THA 036: Ten Reasons For Buying Technician Tools

Learn from your industry peers in a round-table forum. Get new ideas, perspectives, trends, insights, best-practices and expertise from aftermarket professionals.

Watch like a DOCUMENTARY … Learn like a SEMINAR.

  • Pete Rudloff is a national automotive instructor/advisor, nationally published technical writer and owner of Pete’s Garage Inc. in Newark, DE. Pete has a passion for training and created the Delaware training Group to bring technicians together in an environment that fosters learning. Pete’s Garage has a reputation as friend to the general auto repair shops with local shops calling themselves customers. Pete’s Garage is known for fixing difficult to fix cars and has grown more into a diagnostic destination than a maintenance shop.  Pete had been featured in episode 123226 and Academy 018.
  • John Bridgwater and his wife own Wright’s Automotive Service in San Leandro, CA. John started to earn his ASE certifications early on and began networking with other technicians and shop owners. John was honored among eleven others as an Auto Care/ASE World Technician in 2015. In order to be considered for this award, you must hold at least 22 ASE certifications. John currently has 49 certifications and he is working on the 50th.John Bridgwater has a very interesting story on his rise to shop ownership. He started in 1987 and became a shop owner in January 2015. John actually was recruited by a shop in the bay area that he and his wife eventually purchased. He waited a long time for the right opportunity. Listen to John’s episode 117 and the Academy #35 on Supplier Loyalty- The Service Professional Perspective.
  • Matthew Skundrich Started working at a shop 11 years ago to help pay his way thru college. After finishing his degree in Biblical Studies, he never left the automotive world. Matthew started Mobile Advanced Diagnostics & Programming 2.5 years ago. As a diagnostician, he often tells people that he is a professional button pusher.

Helping automotive aftermarket professionals improve; one lesson at a time.

Talking Points:

  • Making employees supply tools is an outdated tradition, based on poor understanding of economics and is commonplace for all the wrong reasons.
  • FACT: Shop owners are already paying for their employee tools, and at a super inflated premium with a ton of interest to boot.
  • Pete does buy his technicians tools.
  • In California, you are required to pay double the minimum wage if the tech provides his own tools. For John Bridgwater when the minimum goes to $15/hour, $30/hour will be a challenge for a start-up tech.
  • There is a lot of ideas on how to approach this. A few hybrid ideas discussed.
  • In Pete’s shop, not everyone has a GM water pump socket or a Honda balancer pulley holder. These are tools that are not needed every day.
    • They have extra sets
    • For the right tech, he would make an exception. If the fit was right.
  • John Bridgwater would not have a problem dropping $10,000 in a small box for a tech.
  • Widens the pool of available candidates; including allowing auto shops to pull talent from other trades as well as drawing young sharp greenhorns into the trade. There are some very intelligent folks in other trades that could be repurposed as auto technicians with very little training. A major factor blocking this talent from flowing into our trade is the investment of tooling to get started.
    • If you work on aircraft, forklifts, big generators you can fix cars.
      • Having tools for your tech expands the overall search spectrum to find special talent.
    • Other trades are shopping our trade.
    • The knowledge base for our trade is electronics, fluid dynamics, and engineering.
  • Tools can lock a tech in until this concept catches on.
  • When the debt of the tool truck is lifted you get a better team member.
  • When the shop provides all the specialty tools you need to have them cataloged so everyone knows where they are located to not waste time finding the special tools.
    • Number drawers and shelves and reference a list
  • Specialty tools is a good way to Segway into providing all tools.
    • Multiple scan tools, a scope, multi-meters are a good start.
  • Improving shop efficacy, assign each tech a rolling cart with all the basics and then all special tools reside in a master cabinet. Every tech is similarly equipped and no more time wasted on the tool truck
  • A side-work discussion
    • Can and will devalue the market.
    • You are devaluing your knowledge or skill to the market.
    • We may need the money to pay the tool bill and to have cash.
    • You need to budget and live within your means.
    • A lot of side work is to help people who cannot afford. Matt Skundrich like to help single moms with their transportation but disagrees with doing side work every moment a tech is at home.
    • 75% of techs in the industry are doing side work.
      • They have the skill and the time to do it.
      • The buddy network is alive and well to help friends.
      • Work-life balance is important to families today.
      • Pete used side work to help create his business. It is tough not to.
        • Being a dad and a husband is now important to him.
        • As long as your work does not affect my shop.
  • It takes more than money to retain your team.
    • Tools and equipment.
      • Once the rest of the industry catches up this will not be that big of an attraction.
    • 401K, Health Benefits.
    • Holidays, Lunches.
  • Tools must be on a personal budget.
    • The wife needs to be your partner.
    • Start learning how to pay cash for your tools
  • What is in the best interest for your shop will guide how you tackle this tactic.

Link to Pete Rudloff’s Article in AutoInc Magazine

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About the author, Carm Capriotto, AAP

Carm is the founder and host of the Remarkable Results Radio Podcast; the only one of its type in the automotive aftermarket. Carm calls on his 35 years’ experience in the aftermarket to bring engaging stories from his guests.

Listen to raw, unfiltered, honest, and sincere stories that include insights, trends, best practices and expertise. Each interview brings an opportunity to learn one new thing through the stories of personal achievement. Many podcast guests tell their story of transformation from working in their business to working on it.

As host, Carm uses his enthusiasm and passion for the aftermarket especially the service sector to take his listeners on a journey showcasing successful service professionals’ path to Remarkable Results. He also enjoys interviews with aftermarket industry thought leaders who bring their industry perspectives to his listener.