Calculating Mechanic Staffing Requirements

Public sector fleet managers often struggle with determining appropriate mechanic staffing levels. Quantifying labor demand and supply and accounting for individual fleet operations can provide the answers.

November 2009, Government Fleet - Feature

by Randy Owen

How to reasonably assess mechanic staffing in a public sector garage is an often-posed question among government agency fleet managers. Many government organizations do not have a methodology to determine how many mechanics are required to maintain their fleet. Rather, fleet managers have reported staffing levels at their shop have been the same for years and none can recall how the staff size was originally determined. As a consequence, fleet managers have difficulty defending themselves against a newly elected administration who suggest shop staffing is bloated and should be downsized.

To calculate mechanic staffing requirements, the following data and information are needed:

  • The average number of labor hours each type of asset in the fleet consumes (i.e., labor demand).
  • The average number of wrench-turning labor hours each mechanic on staff can produce (i.e., labor supply).
  • Details about the fleet and fleet maintenance practices that can fundamentally impact the data analysis and calculations.

When fleet managers talk to their boss, elected officials, budget and finance directors, or city managers about mechanic staffing requirements for their shops, it is much better to be armed with calculations resulting from a coherent quantitative methodology than relying on anecdotes and stories. After all, talk is cheap and the “trust me” days of fleet management ended many years ago.

Determining Labor Demand
The historical demand for labor can be determined by reviewing the previous few years of maintenance records. Assuming recordkeeping practices are sound, the fleet manager can determine the average number of labor hours each type of vehicle and piece of equipment has historically consumed, then multiply the result by the number of assets in each class.

For example, if historical labor hours for a class of 10 dump trucks were 400 per year, the average labor demand per year for each vehicle in this class is 40. Repeating this process for each class and type of vehicle yields the total average annual labor demand for the fleet.

A major issue that must be confronted at this point is if historical averages are reasonable, i.e., have mechanics been efficient in the past? This question can be answered by sampling repair task times against industry labor guides (ALLDATA or Mitchell On-Demand) and/or internally established time standards. If past efficiency performance is close to industry standards, a fleet manager can be confident the fleet’s historical labor data accurately reflects labor demand.


  1. 1. chris long [ April 27, 2015 @ 07:35AM ]

    wen you have a fleet of cars that have 150;000 mills or more and 300 car trucks tractores

    and uther asorted farm EQ. is 3 servis tecks & 2 macaniks enuf or do we need more.

  2. 2. Jimmy C. [ October 17, 2016 @ 01:40PM ]

    Yoo need at least15 mecanics becuz of the size of your fleet and numer of miles. I wood also have two shops and run two shifs. grate kweston, thanks.

  3. 3. Allen Geisler [ January 31, 2017 @ 11:11AM ]

    I also have a large fleet of vehicles and equipment getting close to 600 pieces altogether.
    I have 4 mechanics and one service writer and an antiquated shop from the 60"S. TRYING TO PROVE TO MANAGEMENT THE NEED FOR MORE HELP IS INSANE.


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