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Uncovering the Truth About Service Advisor Pay Plans 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 25+ years in the automotive industry, it’s that a great Service Advisor is worth their weight in gold. They’re the face of your Service Department, the Trusted Advisor to your customers, and the key to boosting your Fixed Ops revenue. But here’s the thing: if you want to attract and retain the best Advisors in the business, you need to have a compensation plan that actually works.  

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The Problem with Many Service Advisor Pay Plans 

In a recent episode of Service Drive Revolution, we discuss Service Advisor pay plans within the industry. It’s not a pretty picture. Most pay plans are confusing, outdated, and just plain ineffective. They’re based on metrics like gross profit that Advisors have little control over, and they don’t reward the behaviors that actually drive long-term success. 

When was the last time you heard a Service Advisor say they loved their pay plan? Chances are, never. That’s because most pay plans are designed to benefit the Dealership, not the Advisor. When Advisors feel undervalued and unappreciated, it shows in their performance. 

What Top-Performing Service Advisors Are Really Worth 

What makes a top-performing Service Advisor so valuable? It all comes down to their ability to build relationships with customers and drive revenue for the Dealership. Great Advisors don’t just sell services – they cultivate a loyal customer base that trusts them implicitly. They partner with Technicians to keep the shop running smoothly and efficiently. They also treat the Service Department like it’s their own business, always looking for ways to improve and grow. 

A skilled Service Advisor can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for a Dealership each year. They’re the difference between a Service Department that’s just getting by and one that’s absolutely thriving. Yet, many Dealerships still treat their Service Advisors like an afterthought when it comes to compensation. 

Creating an Effective Service Advisor Pay Plan 

Here are a few key points to keep in mind: 

  1. Simplicity: The best pay plans are easy to understand and communicate. They’re based on clear, measurable metrics that Advisors can influence directly. 
  1. Transparency: Advisors should always know exactly how their pay is calculated and what they need to do to earn more. No hidden formulas or complex calculations. 
  1. Alignment with Dealership Goals: Your pay plan should incentivize the behaviors that drive long-term success for the Dealership, like customer retention, effective labor rate, and hours per RO. 
  1. Competitive Compensation: To attract and retain the best Service Advisors, you need to offer competitive pay that reflects their value to the Dealership. 
  1. Growth Opportunities: Great Advisors are always looking for ways to grow and advance their careers. Make sure your pay plan includes opportunities for professional development and advancement. 

How to Implement a Winning Service Advisor Compensation Plan 

Implementing a new Service Advisor compensation plan can be challenging, but it’s well worth the effort. Here are a few tips to help you get started: 

  1. Involve your Advisors in the process: Get input from your Team on what they value most in a pay plan and what motivates them to perform at their best. 
  1. Start with a pilot program: Before rolling out a new plan Dealership-wide, test it out with a small group of Service Advisors to work out any kinks and gather feedback. 
  1. Communicate clearly and often: Make sure your Service Advisors understand exactly how the new plan works and what’s expected of them. Provide regular updates on their progress and performance. 
  1. Be willing to iterate: No pay plan is perfect right out of the gate. Be open to feedback and willing to make adjustments as needed to optimize results. 


Creating an effective Service Advisor compensation plan is one of the most important things you can do to boost your Fixed Ops revenue and keep your Team motivated. By focusing on simplicity, transparency, and alignment with Dealership goals, you can craft a plan that attracts top talent, incentivizes high performance, and drives long-term success. 

If you’re ready to take your Service Advisor compensation to the next level, I invite you to book a 15-minute strategy session with my team. We’ll dive deep into your unique challenges and opportunities and develop a customized plan to help you achieve your goals. 

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