• Drive Your Shop Profits - The DL S3E08

    Drive Your Shop Profits - The DL S3E08 is now available on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, IGTV, and YouTube.


    In this episode of The DL, Diesel Laptops’ Founder and CEO, Tyler Robertson, is joined by David Saline, VP of Sales at Drive. David tells us about Drive and how the consulting and training services provided help improve quality and standards for shop owners. Other topics discussed are listening to employees to finding creative ways to incentivize and motivate, building a culture within a shop, future generations in the workforce, getting involved to promote industry jobs and training, women as technicians, and more.   

    As always thank you for watching and listening!




    Phone – (818) 500-9631

    Transcript for Drive Your Shop Profits - The DL S3E08:

    Tyler Robertson (00:06):

    Welcome everyone, to another episode the DL. I am your host, Tyler Robertson, the CEO and founder of Diesel Laptops. And we are coming to you from Dallas, Texas. We are here at HDAW, which is Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week. And as you can see from the video, we're actually sitting in a hotel room. It's been great to have this and put this together here. We'll be shooting some more episodes later today, also from the floor. But what I wanted to bring here is, I wanted to bring David, with DRIVE shops here. David really kind of helps our core customers. So we actually have the same customer base and their company really helps repair shops. So David, I just want to say welcome to the show, sir.

    David Saline (00:47):

    Oh, thank you. It's honor to be here, Tyler. Yeah, just a little bit about DRIVE. I've always gone through this one saying, "A shop owner, the best thing about owning a business is there's nobody to tell you what to do. The worst thing about owning a business, there's nobody to tell you what to do." When you find yourself in a bind, who do you turn to? Who do you get help from? Sometimes you may not want to say that to your friends or something like that, hey, I'm struggling with something. So what DRIVE was founded in 1993 and what we do is we consult shops. We have a lot of business men on the business management side, we don't get into the parts, we don't get into the technical work. We work on the business side. So getting your financials in order, recruiting and retaining employees, employee management, we get into systems and procedures and anything that helps a shop produce more, make more money and make the shop owner's life easier.

    Tyler Robertson (01:42):

    Let's just break it down for an audience. Who is your typical shop owner? What's their background? How do they become an owner of a repair shop?

    David Saline (01:50):

    That is a question and I think the biggest majority of shop owners that we find out there, they were really good mechanics. They're really good at mechanics. And for some reason or another, they went on their own. Either they were, "Hey, I want my own business." Or they had an upset with their ex-boss and they're like, "I'm just going to go out and do this on my own." And then, they get in it. They get customers, they start working, they get a few more customers, they hire an employee. But then the next thing they know is, they find themselves working 14, 16 hours a day, seven days a week. No sleep, they're stressed out. And yeah, they may have helpers in the shop, but it just doesn't flow like it was when they worked for somebody else.

    Tyler Robertson (02:29):

    Yeah. I've been a service manager. I've worked in dealerships and I've seen this happen so many times and I knew the way a story was going to unfold every time I saw it happen, because what we would do is we'd say, oh, we need a new parts manager. That guy's great at some parts, let's make him a manager. And 9 out of 10 times, the skill sets are completely different, right. Being a manager and being an employee, that's great at a job. It's just two totally different things. But I've seen that a lot, who usually runs a truck dealership, who is the general manager? The best sales guy. Well, the best sales guy and running a store and managing people is completely different. And it's like that for diesel techs. They know the products really well. They know the market, but now all of a sudden, like you said, they got to know payroll, shop efficiency, processes, systems, how to manage cash. It's a steep learning curve or you're going out of business really quick.

    David Saline (03:27):

    Well, and you see this all the time. Like I said, they're probably the best technicians at what they do. Hands down, I don't know any of them that I would say, couldn't fix anything that's put in front of them. And there's a mentality there, I can fix anything. But when they get into their business, it can be sometimes discouraging or kind of embarrassing to know, "Hey, my business, ain't doing so well. And now, what do I do about it?" That's where we step in at DRIVE. We help a lot of people through that staff. Train them, give them legit leadership skills and business schools, because, let's be honest, the majority of those shop owners, they may went to tech school, had some college and some just... They worked in the trade all these years, but they never went into any business management training or skills on that piece.

    Tyler Robertson (04:12):

    It's a whole new skillset. People always ask me, "Man, how did you grow Diesel Laptops so fast?" I'm like, it really three things in my life happened to me. One, I ended up going to school for computer engineering and then I switched and went to school and got my degree in business. And then I worked in a dealership for 15 years and I saw exactly how things worked. I learned how bigger companies worked. I learned about cash flow and income statements and balance sheets.

    Tyler Robertson (04:34):

    I had the school, I had the training, I had the experience. And now all of a sudden, they all converged into Diesel Laptops. I get it man. It's really tough for small business owners to make that leap. Like you said, everyone I've talked to as well, no doubt about it, they know how to get there. They know how to fix trucks. And they usually, typically don't have a too much of a problem actually getting the work in the door. It's just all the things that have to happen once that vehicle's there to be profitable and not work seven days a week, 14 hours a day.

    David Saline (05:03):

    Well, Correct. They're good. They get the work in the door. And sometimes as they expand, they have a hard time and then they have to up their marketing efforts, which we help with because that's a different [crosstalk 00:05:14].

    Tyler Robertson (05:13):

    They're getting started. Yeah.

    David Saline (05:14):

    They're getting started, but you get enough work in the door, but then what happens is managing it. And one of the first things I see that buries independent shops is accounts receivable. They start getting a few customers in and then they want that big fleet or that big customer. And they're like, "Oh, we need a 90-day account." And next thing you know, you're putting parts in labor, paying your employees on this. And the next thing you know, you're sitting there waiting for that check to come in but you have this cautious, I don't want to go necessarily go to them and say, "Hey, I need my check."

    Tyler Robertson (05:47):

    The exact thing happened to me and I knew it going in. I had been a general manager. I went through receivables every week and understood cashflow. I had a degree in it and I started my company. I'm like, man, you know what? I know I need cash. I'm going to make sure nobody ever is past due with us. We have minimal receivables and collect as much cash as possible and I'm not going to keep much inventory around. And then you wake up one day and your bank account's empty and you look in your balance sheet. And like, man, I got $8,000,000 tied up in receivables and inventory. And we're going to struggle to make payroll this week. But that's the reality of running a business and things can get away from you really, really quick if you don't know where to look. And that's what I mean by expensive lessons. They can slap in the face.

    David Saline (06:25):

    Yeah. They can be very expensive lessons. That's what we really sit down and we analyze shops, that's one of our first things we do when we work with a client. We have a service that we analyze the shop and we find out, what are your goals? What do you want to achieve? Because look, every shop's different. That's another thing. Every shop owner has a different goal. Some guys want to grow to a certain level, some want to have multiple shops. There's guys that want to take over the world. But the thing is, what is the owner's goals themselves? Once we find out those goals, then we take a whole snapshot of where the business is right now. What is going on in the business? We look at your production, your finances, how you're paying your employees down to what marketing you doing. We even look up your reputation online and do a few phone calls in your local area to see, do they know about you? Who are you?

    Tyler Robertson (07:10):

    I think one of the things here is a lot of times when people use the word consultant, people are like, "Oh God. Some dude that doesn't know anything that read a book is now going to tell me what to do, but not actually doing anything for me." But, do you actually have some experience in running shops and in doing these things?

    David Saline (07:26):

    Yeah. Now, I own my own shop. Matter of fact, I opened it up in 2007, right in the middle of the recession which to me wasn't no big deal. I'm opening a shop. I'm out on my own. I'm happy. I learned really quick that hey, things ain't going the way it should. And that's when I found DRIVE. Within six months of on DRIVE'S Consulting Coaching Program, I think I'd like to use the word coaching more because that's what it is. We really coach. We go through this program and six months in, I had taken my shop from me and two guys that was doing 40,000 a month in sales. We were then doing 120,000 a month with an extra take on there and a service advisor. Within one year, I had turned the shop into about a 1.5 million dollar business. And then within five years, I had two locations and we were doing close to 3, 3.5 million a year.

    Tyler Robertson (08:22):

    If I had to take a guess on what changed, was it all of a sudden, you knew what to look for, what to measure, and you started putting in the right processes to actually run the business?

    David Saline (08:34):

    We started organizing it. That was the first thing. We organized it, we put in process, we started running off the numbers. I didn't go off my gut. Didn't run off my checkbook anymore. That was one of the big things, as somebody came up to me and said, "Hey, we need to buy a tool." Well, let me go look. Checkbook says we can do it. And then next week I'm sitting here groaning, where did the money go?

    Tyler Robertson (08:51):

    Why the hell did I buy that tool? Can you return it?

    David Saline (08:54):

    What do you do on that? You start learning how to manage your finances and run everything off the numbers and everything like that. Then the biggest thing I'm going to have to say, it's the mindset of the owner. If you're still working on trucks, you're still writing service at the service desk. Yes. There's some of you who love to do that but I don't want to stop you from doing it. But, do you have other people to do it for you? Because that's a full-time job either. And the owners often say, "I can handle writing service. I can handle writing trucks. I'll work side by side with my guys." Well, their day is spread out so much you're only doing each job 25, 30% of what it needs to be done. So, the business never grows or expands.

    Tyler Robertson (09:35):

    And that's the hard thing I think a lot of entrepreneurs, right they know. I know how to write up trucks. I know how to fix trucks. I'm going to do those things. But they don't realize that's what's holding them back from actually growing. They need to train someone else to do those things so they can go focus on growing their business, not just getting that truck immediately at the door.

    David Saline (09:52):

    Yeah. And then there's so many different things and there's so many different things I've seen with myself during this time when I was getting coaching but with other shops. Service advisor, oh, I got to have somebody that knows the parts, the trucks and everything else. I will tell you right now, throw that out the window. I want somebody that's personable, that's a communicator, that knows nothing about trucks. And I'll give you an example why. My first service writer, I drove my feet on hiring a service writer when I was starting off. This was years ago, but I was dragging my feet on it. My wife and my business coach at that time says, "Hey, you got to do it." So I said, okay, fine. So we went out, we're interviewing different people. I'm looking for somebody that knows the industry and knows trucks. That's what I got to have.

    David Saline (10:34):

    My wife went out with her friends on a Friday night, ran into this girl that's sitting in a booth next to them and she's saying, "Oh, my day was just as bad as it can be." She goes, "I got yelled at, I had customers hang up on me. I had this and I had that, the boss and all that." And you just hear just venting. But then she said something that got my wife's attention. She goes, "It's Friday. It's no problem. We'll blow it off. I'm going to go back in Monday and everything's going to be okay and it's going to be a great week." And it was just that attitude there. So my wife got to talking to her a little bit and says, "Here, I don't know who you are or anything, but come by our business for an interview."

    David Saline (11:16):

    And she says, "If you don't like where you're at." That's it all it was. Next week, this girl comes in and now look, I'm telling you, I sit down with interviews. She didn't even know how to check the oil in her car. Her husband pumps her gas in her car for her. And I'm sitting here going, I don't know. My wife said, "Give her a chance." We put her on the front counter and it was the most amazing thing we did. As soon as we trained her up on just some of the basics, we watched sales go up $5,000 a week on the existing customers coming in the shop. Just because I was giving stuff away, and she had parameters and couldn't do it.

    Tyler Robertson (11:51):

    Yeah. I guess a couple of things there. First of all, I can tell the audience here, our company was stuck. We grew really fast. We hit a threshold and all of a sudden, I'm working seven days a week, 14 hours a day, putting out fires non-stop. It's chaos. I get upset customers. We're not answering the phones. We're not shipping things. It's just a mess everywhere. And I was like, what am I doing wrong? How did I get here? And it came to be we needed to figure out and do a lot of things that I'm sure went through similar things in our space that you do with your shop. I get it. I know there's a lot of people listening. I know a lot of our customers are that way. There's enough hours in the day, they think that.

    David Saline (12:35):

    Yeah, you get stuck you have to get employees in there and sometimes finding employees... And that's one of the biggest things going on in the market right now. We can't find technicians, we can't find employees, there's the labor shortages. They're out there, you just got to be a little different and open your mind to who you want to hire. Because there's people out there, but you can't be picky. I always look at it, hire the person, hire the attitude that you want in your business, that fits your culture. Technical training, service writer skills, anything else can be trained. You can train that into them but you can't hire a bad personality and train them.

    Tyler Robertson (13:12):

    Let's go back to your service writer thing for a second. I think most people know this. It's more expensive to go find a new customer than it is to sell more to the current customers you have, but we all do it. We're all like, oh, go spend more on Google ads. Go do more of these things. Get my name out there. Maybe I'm just this way, but very few times like, hey, maybe we should go sell to that guy that already bought something and sell an accessory thing or another thing or another service.

    David Saline (13:39):

    Exactly. It's staying in touch with your customer database and going back and talking to them and of course handling the new customers. And when you get a phone call, your service advisor's job has got to convert that to a customer. That's a marketing lead coming in. Any phone call coming in is a marketing lead. Now your service advisors got to convert that to a customer. And I'll give you a funny story on this. My service advisor we hired and she's been on the job now probably about a month, month and a half. And we had this one local farmer and he'd bring his trucks in to us all the time. He calls up, says, "I'm bringing a truck over." He brings it over, the guys go and diagnose it. They write everything up. They created an estimate for him. He's standing at the counter next to him. And I already been through this process with him a hundred times. He keep me there for an hour and negotiate every little thing. And I've seen this, "Okay, they're fixing. Give me estimates."

    David Saline (14:28):

    I kind of hid around the corner and said, okay, how's she going to handle this one? What's going to happen? And she gives him the estimate and everything. And he looks at it and he starts his negotiation tactics. And she looks over him and says, "Mr. Customer, look I've only been here a short time, but I was instructed to give you the best deal that I could possibly give you. And that's what I did." And she goes, "Now, you've been coming here for years by the looks of the records?" "Yes." "Okay, so you trust our work?" "Yes, I do." He goes, "That's why I come here." He goes, "Okay. So, I gave you the best deal right now that I could possibly give you. And if I went any lower, I could lose my job. And I got my kids and family to support." And this customer looks straight at it. He goes, "Okay, call me when it done." And walks out the service store." And I stood there going, wait a minute. For me as an owner on the front counter, that used to be an hour, two hour negotiation with him.

    Tyler Robertson (15:19):

    And you were giving stuff away, right?

    David Saline (15:21):

    I would end up giving things away to him because I had other things to do. My time was being more valuable than negotiating with him.

    Tyler Robertson (15:28):

    Yeah. Same thing. I'm the worst salesman because customer's like, "How you did like?" Yeah sure. My sales manager at the time, he is like, "Dude, you are forbidden from sales negotiations. Do not give up our margin, be proud of the product. We don't have to give." I'm like, he was absolutely right. We're providing a great product, a great service. I don't need to be the cheapest. I just need to be fair to what people are. And it needs to be fair to me as well. We have employees and expenses and let's face like you just said, expenses are going up. Health insurance, employee costs.

    David Saline (16:01):

    Yeah. Every expense is going up. Everybody's seeing inflation. Everything's keeping to go up. And the thing about it is you got to adjust with your business on it. You got to look at your labor rates. Are all your jobs profitable for you? And that's another big debate I hear, not trying to switch the subjects too much, but what should my labor rate be? You know how many times I ask the shop okay, how'd you determine your labor rate? "Well, we called all of the shops in our area and we got all their labor rates together and we averaged them out and that's how we got our labor rate." Now, you know the first question I ask them on the face?

    Tyler Robertson (16:37):

    What's that?

    David Saline (16:37):

    I say okay, so you got all the labor rates from the shops in your area. Can I ask you a question? Do you know if they're making money or they're going broke?

    Tyler Robertson (16:46):

    And you guys are average. Is that what you're saying?

    David Saline (16:48):


    Tyler Robertson (16:49):

    There's so many things wrong but I get the mentality, right. Because people don't know like, oh wait, there's actually is a way to back into that number, that what you should be charging.

    David Saline (16:57):

    Yeah. You should go back through. Okay. What is my tax cost mean? What is the parts on there? Now how do I reverse engineer this to say, how do I make every job profitable? And then you adjust your labor rate to do that on there. And that's one of the scariest things for people or shop owners is to adjust their labor rate with their customers. And I'll tell you what I adjusted mine in the first two years of working with DRIVE back in the day I went at... No, this is back in 2009. We were at $95 labor rate. And we were on the high end. We were right there even with the dealership. But from 2008 to 2012, we went from 95 to 125. And every time the dealerships raise their labor rate up there, I matched it.

    Tyler Robertson (17:41):

    You were right there with them. Yeah.

    David Saline (17:42):

    I matched it and we continued to be profitable. Everybody says, "How can you match the dealer prices?" I say, I give better service.

    Tyler Robertson (17:49):

    Yes. You hit it a hardened nail on the head. You provide a valuable, good service. And I think anyone that owns a truck, they just want to go where like, "I'm going to get in the door. I know I'm going to get a fair price. I know they're going to do quality work." They're not going to complain about $5 or $10 an hour though. Most people don't even know what the labor rate is that have relationships with their shops.

    David Saline (18:06):

    Well, and that's the thing. The best thing I can do is okay, say $10 off your labor rate. You do a four hour job. We're talking about $40. By the time you put the parts and everything else into the job, is that customer really notice on a big trip? Do they notice $40? They don't.

    Tyler Robertson (18:19):

    $40 out of $500,000 bill, right.

    David Saline (18:23):

    What's that matter for the shop owner? What if you take that times 25, 30, 50 jobs a week, that's a lot of money. And the thing is, whose money is it? It's a shop owner's money because, here's the deal on it that we see this all the time. Shops will spend everything they make. One, they'll pay it on parts, tools, expansion, everything else. They'll spend all the money they got. But the end of the day, it's the owner that doesn't get paid what they should. What we teach and a lot of our teachings is, how do you pay yourself 20% of whatever your total sales are? How do you pay yourself 20% of that and still pay all your bills? And there are goals that we shoot for. Now, in the truck shops, we've seen guys up 27%, 28% net profit at the bottom line.

    Tyler Robertson (19:08):

    Yeah. How often do you tell your clients they should at least look at their labor rates or raise their labor rates?

    David Saline (19:17):

    We run everything off of the bottom line, profit dollars. If you're not hitting industry standards, 7%, 8%, everybody's suddenly happy with that as their net profit. We want our shops that we work with to be up around 20%. You're not hitting 20%, we're going to evaluate how you're charging for your parts, how you're charging for your labor. Do you need a labor increase? I would say 80% of the time, it's not the labor rate that's so far off, it's we didn't bill all the labor on there. We didn't even know that our techs did have the labor on there because we don't have systems in place and the tech did all the work, but then we never charged for it.

    Tyler Robertson (19:57):

    I don't want to get into too much of a conversation, but can you really quick just talk about productivity and efficiency? Because those are two terms that I come from the dealer world, I know what those are. Just give the quick overview of where labor hours evaporate in a shop.

    David Saline (20:12):

    Yeah. When we're talking about production and efficiency, what we're looking at is if a tech works 40 hours, we'd like to see them bill at least 40 hours. Now in truck shops, I expect them be about 125%. If they bill 40 hours, you can get 50, 60 hours a week out of them on a 40 hour work week. Now, how do you do that? It's about the systems. Where's the downtime? How long do they have to wait for parts? How long do they have to wait for authorization? Do they have their next job? Do they know what it is? And the other piece on it is, I'll give a big tip here to all the truck shops out there right now. One of the things that made a big difference in my shop is when the service advisor did a quote or brought the truck in for an estimate, they brought it in diagnosis.

    David Saline (20:56):

    When the tech did a diagnosis on the bottom of their tech sheet, they would write how many hours they thought it was going to be to complete the job. Service advisor does the estimate and if they look up book times and everything else and find out that the tech is saying it's going to be eight hours, but he's only going to pay us four hours by the book that flagged an automatic meeting with the tech and the service advisor. Because 90% of the time you'd find something that was missed by the service advisor or you'd find extra stuff that has been bolted on the truck that why the tech said that.

    Tyler Robertson (21:24):

    I met a gentleman once, there's a company that does similar to what you do, but for the OEM dealers, right. And that's the world I come from. And I met this guy once. And I'm a service manager. I'm like yeah, I'm doing a great job running our shop. We're knocking it down. We're busy, all these things. And he's like, "Tyler, I will bet you that if I walk out in your shop right now, half your techs aren't even touching a truck."

    Tyler Robertson (21:44):

    And I was like, what do you want to bet? He's like, "All the money in my wallet or your wallet, you pick." I'm like, I'm not feeling comfortable about this, but let's go look. And we went out there and he was right. They were at the parts counter. They were at their toolbox. They were just walking around the shop, looking for tools. And that's just one piece of what happens inside a shop. Like you mentioned, service advisors, we don't have jobs for you. It's all these little things that add up to I can't even get my guy on jobs the whole time, more or less billing out all the time he has on him. It evaporates.

    David Saline (22:17):

    Well, and in today's world trying to keep technicians and stuff in your shops, that's another thing. It's frustrating for the tech too, because if they're bonused or on a flat race schedule, they want the work. They want the hours, they don't want to be held up. How do you make it flow? And that's why we spend a lot of time working on the shop flow and efficiency when we start working with a customer. Is how do you get everything? The systems, the parts ordering systems, the labor systems, the communication. As we said, verbal communication's the biggest killer. tech walks up to the service advisor and says, "Hey, I need this for this truck." Service says, "Okay. Get it here in just a few." Next thing you know, phone rings, customer walks in, parts guy walks in. Two hours later the text back, "Hey, did you get that part yet?" "Oh no, let me order it right now." What's the tech been doing this whole time for two hours? Well, techs find things to do.

    Tyler Robertson (23:06):

    Yeah. They do. Yeah. And I will say this too. I remember I first walked into a new company service manager. They showed the productivity efficiency numbers and they were not good. And you know what though, I wasn't like, it's not their fault, it's the service advisor and the foreman and the manager's fault that they're the ones that drive that. Techs want to work and make money. And let's just talk about techs for a second. I know this number varies all across of the country, but what can a really good technician make in today's market? I hear this huge shortage, can't find them yet schools are making enough. Where's the gap?

    David Saline (23:39):

    I've seen different pay plans because it's really depends on how your business sets up on the pay plans, but a good A-level tech, I don't see any of them that aren't knocking back 80,000 to a 100,000.

    Tyler Robertson (23:51):

    I was going to say it's rare to find a good quality tech that isn't knocking down. It doesn't matter if it's in Timbuktu or a major metro area. They're killing it.

    David Saline (24:01):

    But I had a B-level tech at my shop before we sold. I trained him. He was a tire and oil change guy when he came to me, that's about it. I trained him up and we trained him up and we sat down with him and showed him the money he could make. Before I had sold, he was making $80,000 a year. But it wasn't that I was just handing it to him because he had his salary that I was good with. But if he outproduced that salary, there's a lot of bonuses on it. And when he got a taste of it, he just went after it all the time.

    Tyler Robertson (24:36):

    These well run shops, know how much a technician can generate for them on labor and part sales. And they know what it costs them. It's a math formula. And again, it goes back to what you're saying. You got to be able to measure and understand those metrics. And once you know that, business gets a lot more simple, because you can start cranking the math in your head like, wait a second, I can get another one of those guys. I can do this two more, three more.

    David Saline (24:56):

    It's not just having the guys too. It's the employees, but it's the systems, the procedures, how you let the flow of the work in and out, the parts ordering systems and the biggest thing on the tech is the pay plans. What are their pay plans like? Does it incentivize them to work more or do you hold them back? Because that's all they can make or they feel like they can make?

    Tyler Robertson (25:16):

    Is it a fair statement to say, the people that own these repair shops, the ones that are just focused kind of on the products and market, which is, my customers, I'm going to fix these trucks, are making a different amount of money versus the owners that are saying, "I'm going to go work on my processes, my systems, my marketing and get this thing running really smooth."

    David Saline (25:36):

    Yeah. That's the thing with the owners will often think I need more money. I need to do something more or I need to get more vehicles out. So their thinking is a natural instinct is just go out in the shop and work more. And what they need to do is start working on the systems and marketing, all those stuff you just recognized in there. And then another piece, either way, we were on the tech and stuff on here, also pay plans for your techs. Every tech can have a different pay plan in your shop. You may not have one single person on the same pay plan. You should build pay plans based on what motivates the individual. And if we got a few seconds, I'll tell you the story on one.

    Tyler Robertson (26:12):


    David Saline (26:13):

    We had a tech and he was I'll say up in the older age. He wasn't like in ready to retire, but he was up in the older age. He was pretty good off in life. His house was almost paid for stuff like that. He was working for us and I could only get about 30, 35 hours out of him each week, no matter what. We tried, we looked at it and I say, okay, pull him in the office. And I say, I'll give you $5 an hour more if you hit 40 hours every week. And so we waited a week or two, no change. I was like, okay, so money didn't do it. So I told him, look, I'll tell you what, if you could have 40 hours whenever you hit 40 hours, if it's Thursday night or Friday morning, whatever time it is, you get to go home for the rest of the week. I was like, okay, that's going to do.

    Tyler Robertson (27:03):

    I'm going to leave by Wednesday if it's me, right.

    David Saline (27:05):

    Yeah. If he hit 40 hours by Wednesday, I'd find you got your hours. I'm fine. But still couldn't get him to hit 40 hours. I talked to my coach back then. This is back in the day. And I talked to my coach and this coach says, "Why don't you sit down and interview him? Find out what drives him? What he wants? What his goals are?" Okay. I sit down and I was just floored on this one meeting. So I sit down and I say, okay, we gave you more money if you produce more but you never produce more. He goes, "Money isn't a big driving factor for me. You got to understand my wife and I have a joint account. All the money goes into the account. I get a $100 each week for me, and the rest goes to her and the family. So, I don't see it. It's not that big of a deal for me." I was like, okay, I guess I understand that.

    Tyler Robertson (27:56):

    It sort of makes sense now. All right.

    David Saline (27:57):

    Okay. So I say, well, we gave you time off and you didn't take it. He goes, "I got four kids at home."

    Tyler Robertson (28:05):

    I don't want to be there.

    David Saline (28:06):

    "If you gave me an extra day home, I would have to stay there with them. And I'd have to do all the babysitting." And he goes, "That wasn't me." I was like, okay. I asked him, what is it that you like to do? What do you do for fun or anything like that? Between our shop and his house was a casino. And he says, "Once in a while, I'd like to go play blackjack." We sit there for a second and I say, I'll tell you what. I say, If you hit 40 hours by three o'clock on Friday, you can leave at three o'clock and I'll give you a $50 casino chip. Guess what happened?

    Tyler Robertson (28:40):

    Did he hit it?

    David Saline (28:40):

    Next week. Every week after he'd come in at three o'clock like, "Give me my chip and let me go." Because he couldn't go there off of his allowance each week or anything else, and he couldn't take the time off to do it. So we did that and I tell you what, we got some of the best production ever after out of that.

    Tyler Robertson (28:57):

    And that was great. You listened to an employee, you found out what worked. And the other part of that is, you tried a couple things, but didn't give up. You were like, "Hey, I'm going to go to try the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing." And that's what being a business owner is. Is constantly trying to tweak everything, fine tune it. How can I get a little bit more of what we got going on here?

    David Saline (29:15):

    Yeah. I've seen many different stuff that shop owners done in incentivizes crews. I've seen one guy that had a guy that really wanted to have one of the electronic vehicles. He stumbled across one and he bought it for the shop and he used it as a shop vehicle. And he says, "Look." He got this idea. They kept it clean. And they shuttled customers around on it, kind of a customer service thing and everything. And he got this idea and he says, "Okay, top producer in the shop can drive it back and forth to home every day and on the weekends." And so this one guy, he was a top producer all the time, all the time, all the time. And he was driving this thing all the time and it basically became his car. He was all happy and proud about it and everything until somebody else beat him in production. They said that only happened like once or twice because he'd never let that happen again. You have to give up the car for the week.

    Tyler Robertson (30:10):

    I think that's the cool thing about running a shop when I was a service manager. It's almost an endless list of things you can do on the marketing side to get more revenue, get your guys motivated, things you can do. And you have to do that, especially in today's market with diesel techs, you want to have a great atmosphere, so they don't leave. And you look at this year, right inflation's dang near 10%.

    David Saline (30:30):

    Yeah. You got to build a culture in your shop. I always say, build a culture in everything. And one of the things that'll wreck your culture the fastest right now and it's happening and I call them techs for dollars. And why I say that is that Tyler you need a tech, so you go and offer him a sign on bonus and an extra dollar. And then the next guy goes and does it. And the next guy does it. Well, before the only ones benefiting is the tech. And these are shop owners that are creating this problem because they think they can't find anybody else. Look, I was at a ASC meeting, not too long ago. There were some scary numbers that come out of ASC. Almost 30% sorry, 70% of the workforce right now has been in the business for over 20 years.

    Tyler Robertson (31:21):

    And they're leaving soon.

    David Saline (31:22):

    And they're leaving soon, we know that. But here was the scariest number. Under 25 years old was only 9%. They were only bringing in 9%, but 70% of the workforce is getting close to retirement and we're only replenishing it with 9%. We've got to be more active as a business. If you're in a local town, yes you got community trade colleges that may get you employees, but you got a step before that. Get people who are engaged in high school. And I'm saying now, get people engaged in mid school. Because, if you look at it, we've been talking about Millennial generations forever. These guys now got kids, they're in their forties. They already got solid jobs. They've settled down. The Gen Zs, the next generation coming up and they think totally different than what Millennial generation does. And then, if you don't think about it too quick, the Alpha generation, which is the younger kids behind them, the oldest of the Alpha generation is now 10, 11 years old. It's only 5, 6 years before they start working in the workforce. And if you're not drawing them to you now, they won't be there.

    Tyler Robertson (32:23):

    I'll tell you that's my kids. They're 8 and 10. And what are they into? They're into YouTube and all these other things. The world's changing really quick. And another thing that happened too at the diesel tech is you look at the Department of Labor, came out their 2020 stats. And I don't know if you saw them, but for the audience, 2020 was the first year ever that we had less diesel technicians at the end of the year than the start of the year. And it actually retracted back several years. This thing got really bad in 2020. People are leaving the workforce, a lot of baby boomers are retired early because of COVID. A lot of people just left the workforce thinking they had to have two incomes then learn to live off one because the world's shut down. There's all kinds of things that happened. And in the meantime, trucks got more complicated, more sensors, we got robots driving trucks, we got electric EVs coming, new emission requirements. It's a really bad problem that's getting worse and worse, faster and faster. It's going to take a minute to fix it.

    David Saline (33:19):

    It's going to take a little bit of fixing on it. And like I tell you, if you're on a tech shortage right now, you're better off to find young people coming out of high school or even in high school and giving them afternoon jobs and start training them now. And you could still look for your techs, if you find one great. But if you can't find one, start hiring a younger generation and start training them and don't make it hard for them to train them. Because I know there's a lot of people out there saying, "Oh, you got to go get tools. You got to go do this." No, let them use your tools. Bring them in, let them use tools. Make sure they take care of them and everything. But at the same time, start training them and letting them get that path.

    Tyler Robertson (33:55):

    And here's another thing people need to be listening to this. You're not just competing against other shops anymore for diesel techs, you're competing against companies like me. I literally have 35 diesel techs working for my company and we don't own a truck and fix a truck, right. We're using their brains to help people remotely fix things, test things. We're having them train other technicians, but I'm paying them what they're making on the floor. And they're working in an office environment and have normal hours, right. That's what's happening in our world especially as connected vehicles happen and call centers get established by other companies. There's a lot of pressure on this force.

    David Saline (34:30):

    There's a lot of pressure on this workforce. And like I said, it's not only it, they you're talking about you needing those kind of people in your business, but also the community colleges, the trade colleges, all these different schools are picking these guys up too, because hey, you got experience. You can do it for us.

    Tyler Robertson (34:45):

    Yeah. For the new guys, we're looking for 10, 15, 20 years experience. And that's what happens to a lot of techs. They get to be in their 40s and 50s. Man I don't want to be doing this the rest of life. That's the thing that starts going through their head. It is a great job. It's also not an easy job in a lot of aspects. Slinging in transmissions and clutches and brakes. There's the diagnostic side in that part of the world, obviously as well. It's really interesting. I'm concerned for our industry.

    David Saline (35:13):

    I'm definitely concerned for it. And like I tell everybody right now is the time to start, go down to your local high school. They have careers day. Talk to the guidance counselor, get with the mid school teachers, because they are so thrilled to have guest speakers come in and talk to their classes. And show them all the technology we got to work on. Show the kids when they're 10, 11, 12 years old, show them, hey, look at the computers. Look at the advanced stuff that's going on these trucks. Look at the diagnostic stuff. Highlight all that. And then the other thing I tell everybody right now is, I almost guarantee half of the truck shop owners out there rule out 50% of the workforce just because of the way they write their ads. And the 50% of the workforce is the female generation and they're doing it. They rule them out and there is a lot of great-

    Tyler Robertson (36:01):

    I've met a couple of very successful woman technicians. We've had some on the podcast. They can do these jobs. With all this said, I think we could talk for hours here. I know we actually met on the floor yesterday and I'm like, man Dave, we just got to do something consistently to help people, right. And I think the more efficient we can make these shops and the more we can help them on that side, the quicker they can fix trucks the longer they're on the road, getting them back on the road quicker, all these things that can happen. We got to make sure this year, we definitely start doing some stuff together and helping people.

    David Saline (36:31):

    We'll definitely put some more of this together and we'll do this. Now look, if you're out there and your shop needs help right now, you don't have the time. You don't know where your money's going. You need to figure out something, you want to make a change. Give us a call. It's 8185009631 or you can look us up online. It's driveshops.com. And Tyler, I look forward to helping anybody we can for you. And the same thing on it is we want to bring you out there to... We have to do a Facebook live every week. So you can get tips off of that. We'll bring you on our show and I'd like to work some more and do some more training classes with you for them.

    Tyler Robertson (37:07):

    Yeah. Now, I agree. We're going to get some stuff going here in 2022 together, put some dates on the calendar. You guys do a great job over there. I've met some of your shop owners. Some of them buy tools from us. You can just tell they are on a whole new level versus people that are just trying to figure it out. And I know your services, they're not super expensive and there's an ROI that people can directly attach to what you guys provide. So it's valuable.

    David Saline (37:30):

    Now, the good thing is we do provide a service. We got it where you can pay for it as you're going and everything. But if our program's not making the money to pay for itself and putting more money in your program, then we're not doing our job correctly.

    Tyler Robertson (37:41):

    We say the same thing about Diesel Laptops. If we don't save you time or money, don't even talk to us. That's the whole reason we exist for you. All right. So very much thank you for coming on David. As we end every episode, it's just not diagnostics. It's diagnostics done right. Part of that's getting your shop operating in the right capacity, the right mentality, the right processes, whether you're a one person operation or a multi-location I know DRIVE shops can help you guys. I've talked to them enough. I've worked with them enough. I know it can happen. Thank you for everyone watching, listening, like subscribe, comment, all those things help us tremendously. With that said, we'll call it an episode and we'll catch you on the next one.

    Previous article FleetPride - The DL S3E23

    Leave a comment

    Comments must be approved before appearing

    * Required fields

    How much is: