Q.Do you know why they pave the roads?

A. So that you won’t see the rut you’re driving yourself into.

Seriously, do you feel like you’re in a dead-end, low-paying job? It’s been said that most people spend more time planning their yearly vacation than they do planning their whole lives.

Most people live from paycheck to paycheck. A lot of people live one day at a time. Unfortunately, as service techs, we live one call at a time, don’t we? Most of us, for instance, don’t know when we’re going to go home at night, do we? We work until there is no more work to be done. Then, the next day, we start all over again. Plus, we never know what the weather or other conditions are going to do to our workload. We can’t have a life, can we?

Do you have children? Are you planning on sending them to college? What about your retirement plans? If you’re having trouble making ends meet right now, how do you think you’re going to do when you retire and your income goes to less than half of what it is now?

In this and subsequent articles, we’re going to discuss our career options as service technicians. Then I’m going to ask you to:

  • Quit living one call at a time.
  • Take charge of your career.
  • Set career goals.
  • Start planning for your retirement. And
  • If you have children, face up to the inevitable future and start planning to finance their education.
  • Also, as one service tech to another, I’ll give you a few tips on how you can accomplish all this.

    You’re not going to excel at your job until you become committed to both the career you’re in and the actual job you have right now, even if you only see your current job as a stepping stone to a better future. So we’re going to take a look at what’s good about this job, what’s bad about this job, and what we can do to further our own careers.


    What is the purpose of your job? When I ask that question during my live seminars, some of the responses I get are:

  • To fix equipment;
  • To fix it right the first time;
  • To satisfy the customer;
  • To get and keep customers;
  • To provide the ultimate service experience;
  • To solve problems; and
  • To provide for my family.
  • The fact is, there really is one reason and only one reason why your boss went to the trouble and expense of getting you a truck, a uniform, and calls to run, and that is to generate a profit for the company. That’s it in a nutshell. The purpose of your job is to generate a profit for the company.

    Now, before you go thinking I’m heartless and uncaring and only interested in money, let me state that you will not be able to consistently turn a profit for the company over the course of your career unless you fix it right the first time, satisfy the customer, get and keep customers, provide the ultimate service experience, solve problems, and even provide for your family.

    The reason I bring it up is because those are the things on which the majority of techs focus — that and staying on the dispatcher’s good side — and not profits. Most service personnel are completely unaware of the profitability, or lack thereof, of their efforts.


    How much money did your truck bring in last year? How much income did you generate last month, last week, or even yesterday? If you’re like most service techs, you don’t know. Yet, generating a profit is the purpose of your job.

    The first thing you can do to get the most out of your career as a service technician is become more aware of the income you personally generate for the company.

    Keep accurate records of how much income you generate by the day, week, month, and year. That may seem like a lot of trouble, but once you get into the habit of doing it, you’ll find that it’s not only easy, it’s interesting and it’s fun.

    Wouldn’t you like to actually know the exact amount of your average service call and how it compares to others? Wouldn’t you like to know the actual ratio of calls that you run that convert to a service agreement or some type of add-on sale?

    Now, why would you want to do that?


    Once you’ve got a year’s worth of figures, you can start comparing your current figures to the previous year’s. If you’ve increased the income generated by you on the calls you ran, that would be pretty handy information to have when you’re sitting down for your periodic review, wouldn’t it?

    If you’re able to document that you contributed to an increase in company profits, I’d think you’d have a better chance of securing a raise, wouldn’t you?

    This brings us to a related topic, a question, and almost the real idea behind getting the most out of your career as a service tech. Since the purpose of your job is to generate a profit for the company, whether you own the company yourself or work for someone else, you’re not going to get the most out of your career in service until you maximize the profits you generate. If you’re going to generate more profits out of your efforts, you’ll have to increase the dollar amount of your average service call.

    Assuming you’re already running all the calls you can run, the only way to increase the average amount per service call means you’re going to have to “sell” more. Which raises the topic of sales. Is service technician a sales job?

    Next time, we’ll answer that question, as well as some of the normal questions, comments, and objections I hear from techs regarding selling out of a service truck.

    In the meantime, remember that every time you run a call, as long as you conduct yourself in a manner that will elevate your customers’ opinion of service techs in general and hvacr service techs in particular, you’re helping to elevate the entire industry.

    Greer travels the country running calls with hvacr service technicians, demonstrating his methods in the field. He’s the instructor for the “HVAC Closers Academy,” held in Ft. Myers, FL. For information, call HVAC Profit Boosters, Inc. at 1-800-963-4822 or visit Greer’s website at www.hvacprofitboosters.com.

    Publication date: 04/02/2001