Maybe you hire a new manager that is better than your previous manager at managing production and as a result , he increases your shops capacity by 2 jobs per week or 208,000 per year. Hiring a manager with leadership qualities and strong organizational skills may be just what your team needs.

  1. Maybe you hire an installer that does all the diagnostics for the shop without bothering the builder. This allows the builder to stay on the bench and build one or two more units per week. That increases the shops earning capacity between 104,000 to 208,000 per year more because you recruited a new installer that has the diagnostic skills the team was missing before.

How your recruiting skills can save you money?

  1. The most obvious way to save money is if you hire an employee for less than what you paid your previous employee. If you save a hundred dollars a week  on employee salaries that is 5,200 per year. If you save 200 a week, that adds up to 10,400 per year. A little hard nose negotiating can put a lot of money in your retirement fund over a 25 year period.

  1. You hire a manager that is better at purchasing parts for you than your previous manager. Let’s say he saves you a modest 300 dollars per week. That adds up to 15,600 per year. That’s a new car , or boat , or maybe a payment on a past due parts bill.

  1. You hire a builder that has a lower warranty rate than your previous builder . That alone can add up to thousands of dollars in parts and labor savings and go a long way toward boosting shop moral and keeping down legal costs.

  1. You hire a builder that has a lower parts cost percentage than your present builder . Using the savings of 300 per week example again, the savings are 15,600 per year. I’m thinking about that boat again.

  1. What If you hire an employee that costs less than what you paid your previous employee and he is more  productive ? That becomes a win, win situation for the shop owner that pays dividends coming and going. It saves you on payroll and increases the shops earning capacity all in one hiring move. It makes you start thinking about that boat again, and the car too doesn’t it ?

There are many other scenarios to consider. We are talking about thousands of dollars a year extra revenue by just looking into a few examples of what can happen when you use your recruiting skills to hire the right people.

True enough, the recruiting numbers are stacked against you when you are team building. It seems like you are always a dollar short and a day late. Sometimes you think you will never get it done and there is a reason why you feel that way.

 If you are a young owner let me tell you why. It’s because it is a job that never ends .....even after your dream team is assembled. That’s right.  Just like in sports , teams come and go. It is your job to put the teams together and supply the team with new team mates when the teams break up.

“When” is the key word here because all teams eventually break up. A shop owner needs to understand this fact in order to have a proper prospective on his job as a recruiter.  It is advisable to develop a long term recruiting strategy, for that reason, and not make the mistake of getting into a costly panic hiring situation.

Recruiting is a skill that is hard to master but, arguably the most important job a shop owner has. After all, what is more important than personally selecting the service people you want to work on your customers cars? And, what could be more important than choosing the people and personalities you are are going to work with every day ?  

I think we can all agree that recruiting and maintaining a winning team is a necessary and difficult task for today's shop owner. But, if you are successful at getting past the numbers that are stacked against you as a recruiter, and get the right people hired, it can pay big dividends for you in the end and....the numbers prove it.

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