Can't find quality tech's

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:26 pm
Hey guys... I've been trying to build a dependable efficient crew and it seems as though I just can't find any qualified techs..

The guys I do find are full of bad habits, poor workmanship, bad attitudes, etc.

For instance, on a frame off restoration, I'm finding damage that should have been dealt with when I'm painting. It's so aggravating!

Question is, what is a good way to find the tech's I need? I've been running my dad's shop(35 years running) for 7 years now and I won't let it go down the drain because careless employees. Thanks in advance.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:17 pm
Not sure where you are located but access to good talent is sometimes a problem, especially in less populated areas.

I had this same conversation with a shop owner recently and there were three fundamental issues:

1. Not having a go-to guy that could watch over and mentor the less experienced guys out on the floor, when the owner is not around. This person should be making top dollar and/or be on a profit sharing plan - and obviously it has to be the right person.

2. Paying guys $15/hr for doing complex restoration work and/or paint -- and expecting concours level work. That equation does not work.

3. Lack of any quality review as the car progresses. Anyone should have the ability to reject the car from coming into their step in the process, if they see a defect. There should be a second set of eyes looking over everything before the car moves to the next step. Also, in some cases making both the guy who did the work and the reviewer financially responsible (i.e. out of paycheck) for missing anything that causes a re-do, is a motivator.

It's either these types of things, or the owner has to be hands-on 100% of the time, which is difficult with any shop more than a very small operation.

I hate to say this too - but in some areas I have heard that you can't find guys who are not injecting or smoking their lunch and come back to the shop high. It's becoming a real problem. I've seen more than one brilliant artisan in this field end up in a homeless shelter. Sad.



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:43 pm
Thank you for the reply. We have always been a small shop 2-4 employees, variety of types of work. I'm in northern Chicago area.

Everything you mentioned has been on my discussion list. Part of the problem is that my senior tech is getting older and is simply physically unable to do his work like he used to. 20 year employee around the corner from retirement, tough situation.

I pay my guys more than 15/hr, but lately their work has been worth just that or less. Im Not sure what going pay rates are in my area. I believe I have them where they should be.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:46 am
As a paint rep it's the #1 complaint I hear (followed closely by paint cost lol).

Bodyshop Business did a study and 62% of techs last less than 2 years (industry average).

But, some shop owners seem to suffer from this non-stop for some reason......

Not saying you are one of those shops OP, I mean shops that I call on.

Shop owners have to make their shop a good place to work. Not, what would have been a good place to work when they started 35 years ago.



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:39 pm
Well I suppose Im not alone then. I treat my employees the best that I can. I am very transparent with them. All I ask is that they understand the symbiotic relationship between us.

My employees enjoy working for me. We have a pretty close relationship being a small shop.

I guess I will just keep on keeping on. Keep encouraging them to stay up on technology and their education.

I just have to find a way to keep them excited about the big picture and not fall into the day to day hole.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:07 am
tegra1027 wrote:For instance, on a frame off restoration, I'm finding damage that should have been dealt with when I'm painting. It's so aggravating!



Not to bash or deflect the reason for this post and with all do respect.

sounds like you need to become a little better yourself. i train painters and have painted 30 years myself. one of the things i teach is if my painter puts paint in the gun and starts painting he "owns" those mistakes that he did not see. my advice to you would be to check the job BEFORE you paint and communicate with your tech in a positive way to help both you and him become better at what you do.

you put paint in your gun and start painting thats on you
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:51 am
I appreciate your honest thoughts here. I am in total agreement with you, to a point. I can justify having a few things missed here and there. When I find body work that is simply unfinished or blatantly looked over, it gets me aggravated.

It has been a while since my original post. I have since laid off my veteran body tech and changed up our quality control procedures. I have a 69 Firebird frame off restoration that was said to be "ready to paint" by my veteran body tech(I laid him off).. Having my painter and other body tech go over the car, it was far from ready. They found Scratches, dings, chips in primer from panel alignment that weren't dealt with. The door lip had to be re opened and refolded(after some rust cleanup) because it simply did not fit the rocker. Some stuff was reasonable, and some stuff was not.

I feel things are looking up, Just gotta stick to it.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:37 am
sounds good. yeah man all i meant is if the painter puts paint in a gun and starts painting he owns it. in a busy shop you should be able to trust your body man when he says it is ready but to be honest you really cant let anyone tell you the job is done without looking it over and having quality control. but not letting stuff slip past you they will learn that it has to be right before they send it over. as a owner and manager that falls on us.

good to hear things are turning around.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:37 pm
Yeah Im with you there... This is when the conversation switches to commission vs hourly...

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