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Salary VS Performance based pay? I need ALL of your opinions
Posted to Open Discussion Forum on 3/9/2013 33 Replies

Hey guys, I need some advice on this topic so I'm writing this post! I know it's a long one but please read the whole post! Thanks!

First off, I'm a 12 year experienced auto tech, with ASE Master and L1. My specialty is in diagnostics, electrical diagnosis, and emissions diagnostics. I can diagnose any and all types of dash lights, electrical shorts, parasitic draw diag, emissions diag, srs, abs, etc..... I also work on hybrids, have strong knowledge of how it operates and how to repair them (replacing battery pack cells), diagnose high voltage drains and shorts using a Meg ohmmeter. I am proficient with any and all types of scan tools, meters, and oscilloscopes to aid in my diagnosis. I do not like to jump to conclusions without substantial test results, so when I say a car needs something, I have the facts to prove that it failed.

I have been in the industry long enough now, and have been in both east coast and west coast, and have seen tremendous differences between the two coasts as far as shops are concerned. I've worked in NY as a tech, and have always been on salary pay. (Paid every week based on skill) Now that I'm here in California, things are quite different. Most shops use performance based pay, either commission off of total sales or total amount of hours billed, or flagged hours.

These are my opinions.

Salary Based Pay - Techs get paid a set amount of money on a regular basis, regardless of how many hours worked or billed. Salary amount is based on technician's skill level, not how many hours flagged. Salary is good for techs because he doesn't have to worry or be concerned about who gets what car and who gets which type of job. He only needs to concentrate on his job which is to repair cars! Shops pay the techs even when business is slow, but at the same time, the tech keeps himself busy in the shop by cleaning equipments, cleaning offices, bathrooms, tools, cars, etc. I see this option as a win- win situation. All shops I've worked in back in NY were salary based.

Performance- based pay - The tech gets paid depending on how many hours billed or worked, or how many hours he can flag in a given period of time. Technician has the ability to make more money if he gets more hours in, which in turn makes the shop money. I can understand this part, but this option tells me that a tech who doesn't know anything about diagnostics or electrical systems of a car can make more money than a diagnostic tech with the right jobs and right amount of cars! I see most shops in California using this type of pay plan, but every shop that uses this plan, always have politics going on in the office! The service writers and the tech that has been in the shop the longest always work together so the tech can make the most money per week! There's always one guy that gets all the cheddar, and the rest of the crew feeds off of the leftovers. And since everyone works off of commission, any techs not working does not get paid! But only due to the fact that the jobs were dished off to the first guy rather than distributing it evenly amongst the entire crew! I saw and still see so much of this going on near my area (Southern California).

I personally am against performance based pay plan because of these reasons. Some owners or managers tell me that that's the only way he can get the techs to work faster or more efficient, and make more money, but I disagree. I've been in great shops in NY that had great flow, great efficiency, where everyone was on time, ready to work, and boy did we produce! This shop paid everyone on salary based on their skill level!

So being a Master/ Diagnostic tech that I am, I have pride in what I know, what I can do, and take professionalism very seriously. I can produce 50 to 60 hours on average IF there were that much work left for me. I hate POLITICS INSIDE THE SHOP!! I just want to work hard, diagnosing and repairing cars, and not having to think about who's getting what car and how many hours this job has and that job has.


Kevin Park
Independent Car Specialist
Los Alamitos, California, USA

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