Hey there, Fullbay family!
If you’ve been staring morosely into your empty coffee mug, wondering, When is Fullbay going to put up another webinar recap? then man, have we got good news for you.
2023’s first Shop Owner Roundtable featured the team from AM PM Diesel Services, and it. was. awesome. Seriously. You should just listen to it and absorb all the outstanding information provided…but if you’re short on time and just want some bullet points, well, we can deliver on that, too.
The Roundtable brought together:
- Patrick McKittrick, CEO of Fullbay
- Chris O’Brien, COO of Fullbay
- Dale Bowman, CEO of AM PM Diesel Services
- Chase Bowman, Operations Manager of AM PM Diesel Services
They covered a lot of topics important to shop owners and technicians today, including hiring, training, retention, earnings, and managing big contracts. And really, that’s just the beginning.
But first things first. How did AM PM Diesel Services get its start?
THE AM PM ORIGIN STORY
When Dale Bowman started AM PM way back in 2009, its original name was AM PM Truck Services. At first, Dale operated out of “an old Snap-On truck.”
“One thing I was seeing was going to customers’ facilities and looking at the fees that they were paying just to have a leasing company do their guaranteed maintenance.”
He took that 24-foot box truck and put the oil containment underneath the truck. He hid the filters inside. “We could go to a customer’s lot and do 20 oil changes, and the truck never had to leave the parking lot,” he says.
We’ve preached the merits of mobile repair techs before; by meeting your customers where they are, maintenance becomes a convenience—not a pain. Going to your customers’ lots and performing maintenance, repairs, and oil changes spares them the need to track you down.
They switched the name to its current incarnation in 2012.
In 2017, Dale’s son Chase took over general operations. “He still calls me for advice,” Dale says.
“Advice I want to hear or not hear,” Chase adds.
Today, AM PM has 18 shops across the United States.
HIRING & TRAINING
“We’re recruiting every single day,” Chase tells the guys. AM PM has an in-house recruiter that speaks to between 5-10 mechanics on a daily basis. Why so many? Remember, they’ve got a lot of locations, and their customers are large fleets. They cannot put a super green technician on these big fleets—which means they’re primarily looking for advanced, senior-level technicians.
That’s not to say they don’t hire apprentice-level techs. Those younger or newer (or both!) mechanics are paired up with senior techs for 4-6 weeks, and then receive a skill assessment. If they do well, they move up; if they don’t, well—that’s why the company is always hiring.
AM PM finances the training for all their technicians. “That’s the cost of the business,” Chase says. “The first week, we try to gauge the skill set and if we want to invest in them.”
And then they revealed some information that ought to put a bit of wind into the sails of anyone who has thought about becoming a technician, but doesn’t have a mechanical background:
Two of their top techs were chefs.
Yes. Chefs. We can’t help but wonder if they ever bring in gourmet snacks for their colleagues. Anyway—the point here is if you’ve got the drive and you’re willing to put in the work, you can shift into a new field.
Chase also goes on to discuss AM PM’s benefits packages, salaries, and more—definitely worth a proper listen.
WHEN TO HIRE A NEW TECH: A RULE OF THUMB
It’s a question all shop owners have asked themselves: When should I hire a new tech?
Friends, we know our webinars don’t always answer every question. But today we did!
Dale reveals his formula: “For every 23 pieces of equipment (Class 8), you’ve gotta have one technician. If a customer has 238 pieces of equipment, we need 10 technicians.”
Those 10 techs will handle that fleet completely. Road calls, tire changes, welding, and so on.
And that’s how they handle it.
AND THAT’S JUST THE START
Dale and Chase had a lot to share. More than we can cram into this recap without making it, like, 5,000 words and adding an intermission. So know that they hit on the following:
- Flat rate vs. hourly pay and how to lure technicians to your shop
- If you’ve got the workload, commission is always better—listen to the webinar to learn why!
- “Speed comes with time. Don’t rush the job—you’ll have comebacks.”
- How often they adjust contracts, rates, and so on. And this isn’t just to raise prices—they also look at what additional value they can offer their customers.
- How much some of their senior techs make…sometimes between $4,000-$10,000 per week…and how they score that cheddar.
- Why promoting from within is the secret sauce.
We say this a lot, but really, the whole webinar is fantastic. Go give it a listen and let us know what you think!