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WrenchWay calls on collision industry for pay data, says accuracy could help tech shortage

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Business Practices
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WrenchWay, an automotive career consultancy group, has launched a new tool to collect data on technician pay that they hope will be more accurate than what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides.

According to BLS data referenced by WrenchWay, the average pay for automotive technicians is $46,970 per year ($22.58 per hour), $54,360 per year ($26.14 per hour) for diesel technicians, and the highest 10% receiving pay of around $75,000.

Repairer Driven News found that the average pay for “automotive body and related repairers,” according to the most recent BLS data (2022), is $25.59 an hour, or $53,220 a year.

WrenchWay says that, according to its data from more than 1,000 shops, BLS data for automotive and diesel isn’t accurate. However, a new online tool from WrenchWay seeks to solve that, including for collision.

The Technician Compensation Tool allows shops and techs to view annual pay by industry, shop type, zip code, location radius, and number of years in the industry. As of last week, WrenchWay said it had collected data from nearly 3,000 technicians, mostly highly experienced.

“I feel like in our industry they’re [BLS] sometimes doing the equivalent of the medical industry — lumping everyone together from CNA to nurses to doctors to orthopedic surgeons, said Mark Wilson, WrenchWay co-founder and CEO, during a March 26 webinar. “It’s all relevant but when you blend all that together I don’t know how representative the averages are.

“It’s not as simple as taking your hourly rate times 2,000 hours or 2,080 hours and that, at least, primarily seems to be what the BLS does which probably works in most industries but I just don’t think it works in our industry.”

Results are broken down by diesel, automotive, collision, and heavy equipment then by dealership or independent and domestic or foreign makes. Quick lube and tire tech answers are broken down to national franchise or independent.

There currently isn’t enough data collected from collision technicians for the tool to show results so WrenchWay is calling on the industry to spread the word for techs to submit their information at by clicking “Submit your pay data.”

“[BLS data] really isn’t reflective of reality,” said Jay Goninen, WrenchWay co-founder and president. “We talk to technicians every single day that make significantly more money than what it says for the median highest 10%.”

He added that the end goal is technician recruitment and retention.

“I think at the core the more realistic data that we have and that we can build upon the better story we’ll be able to tell that parent that’s out there, that student that’s out there that has an interest in this industry,” Goninen said. “Or that technician that’s out there that currently isn’t paid very well — maybe it gives them hope that there are opportunities [too] have a really successful career in this business.”

WrenchWay will hold a class during the upcoming three-day Southeast Collision Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina. Goninen will speak from 4:30-5:30 p.m. May 17 on “Navigating the Challenges of Recruiting & Retaining Technicians.”

Find out more about the conference and how to attend here.

In a survey held last year by the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and I-CAR, the top three reasons technicians said they stayed at their jobs were compensation, convenience, and their co-workers. However, techs also said higher entry-level pay would be ideal.


Featured image credit: aydinynr/iStock

Secondary image: Slide shown during WrenchWay webinar “2024 Technician Pay Survey Results – Is BLS Data a Bunch of ‘BS?'”

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