In Fixed Ops Toolbox by Don Reed

“The measure of success is not whether you have a problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.” — John Foster Dulles

Does this apply to your Service Department? If your Technician Productivity is less than 100% year after year, then you are dealing with the same old problem.

— Don Reed, CEO
DealerPRO Training

Pay Plans That Take a “Front End” Approach to Service Success
Vehicle SALESPEOPLE are paid based on how much they sell–how much revenue they generate for the dealership. That’s how you should pay your Service Advisors, too–as SALESPEOPLE!

This “front end” approach to achieving 100% Technician Productivity in the “back end” (back bone) starts with training your Service Advisors to become SALESPEOPLE!

Your Service Advisors should dress like SALESPEOPLE, follow the Road to a Sale like SALESPEOPLE, have DAILY goals like SALESPEOPLE, be held accountable for their sales performance DAILY like SALESPEOPLE and they most certainly should be compensated like SALESPEOPLE!

Ask yourself this question. “Do I compensate my SALESPEOPLE based upon their individual sales performance?” Most SALESPEOPLE are compensated for the number of units sold, gross profit produced, sales dollars produced, a multitude of daily, weekly and monthly spiffs and bonuses, or some combination thereof. Chances are you do not have too many 12 unit SALESPEOPLE working on a straight salary, right? Therefore, you compensate your SALESPEOPLE based on their individual performance.

Question: Why not do the same for your Service SALESPEOPLE? To do so you must consider a pay plan that compensates them for their sales, including PARTS.

Developing a Comprehensive Performance Based Pay Plan
So many Dealers that I work with pay their Advisors on labor sales only. Why? Would you pay a Finance Manager on finance reserve only and not on extended warranties? You probably answered “NO”. Most Service Advisors are going to sell anywhere from $1.00 to $1.20 in parts for every $1.00 in customer pay labor. That being said, why would you pay an Advisor on only about half of what they actually sell? This encourages the Advisor to focus on labor intensive repairs and ignore the profits from additional parts sales that your aftermarket competition is stealing from you, simply by offering the filters and hoses, (the parts!) that require very little labor.

Top Sellers Boost CSI
CSI is a concern for many Dealers and often I hear them say, “I don’t want my Advisors to sell too much because it will adversely affect my CSI.”
If this is one of your concerns, then ask yourself another question: “Who has the highest CSI on your sales force, the one RV a month salesperson or your top salespeople?” I find that the top salespeople in our industry have excellent CSI, because those people with the best sales skills know how to communicate with their customers professionally based on the customer’s wants and needs. That’s all CSI is—-EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION.

Your Advisors, professionally trained in sales skills, can achieve similar results. The higher their sales per customer pay repair order, the higher their CSI!

Writing Your Performance Based Pay Plan
Now, let’s write a pay plan that motivates your Advisors to sell and provide a high level of customer service.
1.    Pay them a percentage of everything they sell on every RO they write:  customer pay, warranty and internal, PARTS AND LABOR. This should be between 4-5%.
2.    Pay them a monthly bonus based on customer pay hours per RO based on your retail labor rate, not your effective labor rate.
3.    Pay them a monthly bonus based on their individual CSI score, if available.
4.    Pay them a weekly draw towards their commissions.
5.    Do not pay them a salary
You must evaluate their performance DAILY AND YOUR MANAGER MUST REVIEW IT WITH THEM IN WRITING. Accountability for their individual performance is crucial, just as it is on the showroom floor with your SALESPEOPLE.

Hold Your Advisors Accountable
Some Dealers are fearful of making changes in their Service operations because “these people are hard to find”, or “ I am afraid that I won’t be able to replace them if they quit”, yet when an RV SALESPERSON consistently produces 1-5 units a month, you have two choices: 1) Train and show them how to sell 10 or more OR 2) Do them a favor, as well as yourself, and terminate them! These same options are applicable to Service Advisors who cannot achieve 2.0+ hours per customer pay repair order. Just like the SALESPERSON selling 1-5 units a month, these “underachievers” in your Service lane are costing you thousands of dollars each month in additional gross profit and thereby preventing you from achieving 100% TECHNICIAN PRODUCTIVITY.

Recruit new people who are motivated to make more money (don’t be afraid of Green Peas). Train them on how to SELL, and then compensate them based on their efforts. Remember, if a good SALESPERSON wants a pay raise he simply looks in the mirror and asks for one!

Call me toll free at 1-888-553-0100
Or email

Don Reed
CEO–DealerPRO Training