Most of us have seen advertisements for companies that hire veterans who have served in the U.S. military and are re-entering the workforce as a civilian. Many corporations, including Coca Cola and UPS, even have specialized hiring programs that help veterans transition to civilian life while utilizing the job skills they learned and used during their time in the military. Another industry that can tap into veterans’ abilities is the automotive industry, as there are many ways that veterans can use their skill sets to help a dealership thrive.
Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler are three of the main auto corporations that have tapped into veterans’ potential, but dealerships have also started to notice the usefulness of it. A worrisome issue that many dealerships deal with is the lack of auto technicians, but veterans can help alleviate this shortage.
Estimations indicate that around 76,000 new technicians are needed annually, but there is an average shortage of about 39,000 technicians. Richard Truett of Automotive News reported that dealerships are hiring veterans “because of their skills in repairing vehicles and in logistics,” which are two critical pieces of dealerships’ operations. Many veterans have extensive experience with mechanical operations because they have dealt with ships, planes, tanks, and so on.
Although the parts and manufacturing of vehicles are different than military transportation, the basics of diagnostics and repairs remain the same and veterans will be able to learn quickly since they have the general knowledge needed. This makes training more efficient and can save dealerships a lot of time.
Although veterans can be extremely useful in the parts and service department, the sales floor can also be a great spot for them. Sales careers of all sorts, including automotive sales, can be very fulfilling for veterans, and the military has instilled skills in veterans that are extremely beneficial to these careers. These include communication and leadership skills, punctuality and honesty, negotiation tactics, and some technical knowledge that will be useful when customers ask questions about a vehicle’s mechanics.
Personal accountability is also a top skill taught in the military, and it can become very important in the automotive sales field. When a customer reneges on a car sale, a veteran is likely to analyze what may have gone wrong and take responsibility for the lost sale. This skill is also useful for putting customers first instead of just focusing on how to sell the most expensive car to them even if it might not be the right one for their needs.
Truett also noted that hiring veterans can also help dealerships financially, as “each vet who is hired can reduce a dealership’s tax bill by as much as $9,600.” Sometimes, the U.S. government will even fund some training for them, which saves dealerships even more money. Dealerships that are military-friendly may also attract new customers who thoroughly support the military or are veterans themselves.
Of course, hiring veterans to assist in dealership operations is also a way to recognize their skills and give back to them as appreciation for their service to the U.S.
Ultimately, throughout their careers, military personnel are taught values such as respect, loyalty, and dedication to their troops. These values can be carried on into a dealership setting, meaning the veterans will work hard and remain committed to solving problems and sufficiently completing tasks whether it be on the sales floor or in the parts department.