• Last modified 876 days ago (Feb. 23, 2022)


Garages can't find enough mechanics

Staff writer

Auto and truck repair businesses are finding it harder and harder to find repair technicians.

Barry Allen, owner of Webster Auto Service in Marion, has experienced the difficulty even though his shop is fully staffed with four technicians.

“I had been having troubles finding them for years,” Allen said.

For quite a while, Webster’s operated with only Allen and one technician, Alan Kruse.

Allen has hired two technicians in the last two years. A move to another city seems to be the main reason they leave, he said.

He prefers to hire mechanics who are certified in Automotive Service Excellence but will hire talented technicians and allow them to complete certification later.

In an effort to recruit technicians, he has increased pay and benefits.

“The trouble right now, it seems, there is no housing,” Allen said.

He’s noticed fewer schools offer automotive programs.

“I know they did completely eliminate the automotive program here,” Allen said.

He thought schools should offer automotive service and other trade courses.

“There’s a shortage in all the trades — automotive, carpentry, and heating and air conditioning,” Allen said.

He said he hears from parts salesmen who come to Webster’s that repair shops all over are looking for help.

“I think everybody should consider taking a trade, whether it be automotive, plumbing, heating and air conditioning, or what,” he said.

Stan Williams, owner of Williams Service in Florence, is actively trying to hire technicians.

Most repair jobs at Williams involve trucks, he said.

“I would love to have two more technicians right now if I could find them,” he said. “They’re hard to find.”

The company offers training to employees with interest and aptitude.

“To be honest, some of the best techs we have were trained in-house,” he said.

One of Williams’s best technicians came in not knowing how to do the work and was trained on the job.

He said working on semis was cleaner than working on cars because technicians don’t have to bend over as much to reach the engine.

Last modified Feb. 23, 2022