Side jobs are the little secrets of service techs and plumbers.  Business owners hate them, and many techs depend on them for extra income.  

There are reasons why techs do side jobs.  Those reasons usually center on money or vision. 

Most side jobs are done for close family members or friends.  (I think companies should have special considerations for these matters.)  However, there are times when side jobs are done under unethical circumstances. 

No matter the reason, it is the responsibility of the Service Manger to control side jobs according to your company standards.

6 ways to prevent side jobs

#1 – Hire well

Side jobs start and stop in the hiring process.  A good hiring process will solve 95% of all of your side job problems.

In our Service Manager Series Training, the hiring process is our most popular section.  RELATED – Classroom Training

Here are a few keys to a good hire:

  • Never hire out of desperation
  • Perform complete criminal background checks
  • Profile your people using the Advance DISCover Insights Profile  RELATED -The Success Tune-up
  • Use KRA’s to establish the expectation of results RELATED – Free KRA Download
  • Check all references
  • Clearly communicate that side jobs will not be allowed

#2 – Paint the vision for growth

Terry Barrett, our Director of the PRESS PLAY for Techs, unpacks point #2. RELATED – Classroom Training

“Too many times the tech doesn’t see his opportunity for growth inside of the company.

As Service Managers and Leaders, it is our responsibility to paint how his future looks inside of our company.

Your company may be small today, but it will grow.  AirNow started with just Jamie and I. 

When we were small, I knew that ever service call I went on was leading to a bigger company.  A company that I would one day lead.

You have to show the tech that every call counts.  Every call is a like brick being laid for a building.  Every side job is like taking a sledge hammer to the building.

We grow together, and we succeed together.

Your tech and plumber needs to feel like he is a part of something great.  So, show him how his achievements helps others, as well as himself.” – Terry Barrett

#3 – Pay your people the most

To ward off bad behavior, and have huge results, you must pay the most in the marketplace.  This is counter intuitive to many business owners that think like technicians.  However, it is a fact.

Highly economically motivated techs and plumbers want to make money.  They have a strong internal desire to earn high incomes.

Highly money motivated techs and plumbers also tend to be good producers. 

When a highly money motivated tech or plumbers works for a company that doesn’t pay well, then he may be tempted to do side jobs, or quit.

RELATED – 4 Ways to Maintain the Ethics of Commissioned Based Plumbers and HVAC Techs

#4 – Price to prosper

To pay the most, you have to be priced to prosper.

Paying the most, and charging the least is a fast track to business failure.

Here are 6 keys to successfully pricing for prosperity:

  • Pay your techs and plumbers with performance pay
  • Base your performance pay on a sliding scale
    • No less than 18%
    • Potential of upwards of 24% depending on production
  • Only pay for performance  
  • Deliver a significant value to the client, so they will happily support your cost of doing business.
  • Use a flat rate price book
  • Never budget to make less than 20% in before tax profit

#5 – Maintain inventory control

I only need to ask you one question to know if your inventory is being well maintained:

“Can you pull a report right now and tell me with 99% accuracy what is on each truck?”

If you can answer “Yes”, then you most likely have good inventory control.

If you answered “No”, then your lack of control is begging for a side job from the unethical service tech.  (I in no way think all service techs are unethical.  I know that most are honest hard working men and women.)

#6 Teach your people to live on a budget

I have observed that most techs and plumbers don’t do a personal budget.  They tend to live pay check to pay check.  Even the guys that make over a $100K make this same mistake.

One of your best fixes to side jobs is to teach your guys how to live on a budget. 

“Living on a budget is like getting a raise.” – Dave Ramsey  RELATED – Dave Ramsey Budgeting Tools

When your techs and plumbers take control of their money, they stop living out of desperation.  And we all know that desperate people do desperate things.

Question: What point meant the most to you? Share your answer on  or .

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