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You’ve probably noticed that we talk a lot about roles here at Fullbay. In any recent pieces we’ve created, the following words tend to pop up:

  • Owner
  • Office Manager
  • Service Manager
  • Parts Manager
  • Technician

Some of our customers get confused because the job titles in their shop don’t match any of these roles. The questions start rolling in: “We call Jim our shop foreman – should we change his title to Service Manager?” or “We don’t have a Parts Manager – do we need to hire one?”

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Hold off on changing what you call your crew – first let’s look at the difference between a role and a title.

Role

A role is a function a person fills within a company. It is a description of what the person does and describes a set of responsibilities. It’s something people outside the company can easily understand because the responsibility is right in the name of the role.

At Fullbay, we name roles in the shop “[workflow name] Manager” because the person with this role manages the workflow stated in the name. For example, a Parts Manager is responsible for managing the Parts workflow. That typically covers things like inventory and special order parts.

Title

A title is the label you have within a shop. It carries social weight, but it doesn’t necessarily describe actual responsibilities. When a role changes, responsibilities usually change. But when a title changes, responsibilities do not necessarily change.

For example, you might have one person with the title of General Manager who manages the service workflow and the parts workflow – so they’re playing the role of Service Manager and Parts Manager. They wear two hats. And that’s okay.

A smaller shop may not need different people for these roles. A larger shop might be streamlined enough to not need a separate person, either. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that a person can have more than one role, but they probably won’t have more than one title.

Roles in a Shop

Whether you change titles in your shop to match roles is a personal preference. But as the shop grows, you may need to hire at least one person to fill each key role. When that happens depends on several factors:

  • Your shop management software enables one person to fill several roles, even as the shop grows.
  • Your current processes get in the way of completing work efficiently.
  • Your employees may not be capable of filling multiple roles at once.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, there really is a difference between a role and a title – but there’s no sacred law that designates how you deal with them. What your employees do and what you call them should be based on what your shop needs at a particular place and time – and those needs can and will change as your shop grows.

Jacob Findlay

Jacob Findlay is the CEO and co-founder of Fullbay. Five years ago, he made the leap from healthcare to truck repair. He wanted to take the best ideas from the electronic medical records world and apply them to heavy duty repair. In other words, build a medical record for trucks. Today Fullbay is the number one fleet repair platform in North America. Jacob is a CPA, a cellist, a so-so surfer, and the father of seven children.