Maximizing billable hours is a key element of becoming a successful refrigeration technician and increasing your value to the company. Wasting time on a repair can erode a company profit margin. There are many ways to waste time, but one of the more common ways is not having what you need to finish the job. It could be something as simple as an electrical connector. If you do not have it and you need it to finish the repair, you will need to go get it. This wasted time could have been avoided with a little of organization on your part. It is not always possible to have everything you need all the time, but your normally stocked items should never be the cause of wasted time.
Of course, what you carry on your truck as a normal stock will vary depending on your customer base and the type of equipment you service. What you normally stock will also need to be adjusted over time as the equipment and the customers you service change. It is extremely important to consistently replenish these normally stocked replacement parts and supplies. That’s why you should keep a “need-to-replace” list and write down each time you need to replace an item. Be diligent in keeping it updated so that you can replenish these items when at a shop or supply house. You never know when you will need something. Also, you should carry multiples of certain items, as you might need one on the very next job. Stocking universal replacement parts can also be helpful, because it can reduce the number of items you need to carry and still give you the ability to effectively repair many systems.
There are other advantages to keeping a well-stocked service vehicle. When you are forced to quickly find an item, you may end up overpaying for it. Buying an item at a local hardware store because you need it fast could cost you more than you would pay at a supply house or your normal vendor. Finding the item you need close to the jobsite could also be challenging and might cause you to have to visit several places before you find what you need. Finally, you might not find the exact same item you normally use, and you may need to make an adjustment to the equipment or replacement part to make it work for the repair.
The need-to-replace list could simply be a notepad, a sheet of paper on a small clipboard, or an app on your phone. I have been using an app on my phone for some time, and it works very well. Since I always have my phone with me, I can easily update what I need and have the list readily available when I need to replace these items.
It may take some time to develop a habit of updating your list and replenishing supplies, but once it becomes your normal routine, it will make you a valuable employee and a more efficient technician.
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