If your shop had an employee who wasted $1,000 worth of supplies every week, odds are good that employee would be sat down and talked to, maybe even fired. But what if you had a shop manager who was wasting $1,000 worth of time every week?
A lot of shop managers hold “all techs” meetings on a regular basis, often without realizing how tremendously expensive these meetings can be. While it’s fair to say that team meetings are a necessity from time to time, shop managers should be cognizant of the effect these meetings can have on the bottom line.
How Much Do All Techs Meetings Really Cost?
Let’s say a shop has 10 techs earning a flat $20/hour:
- If these techs are parked in conference room for 30 minutes, each of them will earn $10 for sitting in the conference room. That’s $100 out the window.
- But the real cost isn’t in the lost hourly wages – it’s the lost revenue. 10 techs could have billed 5 hours of work (collectively) in 30 minutes. If the shop rate is $100/hour, that’s another $500 the shop has lost.
- And if we have weekly 30 minute meetings with 10 techs, guess how much money that costs a shop after one year? More than $30,000.
The worst part is that these numbers are almost certainly conservative. A 30 minute meeting usually takes more than 30 minutes, as there’s inevitably someone who’s late (and who makes the group wait), jokes, and socializing before and after the meeting, long-winded speeches, shops that charge more than $100 an hour, techs than earn more than $20 an hour, etc.
The point? All techs meetings are incredibly costly. While these types of meetings are absolutely necessary from time to time, managers and shop owners would be wise to limit their frequency.
One-on-One Meetings Save Money
Of course, communication with employees is key to any well-run business. Often times, employees all need to hear the same message, be asked the same questions, etc. But instead of doing this in a group meeting, shop managers should visit each tech one-on-one. Here’s why:
- One-on-one meetings are more efficient. Most of the time, a shop manager and tech can discuss whatever they need to discuss in less than 10 minutes. This is because there are no interruptions, no reviewing of details that don’t impact the individual tech, no jokes and small talk, etc.
- People communicate better one-on-one anyways. Individual conversations between a manager and a technician are more likely to be an effective form of communication. Managers can better assess where the tech is at, what they’re thinking, etc, and techs can be more honest and forthright in their questions and answers.
- One-on-one meetings save money. Imagine meeting with 10 techs for 10 minutes each, vs a 30 minute all tech’s meeting. While a shop manager spends more time meeting individually, nearly 3.5 billable hours of revenue are retained. There are also fewer dollars spent on paying techs to listen.
Take Time to Plan
No matter the type of meeting, managers should always have a plan. This should include a list of items to discuss, a list of questions, applicable printouts, etc. A few minutes of preparation on behalf of the manager can save techs a lot of time, which boosts shop revenue.
Getting everyone together for a team meeting is a great way to celebrate success, publicly acknowledge great work, and improve morale. However, managers who want to have these types of meetings must understand their cost and adjust accordingly. Otherwise, meetings can work out to a lot of wasted dollars.