GM Says Thank You To Its 40,000 Skilled Auto Technicians27
In conjunction with National Skilled Trades Day, held annually the first Wednesday of May, GM Customer Care and Aftersales is thanking the more than 40,000 skilled auto technicians working across GM’s dealership network. The automaker is also outlining the new GM Technician Excellence Program, launched earlier this year, and the ways in which it aims to entice new talent to join the team as a certified GM technician.
“There is a national shortage of qualified technicians due in part to a misconception of a career in the skilled trades,” said GM global vice president, Customer Care and Aftersales, John Roth. “Today’s technician role has evolved into a highly technical career which continues to be redefined as the industry undergoes one of the largest transformations to date.”
As part of the recent announcement, General Motors outlined the GM Technician Excellence Program. Launched in January of 2022, the GM Technician Excellence Program recognizes those technicians that expand their skills and knowledge through both hands-on and virtual training, allowing them to work towards new levels of certification while also opening up the opportunity for quarterly rewards and other benefits.
According to GM, 70 percent of all dealership technicians enrolled in the program during its first quarter after launch, while more than 9,000 technicians qualified for a reward across three certification levels.
At the moment, the pool of skilled technicians in the workforce is in decline, with GM citing the National Automotive Dealers Association in estimating that the shortage of technical talent will balloon 900 percent by 2031. In order to help draw in new talent, GM has launched the “Bring Us Your Talent” marketing campaign, which includes new videos that highlight the training available through the GM Automotive Service Education Program, the skills needed to work on new GM vehicles like the Cadillac Lyriq EV crossover, and how the job can transform into a lifelong career. The new ad campaign will continue to release new content throughout the year.
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The problem isn’t necessarily the job, but also the dealer environment. Poor management, low warranty labor rates, high overheads to pay for the loaners and fancy waiting room, strict book time (flat rate), service writers compensated based on upselling, not building relationships with customers leading to distrust, and also plain clueless owners… all are factors that attract the skilled techs off to independents.
It’s not an uncommon path: get trained at a dealer on their dime, and once you’ve got experience, go work at a specialty shop.
You make some good points but not all Chevy Dealers are the same, I have two dealerships in my area.
I found one to be full of those issues you mentioned but the other is the opposite. The smaller dealer I found is much more humble and much more personal. I always recommend La Quinta Chevrolet to anyone I meet in my area, they are humble and do a great job of making you feel a part of their family, not just another customer.
The other dealer in my area is just like you described.
Do technicians still need to buy their own tools? I remember reading about that and it seemed absurd to me, having to spend all this money in order to get a job. People working on a road construction crew don’t have to bring their own excavators.
It is standard for technicians to buy their own basic tools, however they receive an tool allowance to pay for them (either a fixed sum or percentage of their wage, paid annually or monthly). Aviation mechanics are under this policy as well, industrial mechanics are mixed.
The benefit for the employer is that employees are less liable to abuse, lose or steal tools. The benefit for the tech is that they don’t have to share abused tools, and they build up their tools over time so they can leave and start their own business without a huge investment.
This is similar to most employee uniforms: the employee gets a regular allowance but is otherwise responsible for them.
I haven’t been in the industry since the late 90’s, so maybe it has changed, but I didn’t get a tool allowance. I suspect it depends on the employer.
Incidentally, the story has not apparently changed. In the 90’s is was the same line of how the industry needed more technicians and you could make all kinds of money. Then after getting a 2 year degree, the Volvo/Pontiac dealer I worked for told me I’d have to take a beating for the first 5 years when I asked needing to make more money. 5 years, all while buying your own tools. I left the industry and went back to school. It seemed pretty common that some of the best talent ended up frustrated and left. All the teachers at the college were ex-techs and none seemed to have any remorse or desire to go back to being a technician.
Low pay, warranty work, flat rate, etc.
You are full of crap….. in 40 plus years with GM dealers, not one has paid a dime for my tools, only GM special tools are provided, but not everyday tools
You are full of crap. $400 twice a year tool and boot. $50,000 of tool insurance. Try being union.
started in cars and moved to airplanes. that guy is right car and truck union shops pretty much get allowance. if your area has a lot of union shops like here in Maryland you might get one anyway. they have a signing and trade school tool allowance here.
my current job we lost the tool allowance but airline now pays for anything broken and worn. other airlines still have tool allowance like $50 a month.
A tool allowance is not a common thing in dealerships in my part of the world.
Being about to retire after 48 years with exclusively G. M.
In a variety of dealership service departments I have never gotten a “tool allowence” nor has anyone else I know.
The investment is huge both with the tools and training.
I’m a technician with over 32 years experience. To replace all the tools and storage I own it’d be 40,000 a 50,000 $. That is lifetime accumulation, but you need to spend at least 10,000$ in the first few years of employment to get the basics .
Road excavators are a huge piece of equipment, perhaps think Socket wrench and sockets…..
That would be like an Automobile technician having to provide his own lift and bay to work in ???
Seriously EXCAVATORS??? how silly of a comparison…… pilots for United and American Airlines have to provide their own Jets, Bus drivers need to buy their own Buses………really???
Let’s talk about tools not pieces of heavy equipment.
I was not a automobile technician but I worked over 25 years in the construction industry
AND NO ONE EVER BOUGH ME A TOOL!!!!!! it was my own responsibility to buy the tools I needed and make sure to keep them in good working order and buy new ones as they would get old and need replacing.
I had two contractors licenses and I never expected anyone to provide me with tools. After all that is why they hired Me, I have the knowledge and the tools to do the job………
Yes, we still have to buy our own tools. No it isn’t getting any cheaper as tools are becoming more ergonomic and capable as time progresses. I moved away from the dealership life about 7 months ago because the base pay was garbage, warranty labor times are still on the decline. The only way to make up to or over $100k/year is to be in the correct location and kiss as much ass as humanly possible. Oh and also, you will need to live off of about 3 hours of sleep because you will be working nonstop the other 21 hours. So for a pat on the back and a few hundred bucks every quarter, I’ll say take that thank you and shove it.
I love it. You the man. I’m almost there. need a couple months to get where I need to be and ill be out too. Nothing but a bunch of kids that couldn’t fix a sandwich to populate the service department. Dealerships and manufacturers will be going out of business. They made their bed now they can sleep in it. The tiny bonuses we get are a slap in the face. Far to little far too late. They will be begging for the old guys to come back. Sure I’ll take 50% of your door rate X 40 hours and 30% commission on the parts I upsell plus a 25K resigning bonus to come back. Every time they laugh and say no the amount will just go up. Oh if I hear any crap from any of the management Ill be moving on again.
Local dealer is currently in a panic as people are jumping out of the dumpster fire. Markups and not honoring incentives or GMS seems to have hurt the customer base badly. This isn’t a large dealer. I don’t believe they have a single allocation for the ZR2 or Z06
Poor management through tough times.
Tough working for an unethical corporation, believe most reasonable people see through the games and want a rewarding career
Tough working for a shady corporation believe most reasonable people see through the games and want a rewarding career
The pay and benefits in this trade at the dealership level suck, they keep rolling back warranty times constantly, so unless you get plenty of customer pay jobs, you’re going to struggle to try and make what other blue collar people easily make, plumbers and electricians don’t have to invest in nearly the dollar amount of tools, and they are making 10 to 20 dollars an hour more than automotive techs
Can someone explain how auto techs get paid? Is it hourly? How does warranty work play a part in this?
Most techs are paid on a flat rate basis.
Meaning what the factory pays the dealer is a set rate based on a time study of the job to be done
If the job takes you 2 nours to do something that pays 1.7 hours, you lose. Of course if you get it done in 1.3 hours, you win.
The factory claims it to be fair but the study is done in a controlled environment averaged over multiple times the repair is done on a new vehicle.
Outside everyday factors are not figured in, ie condition of the vehicle itself, environmental factors (rust in the North east) (I have personally refused to work on vehicles only 1-2 years old because some people treat them like rolling garbage cans)
Rule of thumb with us is when they go out of warranty we go by book time + 40-50%
In addition to what John says about the labor times, the labor billed to the customer is the fixed labor time multiplied by an hourly labor rate. A retail customer pays the highest rate per hour. If a manufacturer is paying the bill, under warranty or recall, that rate is significantly lower. Sometimes fleet and government customers have a negotiated rate too.
The tech is paid a percentage of the billed labor cost. Therefore, doing the exact same job under warranty will pay the tech less than when a customer is paying.
The problem from a consumer is when you have warranty/recall work, the dealer doesn’t give a crap about you and the tech is disincentivized to care. It also causes costs to be shifted to retail customers: the dealership and tech has to make money somehow, so the result is a high retail rate. An independent shop doesn’t have this and charges everybody the same amount.
I was a technical trainer for two different manufacturers. I want to know where this sparkling white training center with a car set up on a rotisserie? I also do not remember a class that small either. I was lucky when I only had 8 since most times they insisted on 12 but didn’t insist on more than 2 vehicles.
GM had a good training center near us in Clarence N. Y. where we frequently went similar to the facility in Ardsley N. Y. which is now 6-7 hrs away & requires a overnight stay, so we now don’t get to go as much .( Depending on the acting service manager)
The powers to be in the late 80s decided to close Clarence just as the technology was ramping up and send us to Buffalo to a much smaller & crowded facility.
I never understood the reasoning.
I remember the Clarence training center.
I am nearly 66 years old, been working on cars since I was 18, most of my career I’ve been in GM dealerships, NEVER have I seen a tool allowance or heard of anyone getting one ,I have had to buy tools my entire career for various reasons,
recently a tool salesman looked at my tools and stated ,if I bought them all today at todays prices it would be between
$100,000.-$150,000.,As far as warranty times,YES they are too low,but even worse,GM will cut times if they seem to have a consistant concern they have to cover under warranty,recalls etc.,something not mentioned,a service tech is expected to work 10-12 or more hours monday-friday and most have to work 6-8 on saturday,Still a lot of our work is very physical,busted knuckles,cuts bruises, We need only a 5 day work week to recooperate our bodies,younger techs will come to realize this later on,
I’ve been a professional in the automotive business since 1984, ASE Master since 1996 (only because it got me more money, ASE is another “business” taking advantage), shop owner, manager, tech, and warranty inspector working 29 different jobs in that time. I’ve seen a lot!
I remember when things were good, and I see things worse than I’ve ever seen them right now. It’s NOT going to get better anytime soon if people don’t actually listen to the techs. Not the young guys that don’t have a clue, but the seasoned techs that have experience before the dumbing down of the automotive tech.
Compensation is very misunderstood these days. It’s not just the hourly rate, it’s the flat rate times that are killing us currently. Anyone with half a brain watching the industry can see that since the Illinois law kicked in requiring manufacturers to pay customer pay time to tech that Alldata and all the other labor time “businesses” chopped times DRASTICALLY!. These “for profit businesses” are in bed with manufacturers and warranty companies to keep their wallets full. No doubt there’s some favors being done in order to gain access to private manufacturer service information and labor times. Bottom of ever GM page says it’s not to be shared, yet they ALL have it. Little do they all realize without techs the money stops for all of them.
Autozone owns Alldata. They’re chopping off the hand that feeds them by cutting times and driving techs out of the business.
Respect we don’t receive when warranty companies tell us how to do our jobs. These “claims reps” our writers speak with are paid dirt and I’m sure most have no training or certification in auto repair, yet they control us. We get zero respect from manufacturers for doing their R&D in the field because they’re too cheap to do it properly before releasing the latest and greatest technology to the streets. Manufacturers and farming out parts to the lowest bidder and leaving us to pick up the pieces and save face for the company. Paychecks are tied to CSI that is impossible to maintain with manufacturers unable to supply parts and giving us substandard service information. When I started if you could read you could fix a car. Now it’s copied and pasted from previous models, mistakes and all, and it’s incomplete.
Techs have always been the end of the line and the place where cuts are made to please the customer, manufacturers, or warranty company. You did a 2 hour job in 1 hour so you can lose a little is the mindset of management.
Flat rate is a great way to earn a living. Sadly the experienced guys that make money get penalized because we did a great job. Young guys are more content to do a job that pays 1 hour in .8 so management takes advantage of they lack of experience and pushes them work. Young techs coming out of “schools” are brainwashed into thinking they’ll start out at $100K, when it doesn’t happen they take their house sized Snap On boxes (that they think shows how good they are) home and find other lines of work. Flat rate times used to reflect the time required for a low level technician to complete a job. Higher skilled and experienced techs could usually do these jobs much faster due to their experience and knowledge gained over their years on the job. 60 hours for a 40 hour week was average, 80 hours for 40 was what top techs produced. Now we struggle to cover the hours we work while working much harder with way more stress. Manufacturers are on a mission to get rid of flat rate, GM reps have been pushing it in dealers I’ve worked in for the last 5 years. In the end they make more money by paying us less.
In 1984 when I started in the business the door rate was $20 and hour and I was paid $9.85 an hour flat rate. It was common for techs to get 50% of the door. In 1984 the required knowledge, training, and tools required for the job were basic hand tools and a box to store them in. To repair current model vehicles a far greater knowledge and broader range of sciences is required, far more than basic mechanical knowledge of a gas engine. Currently you must have a wide range of mechanical skills, chemistry (to understand fuels and the highly advanced lubricants used today), heavy electronics knowledge (including A/C, D/C, digital, 3 phase, high voltage EV, high speed LAN and CAN buss networking, multi-media, communication networks, GPS, and autonomous vehicles), hydraulics, HVAC, diesel, and heavy computer skills. With these new technologies comes a new more complex and expensive tool requirement to perform the necessary testing. Also part of the tool box now is a computer and vehicle interface to communicate with the vehicles and the manufacturer. Much more paperwork, pictures, and video are required to document repairs and meet manufacturer, state, and federal bookkeeping requirements. We’re grease monkeys no more and our income should reflect that, Harvard degree or not. We along with repair people in every other field make this world turn!
I’ve been working as a technician in GM dealerships for 30+ years.. Never have I seen so many new vehicle issues.. There products are poor.. Anyone thinking about getting into the field is a fool.. I have steered may younger technicians into leaving this dead end carrier.. I’m close to retirement and my body is shot.. GM is the problem, not the dealership.. They make BILLIONS and pay us peanuts.. GM will be in trouble trying to find anyone to work on their vehicles for $25 an hour.. Who wants to invest 80K into tools just to be able to work for $25 hr.. There are so many jobs that pay better, don’t require an investment and don’t physically destroy you.. The future is dimming for GM unless they realize who keeps the customers happy and compensate us for doing so.