The demand for qualified service technicians far outweighs the supply. Employee turnover has reached a ridiculously high rate in our industry. Sure, other industries are experiencing the same difficulty, but we're here to talk about how this applies to our industry and what we can do about it.

As a contractor, your greatest assets, liabilities, and sources of frustration are your service technicians. Your service technicians are your company. It's difficult to provide the ultimate service experience when our companies are in a perpetual "training mode." However, just know that any single service tech has the potential to bring you more profits than anyone you may currently see as your "best customer." Therefore, you might want to consider regarding your techs as your best customers - and treating them accordingly.

Many companies have more service calls during the busy season than the staff can handle. During these times, you need all the techs you can get. When you take all this into consideration, a case could be made that employee loyalty has become more important than customer loyalty.

Facing The Truth

The most prevalent reason I have seen for a lack of success, in both our business and in our personal lives, is our astonishing ability to ignore the truth. And why not? For many - dare I say most? - of us, our world, our lives, and our shops are so much out of control that our choices are to either ignore the truth or go into depression.

The following questions are presented to provoke thought on what you can do to close the "revolving door" in your employee entrance. You provide the answers. They're already within you, once you become willing to face the truth.

Questions that need answers include:

  • Are you as concerned with your techs' job satisfaction as you are with your customers' satisfaction?

  • Who is responsible for inspiring a sense of loyalty between you and your service technicians, yourself or your service technicians?

  • What are you doing right now to inspire loyalty?

  • What do your service technicians want from you that you are unwilling to give them?

  • Why do the service technicians in some companies enjoy their work, while other techs working in a different company hate their jobs?

  • What is the likelihood of one company hiring all the rotten employees, while another company in the same town and in the same industry has hired all the good employees?

  • Why is it that some service technicians who are considered "difficult" or "failures" while working at one company often change companies and develop a better attitude and become productive?

  • As a manager, your job description is simply to help your employees succeed. Is there any chance that your service technicians feel that you, as an owner/manager, don't know about, understand, or even care about the day-to-day problems they encounter in the field?

  • What three things could you begin doing right now to let your employees know you care about them as people and want to make their job as easy as possible?

  • If you were a service technician working in your company, would you be just as well off trying your luck with another company?

  • What unique benefits are there to working in your company?

  • What would your employees say is wrong with your management style?

    Let's Hear From You

    We talk to our employees about money a lot. And, let's face it: we hire employees to make money off of their efforts. It's the nature of business and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    By all means, pay your people financial incentives when they bring you increased profits, especially when they've gone beyond the call of duty to do so. But, let's not forget that people are also motivated by recognition and appreciation. Employees are more productive when they feel appreciated, are recognized for their efforts, and feel like they're part of a team.

    Let me know what you're doing to inspire loyalty among your employees. My aim here is to compile your comments and pass along the best suggestions in a future column. We can all learn from each other.

    Guest columnist Charlie Greer is the creator of "Tec Daddy's Service Technician Survival School on DVD" and can be reached at 800-963-4822 or

    Publication date: 05/10/2004