Creating Your New Technical Team

Creating Your New Technical Team

Joe Cunningham - March 12, 2018

It's no secret that our industries, whether plumbing, HVAC or electrical are undergoing a tremendous shortage of skilled techs and all predictions are that the problem is only going to get worse.

This problem has been discussed at length in most trade magazines and was even a topic discussed by Mike Rowe of the Dirty Jobs television series in front of Congress and it looks like the problem is only going to be solved by a dedicated effort from the industry itself, and that's why I created the Technical Arts Center in Houston, Texas

The Technical Arts Center has designed the industry's only 9-Day Fast Start Program that has consistently proven to create a high level maintenance technician from scratch in just 9 short days.

Many veterans of the industry wonder how this can be achieved in such a short time. They also wonder just how good a person with just 9 days training under their belt can be and what they will be able to do.

So let's start out with a few basic truisms:

  • When we talk about basic maintenance approximately 85-90% of the tasks performed from job to job are about the same processes and procedures performed - just on different units.
  • When we talk about basic service calls, nearly the same is true on those calls as well.

And knowing the above statements are true, if we have a person that is trained in and understands:

  • basic sequence of operation in a heating and cooling system
  • basic electricity in an HVAC system
  • how to use gauges and meters
  • how to properly charge a system
  • how to locate typical components
  • how to test components to determine if they need to be changed
  • how to figure sub-cool and superheat

Then, we can give this person a detailed check list that requires them to check every component in the system. This new technician will have a back-up number to call when he or she gets into a situation that is beyond their basic skills.

So, how could we not be able to handle most calls with a relatively new entry level technician?

The answer can handle most situations with entry level people and they will progress rapidly, especially if you pick the right person...and that's what this week's message is about.

How to choose "the one".

So let's say you have gone through the typical hiring game of finding a new tech, most of the experienced techs you will talk with have experience all right, and a lot of it is bad. And after many years of training people, I've found it harder to un-train a person than it is to train them to start with! But we have to have some techs and we have to encourage people to contact us. The easiest way I've found to advertise for techs is in the typical places: newspapers, job boards, etc.

And if you're looking for the new entry level person, you can easily attract them by just adding one line in your ad "Also looking for a few entry level technicians- we have a great training program."

I've been doing this for awhile on Craigslist and while finding a meager supply of experienced techs, usually ones I don't want, I find that we get quite a few young applicants that are hungry and eager enough to read the whole ad and then respond. What I've experienced is most of the applicants really are looking for an opportunity and willing to work, but you do have to sort through them to make sure they have no hidden problems in their backgrounds like extensive arrest records, drug problems or a bad driving record.

So, to start that process get with a local background checking company and do the due diligence to make sure they are hireable. Here are the most important things of all to determine:

  • Do they have the right desire?
  • Do they have the right personality?
  • Do they have a capability to learn and implement new skills?

And there are 2 ways to find theese things out:

  • Hire them, try them and hope for the best
  • Have them DISC profiled to improve your odds

Personally I vote for the second one on the list but that can be a little time consuming and can cost you quite a bit if you have a lot of applicants. But, there is a way to get that done quickly and FREE to start with.

There is an online free program you can start with right away that works well (of course not as deep or as well as a paid program) and will get you on your way to picking "the one" with the most promise! Here is the link:

So, give this process a try! What have you got to lose?

Put out an inexpensive ad, field some applicants, give them a test, and get ready to get them trained!

And if you can't come up with an ad you like, just contact me and I will be happy to share one of mine with you.

So, post those ads, find your recruit, get them background checked and profiled and I'll be back with your next Built from Scratch tip next week!

- Joe Cunningham | 2-time Consultant of the Year | Contracting Business' Most Influential in HVAC | Founder Technical Arts Center

© Technical Arts Center 2018

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