Tools that optimize ROI

In 2012, for the first time since pre-2000, the demand for service technicians exceeded supply, according to the 2014 Automotive Aftermarket Industry (AAIA) Digital Factbook. AAIA claims there is a promising outlook for technicians.

The caveat, however, is that you play your cards right. The demand for qualified technicians has begun to exceed the supply because the training and equipment needs required of automotive technicians are increasing. A technician today needs diagnostic skills that go well beyond identifying pattern failures. This includes the ability to use diagnostic tools and have a profound understanding of how to use them.

There are means available for acquiring these skills and those who take advantage of them are reaping the rewards.

The International Automotive Training Network (iATN) recently reported that its technician members’ average salary in 2012 was $51,000, compared to the $39,000 average salary for all U.S. technicians. What this says is that technicians who take the time to network with peers and stay up-to-date on training get a return on their investment.

iATN is not the only auto repair forum available. My point is that forums exist to allow technicians to discuss best practices for service and repair. Technicians who make use of these resources stand a better chance of being prepared to diagnose repairs faster.

Tool and equipment manufacturers also want to do their part to make sure technicians get the training they need. These manufacturers have long recognized that tools and training go hand in hand, which is why they provide educational materials and support various forums, be it on-site, online or in the pages of PTEN magazine.

In the current PTEN issue, automotive tool manufacturers present examples of products that are designed to allow technicians to recoup their investment in both the products and the training needed to use them (see page 40 for details).

These are good times to be a technician, provided you play your cards right.