Putting a Strong Staff in Place for Your Auto Body Shop Business

If you are going to go through any kind of auto body shop profit training, you need to realize just how big of an impact your staff has on the amount of money you make. Your staff provides the face of your company. They are the people your customers interact with on a regular basis. In addition to that, the staff you put in place has an enormous impact on the productivity of your business. As the owner, you know you can't do it all. If you try to, it'll always be a one man show and your results will reflect it. Bringing people on board to help out will take your business a long way. Thus the better the staff you have, the more money you can make in the end. Here are some thoughts to ponder when analyzing how to grow your staff:

Be selective about who you bring in. I'm sure it's a tempting thing to hire the first guy that comes through the door if you're busy and need the hands, but that's a recipe for disaster. This is your business. It's your baby. Take the time to verify the credentials and certifications they list, don't just assume. You also want to spend the extra time reaching out to the personal references they list. A shop owner in Texas shared with me his experience with a guy he brought in. He accepted a guy's application once who had tons of experience. Graduated from a nearby tech school, spent years working with bigger shops around town. He thought he wouldn't have to spend much time training him. So he took him in to help with the work flow. He later found out from his previous employer that he was struggling with a drug addiction, but it wasn't discovered until after the damage was done to his business. Be selective and do your due diligence on the guys you bring in.

Train your guys as an investment. Jason Stahl of Body Shop Business shares his experience with Doug Keilian of Auto Kraft in Lincoln, Nebraska. Responding to the problem of training guys then watching them leave to his competitors, Keilian says he has no issue with it at all. "To see young guys advance with skills and talents because they don't need you anymore is satisfying because you know you had an impact on them and will still be having an impact in the industry, even though you're not reaping the rewards directly anymore." Clearly, Keilian takes on the task of training his team as an investment in them as men, in the industry itself, but also in his own reputation and the reputation of his shop. The benefits of that effort on his part plays itself out in other areas: employee satisfaction, quality of work provided, customer experience, etc. All of these things will positively effect both your customer retention rate and your customer referrals. Train your guys as a marketing investment.

Keeping business goals in mind when gauging their performance.  Create benchmarks for your guys to measure their performance.  Reward good staff members when they do a good job. Terminate those who are habitually hindering your business. The whole goal in doing this will be to keep your auto body operations running smoothly and to bring in customers. You need to cater to your customers as much as possible, and if that means making adjustments to your staff, so be it.

What are some experiences you as a shop owner and/or manager have had when it comes to your staff? What are some good/bad experiences you've had? What are some things you've learned when it comes to training your team?