Editor’s note: The following remarks were made regarding the editorial, “Your Technicians Are Changing With the Times ... Are You?,” written by Kyle Gargaro, published Dec. 18, 2017 in The NEWS.

Tattoos on the job

Steve Coscia and I have discussed this on a few occasions, so here goes:

  • I have been in the industry for 43 years and have two prominent tats on my forearms applied during my Navy days;
  • Personally, I have never discriminated on body ink, as long as it is not a mural;
  • Being in the commercial niche has allowed us a greater autonomy on how we present ourselves on job sites;
  • Personal expression today seems to be more and more accepted by the public in general; and
  • I also believe that since there are more houses than buildings, the residential contractors may feel differently.

I agree with your article statement — those who choose to look away from a tech with a tattoo may be missing out on a winner. I also believe the performance of a tech is what really is evaluated. So, soft skills, which include an annual personality critique we perform on each other, help us develop the skills required in order to “size ‘em up!” and then open lines of communication with the customers based upon this evaluation — observing body language, overall demeanor, language/speaking style of the customer, the way they dress, etc. Sizing them up is a two-way thing, so, believe you me, we realize they are doing the same. Again, we are fortunate in that many of our customers are still with us after 12 years, and we have them nailed down fairly well.

Having a clean appearance and structured presentation is more important than a tattoo being there. Parking the company vehicle away from the commercial building’s main entrance gets noticed by the customer. We abide by this rule. After offloading, we move away, so customers or visitors can use the closer spaces.

We also have a policy that, in each and every instance, we MUST leave the job site cleaner than what we find it. We call it the “Janitor in a Drum” technique. This training also develops personal pride in what our field techs do for a living. After all is said and done, it is very difficult to do what we do if the equipment is filthy and neglected.

Our ladies also do a field day in the office on Fridays instead of having a cleaning service come in. This is a simple process to make sure management and office staff share the same basic credo.

Finally, I find it strange the tattoo subject is still an item of some discourse in our industry. Personally speaking for our little family-run business, we have better things to do than worry about a customers’ preference (or non) for a tattooed tech.

Joe A Kokinda


Professional HVAC/R Services Inc.

Avon Lake, Ohio

It’s Up to the Customer Greetings, Mr. Gargaro,

I just finished reading your article regarding service techs wearing tattoos and having facial hair. The most important person deciding if these are acceptable or not is not the business owner — it’s the customer. Particularly, if the business is predominantly residential service.

Tom Moore

Retired HVAC contractor

Leesburg, Indiana

Publication date: 1/15/2018