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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Fresno, CA
    Posts
    151

    Time Management on cleaning and service

    I was just wondering how many jobs can you do in a 8-10 hour shift be it cleaning and servicing a mix of gas inserts, pellets stoves, open fireplaces, etc..

    Just trying to get info and time allowed for such. last couple weeks usually able to do 4-5 jobs in a normal day with a mix of all.

    Whats been pretty cool is that I get a job with multiple units in the same home a wood stove in the living room, a pellet in near the dining room, and another pellet in the guest home out back, its nice when you do multiple that way.

    Got 2 service calls in the morning then open for shop stuff in the afternoon, the most calls I have done is 6 and that was a flawless/seamless day with no troubleshooting calls strictly cleans and sweeps.

    Well thanks for the info have a nice one.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    198
    The most i have ever done in a day was 11, but that ended up being a 14hr day I ended up practically rebuilding a Mt Vernon AE. the avg is 8, but it really depends on if they are pellet cleanings or gas. I actually prefer troubleshooting over cleanings. pellet cleaning are my least favorite. if they are all gas cleanings i can do 8 in 10 hrs avg.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,052

    Smile DIRTFT

    Back in 2002 I took over as Regional Quality Assurance Manager for a major installing distributor. They had a sky high callback rate with poor overall customer satisfaction. The service techs were running 6-10 calls per 8hr. day. I instituted a rule a max of 5 regular service or first trip diagnostic calls per day. Second trip callbacks budgeted a min. of 2 hrs. Third trip on callback brought out the service manager with me. If we couldn't resolve it, they got a new fireplace.

    We tracked each tech's stats by Complete and On Time (COT), blowouts by cause:tech's fault, office error, weather/ conditions, others. I instituted a 22 point sequential checklist for gas standing pilot fireplaces. It didn't take long to see where the problems were. Guys would stop at the first problem they found, *fix* it then run to their next stop leaving other issues. My protocol caught almost all the problems on the first trip.

    I made sure all the trucks had the same std. equipment. We calibrated the manometers monthly and discarded those out of spec. Same for DMMs, combustible gas sniffers and CO sniffers. I had them taking loads of digital pics on every call and setting up a simple photo archival system. Within 6 months, a stack of callbacks 7" high was down to 7 issues and those were resolved within another month. Sure, we replaced 3 fireplaces during that span. We also bought back loyalty of our builders and their clients. We got back to selling service agreements and accessories such as fans, remotes and facing upgrades. For these, the techs got bonuses. The dept. became a profit center inside of 9 months. Whenever problems arose, invariably it was because things got hectic and the service manager fell off the scheduling wagon to where things got missed.

    When you factor in the time it takes to come in, give report, clean/ re-stock/ DOT inspect your service vehicle, inspect your parts for the day such as busted logs/ wrong part#, load, refuel, and drive to your first stop and not incur overtime, while performing a thorough inspection, cleaning and diagnostic service, with drive times between calls and a 30 minute lunch break, I'd like to see you deliver quality service at greater than 5 calls/ day.

    *cleaning* a pellet stove or insert includes inspection, site prep, dust control, tools and lighting, cleaning the appliance, disconnecting and cleaning the venting-re-assemble/ install venting, then test fire the appliance verifying proper operation. Most reputable service providers I know take 2-3 hrs to properly service pellet appliances. A gas direct vent usually runs at least 45 min. on a repeat annual service with no diagnostic problems and 1.5-2 hours on a first time.

    This includes completing the paperwork on site, reviewing what you found, what you did and what warnings and instructions to the client then signature, date and payment. That takes time. Most first timers are flabbergasted that I/ we would actually take the time to explain how the darn thing works and what the homeowner's responsibilties are for operation and service/ maintenance. This is also where you can upsell such as replacing old vented logs or vent free with a direct vent insert, facing upgrades, adding another fireplace elsewhere in the house, etc.

    I'm not saying anyone is doing it wrong or leaving problems. Really good techs may be able to cover an extra call here and there but I always find it comes at the expense of some sacrifice: cut corners on cleaning and wiping down the entire unit, cleaning the glass, setting fresh embers, documentation on paperwork-something.

    DIRTFT= Do It Right The First Time

    Just one man's vision of the world....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Fresno, CA
    Posts
    151
    Whoa, kind of blew me away Hearthman on the info and its much appreciate it, you sound alot like my boss to the letter.

    Just had a conversation with my boss about time management a couple hours ago because of some issues I had with paperwork/time on cleaning/diagnosis of faulty components/customer education/customer call backs. It was a pretty rewarding conversation for me because it cleared alot stuff on my mind and alot of what you just said in your post.

    I didn't want to be a parts changer in A/C when I found a job. Getting this opportunity in this arena I didn't want to be a parts changer as well in this position.

    What that entailed was getting to know what you work on but working on gas, pellet, wood, and other forms of systems it takes putting your hands on it to totally understand them and witness their operation/sequence to get a gist.

    Yeah there are big similarities to A/C and Heating but its a different ball game. And the transition isn't as smooth as I thought it would be and I blame myself for not being more prepared.

    I know better and should perform better in the knowing what I 've been working on aspect and starting to dig a little deeper on my own time to get intimate with these systems so to speak (no life) (:

    In the last couple weeks I have been averaging 8-10 and 1/2 hours a day service anywhere between 4-5 systems. Again the office is probably throwing stuff my way that is easy, zero clearance fireplaces, open fireplaces, alot of pellets, some gas stoves and pulled only a couple out when training with my boss.

    Worked on an Mt. Vernon AE 07 today, which was kinda weird because I read and commented on a post about one yesterday and all the problems associated with it and in my service notes saw some of the damage the kinks had on this system early on when it was installed module, thermostat, etc..


    Heres what I was trained to do:
    got there around 9:48am logged arrival and mileage on service tag

    Unloaded air compressor, bucket of cleaning brushes, large vac, couple large drop clothes

    Greet customer, give my name, company, what were servicing and ask if last season any issues or if they have any questions.

    Made sure my drop was flat and neat on the floor got all equiptment set up

    opened up front face cleaned interior with a small paint brush, brushing into vac check condition of burn pot, fireback plate, thermocouple, took off fireback/plate, cleaned heat exchanger, vac some stuff up, close front.

    Unclip side panels, use the air compressor to blow on heatsink/module/wiring side check condition of terminals, unplug clean back and around, closed that side up with drop, went to exhaust side, blew off dust in and around that area, took off the exhaust motor.

    Gasket is bad brushesd off blades/behind blades blew with air, checked connections of terminals, used the flex rod brushes to go up 20 feet of pipe clean out soot etc.. vac everything up put back put new neoprene type gasket motor screwed back on vac some more

    Open up the box again brush and clean and vac some more put interior components back clean interior window/exterior windex outside no smudges vac in and around hearth use therm to initiate sequence run, test run ok. wrap up and load equipment to truck, wash up and start tag.

    noting condition of thermocouple cover, motor/fan operation pellet delivery etc.. condition of hearth/clearances, glass/flue pipe condition.

    Explain that it should be service annually if not after every 1/2 ton of pellets, speak with customer open up and show what was done show condition and explain/discuss any questions they had. fill out tag further if its ok to burn, order parts if nec, and or put service notes/customer concerns/questions.

    Get check write check number on tag, amount, tax if parts where used have them sign, thank them and have a nice one etc.. its 12:28pm the second of the only 2 calls today and off as soon as I hit the shop, half day. Stood longer because I was talking with the customer about operation stuff a tad bit longer and helped her get a tarp off her roof and had issues with taking off the exhaust fan screw that is way in the back (last tech probably torgued it down too much to be a doush) jump in the truck and on my way.


    theres probably some stuff I forgot to mention, but I am new and just try to do my best to clean and service from what I was taught and when I learn and know more will do more.

    I try my best to convey to the customer that I am out to help and service as well as save them money and am pretty proud of it.

    Appreciate your comments Vader and Hearthman, going to call Travis and see what they offer interms of training on monday. I have that dealer log in thing and have been reading up on some troubleshooting stuff and it has been beneficial.

    Have any tips suggestion on anything related to the service/ field I am a sponge and all ears
    Have a cool one guys

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Palmyra, Missouri, United States
    Posts
    224
    I HATE FIREPLACES. MILLION DOLLAR HOMES WHITE CARPET AND CLEANING FIREPLACES. puke

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Fresno, CA
    Posts
    151
    Hearthman, I know your a good businessman and professional and would totally understand if you couldn't but if you have that 22 point checklist somewhere lying around I would be grateful for a copy.

    Drife678, One of my worst fears is a white carpet in a million dollar home,

    shelves next to the door entrace loaded with snow globes,

    crystal and or dozens of glass frames around mantle,

    and people that are very versed in Indoor Air Quality issues while my large compressor/vac are running attempting to suck all the soot and dust from their 5 year last serviced system (:

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,052

    checklists

    Quote Originally Posted by ashtree View Post
    Hearthman, I know your a good businessman and professional and would totally understand if you couldn't but if you have that 22 point checklist somewhere lying around I would be grateful for a copy.

    Drife678, One of my worst fears is a white carpet in a million dollar home,

    shelves next to the door entrace loaded with snow globes,

    crystal and or dozens of glass frames around mantle,

    and people that are very versed in Indoor Air Quality issues while my large compressor/vac are running attempting to suck all the soot and dust from their 5 year last serviced system (:
    Well, my checklist is just that-mine but it has since evolved and will continue to do so. I also have checklists for open hearth appliances, pellet stoves, woodstoves, etc. All you have to do is walk yourself through a typical service call an write down the sequence. Are you going to being working on it before you inspect it? Touch it before you test for combustible gas leaks that could later be blamed on you? Test the seal on the direct vent glass using a chemical smoke puffer before breaking the seal? Open the glass before opening a door or window to equalize the house WRT outdoors or install a temporary service exhaust fan in lieu of the horizonal vent termination? When you take an inlet gas pressure, you take a snap shot or three readings-just the appliance with pilot at standby, appliance burning on 'hi', then house under full load? Record all the mv and Ohm readings including the switch leg standby and burning as appropriate? Test for CO spillage and combustible gas leaks just before closing? When do you clean-before, during or after testing/ Dx?

    Note: this checklist does not stay with the client but is called "Field Notes" and is a discoverable company document. I use a separate invoice which has been discussed here in the past. In short, you should be documenting three phases: conditions found including pre-existing damage/ defects, what you did, then warnings and advice to client. What legally matters is the client's signed and dated copy--not the one you wrote more on in the office the next morning.

    So, are you telling me you are deliberately blowing dust around in people's houses with a compressor? Also, what kind of vac. are you using? Just trying to help.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Fresno, CA
    Posts
    151
    I love using that air compressor because it gets everthing out of the firebox, back of the unit, all the motors exteriors, blowers, heat exchanger tubes, around the unit etc..

    but again we have a system for it. drop cloths to one side loosing up dust and dirt with light bristle brushes around connection/motors and while blowing and vaccing with a large industrial size vac on wheels with a large diesel filter inside and a cloth type air filter in the shape of a mallet, its pretty big but no dust or soot is deposited because the vac has enough suction when you blow.

    You just don't blow all wild its controlled and measured and again you have to understand air flows in the systems because well you guys know if you blow out the blowers all the stuff is going to fly so you have to clean then in a smart measure way along with all the other air path ways, exhaust, heat exchanger etc..

    So basically (sorry if I can't help you guys visualize it correctly) but when I blowing air over motors the interior firebox etc.. the vac is in the other hand as I am doing it, the big large chunks of by product I try to let sit in the pot, bottom of fire place before hand scooping them up in a little dust pan and have a trash bag near, so when I am done there isn't a spec of soot, dust, and or byproduct anywhere around, inside, on top of the unit very clean. After clean and service of course whip it down with windex etc..

    I have read alot of your past posts Hearthman, and am very interested in your smoke puffer test and even asked my boss about it, the way he checks seals and gaskets is that he gets a page from the news paper, closes the door to the pellet locking it (the news paper page) in half way in the box half way out, if he can pull that paper out from inbetween the gasket/door its a bad gasket/seal/cam adjustment on the door etc..

    I wish there was a guy on youtube, like all the hvac guys that do service on youtube, that would do videos for fireplaces etc.. with the above mentioned tests that you perform because in my mind what I am visualizing is what is similar to a smoke leak tests on installations or duct leakage etc... in hvac correct???

    I understand about trade secrets and tips are a hard thing to come by, and its like the fishermen who is sitting on the bank and a guy walks up and asks
    "are the fish biting." and he replies "yes I caught six or seven in the last hour." so the guy who walks up just calls three of his friends and tells them to meet him at that exact spot and they all three crowd around the fishermen fishing out his hole.

    I asked about checklist because I want to know what I am up against or what I am lacking or what can I do to be better. Being a professional site I understand your not going to get the keys to the kingdom from guys in the trenches who have earned it with hard work, sweat, and years of working on these systems to developed their craft. But again Hearthman it was worth the ask because sharing information isn't bad and or comparing what you guys do on the right coast to what I do on the left, I am a pretty open person so don't take it as a disrespect. I value and respect my predecessors, experienced techs, and or guys who are in the field greatly. and take what ever you guys say or post to the old file folder in the brain.

    Well appreciate the info and have a nice one.

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