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Burning Out Your Service Technicians

By Todd Liles Burning Out Your Service Technicians
Service technician installing an AC

The average service technician is overweight, stressed out and fueled by caffeine. Coffee, cigarettes and energy drinks have replaced the staple of a good breakfast and rest. This unhealthy combination is an absolute recipe for disaster, and it’s burning out our service techs.

The impact of an unhealthy lifestyle is causing massive damage to our industry. If not resolved, we may find the plumbing, electrical and HVAC trades literally dying off.
So, what can YOU do to promote a healthier workplace for your technicians to succeed in — both professionally and personally? Here are 3 important things to know and implement to keep your technicians healthy and happy.

Techs Don’t Live To Work

If you ask any business owner what their biggest challenge is today, they’ll likely reference the decline of new technicians and a lack of “new blood.”

In the new generation, professionals have been raised to value their health, time and quality of life more than money. You can get mad about that and say the modern generation is lazy, or you can recognize that the previous generation raised the current generation this way for a reason.

As professionals who are influencing the future generations of HVAC, plumbing and electrical technicians (just to name a few), we have to come to terms with the fact that work is not the ultimate goal for any human being. Once we understand and appreciate this fact, we can better support our technicians.

When your team feels the time and effort that you put into their work life, potential technicians will feel it too. You’ll have a much better retention rate and more motivated applicants if you treat your team better than any of your competitors.

 

The Value Of A Healthy Work/Life Balance

A healthy work/life balance is critical — for anyone. If your work life is overpowering your personal life, you’ll certainly suffer. When a manager or owner takes preventative measures to ensure their team members don’t get overwhelmed and burnt out, it shows dedication and commitment to the most valuable resource you have: people.

Some of the top reasons why promoting a good work/life balance can help your company are:

  • Techs that have a healthy work/life balance are happier. This reduces turnover, increases production and makes for an overall better workplace.
  • Happier people have less stress, which reduces stress-induced illness. No one should be suffering from illnesses caused by stress in their workplace, but this also guarantees that your team will be consistently ready to work instead of out sick.
  • Healthy people have fewer medical bills. Medical bills are one of the top causes of debt and financial strain in the U.S. If you can help reduce the risk of medical needs and services, your team will be better off.
  • Happier people make happier clients. Happy clients like to buy from happy techs. If the technicians you’re dispatching are struggling in their lives and can barely keep it together, how do you suppose the sales call is going to go?
  • Clients that are happy tell their friends about the service that made them so happy. Let your outstanding service speak for itself.

Even one of these reasons should be enough to convince you that health and happiness affect all the other processes in your business.

Technician performing AC maintenance

Creating A Healthy Balance In The On-Demand Services Trades

The challenge of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is due to your business model. It’s just a fact that the on-demand services trades are going to have more stress than a 9-to-5 job.

Finding a balance isn’t about eliminating all stress, it’s about handling it with a balanced approach. The trades are also beginning to realize the problem associated with an unhealthy lifestyle.

Here are some of the steps you can take to reduce the stress and create a healthier life balance for the on-demand service tech:

Limit On-Call Rotation

It’s the dream of all home service companies to serve their clients whenever that client calls. However, 24/7 service requires a business to reach a certain size before that becomes a sustainable model.

Grow your company to handle demand, limit the on-call and rotate techs in and out of the service schedule. Try to limit your techs to 1 week of on-call per month.

Mandatory Long Weekends

This is going to sound like a wild concept, but creating a mandatory long weekend is a great idea. Some techs love to work. They love it so much, they’ll work themselves to exhaustion.

Schedule a mandatory long weekend for technicians where you will not call them for any reason. Taking a mandatory break from work will improve morale and can result in happier employees.

Remove The Threat Of The Emergency Call

Many companies say something like, “Keep your phone nearby all weekend. You’re off call, but in an emergency, I may need you.” If that happens once in a while, then a tech could handle that. However, it becomes a weekly statement for most service managers.

This is one of the worst things you can do to a tech.

When you do this, you force them to think about work on their time off. The mental energy of being constantly prepared to jump into work-mode is exhausting. If the tech is off, let them be off. Don’t stress them out with, “maybe we’ll need you.”

Guaranteed Sleep

If the tech is out until 2:00 a.m., don’t demand that they be at the 7:00 a.m. team meeting. Create a system that’s automatic for the tech. It could be that they have 10 hours from the time their GPS shows them home until they’ll be dispatched again.

Find a system that works with your business model and that can be implemented easily. Guaranteeing your techs time to rest will improve their health and attitude.

Set Your On-Demand Service Techs Up For Success

Any company can implement the four procedures mentioned above. With a few minor adjustments, you can promote a healthier lifestyle for the on-demand plumber, HVAC tech or electrician. The greatest HVAC techs take pride in the quality and craftsmanship of their work. They depend upon the support of management and owners to enforce the promises that are made.

Quality work and kept promises are the greatest tools a professional HVAC company owns. Without these tools, failure will follow. To learn more about what it takes to be successful in the ever-changing home services industry, you need Service Excellence. We IGNITE THE POWER WITHIN!

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