In this episode of WrenchWay Weekly, we discuss the biggest challenges confronted by new technicians. Watch the full episode, or review the episode highlights below.

What Difficulties Do New Technicians Face?

A recent WrenchWay Insiders poll asked, “What is the biggest challenge about being a new technician?” Here were the responses:

  • Familiarization with Shop Processes: 17%
  • Meeting Shop Expectations for Production: 19%
  • Insecurity or Intimidation: 21%
  • Tool Investment: 33%

Let’s explore the top four challenges new technicians face, and take a more in-depth look at the responses to the WrenchWay Insiders poll.

Challenge #4: Familiarization with Shop Processes

While the least chosen answer in our poll, this response highlights that some shops need to do a better job of teaching new technicians the basics. It could be as simple as showing the new guy where tools should be stored, or suggesting the best test drive route for vehicle diagnosing. These efforts go hand-in-hand with creating a setting where new technicians are comfortable asking any questions, even the “dumb ones.”

Challenge #3: Meeting Shop Expectations for Production

Shop owners and managers need to take the time to set clear expectations. The fact that almost a fifth of survey respondents brought up this issue means that shop owners/managers are not setting or not communicating realistic expectations for new technicians. New employees are anxious to do a good job, but they need to have goals to achieve this. New technicians should also understand that they may not complete work as fast as veteran technicians. As one of our respondents said, “Speed comes with experience and repetition.”

Challenge #2: Insecurity or Intimidation

Nothing will chase a new technician away from the industry faster than being intimidated or even frightened. The best technician in the shop may not be the best mentor. The shop owner or manager needs to identify the most even-keeled mentor for a new employee—someone who has the patience to answer countless questions, demonstrate procedures, and not bite anyone’s head off.

Challenge #1: Tool Investment

It’s a paradox — the person least able to afford new tools is the one who has to make the largest investment to do their job. As the number one answer in the survey, this issue is a matter of concern for our WrenchWay Insiders. While most people like shiny new things, young technicians can be helped by practical advice. Not every piece of equipment has to be brand new and top quality. For instance, one industry veteran replied to the survey by suggesting that a technician never buy a new toolbox. New technicians should get in the habit of asking co-workers for smarter tool buying strategies like looking on Craigslist or Facebook, and also determining what tools don’t need to be top quality.