Hey! Didn't You Used to Work for Me? - BodyShop Business
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Hey! Didn’t You Used to Work for Me?

Too bad someone out there doesn’t have a collision industry crystal ball – filled with answers about where future technicians are going to come from and the secrets of hiring and retaining them.

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Without an omniscient fortune teller to explain the future (and with Miss Cleo under investigation), shop owners are left to make predictions of their own. For example, in last year’s Industry Profile, 64.5 percent of respondents predicted their workforce would stay the same in the next 12 months.

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Were they right? Are we looking at the next Nostradamus here? The numbers say yes.

According to this year’s Industry Profile, 64.2 percent of shops didn’t change the size of their workforce in the past 12 months. Of the 34.8 percent that did make a change, 70.7 percent increased their staff size (by an average of 37.3 percent), while 29.3 percent decreased their staff (by an average of 27 percent).

If we’re supposedly in the midst of technician shortage, where did the shops that increased their staff size find new employees? According to survey results, 32 percent stole them from other shops.

With one correct prediction under their belts, how do shop owners see their workforce changing in the next 12 months? An overwhelming percentage – 62.4 – believe it will stay the same. A clairvoyant 35.7 percent expect it to increase, while the remaining 1.9 percent say it will decrease.

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Why the varied predictions?

The shop owners who plan to increase the size of their workforce plan to do so for valid reasons, citing increased work loads, new buildings that better utilize space and streamline production, and new DRP contracts. Those who plan to decrease the number of employees are facing some difficult times:

  • “The economy in this area isn’t good.”
  • “We haven’t been able to grow as much as we’d like to.”
  • “There’s not much work in this town.”

A shop owner who predicts his workforce will stay the same – despite his wanting to increase it – gave one simple reason: “We can’t find qualified technicians.”

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Look out! If he’s like many other shop owners, he’ll soon be looking next door for his next hire. Sorry neighbor!

Writer Melissa McGee is managing editor of BodyShop Business.

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