Attracting and Retaining Technicians


The success of a dealership’s service department ultimately depends on the people who work there. Happy and well-trained employees are key to providing excellent customer service, which in turn can increase profits for the dealership. However, it’s always been challenging to attract and retain technicians in the automotive industry, and it isn’t getting any easier.

According to recent statistics, half of all entry-level technicians from certified auto tech programs leave their jobs at independent shops and dealerships within two years. Furthermore, 30% of technicians overall leave their jobs each year. This high turnover rate can be costly for dealerships and can lead to a decline in the quality of service provided to customers.

But why do technicians leave their jobs in the first place? Research shows that the majority of employees don’t leave their jobs, they leave their managers and toxic work environments. In the automotive industry, 65% of technicians have left or considered leaving a job due to their manager. In 2022, a staggering 79% of technicians even considered leaving the industry entirely.

To retain technicians and improve the workplace, dealerships must focus on creating a positive and supportive culture. This means addressing management and workplace issues, providing growth opportunities and the proper tools for technicians to do their jobs, and restructuring pay plans to better incentivize employees. This can help to reduce turnover and improve customer service, leading to increased profits for the dealership.

What is your “why?”

One key factor in attracting and retaining employees is to have a clear and compelling “why” for the business. This “why” should go beyond simply making money and should reflect the values and beliefs of the dealership. By clearly communicating these values to employees, dealership service departments can create a more positive and supportive work environment, which can help to retain employees and improve customer service.

Another important factor in attracting and retaining employees is to provide them with the tools and support they need to do their jobs effectively. This includes providing access to training and development opportunities, as well as the latest tools and technology. By investing in their employees, dealership service departments can help to improve their skills and knowledge, leading to better customer service and increased profits.

Finally, dealership service departments can improve their workplace by implementing fair and transparent pay plans that reward employees for their hard work and dedication. By offering competitive salaries and benefits, as well as performance-based incentives, dealership service departments can show their employees that they are valued and appreciated. This can help to create a positive work environment and improve employee retention, leading to increased profits for the dealership.

How do I define my dealership’s values?

At RepairPal, we were recently voted one of Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces. We attribute this to our strong company culture and values. We believe that making money cannot be the only reason for being in business. We are driven by a desire to make a positive impact on the world of auto repair and to never compromise on quality.

Dealerships can learn from our example by clarifying their own values and ensuring that their physical space, online presence, and employee practices reflect these values. Below are some questions you can ask yourself, your employees, and even your customers to help define the values of your service department:


      • Why are you personally in your current role?

      • What did you have to do to achieve your current level/ career path? Why did you put in all that work?

      • What do you believe? 

      • What do you want to change about the world of auto repair and service?

      • What do you never compromise on?

      • After someone has completed a repair or service at your facility, what do you hope they would tell others about it?

      • You’re always down on what you’re not up on – so what parts of your business do you feel negatively about? What can you learn from that or what needs to change from a cultural perspective to address these issues?


    You can use our values as an example.

    Once you have clarified these values, think about how does the physical space of your service department reflect them? How does your online presence and participation reflect them? This is one way that RepairPal really helps: we seek dealerships who have a commitment to fair pricing, quality work, and employee development and training. And we help them reflect these values online, to consumers, and physically in the dealership with our signage and messaging. 

    By creating a positive and supportive work environment, and clearly communicating their values, dealerships can attract and retain talented technicians and provide excellent service to their customers.

    For more tips on attracting and retaining service customers, check out this keynote video from our Chief Revenue Officer Kathleen Long

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