Increasing billable hours in an automotive repair shop has little to do with the skills or the efficiency of the technicians charged with the responsibility of doing the job. Instead, shop performance is affected most by the things that shop management does or fails to do for the service technicians. In many cases, the problem with inefficiency lies with processes, policies, and procedures that have a negative impact on the ability of the technician to function at the highest rate of efficiency.
Goals of the Technician
Automotive technicians have many things in common besides engaging attitudes, ability and aptitude. Technicians want four things out of the work they do:
- They want to master their jobs and receive recognition and respect for that which they do.
- They want fair compensation.
- They want to feel comfortable; they want to enjoy the work and the people with which they work.
- They want to feel that the work they do matters.
How Can Shop Management Help Accomplish These Goals?
There are specific steps that must be taken to determine the capacity of a service technician. The same steps are taken for each technician; the results are that which establishes the shops’ total capacity. The steps are:
- The number of hours the technician is at work during the working week
- The number of hours that the technician is available to perform tasks, and
- Technician’s efficiency
The number of billable hours is adjusted from clock time. Deductions are made for breaks, lost time waiting for the next assignment, time spent waiting for parts, and performing non-revenue work such as work done under warranty.
On the surface, calculating available billable hours might appear to be a daunting task. However, automotive shop software can capture and calculate all the data needed to determine the technicians’ capacity, hence, billable hours.