“Treat fellow employees and customers like you would your Mom and Dad.”

“If there is a technician with 10 years experience looking for a job, you have to ask why.”

“You can’t rely on tech schools only for new service technicians. You have to look to delivery drivers, pest control people, and door hangers.”

CHICAGO, IL — Put a panel of hvacr professionals on a podium before their peers and comments are sure to be provocative. Such a panel was part of the most recent quarterly convention of the Contractor Success Group here.

CSG president Bill Efird acted as moderator of a panel consisting of Bob Woodall, Woodall’s Quality Heating & Air Conditioning, Dothan, AL; Mark Hardwick, CSG’s senior technical training coach; and Ricky Brantley, past Service Experts general manager.

Woodall said effectiveness is most important for a service department. “If a customer is not happy, they won’t pay,” he said. Contracting companies “should welcome complaints. Put a sticker on the envelopes you mail out saying, ‘We welcome complaints.’” Honesty and integrity are also important, he asserted.

Hardwick stressed the need for “everything to come together, for everybody to be in concert.”

Mission Statement

For Brantley, the key for those in a company is to ask, “What is my mission? Then set goals that understand the mission.” Further, he said, it is necessary “to have a fired-up bunch [of employees]. They need to be motivated every day.”

On the question of finding service technicians, most said the contractor needs to be responsible for tech training.

“You just about have to grow them,” said Hardwick, who also volunteered the opinion that experienced techs putting themselves in the job market raises questions about why they are leaving one company for another.

Brantley pushed for recruitment beyond the hvacr universe. “Target young people who may not even be in the industry. Keep your eyes out, rely on word of mouth.” He also suggested that current employees be given a headhunting fee if they provide a lead for a service technician who stays with the company for a predetermined time.

Woodall echoed the theme of finding the right person, then training that person. “I don’t need a technical background. I look at attitude and communication skills with some mechanical aptitude.”

Training, to Hardwick, included a few days of orientation and the ability to do simple tune-ups within a week. Then that technician is “handcuffed to the lead tech so the new hire can start doing more.” That even includes “having the new tech driving the truck with the lead tech to learn the needs of a truck.” Within the first month, the new technician should be taking the EPA certification exam.

Publication date: 09/18/2000