An Open Letter to HVAC Techs About the Upcoming Summer
Tips for handling the busiest time of year
Dear HVAC Technicians: You are the tip of the spear for our industry. Nothing happens without you. As we enter the busiest season of the year, the season that determines the success of the entire year for your companies and the companies supporting them, please keep a few things in mind.
Summer means long hours for an HVAC technician. It can be hard on you and hard on your family. Yet, this is part of the life you have chosen. Sit down with your family and explain that you know this time of year is a challenge for everyone. You will be working longer and getting home later. You need them to help out more at home. To get through the summer, you need their support.
YOU ARE A HERO
To your customers, you are welcome when arriving and a hero when leaving. They are stressed and uncomfortable. They do not even know if the air conditioning can be fixed. It is your job to reassure them. They want that. They want you to be confident. You should be confident. You are a professional air conditioning technician. You can fix anything with refrigerant, though sometimes it is not worth fixing, but that is for later.
When you leave and the problem is solved, you have made a family’s home better. You have made a family’s lives better. That is more than most can say about their work. To these families, you are a hero.
Some homeowners look wealthy, driving luxury cars and living in McMansions, but might barely be able to afford the payments that come with their lifestyles. Others may seem like they do not have a lot, but they might just be frugal, with money set aside for emergencies. From the outside looking in, you cannot tell who is in a position to afford a replacement air conditioner and who is not. You also cannot tell who is willing to replace now to avoid the inconvenience of future repairs.
Because it is impossible to discern a customer’s financial condition or motivations, your role is to give the customers their options and let them decide what is best for their current circumstances. Only the customer knows what those circumstances are.
Explain what a repair costs. Be honest about the potential for more breakdowns in the next year or two. Give a replacement option if more breakdowns are likely or the air conditioner is 10 SEER. Remember, depending on the part of the country, a replacement is 30 to 40 percent more efficient than the old 10 SEER when it was factory fresh. Give people the information they need to decide what the best option is for them.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Hot weather combined with long hours makes for tired technicians. You will get tired. Expect it. It comes with the territory. You can rest in October.
However, because you will get tired, it is important for you to take care of yourself. Take time for breakfast. Eat a decent lunch. Stay hydrated. This is essential — stay hydrated. When necessary, take short breaks to recharge and cool off.
STAY CALM AND SERVICE ON
Chances are good you will encounter an angry customer or two or three over the course of the summer.
Remember that HVAC techs have refrigerant running through their veins and stay cool. After all, it is not you. It is the situation and the heat that has the customer upset. Listen to the customer. Repeat his complaint or problem back to him for clarity, saying, “Let me see if I’ve got this right … ” Tell the customer what you can do, not what you cannot do.
BANK YOUR OVERTIME
If the summer is good and hot and you are working long hours, you will be generating overtime and extra spiffs. Bank it. Save it for the shoulder season when work might slack off a little. At the end of the season, use some to reward your family and invest the rest. Buy a stock index fund and take advantage of our great capitalist system. After all, you did your part over the summer. You earned it.
Publication date: 5/27/2019