In our last issue of Yard & Garden, there was an article on the state of the technician pool. The article explained that the industry isn’t experiencing a shortage of people who want work as small engine technicians, but rather a shortage of people who are qualified to do the work.
Perhaps rather fittingly, one of the photos in the story showed a tech working below a mower that was hoisted up on a forklift. I have caught some well-deserved flack for this one. Concerned dealers have been writing in warning us that the image may encourage unsafe practices.
The emails have me thinking further about the industry and responsibility. Does the responsibility of performing tasks and repairs in a safe manner fall on the manufacturer, dealer, or technician?
Most manufacturers offer the opportunity to obtain product-specific training. Should they go even further and offer more on the basics of safety in the shop? If they did, it is still up to the dealer to take advantage of these opportunities and enforce the lessons learned. Technicians are hungry for training, but rely on their dealers to create those educational opportunities.
The responsibility of running a safe shop is left to fall on the dealers—the most invested in the business’ success and with the most to lose. If a technician is seriously injured, it could quickly destroy everything the business has built up to.
With control over who works in the shop and how they are trained, dealers need to take ownership—and enforce safety policies firmly and consistently.
Our 2011 Dealers in Excellence Award winner swears by the long-standing reputation of his shop for providing superior service. A second-generation dealership, Humphreys’ Outdoor Power has always prided themselves in ongoing education and constant self-assessment.
Service has helped most dealers stay afloat through dips in equipment sales. We strive to provide information to help you operate the shop in a way that promises profits and satisfied customers. If you think you have a shop that illustrates safety and professionalism, please send in photos and information on how you instill safe practices. Let’s work together to offer positive examples.