We’ve all made New Year’s resolutions — or at least most of us have. In fact, 41 percent of Americans regularly make New Year’s resolutions, according to statisticbrain.com. And, for various reasons, 42 percent fail to achieve their goal.
However, that leaves 58 percent who succeed. The NEWS talked to several contractors who utilized the holiday to set goals and make changes to their business.
While some are focusing on giving the business a facelift, others are more interested in internal affairs, such as company culture, training, and recruiting. Whatever the area of focus, contractors are taking this time to revamp and reboot their business. The primary goals of 2018 are recruiting, training, and improving marketing tactics.
In order to obtain and retain technicians, tactical recruiting methods and ongoing training are great ways to ensure your staff is superior to the competition. That’s why a majority of contractors agreed that these are two of their main objectives for 2018.
Some contractors are looking to their powerful human resources (HR) teams to seek out new methods of recruiting.
“In order to meet our 2018 goals, we need to add several front-line team members,” said Rich Morgan, president, Magic Touch Mechanical Inc., Mesa, Arizona. “We have already purchased new service vehicles, uniforms, etc. in anticipation of this growth. The big change at Magic Touch for 2018 is our new, in-house human resources recruiting position, which we filled with an experienced human resources representative a few months ago. We are very excited to reap the rewards of having a dedicated recruiting specialist in-house this year.”
Recruiting is the biggest challenge for everyone, said Eric Knaak, vice president and general manager, Isaac Heating and Air Conditioning, Rochester, New York.
“Our HR team and lead recruiter are continually looking at how we can get in front of possible candidates. We are involved in local recruiting programs at colleges and high schools, and we are attending numerous job fairs, both industry and non-industry related.”
Increasing digital recruitment tactics are trending, and two contractors are looking to up their game in order to hire new talent.
“[We’re recruiting by] developing leaders, helping the team grow, and showcasing the Supertechs on social media,” said Chris Hunter, president, and co-owner, Hunter Heat and Air LLC, Ardmore, Texas. “Also, by utilizing targeted social media ads to reach technicians and people who have the qualities we are looking for.”
In addition to job boards and word-of-mouth, Professional HVACR Services Inc. is working on better utilizing its web presence to attract new technicians, according to Elizabeth Gerber, general manager, Professional HVACR Services.
“We have a large library of information and knowledge available, and we want to use those tools to find technicians who are interested in expanding their own knowledge,” she said.
Others are going different routes, looking to alternative methods and restructuring their recruiting objectives.
“Currently, I am revamping our pay structure and benefits to be the most attractive employer possible,” said Steve Moon, president, Moon Air Inc., Elkton, Maryland. “We will be marketing for team members and seeking them outside our industry.”
Travis Smith, owner, Sky Heating and Air Conditioning, Portland, Oregon, has enough technicians to sustain growth, but he’s looking to recruit more, improving his business this year.
“Our biggest goal now is to add helpers and teach them the trade, so they can grow into lead installers while increasing efficiency of crews and decreasing labor costs,” said Smith.
According to the International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), 84 percent of employees at the best-performing organizations are receiving the training they need compared to only 16 percent at the worst performing ones. When teams are appropriately trained, companies save an average of $70,000 annually and receive a 10 percent increase in productivity.
Numbers like these speak to the future of a contractor’s staff. In order for technicians to reach their full potential this year, and continue to increase their skills, ongoing and increased training opportunities need to be provided.
Many contractors are setting goals for their own in-house training programs and are looking to restructure them for the coming year.
“We are adding to our current Isaac University training program with more classes and options, and because of this, we will be looking to add additional trainers as well,” said Knaak. “Having a large format training program, such as Isaac University, requires dedicated staff and a very specific strategic plan to make it all come together. We are also developing a 12-month education and development schedule that will touch every member of our team multiple times throughout the year. This is the first year with a planned approach as opposed to a reactionary approach.”
Hunter said the Supertechs are structuring their training around their main revenue-producing items and not wasting time and effort training on something that constitutes a very low percentage of the overall business.
“Also key to our training is the development of leaders, team building, life skills, and financial training for everyone,” he said.
Gerber would like to see the Professional HVACR Services’ extensive library put to good use with the new training program.
“We are working on a new, in-house training regimen that will allow all technicians to be kept up to date on new practices, regulations, and general industry knowledge,” she said.
Moon’s training lab is nearly complete, and the owner looks forward to its implementation.
“We have almost finished our lab and a full training process for each position,” said Moon. “So, we can hire outside the industry or give team members a clearer career path.”
Smith said Sky historically outsourced training, but that is changing.
“We are slowly building up our internal training and have already developed days’ worth of internal training material,” he Smith.
Though a majority have set their sights on in-house training, others are still interested in off-site training opportunities.
“Anyone familiar with Magic Touch Mechanical knows we invest heavily in employee training,” said Morgan. “This year, we have dramatically increased the travel budget to provide more off-site training with organizations we belong to, such as Nexstar, and have already started booking attendance for our employees.”
NEW YEAR, NEW MARKETING
According to a survey conducted by CoSchedule, “Marketers who set goals are 429 percent more likely to report success than those who don’t. And, 81 percent of those successful, goal-setting marketers achieve them.”
Contractors are looking to take advantage of the New Year to reset and rejuvenate their marketing tactics. Most often, targeting the digital aspect of things, especially social media.
“We continue to monitor the impact of social media and the digital side of marketing,” said Knaak. “How we reach our clients is changing, and while traditional mass media still plays a significant role, the use of social media and grassroots marketing are growing.”
“We will revamp our marketing by allocating 30 percent of our funds to social media advertising,” said Hunter. “We’ll also be revamping our website, targeting Google AdWords, and targeting Facebook ads.”
Others are looking to improve their company website in order to better serve their customer base.
“We are looking to improve our website and client outreach to get our services and message out there,” said Gerber. “We aim to create a more active web presence and think outside the box on how to find like-minded clients.”
Another way contractors are improving their marketing efforts is by targeting the communities they serve in order to become the go-to HVAC business for the area.
“This year, we are laser-focusing our marketing and plan to own our own backyard,” said Moon. “We are going to pound our message directly into our target neighborhoods.”
This is the perfect time for contractors to revamp their businesses. Set goals, follow through, and transform your company into the successful powerhouse it can be.
Publication date: 2/19/2018