One of the reasonsThe Newsinitiated the "Best Contractor To Work For" contest last year - and, yes, we will have the second annual this year (but more on that later) - was to find out what exactly contractors are doing to keep service technicians aboard. As we found out, many of you are taking active steps in making sure that good, experienced service techs do not jump ship. After all, based onThe News¿most recent market research, finding qualified people is your biggest concern for 2000. Therefore, we realize it takes some effort to retain good people at your contracting firm.

The way you handle this, of course, varies. And, in truth, there is not one definitive way to keep good people. What works for one contractor may not work for another. The point here, though, is to do ¿something¿ as opposed to nothing. Those who do nothing are, generally speaking, the ones who have to react - and that's not a good business practice. Those who do not take steps are the ones who usually wind up complaining that their "good" service techs left because -well, for various reasons. In truth, service techs leave for a variety of reasons, reasons for which The News is currently exploring.

Tell Us, So We All Know

Contributing editor Joanna Turpin is checking out contracting firms around the country, asking contractors, owners, and service techs about the status of their respective worlds. She may be knocking on your firm¿s door soon. What she is trying to nail down is an answer to this simple question: "Why do techs leave?"

In order to reach more contractors and technicians, The News has placed a painless questionnaire on our website, I do encourage contractors and technicians to answer our quick query, as your input will help The News develop a more accurate picture as to why techs do leave. And, let's face it, knowledge is power. With more data, we can inform you, the reader, what's going on, why it's going on, and possibly how to fix it. Of course, Turpin will be reporting on her findings in future issues.

Yes, we all have to work together in this industry. It takes cooperation from all parties to produce an amicable solution (or solutions).

Some questions for techs to ponder:

  • What prompts you to leave your job?

  • Have you recently left a technician position? If so, why?

  • If you are still in the same technician position, are you thinking about leaving your current job? If yes, why?

    Some questions for contractors to ponder:

  • What do technicians tell you when they leave your firm?

  • Is it a money issue?

  • Are they going back to school?

  • Do they go to work for a competitor?

No matter what a tech's reason is for leaving his/her current job, we'd like to know. Take a few minutes and answer the questionnaire on our website, or fax your responses to Joanna at 480-726-7120; e-mail her at; or, talk directly to her at 480-726-7121. We look forward to hearing from you.

Summer Chore: Collect Ammo

In regard to our "Best Contractor To Work For" contest,The Newseditorial team is soon to gather to discuss next year's coverage. Believe me when I say the 2001 version will be bigger and better. What's being tossed around includes having different contractor categories (for instance: best residential, commercial, and industrial contractor, respectively, to work for) for the next contest, bigger prizes awarded to the winners, and more editorial coverage inThe News.

Expect us to launch the 2001 version in October. As soon as we know, you'll know. That's a hint, too. Since you may all be busy in the summer ahead - and, here's hoping you are - you may just want to begin collecting information now, information that will let us know why you are one of the best contractors to work for. Translation: Start gathering your ammunition.

One must note here that we will not be looking for "the biggest" contractor. What we want to know is why you believe you are the best contractor to work for - and how you'll be able to prove it. We, of course, will be checking out your credentials, to make sure that what you believe is accurate.

When the time comes to submit entries, you can bet we'll place the entry form on our website. Plans also include placing the Feb. 7, 2000 issue of The News on Featured in that issue are the six winners of our inaugural Best Contractor contest. It will be placed in cyberspace for you to re-examine what the first-time winners did to earn top honors and keep their employees happy.

That's coming down the pike, though, so to speak. For now, let us know why techs leave.

Click here to fill out our survey!