The rate of new technicians coming into the industry is lower than the rate of technicians retiring. For many repair shops and fleets, this shortage is already a harsh reality. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be a 15 percent increase in diesel mechanics and service technician jobs by 2020, adding over 35,000 jobs to this field. The demand for talent is creating competition. So you need to be on top of your recruiting game.   

Here’s a few recruiting more tips:

Partner with schools: Create a direct partnership with schools (trade schools, colleges, and even high schools). Learn more about programs such as AYES, SkillsUSA and NATEF. Let students come into your shop. Offer internships or job shadowing opportunities and show interest before students have graduated. There’s a unique opportunity to meet them in person and observe their work ethic. You can teach a student, so they learn directly from you and gain the experience that meets your specific company requirements. Students can learn your expectations and how your shop runs, too. Plus, these partnerships help develop an educational framework to meet industry demand, so students are best prepared for the job.   

Online ads: Post your help wanted ad online. Post on career websites such as, social media and on your own website. Don’t stop there. You can post an ad in trade publications. Or have your current staff get the word out. You can offer a reward for a referral that turns into a hire.

Darrell Rowe, principal at Rowe & Associates Consulting, also suggests: “Newspaper classified ads used to be the chief way to find employees, but I’m not sure how many technicians look there anymore. Referrals from parts vendors and tool suppliers, simple word of mouth, are more apt to be seen today. Don’t forget to also consider returning veterans (check out, who often come with great skills.  



Job fairs: Participate in job fairs. Reach out in your community and attend numerous job fairs hosted by local colleges or your chamber of commerce. You can host your own at your place of business, too. You get to meet people face-to-face. While you might have an ideal profile you’re seeking, maybe you’ll find someone with a unique and diverse skillset that’s worth bringing aboard.

One example, of a well-executed on-site job fair is from Quality Companies in Ohio and Texas. According to their website, they offered information about positions that were available and the benefits of working for them such as training, medical, tuition reimbursement, and 401k. They had human resources on-site to extend offers to qualified individuals and technicians were available to answer any questions. They offered employees multiple shift options & shift differential and more. As a bonus, their job fair also gave attendees food and prizes. 


Perks: While pay is important, you’re not going to pay a lesser skilled technician a high salary. But to win the recruiting game, you can offer perks. You can give a signing bonus. Or perks can come in the form of flexible hours for improved work/life balance, food, performance based rewards, tool allowances, company outings, growth opportunities such as training or trade shows, employee discounts on repairs, a strong team environment, etc.

You can partner with community businesses to offer discounts to employees. Work with local service and retail companies such as gyms, coffee or pizza shops, plumbers, carpet cleaning companies, etc. to see if they would be willing to provide a discount to employees of your company.

Develop a recruiting program: Make sure your foundational structure is in place such as clear job descriptions, training processes, management structure, sourcing channels, workforce plans, and rewards, compensation and benefits. Develop a recruiting strategy that incorporates the recruiting tips mentioned. But keep in mind; your most important assets aren’t your processes or software. Your success lies in the people in your company. Consider that when planning your budget, when deciding on compensation and benefits and the support system such as training you have in place once you’ve hired them. Make it harder for your employees to be recruited away.

Most employees want to feel valued. They want to be a part of a supportive team. They want a good boss-employee relationship. According to, employees want purpose, goals, responsibility, autonomy, opportunity, transparency, and they want to get paid fairly. But these things are equally important for your existing staff, too. Strive to retain the employees you already employ. Replacing good employees is harder than keeping them happy.

Do you have any recruiting tips? Share your experience with finding, hiring and keeping your technicians.  

This is the first article in our Repair Shop Business Management Series. This section includes four articles which cover Employee Recruiting and Retention.