Here's how to get more 'A' techs in your shop

April 1, 2023
Successful companies are the ones that can find, get, and keep great employees. What is your plan for finding great techs?

It should come as no surprise that the automotive industry is short on technicians. In fact, it seems like every industry is short on employees. It even looks like there is no end in sight. That said, it’s safe to say that successful companies are the ones that can find, get and keep great employees. So, what is your plan for finding great techs? Do you even have one? What steps are you taking to find a tech if you need one?

Pretend to be a tech

I have an experiment I want you to try. Go to and pretend to be a tech looking for a job. Type in “automotive technician” on the job search page. Look at how many help-wanted ads are in your area. It’s pretty normal to be in the hundreds. With all these jobs posted on, why should the prospective employee send you their information?

Remember that there are also Google, Zip Recruiter, and hundreds of other job boards on the internet. Do you really think that just putting out a help-wanted ad will work? For example, one of my members rents a huge construction sign billboard and puts the ad out with all the info about the job in front of his business, where sixty thousand cars drive by daily. It works very well for obvious reasons.

Recruit from other local shops

Another way is to try to recruit from the other shops around you. Most people won’t do this, so the ones that figure out how to do it well will have techs for the foreseeable future. Some might consider this unethical or underhanded, but why does it work if it is not the right thing to do? Why doesn’t the tech being recruited look at the person doing the recruiting and call them a low life? Why does that tech then decide to work for that underhanded person?

Ask yourself this question:

You may be asking yourself the wrong question. As a shop owner, you already know what you want in an employee and an A tech. But shop owners rarely ask themselves, “What does the A tech want?” This is why putting yourself in the tech’s shoes and pretending to be them can help shift your perspective. Ultimately, you want to ensure you’re creating a healthy work environment that people want to be a part of.

Here’s a list of what some "A" techs might want:

1. Respect and support from their supervisor.

2. Quality tools and equipment.

3. A trained front counter staff that gets the correct info from the customer to begin with.

4. A front counter staff that sends the correct information to the customer so that it justifies the A tech making the right amount of time and labor dollars that justify diagnosing the vehicle.

5. A designated team to do water pumps and oil changes, so they don’t have to.

Limited Time Offer: ATI's What A Techs Want Checklist Are you stuck in a rut trying to recruit high-quality, experienced technicians with no results? Download ATI’s What A Techs Want Checklist to understand how to separate your shop from the competition and create an environment where great candidates want to work and stay. To receive your copy, go to for a limited time.

Use This creative marketing strategy

The form of content taking over social media and marketing as we know it is video. Think Instagram Reels, TikTok, YouTube, etc. We live in a visual society, so it might be a good idea to make a video marketing to techs, outlining what it feels like to work with your team.

Show the workspace, the state-of-the-art testing equipment, and all the bells and whistles you have so their job can be much easier. Include your great digital vehicle inspections, documentation processes, and professionalism. You can also post this video on your website under the career page and your Google Business profile. Wow, talk about doing something different to get the phone to ring. (Or you can keep doing the same old thing and expect different results.)

Find, get, and keep great employees

Regardless of how you decide to market to your A tech, you need a vibrant career page on your website, great reviews from customers, an excellent local reputation in town, and existing employees who are happy. When you walk into the shop grumpy and take it out on your employees, understand that you are gifting your employees to your competition.

Not only should we be asking what the A tech wants, but we should also be asking what all of our employees want. Looking forward, if we change as an industry and start considering what our employees want instead of what we, as shop owners, want and are willing to give, we will see more A techs and employees in our industry. Now is the time to look at the big picture and understand that if you want to be successful, you must be able to find, get and keep great employees.

About the Author

Brian Hunnicutt | ATI Executive Coach

Brian Hunnicutt, CEC, PFP, has been in the automotive industry since 1978 and is an executive coach for the Automotive Training Institute (ATI). Often called in as a troubleshooter, Hunnicutt is an innovative thinker with a history of reviving failing stores, consistently breaking sales records and exceeding expectations. He helps auto shop owners effectively apply successful, practical methods and systems, rather than theoretical techniques. ATI’s 34 full-time, certified coaches have helped ATI’s members earn over $2.5 billion in return on their coaching investment since ATI was founded.

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