My guess is you entered the HVAC industry one of three ways: You went to trade school, you went through an apprentice program with a company, or you were encouraged in by a family member. No matter how you got into the trade, my guess is you became pretty good really fast. Because you were so skilled at the technical work, you would go into business for yourself.
You start off running all the calls, installing all the equipment, and your quality of work is top notch. You are so good that clients are referring you to their friends and family members. You have so much work that now is the time for you to hire someone to take some of the load off you. Most likely, you will find someone whom you have worked with over the years — you know their character along with the quality of work they do. But what happens when you have hired all the people you know and are still in need of more? Too many times in business, we are extremely busy and in need of people because the demand is bigger than the supply of good people.
This is the time you have to look in the mirror and decide what you stand for.
Walk out in the morning where the techs gather and watch them as they get to work. Do they look like true professionals walking into your building? Are they what you envisioned when you started? Then go out to the parking lot and look at your trucks. Are they clean and well stocked? Look at your dispatch board to see how many callbacks you have. Is it the type of work you would produce if you were still in a truck? Go out in the warehouse and see what shape it is in. What about the office — is it a place that you and your staff are proud of? What about comment cards, happy calls, or online reviews? Are your customers saying things you like to hear?
What I have found is that as a company adds more employees, it becomes harder to find enough quality people to fill the demand, so they start lowering their standards. This is the biggest mistake you can make. These are your standards, and you should never settle for anything less.
First, pull out your company manual and see what standard you currently have set in place. Second, anything that is not what it should be, change it. If you don’t have a manual, start making one now. The following are just a few examples of the types of intentions to set for your workplace.
Attitude — We are positive and professional.
Integrity — We always do the right thing.
Effort — We give 100 percent every time.
Skill — We’re always working to improve.
Uniform — Blue pants; white shirt; white undershirt; blue socks; black boots; black belt; and company hat. Technicians must keep a change of uniform in the truck, so they can change if needed.
Hair — Must be kept off of shirt collars.
Beards/Mustaches — Must be well-kept and no longer than a ½ inch.
Operations Expectations — Checklist performed on every call; shoe covers must be worn on every call; place drop cloths and rugs to protect client’s floor; clean-up after each call.
Once you set the standard for what you expect in your company, don’t ever expect less. Now the hard part: Hold everyone accountable for what you expect. It’s your business, and it should be run the way you want it to be — the way your customers deserve!
Publication date: 12/24/2018
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