Tips to Find Great 12V Installers

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Mobile Solutions

One of the biggest challenges for car audio retailers is keeping the back bays staffed with highly skilled installers.   It can take three years to properly train a technician to work efficiently on just about any car that comes into the shop.

There are fewer installers available as many industries compete for technicians in the same pay scale.  In some cases, shops are left permanently understaffed.

There is a way to solve the problem, but like many business solutions, it takes time and organization.  Here are some tips:

First, always be recruiting. In Car Experts (ICE) buying/marketing group Executive Director Rob Elliott said he spent 6 hours a week recruiting as a retailer, because personnel are a shop’s most valuable asset. “If you wait until you need someone, and then start recruiting, you won’t have the time to do it because you’ll be picking up the slack for the missing person and you’ll end up taking anyone who comes in the door.”

How do you recruit?  He called reps and asked if they knew of installers looking for a job.  Of course, they said no, but eventually emails would come in with suggestions.  He invited “guest installers” to come in and work for a day.  In this way his staff knew that no one was irreplaceable, and it kept everyone on their toes.

You may find to you need to train a novice or a graduate of an installer training school (who may have knowledge, but still lacks  on-the-job experience).

If you are organized you can make it worthwhile to train a green recruit, says Elliott.  There are elements of each install that a new recruit can do and earn his keep. “During remote start season we knew we would do 300 Chevy Tahoe’s so he would prep hundreds of remote starts for the Tahoe that someone could just grab them from the shelf as needed.”  Recruits would do bench work like shortening wires or soldering wires.  It’s just like anything else in business, says Elliott, “The only way you make it in this industry and not work 80 hours a week is to be super efficient by implementing systems and processes.”

Jeff Meece of Meece Car Audio, Lancaster, CA suggests volunteering at the local high school to find recruits with an aptitude for electronics.  He teaches a course in car audio installation on Wednesday afternoons..  Some of the kids become interns in the shop.  Plus it keeps him in front of kids interested in car audio who eventually come into the store to buy a system.  And, of course, interns can be non-paid.

Retailers may want to check out the SkillsUSA program,says Todd Ramsey of Ramsey Consulting.  SkillsUSA is a non-profit that creates competitions for different vocations, including car electronics installers, to encourage kids to become more professional and skilled workers.  It works with high schools who train their kids in vocations.  The kids then compete in the SkillsUSA competitions that are local, statewide and then national.   You can find out about the competitions in your state by calling  SkillsUSA Program Director Dave Worden at 703-737-0611.   Some states may have 25 kids competing in the mobile electronics program.  Each state then sends one kid to a national finals where many companies go to recruit new talent.  This year 12 states sent mobile electronics competitors to the national competition, said Worden.

One more note, ICE has its own “work4experts” network where installers looking for work can sign up and dealers recruiting may see who is available.   Sometimes installers are hired that day, sometimes within hours, said Elliott.

Photo: Mobile Solutions training

Source: CEoutlook

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  1. This was a good write up. I was really excited to see the SkillsUSA piece of it due to the fact that one of my students competed at nationals in the mobile electronics competition this last year. It was a great experience for him and definitely helped out his resume.

  2. Thank you for writing this article. Retailers nationwide tell us that this is their number one challenge. I am certain that this article will give store owners some new avenues to explore when trying to find qualified help.

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