Over the course of my automotive career, I have worked in many shops owner by different companies: chain stores, franchises, as well as dealerships. The one thing all of these shops have in common is that women working in them undervalue themselves and don’t make as much money as their male peers. So this post is about me, how I know my worth, my journey towards asking for a raise, along with my pitch, in hopes of helping other women.
Here is the thing, ladies: the skills you learned as a mechanic or a service writer are highly transferable. You can get jobs at any dealership or mechanic shop and there is an abundance of those out there.
Mechanics, there are always shops desperate for a good employee. You are a good employee. You show up on time every day, minimize call outs, and act respectfully towards staff and customers alike. In addition to being a reliable and qualified employee, you are someone that connects with other women and “younger folks.”
That makes you uniquely qualified.
Service writers, connecting with customers (all customers) are your unique skill. Women tend to avoid talking down to people who don’t understand cars and do a better job of explaining on the customer’s level. This is a skill, a marketable skill. Be incredibly reliable. Showing up on time is crucial towards your reliability and whether or not you can be easily replaced.
It took me a while to figure out my worth. I was worried that I would be told no when I asked for a raise and then my pride would demand I look for another job. I didn’t want to seem greedy or needy, as well as worried about why I should get a raise.
After all, my rent and bills are not my employer’s responsibility. I need a raise because I am a valued employee.
Step one: Sitting down and making a list about my current skills, advantages and customer service.
– What skills have I gained since I started working at my job?
– What programs have I developed and which programs have I mastered?
– Which of my skills are lacking in the other employees of the business?
– Are my sales, average repair order $$ and/or jobs per a ticket higher than last year’s average?
– Do I have consistent good surveys or reviews? (More on reviews in future blog posts)
Step two: Brainstorm new initiatives for growing the business and improving customer experience.
– What kind of program will encourage customer to come in regularly for maintenance?
– What maintenance service am I not selling enough of and how can I do more?
– What can I take the time to learn better that will make me a better service manager?
Once I have everything written down, I have a good picture about why I should get a raise.
I then asked the owner of the shop for a sit down. Asking for a raise usually has a better outcome when you sit down and have an honest conversation with your boss. I let him know that I will be asking for a raise and if the next morning would be a good time to talk about it. I didn’t want the meeting to be put off indefinitely so I requested a concrete date and time. (Have a backup date and time just in case the first doesn’t work for your employer.) By giving him the reason for our meeting, the boss had time to think about it and not immediately get defensive.
I took some time to talk to my mentor and girlfriend just to work out my new ideas for the shop. I didn’t practice a speech, but went through what my ideas were and got come critique. When they day came I was really and incredibly confident. I was a valued employee and replacing me would not be an easy task.
I took all off the answers I came up with in step one, and step two and presented them to my employer. I tell my boss that I need a raise of XX of $$ and then make my pitch. Here is what makes me a better and more qualified employee since I began, here are the programs I started, the customers I retained and relationships I built. Then I took my answers to step two and that was the second part of my pitch. Here is my plan on how to make your business better, how to make myself a better employee and how to make my customers happier. Last but not least is this, how I am not replaceable.
Don’t forget to ask for how much you want. If you need an additional $100 a week – ask for $125. Your boss might not give you exactly what you ask for, but usually he will give you something if you are the employee you think you are.
I ended the meeting with more than what I had asked for.
You can do the same thing. Making your worth is super important! Confidence and preparation is key. Have faith in your abilities and skills. Believe you are the absolute best in your field and be the best.