Dealership staffing levels
How many service advisors do I need? How many salespeople should I have? Finding your required and maximum dealership staffing levels will help make sure you are properly servicing your customers as well as taking full advantage of your opportunities. Regardless of your department, this calculation requires a complete understanding of what a position’s core duties are and the time that they will need to accomplish these duties. I provide some benchmarks and suggestions below but obviously you know your store better than I do, so adjust accordingly. And a quick note on counting your staff – always count based on clock time. So if a salesperson took off two weeks for vacation or only works on weekends, you should count them as fractions of a salesperson…..
Service advisors have many responsibilities and if they are seeing too many customers every day, some of those responsibilities will suffer. So which is it going to be? Answering the phone when a customer calls? Calling a customer that missed an appointment or hasn’t been in for a while? Doing a proper walkaround when the customer arrives? Adequately attending to the customer (i.e. After Service Delivery Process), when they pick their vehicle up? Your advisors may be overworked if they are opening more than 10-11 retail ROs per day (just divide your monthly retail ROs by the number of days you were open, then divide that by the number of service advisors you employed that month). If they spend a significant amount of time opening other ROs, the benchmark is around 18 total ROs (retail, warranty, internal, etc.) per day. Of course, if I were running a Service department, I would prefer to be closer to 8 retail ROs or 14 total ROs per day; would it really be that terrible to spend an extra five minutes with a customer than is necessary?
At first glance, there may be more confusion with salespeople – after all, aren’t there rock stars out there who can consistently sell 20-25 cars each month? Of course, but you couldn’t possibly expect all salespeople to do that and maintain a high level of service for all of your customers! Your goal should be to average 10-11 retail units per salesperson per month. Those 20 unit a month folks are going to get their sales regardless, you just want to make sure they are working for the sales rather than cherry picking the best leads (and/or walking those that will require some work). Your goal is always to prepare for volume growth and you can’t do that with everyone above capacity. By keeping a group of single digit salespeople to balance out the high performers, you can groom others and easily cover vacation or attrition.
Maintaining a proper level of personnel on your sales floor (this includes service advisors, by the way – their sales floor is just behind the showroom…) is crucial to maximizing profitability and should not be overlooked. Make sure you constantly monitor your staff’s productivity and be ready to either demand more out of them or bring in additional support. And it doesn’t hurt to bring them into the discussion as they may find that you can help make your decision one way or another!