I have to clarify one issue, but other than that, I'm sorry to say we agree on just about everything. If you can figure out how to contact me by private message, (I can't figure it out), I can send you a link to my web site where there are many pages of wondrous electrical stuff for do-it-yourselfers, (which I incorrectly thought you were), and students, and I can send you some "Notes Pages" I handed out to my students. We had "class discussions", not lectures, and I told them to not take notes because you miss the three things that came next when you're busy feverishly writing.
What I wanted to offer a different opinion on is the use of trainees at a lower labor rate. I have run into some motorcycle shops that do that, but as a business owner, do you really want to advertise that you're putting your least-qualified person on the customer's vehicle? More importantly, most shops charge by the "flat rate" system. For anyone who doesn't know what that is, every procedure for every car model has a specified number of hours that are listed in a huge book. If a job is listed at 4.2 hours and the shop charges $100.00 per hour, you're going to be charged $420.00 regardless if it takes the mechanic six hours or if two people work on it together and it takes two hours. The mechanic who has more experience on that model will get the job done faster and with a lower chance of making a mistake. The mechanic who invests heavily in advanced training and expensive specialty tools will get done faster. So the variable isn't that the labor rate should be lower based on which mechanic works on the car. The variable is how long it's actually going to take to complete the job.
This is where you're right that the most-experienced person should be doing the electrical diagnosis because that can't be listed in flat rate. Every car and problem is different. The only thing that can be listed is the procedure to replace parts, but that's after they've been diagnosed as defective. The mechanics get paid according to flat rate too unless they're just starting out. Shop owners do that to protect themselves if a mechanic is slow, sloppy, untrained, or makes a lot of mistakes that he has to rectify for free. That also rewards mechanics who work efficiently and are careful to not make many mistakes. That is how a good mechanic can earn 110 hours pay or more in an 80-hour, two-week pay period.
I loved your comment too about the radio in the shop. I never allowed a radio in my shop, but mainly because it causes distractions during times we're trying to learn difficult concepts. Electrical and Suspension and Alignment are my two specialty areas where you have to visualize things you can't see. You can't see electrons flowing through a wire, and you can't see "caster" when describing suspension geometry. With electrical, I had two students per prepared car, and when they got stuck and called me over, my first question was always, "what do you know so far"? From there they used a diagram to show me how their thinking got them to where they were. All it took was a couple of thumps from a kid's radio to prove to his friends he had the better capacity to ruin his hearing than someone else had. Those thumps were sufficient to pop the thought bubble of those kids trying to understand what they were learning, then we had to start all over from the beginning. It was easier to just ban all radios. If anyone were to ever insist on having a radio in the shop, I threatened it would be on AM talk radio and Rush Limbaugh!
I think I know the type of person you're referring to in some videos. There is a fellow in Jolliet, IL who has a shop that specializes in the one out of a hundred cars that no one else seems to be able to figure out. His customers are mainly other shops. He networks with other people all over the country including corporate trainers from the manufacturers, then, when he figures it out, he builds a six-hour class around that. Carquest puts on very high-level training classes for the community where the mechanics from independent shops can get the same information dealership mechanics get. "Louie" came to my college once a month for each two-night class.
I know all the Chrysler trainers too who take care of all of Wisconsin. My college was one of three remote training sites they used. They had a nice training facility near Milwaukee where they held one and two-day classes, but in between they also would take in cars that defied diagnosis, and figure them out. That is where a lot of service bulletins come from. Those are informational documents that detail how to diagnose and repair commonly-occurring things that could be diagnosed in a few minutes, IF you knew what to look for. Those bulletins were meant to save a lot of the mechanics' time.
As for those Wyo-Tech guys, besides costing over $35,000.00 for nine months of instruction, you don't get any math, communication skills, and other support classes. The people who hire our graduates and sit on our advisory committee tell us all the time they want their employees to have that training. I worked with one Wyo-Tech graduate when I started at the dealership. Six months later he was a service adviser because he couldn't cut it as a mechanic. Our local Goodyear dealer hired two UTI grads, then he had to show them how to balance a tire and how to bleed brakes. Kind of makes you wonder what they got for their money.
Anyhow, I'll be watching to see what you come up with for a solution. Holler if you need any more of my wondrous advice.
Wednesday, November 11th, 2015 AT 8:09 PM