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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As a service manager I often wonder if we are the only ones that can't find quality servie techs that are not on drugs, stupid, or focused on Friday happy hour.

The HVAC industry really needs some young blood to take a serious interest in the trade.
 

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First of all, I would think a "quality" service tech on drugs or stupid, is a mutually exclusive situation: he's either a quality tech or he's a druggy or he's lacking in mental prowess. And most everybody working for wages, looks forward to the hours they don't have to work.

I wouldn't disagree with the lopsided ratio of competent techs to less-than-competent techs. But the only way techs can become competent is through several years of work experience. But they can't get the experience because they can't get a job...because they don't have any experience. :001_unsure: It's the Catch-22 syndrome. :blink:

There is also a problem stemming from some service company owners who are not "investing" in the training of existing employees. For that matter, there are plenty of service company owners who aren't "quality" techs...it's the blind leading the blind.

And needless to say, the pay scales in some areas are anything but enticing for the "young bloods" considering a career in the trade.

I don't totally disagree with your premise...but one thing for sure, if we want the young blood to take a serious interest in the HVAC trade, the trade will have to take a serious interest in the young blood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Saturatedpsi

I agree with the majority of your reply but I have come to the conclusion that the problem with the lack of good help is more of a generational problem.

Most "young bloods" coming up now have a sense of entitlement, if you will. Their parents failed miserably in teaching their children that you have to work for what you need or want. Furthermore, the principle of working hard and taking pride in anything they do, no matter how undesirable the task may be, is certainly wisdom that has not been passed along.

The result? We have a lot of cleaning up to do due to modern day parenting that incorporates no practical wisdom or principles.

Best bet on finding good help these days is securing a prospect of hiring a young individual that has been reared on the family farm. A huge learning curve BUT most of those types of lads are mechanically sharp.
 

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They are out there, just have to look for them. Investing in our local hi-school Vo-Tech has really benefited our co. as well as other company.
And continued investment in them once we have them pays dividends.
 

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They are out there, just have to look for them. Investing in our local hi-school Vo-Tech has really benefited our co. as well as other company.
And continued investment in them once we have them pays dividends.

I'm going to have to agree with the latter part of your statement. I for one am always interested in and ready to jump ship for a company that keeps it's employees in a continuing education type program, be it NATE training or simply free seminars at the supply houses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks

Thanks for the replies. I realize there are some really good technicians however there are far more of the "unwanted". As a manager I like individuals who:

1) Professionally presentable
2) Knowledgeable and fully capable of working independently
3) Has a great understanding and experience in comfort conditioning and refrigeration.
4) Eager to work without complaining about why the other guy gets a new van and not him.
5) Able to stand in front of equipment that they have not had much exposure to and be able to adapt.
6) An individual that is driven to learn that which he/she does not currently know. For instance, coming across an issue or technology they are unfamiliar with and taking the time to study up on it.

I would have to agree with the Vocational Tech statement earlier. Usually one can speak with that instructor and get a good feel for which student has great potential.

A huge red flag for me though is that guy that comes in for an interview and claims that they have done everything under the sun and no one can do any better than themselves. I do not know about you guys but there are a lot of them out here.
 

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Reply to Doc:The training goes way beyond that. We want them to attend college Vo-Tech, and get in the Jouneyman program. Training, usually multi-day seminars and usually out of town so even more $$$$, (in fact, did the cost sheet on training and a 3-day seminar out of town is over $3K). Weber is my hero for the in-house training, want to work towards his level. Don't think I can catch up but it's worth trying.
Cross training and experience pays off when things tighten up. When the markey changed we had to get rid of all the RNC guys. All the opportunities were there, they just didn't take advantage of them.
And we bear the expense of the training.
Reply to Cardinal:
The guys meet all the things you listed, but the 1st one is a constant effort on my part, in fact had a discussion about it today and I went out to my truck and gave one of the new guys a proper winter work coat of my own. Not the 1st time by any means.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Reply to Cardinal:
The guys meet all the things you listed, but the 1st one is a constant effort on my part, in fact had a discussion about it today and I went out to my truck and gave one of the new guys a proper winter work coat of my own. Not the 1st time by any means.
Our company provides the crew with company wear...however it seems some still wish to "wang chung" with the dress code. Plus many these days seem to have a exceptional use unprofessional language on the job around customers. This is not tolerated even a little bit. While knowledge is among the top three requirements here...it does not do any good when the customer doesn't want "that guy" on the job.
 

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I get it, you get it but getting them to get it is what I push hard. Getting them to look the part goes a long way towards setting the customer at ease. Until they are 40 most of our customer base-retired- will see them as "kids". No matter what the experience and expertise level is.
And I believe it has an attitude adjustment for them too.
Side note;
My old man used to wear a Bow tie with his uniform, like the Maytag Guy, when he knew big-wigs from the big co. were going to be around. Guys would meet him at the truck and beg him to take it off before the big-wigs would see him and get a Wrong idea in their heads.
He just so it as a point of negotiation, for lunch, beer after work, etc. Or just to watch them sweat in Jan.
 

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Sucks

NCI airhead class canceled next week. Just booked a room for the guy and then NCI called.
What really sucks is I somehow missed sending one of the more senior guys to the class. He never asked me why, when I asked him why he didn't when he so more junior guys going he just said I must have had my reasons.
Just lost track of who went.
Find another location to send him too.
 

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As a manager I like individuals who:

1) Professionally presentable
2) Knowledgeable and fully capable of working independently
3) Has a great understanding and experience in comfort conditioning and refrigeration.
4) Eager to work without complaining about why the other guy gets a new van and not him.
5) Able to stand in front of equipment that they have not had much exposure to and be able to adapt.
6) An individual that is driven to learn that which he/she does not currently know. For instance, coming across an issue or technology they are unfamiliar with and taking the time to study up on it.
I admire your hiring goals, but have to say, there ain't many guys like that around, certainly not young ones...they haven't had the time to get the experience, to develop all that knowledge and great understanding you'd like to see. I would venture a guess that maybe 1%-2% might meet your requirements, and they already got a job, and probably looking to retire soon. Can you meet all 6 of those criteria, consistently?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I admire your hiring goals, but have to say, there ain't many guys like that around, certainly not young ones...they haven't had the time to get the experience, to develop all that knowledge and great understanding you'd like to see. I would venture a guess that maybe 1%-2% might meet your requirements, and they already got a job, and probably looking to retire soon. Can you meet all 6 of those criteria, consistently?
There are some really great, mechanically inclined, youth out there. They always are willing to try harder and usually are eager to be the best, you know...competitive, wanting to be unrivaled among their fellow service techs. They are the ones that, when you can find them, make great service techs.

And to answer question....simply put, yes I can.
 

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As a manager I like individuals who:

1) Professionally presentable
2) Knowledgeable and fully capable of working independently
3) Has a great understanding and experience in comfort conditioning and refrigeration.
4) Eager to work without complaining about why the other guy gets a new van and not him.
5) Able to stand in front of equipment that they have not had much exposure to and be able to adapt.
6) An individual that is driven to learn that which he/she does not currently know. For instance, coming across an issue or technology they are unfamiliar with and taking the time to study up on it.


There are some really great, mechanically inclined, youth out there...willing to try harder and usually are eager to be the best, you know...competitive, wanting to be unrivaled among their fellow service techs...the ones that, when you can find them, make great service techs.
I misinterpreted your posts.:oops: Thought you were trying to hire people who met the criteria.:biggrin:
 

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Ultimately the goal is to build the company with the employees being the ones that not only attract customers but are the ones that help attract other good people to want to work for us.
They are not the ones you hear constantly B!tch'n at the supply house. Who pull in with raggy trucks with alum. ladders tied down with panduit straps, pants down to their knees, etc. We get comments from the mgr's and counter guys about the way the guys handle themselves.
We have had guys leave, willingly or not, that get enlightened when they work for someone else.
 

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Just pay for my relocation, salary, continuing education, food and housing already and I'll come work for you Stamas.

Geez, do I have to spell it out? :)

In all seriousness your company seems like one I'd like to work with. We do have some here like that, I've been promised the moon, but come the slow season and everything changes. :cry:
 

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I.m new to this forum but would like to say something on the topic.
As a service manager I totally understand the frustration of finding experienced quality service techs. I have the best results by looking for those that have no experience, but have lots of drive. I start them out in the duct installation department, then on to the equipment installation crew, and then work them up to service department as a helper, and then a technician. All my top techs have come thru the company this way and they all have over 15 years with us.
If i hire a tech off the street, then it seems like I have to break bad habits first and then instill good habits and practices.
I also try to hire those with families because they have a responsibility to bring a check home.
I also understand and preach on training up. If you cant teach someone else how to do your job, then you will always be doing the same job, because there is no replacement. My lead installers have a responsibility to train the helper, and my lead techs have to train helpers to do their job, and I have to train my senior techs to do my job.
I provide outside as well as in-house training. I encourage NATE certifications and provide the means for it to happen. I use incentives to help them want to better themselves.
I have spoken to the tech colleges in my area and their enrollments are going down. We have to start training our own if we hope to retire at a decent age.
 
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