Pandemic shortages leave repair shops low on workers

Local News

DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — At Rick’s Automotive, sales were better than ever during the pandemic. However, that came with the cost of losing some workers, according to owner Rick Lay.

“One of the effects it had on it was shortage in the workforce, it’s really hard for us to find new employees,” Lay said.

Prior to COVID-19, he had close to ten employees, now he’s down to just three.

“The new car sales are down so due to shortage of workforce so people are of course you know maintaining their older vehicles,” Lay said.

The worker shortage is increasing their existing workflow in the shop and making the daily workload for their technicians even heavier.

“The workload for these guys here has been a lot, and we’d average anywhere from 20 to 30 cars a day at minimum for two to three employees,” service writer and technician, Dwight Gilley said.

As temperatures get hotter, he said they are doing more AC repairs but still don’t have enough workers. In addition, certain car parts have been harder to access because of manufacturer shortages.

With many looking for work, Gilley explained they need people who can actually do the job.

“A problem right now is finding an experienced automotive technician that’s willing, you know willing, to work,” Gilley said.

Working with the employees they do have at Rick’s, is how they’ve maintained business and even increased it, despite the lack of workers.

“Put your nose to the grind,” Lay said. “It’s called getting the work done. We can’t rely on anyone else it’s just the guy next to you and get it done.”

He encourages other shops that may be struggling to do the same and just keep pushing.

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