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‘Do’s & Don’ts’ for new techs when getting started on the job

Entry-level techs are wondering what the unspoken shop rules are to follow — here are the top responses from a survey

Mount Horeb, Wis.—WrenchWay recently asked its shop and technician contacts for the unspoken rules of the business they wish they would have known when they started.

No one wants to be “that guy” or “that girl” in the shop. New technicians starting out are wondering what unspoken shop rules to follow in order to stay on the good side of their fellow technicians and management.

In the following, WrenchWay lays out the top 20-plus responses.

1. Bring Solutions (Not Negativity) to the Table

It’s good for technicians to make a habit of bringing one or more solutions/suggestions to the table when tackling shop or technician problems.

There are tough fixes and bad days at the shop, just like with any other job, but complaining every day can damage reputations. Plus, shop owners and management could pick up on this positivity and problem-solving ability, and it could help boost a technician’s chances of a promotion or raise in the future.

2. Keep the Shop Clean

Keep the walkways clear and clean up after yourself. Even if the shop does have a dedicated cleaning person, technicians should still keep their work area clean. Clean work areas are definitely a big bonus for the technicians that are flat rate, so they don’t lose time looking for tools.

3. Put it Back on the Rack

Not putting shared shop equipment away is one of the worst habits new technicians could develop. New technicians need to make sure to re-rack the shared equipment for the next person to use.

4. Borrow it Three Times? Time to Buy it

If technicians have to borrow a tool/equipment more than three times, then they should buy it. Also, if technicians borrow tools, they should return them in better conditions than they received them in.

5. Have Your Own Tools

Even technicians who are just starting out should have the basics. Don’t expect the established technicians at the shop to provide tools for the new or young technicians.

6. Respect Your Bay, Shop and Co-Workers

Technicians should treat their bays and the rest of the shop with the same level of respect that they would with their own home.

Respect is big in a shop. Technicians need to remember to work with each other, not against each other since not all jobs can be done by one person. Lots of work is collaborative and no one wants a disrespectful and ungrateful person on their team.

7. Take Responsibility

Take responsibility for specialty tools and equipment. Things break, and it doesn’t mean they were being abused. Technicians just need to be honest and tell somebody when they happen to break something. This way management can have the tool/equipment reordered or fixed before somebody else needs to use it.

8. Speak Up & Tell the Boss First

If a technician does make a mistake, they need to tell their boss themselves and confront it straight on, rather than avoiding it and having their boss hear it from someone else.

9. Make Nice with Other Departments

Technicians need to work well with all of the other departments to ensure that everybody is meeting each other’s needs. Also, keep in mind that neither sales, service, nor parts could ever exist without each other.

10. Be Humble and Take Everything In

Technicians just starting out should keep an open mind and strive to learn one new thing every day. They should consider spending the first day at a new shop as a “fly on the wall” to watch how everyone interacts with each other and to observe standard shop operations. New technicians can learn an awful lot in a short time by just being observant of other’s behaviors.

11. Be Professional

Look professional, speak professionally, write professionally, and act professionally. Being young or new isn’t an excuse.

12. Ask Questions

The only dumb question is the one that is never asked. Technicians should speak up and ask questions since it is not only great for building knowledge but could really show management their true interest in their trade.

13. Ask for Help

Don’t be scared of talking with HR or the boss. If mistreatment is happening during work hours, there are resources available. These resources are there for employees’ well-being, and technicians shouldn’t worry about what others may think about them if they speak up.

14. Don’t Be an Askhole

An askhole is someone who asks how to diagnose a problem or do a job, and then argues with the solution/option that is offered. New technicians should take in the advice and be appreciative, even if they disagree.

15. Don’t Blast Music

Not everyone listens to the same music and can focus well while listening to music. Technicians should keep their volume down or consider earbuds. However, as a safety precaution, technicians who wear earbuds should just wear one to stay aware of their surroundings.

16. Remember Safety

Safety is a top priority while working with tools, heavy machines and other shop equipment. Technicians need to be careful and take the advice from the more seasoned technicians.

17. No Phone

Technicians should keep their phones on silent and keep them away until break times.

18. Be Early

New technicians should arrive about 15-30 minutes early. This will give them time to get in the shop, get settled in and be ready when the shop opens.

19. Don’t Stand Around

There is always something to do at the shop. If there’s downtime, grab a broom, help a co-worker, organize tools, or ask if anyone needs assistance.

20. Be Mindful on Social Media

Nothing on social media is private. Technicians need to watch what they say about their shop, boss, co-workers and management while online. Keep it positive, or just say nothing at all.

21. Ask Permission, Every Time

Never touch another technician’s tools without asking permission every time. Just because you may have had permission once doesn’t mean you have permission the next time.

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