So You Think You've Found "The One"

March 31, 2018 - by Joe Cunningham


Ok, you ran the ad. You had all the applicants in for the interview. You've run the background checks and performed a DISC profile. And you're pretty darn sure this applicant is a fit for your customers, your company and you. You defined his, or her, future role with a job description that is in print and both of you signed off on. So, this new applicant understands exactly what you want done and has agreed to those standards. He is willing to undergo the training and to invest in him, or herself, to learn the things he, or she, doesn't know in order to fulfill the signed job description agreement. 

One point that bears saying is that it's important both you and your employee have an absolute crystal-clear understanding of the job description so that there are no misunderstandings or disappointments. 

The job description needs to be encompassing of everything you expect on a daily basis and include things like: expected average tickets, percentage of service agreement sales that should be made, what paperwork has to be done on every call, etc.

You cannot hold a tech accountable to perform a task or reach a goal if you don't let them know what that task or goal is. 


Preparing for Success

So, now let's take a look at the next step. preparing the employee's timeline for success and the training program. 

First off, it's important that you know a little bit about this person and what motivates them. The Service Roundtable has an excellent download available to help you do that called "It's All About You".  

This form will help you learn about your new prospect and some of the things that make them happy. And, as the Service Roundtable so aptly says in their article about the form, "We all know that happy employees make the best employees. Studies have shown that employees who enjoy their jobs and have a sense of fulfillment are more productive and more likely to stick with your company long term."

Their form is created in Publisher, so you can edit it and make it your own. 

There are currently 10 questions and some personal information at the top. If you want, you can change the questions to whatever you'd like. You might want to be creative and add things about goals or whatever topic you'd like to discuss to learn more about your new employee and what makes them tick. 

Don't forget to remove the red logo box and add your own logo. Just click the link to go to Service Roundtable's site and download it for FREE. 


Assess Their Level

After you discover what makes your employee tick, it's time to lay down those plans for the future and ensure your new tech's success. 

First off, let's assess the skill level of this tech as it pertains to your business. In your interview the new employee gave you the background story and you checked it out, so you should know where the abilities lie. 

Since we are talking about new entry level techs, there may not be a lot of technical knowledge there. But if your background check shows some industry experience you can easily determine how much by using a Technical Assessment CD. You can order this CD from this website. Just click this link to find the Tech Assessment tab.  This CD will let you test your technicians (and it may be a good idea to check them all) to assess skill levels and etermine what, if any, training they may need. Your new applicant may have no experience (that's ok) and almost anyone coming in for a job may need a skills reboot. The CD will test them, grade them, and give you a score. 


Avoid the Downward Spiral

So, since we are probably talking about entry level techs, let's discuss how to get one trained. 

First off, there's the old method of just putting this skull full of mush with your "best" tech and let him ride for a while so our old trusted tech can show him "just how we do things around here". 

In theory I guess that's good. But in reality, over the years here's what I find happens with that process...

Many times, your "best" tech really isn't doing everything you want or need done on a job in order to maximize opportunities, reduce call backs, or generate leads even though you think he does. He knows all the short-cuts and ways to make his job go easier. 

Despite the fact that during the meeting you have with both the old techs and the new tech, when you put the new person with your "best" tech, as they pull of out the drive, they have their own little meeting.  This is called "the meeting about the meeting" and it occurs after every one of yours. 

During this personal introduction from your "best" tech, the newbie will be told that you, as a business owner, always have lots of ideas that you want to implement but the real techs don't need to pay much attention to that. Mr. "Best" tech will show him how things "really" work around here, which assures you that your new tech will only get almost as good as your "best" tech. But he will, without a doubt, learn all of the "best" tech's bad habits. 

And following this process will assure you that the quality of your techs will often achieve a never ending downward spiral. 


Effective Training

The best thing you can do for an entry level tech is to totally immerse him in an unadulterated learning environment where he, or she, can learn the skills you want them to have and discover how to run a call correctly. Then they will maximize opportunities, help your customers, and help you move forward in your business as motivated profit producing techs. 

The best way to do that is to enroll this industry prototype in a proven program that teaches the skills the tech will need to learn to begin their career. 

There are several training centers around the country that teach these skills. While I am exceptionally fond of one, we will discuss some of them next week. We will also go over how to get your new technician to buy in to the program and commit to invest in him, or herself, to become a long term valued employee for you. 

And if a training center is not the correct route for you, we will also cover some of the basics you need to teach them to ensure success in the field. 

I'm looking forward to talking with you soon. If you need any personal information about how to get your techs trained or to enroll in one of our upcoming classes, just email me at  Or, give me a call at 318-286-7742.


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

© Technical Arts Center 2018



Creating Your New Technical Team

March 12, 2018 - by Joe Cunningham


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