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Monday, 24 November 2014 00:00

Website Connects Collision Shop Owners with Auto Techs:

Finding and hiring new staff can often be a challenge for collision repair shops. Greg McVicker, a collision center manager in McMurray, Pennsylvania, recently launched website to help shops recruit employees based on their specific employment needs.

“The whole premise of our site is that it’s proactive,” said McVicker. “You can go search for the person you are looking for versus spending the money to put an ad up and hoping that someone is going to respond to it.”

Working at Budd Baer dealership and collision center in Washington, Pennsylvania since 2005, McVicker said one of their biggest challenges was to find qualified staff while their facility expanded. Established in 1975, they re-located in 2010 and added a two-story addition in 2014.

“Through that time period I saw the same scenario play out over and over again where we tried to use traditional means of recruitment that are somewhat outdated for our industry,” he said.

In addition to placing ads in the local classifieds and advertising on generic online recruitment sites, McVicker recalled spending nearly $1,600 one week looking for technicians. After interviewing perspective employees who responded to the advertisements, he found that many didn’t have the necessary qualifications.

Around that same time, McVicker became involved with the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Pennsylvania. He has been the local chapter president in Pittsburgh since 2008 and sat on the board of directors as the collision division director of AASP-PA since 2012. Last year he began representing the association on the national board.

As he was introduced to more and more shops, he noticed a recurring theme. “It became very clear to me that this wasn’t just an issue I was dealing with here in Pittsburgh,” said McVicker. “It was an issue that all over the country shops are struggling and trying to find and get connected with those people.”

He said this led to the creation of the job search website.

“That’s really the spirit with which came into existence,” said McVicker. “It was a way for us to eliminate the current recruiting process in the industry, save shop owners valuable time and money and get them connected with qualified techs.”

McVicker and his two partners, Erin Koen and Alan Shen, hired Impere Media in February to design the website. Seven months later it was launched nation-wide to the industry. Auto technicians are able to create a free profile highlighting their certifications, education and training.

Owners and managers can also create a free profile for their shop, which allows them to search for potential employees who meet their specific criteria. Whether they are looking for a frame tech or a paint tech, when they are ready to contact a candidate, they can subscribe to the service to gain access to detailed contact information.As the site expands, McVicker said one of their goals is to reach out to the technical schools to give students a way to connect with the industry.

Eventually, the plan is to give techs the option to relocate, which McVicker said would give shop owners access to a group of employees they might not otherwise have. They are also working with industry partners, such as Sherwin-Williams, to help spread the word about the site. He encourages both job seekers and shop owners to check back regularly as continues to expand.

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