Return of the Funnel: How Technicians Can Contribute to Your Revenue Funnel

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A long time ago, on a blog far, far away, we introduced you to the revenue funnel.

Then we showed you how service managers could help the funnel strike back.

Now, we bring our trilogy full circle by returning to the funnel and showing you how your technicians can contribute to it.

Before anything else, we want to assure you (and your techs!) that we aren’t talking about sending them out on an advertising spree. The truth of the matter is that your techs can boost your revenue just by doing their jobs.

How?

Well, think about it. A truck headed back to its route with fewer problems isn’t just safer for the roads and everyone on it. That truck is also going to suffer from less downtime, which is going to make the fleet manager very happy. That means continuing work for you and your shop.

And so the cycle continues!

But how can a tech’s work directly contribute to the revenue funnel?

We’re so glad you asked.

FOR TECHS, EFFICIENCY IS KEY

We’re going to assume that you’re a solid employer and pay your techs for the hours that they work. But to find out how much they’re contributing to revenue, you have to determine how many hours they’re actually billing.

To do this, we have to find out how efficient those techs are. Now, we’ve got all kinds of posts and webinars about tech efficiency, so we won’t get into it too much here, but this is the formula you need to follow:

Let’s say you’re paying Dan the Technician 40 hours a week. If he is billing 40 hours a week, then congratulations! He is 100% efficient. That’s a great situation for your shop.

But a really great tech might work 40-45 hours a week and bill 60 or 70 hours.

But wait, Fullbay, you may be saying, how can they bill hours they aren’t working…?

This next piece of information will be old news for some of you, but if you’re new to the blog or just want to change things up, consider how you’re charging for work.

THE BENEFITS OF CHARGING THE BOOK RATE

How much your techs end up contributing to the overall revenue funnel depends on their experience and how much you charge for their craftsmanship. For the sake of this article, we’ll assume you’re charging book rate — that is, a set amount of time for each service performed.

Let’s say you bill 2.5 hours for a brake job. No matter how long the work actually takes, you are charging a customer for the 2.5 hours.

A highly experienced tech might be able to knock that job out in 1.5 hours while still performing high-quality work; you would still invoice for the full 2.5 hours. Meanwhile, that tech could spend the additional hour on another vehicle.

In contrast, a more junior tech might take the full 2.5 hours. If you extrapolate this over time, a really junior tech might work 40 hours but only bill out 30.

(Ouch.)

We mention this because the efficiency and productivity to your techs is largely tied to their experience and capability. An apprentice or more junior tech is just not going to contribute to your revenue funnel in the same way a more experienced tech would.

But not all is lost! That junior tech can still improve.

HOW TECHS CAN CONTRIBUTE TO SHOP REVENUE

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

You practice!

How does a tech boost their skill set and improve their own efficiency?

They practice, too!

(Editor’s note: facepalm)

Think about it this way: the more you work at a task, the better you become at it. Generally it’s the same for techs; they can become more skilled and efficient over time, eventually completing work quickly at a high-quality level.

That last bit is important, by the way. A quick tech is great, but you need to make sure the work they do is exemplary. You’ll know pretty fast if someone’s work isn’t quite up to scratch, because you’ll be dealing with comebacks and losing revenue on those. On top of that, an improperly repaired truck is a dangerous truck. And at the end of the day, that is what we are trying to prevent.

There are things you can do to incentivize good, quick work, but a lot of a tech’s general improvement is going to come down to the individual.

Shop culture is critical—but so is work ethic.

So how do you get a tech that does quick and excellent work? Make sure you’re hiring people with a good work ethic who want to learn and improve—and then make sure you’re providing a good environment for them. If they spot certifications they’d like to obtain or could do with additional training, work with them to make it happen.

But let’s go a little deeper than that. Do your techs feel like they’re working toward the greater good? Does your shop have an overall mission?

Let’s phrase it this way: It can be useful to remember that while your techs are definitely doing a job (that you are hopefully paying them well for!), they’re also contributing to public safety. If you’re a tech working on a big rig in the morning, by mid-afternoon, that big rig could be sharing the road with the people you care about. What are the implications of a truck breaking down next to the car carrying your spouse and children?

This knowledge, this sense of social responsibility, may not be the end-all, be-all reason your techs get up and come to work. Again, it’s a job. We get it. But it’s something everyone in your shop should be aware of, at least, and part of the underlying mission of your business. That sense of duty and protection can contribute to a strong work ethic—someone who doesn’t just “get ’er done” but someone who gets ’er done right.

Pay them what they’re worth.

In the past, we’ve talked about efficiency bonuses.

We like to think we’re evolving our stance a bit as we learn and grow. We do still like bonuses as rewards, but take care that your techs aren’t depending on efficiency bonuses to get by. A bonus should be something extra; if they’re dependent on those bonuses to make ends meet, then they are working with the bonus in mind, not overall safety. This is how mistakes slip through.

You can probably see where we’re going with this. In short, pay your techs what they’re worth. If they’re not worrying about their finances, they’ll be devoting more time to performing excellent work on the vehicles going in and out of your shop.

Keep the work flowing.

There’s one other major way you can help your techs help themselves, and that’s not letting them stand around waiting for work.

The last two entries in this article series have dealt with how to get hours into the bucket — basically, how to funnel work into the shop. If a shop doesn’t have the hours, then the techs won’t have work, and then can’t contribute to the revenue funnel.

If there’s always work, your techs won’t be idling at the service manager’s desk or in the break room. Yes, breaks and lunches and socializing are important, but so is actually getting the work done. If your shop doesn’t have a steady number of authorized work coming in for techs to jump on as they finish their jobs, then owners and service managers need to get out there and bring the work in.

In other words, do your job so your techs can do theirs.

THINK ABOUT FULLBAY

Do you know what’s almost as bad as having no work for your techs?

Having an antiquated system to hand existing work out.

If we can leave you with one last piece of admittedly shameless advice, it’s that electronically assigning work and ordering parts eliminates wasted time (and crowding around the service manager’s desk). If only there were software out there that could manage such work…oh wait. There is.

From streamlined service orders to easier customer authorization and communication, Fullbay does it all—and makes it easy for your techs, your service managers, and everyone else in the shop to do their part in boosting revenue.

Curious? Want to know more? We’ve got a free demo right this way. Give us a test drive—your revenue funnel is waiting!

Suz Baldwin

About Suz Baldwin

Suz Baldwin got her start in the automotive industry, writing and editing for several motorcycle and classic car magazines straight out of college. In the years that followed, she’s written all sorts of copy for brands big and small while consuming enough coffee to paralyze a dinosaur.

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