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  1. #1
    I read one thread about not having health insurance. Another thread about not being able to take the work truck home at night.
    Another thread about an employer filing false charges against his employee.
    Another thread about how low the pay is.


    And this drags on infinitum!

    There's one thread here that asks what are the best traits of any employer you've had.
    It's not rocket science.


    Why would anyone want to jeopardise their customers by mistreating their only saleable asset? (the work of the service mechanic)


    what are some other issues y'all have had to deal with?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    33
    First let me say that I do drive the truck home at night (which is great, saves me about $140/mo in gas), I do get full medical and dental, and the pay is average for my area.

    One thing that gets me is the quantity over quality mindset my employer has. It seems like the only thing they care about is the bottom line.

    When I get sent to a call, I find the problem rather easily, then try to find WHY the problem happened and fix that. Sometimes I can spend some time there so naturally the boss is wondering what's takin so long. Several of the other techs "gas and go" and get up to 10 calls a day "done". When I repair something, I dont get callbacks...usually =P

    I went on a call the other day, simple R22 split system in a new construction home that's nearing completion. No A/C is the complaint, I get there to find there is no pressure in the lines. I check to see if the valves have been opened and sure enough they are. There was a crew that finaled the house the day before. So how could it go completely empty in one day? A leak of course. This wasn't just any leak though, I found a 3/8" coupling that hadn't even been brazed. So, as you can imagine, I'm fuming at this point to think that someone at my company can walk away from this (and it's very common). How can you pressure check and pull a vaccum with a leak of this size? You can't. They didn't. They opened the valves right after welding and went on to the next one...

    What's really frustrating about this is, there's no accountablity at this company. If I inform the boss about the problem, he might say something to the crew that did it, but that's it. Big deal is the mindset of some of the hacks here. At my last company, if I failed inspection, I paid for it out of my pocket. If I had a callback, I did it for free, no hourly rate for however long it took to correct the problem. Now that's accountability if you ask me.

    I've even been scalded for EVACUATING EVERY NEW INSTALL I do. Purge it is what I'm told to do. Purging is a hack in my opinion. I've even seen some of the other techs purge and not evacuate R410a!!!

    Anyway sorry to "vent" hehe =P

    /rant off


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    DFW Metroplex
    Posts
    4,910
    Where do I begin?

    How about a boss that schedules a 3 day install to be completed in one day. After working 25 hours straight, I had no sooner gotten to sleep and my work phone started to ring. It's the boss and he's calling me every name in the book for not being at a previously scheduled AM call (of which I had no prior knowledge). Obviously I was reluctant to start my day after less than 2 hours sleep, but the boss reassured me that if I did not take the call I would need to be looking for another job.

    Lot's more "gems" where that one came from.

  4. #4
    I posted this under techs worst nightmares and its similar to one of the earlier posts. You go to a service call on a system that was a contract install. No one ever accepts the work or inspects it and now you show up to a cascade of complaints. Return duct too small, attic air handler boxed into corner of attic so that you have to sit on it to get over it and access the service side (filters in this unit
    instead of drop down return grille), heat pump cuts directly to electric back up, tstat wired wrong, major leaks when system runs and other examples of cut and run work. The service tech becomes the installer but has to figure out what is wrong first, not as easy as a finish job.

    Companies I've worked for to this point preach one thing and practice something completely different. The straw that breaks the camels back is the resentment you seem to get when it takes a long time to reinvent the screwed up install and a hopeless attempt to defend the company to the customer. It seems the installers top priority is to collect the check and start the next job with no accountability. The service techs top priority is to fix the install and fit legit service calls inbetween.
    I could go on and on.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Near Chicago, IL
    Posts
    3,316
    I think the problems are created by one thing- greed.

    The boss always wants more.

    The superintendent on the bonus program always wants more.

    The employee on the bonus program always wants more.

    The guy in the middle is the one left trying to install or fix the mess that greed created.

    Plenty of big resi outfits here never pull the vacuum pump off the truck. Many of those same companies use plain old plumbers solder because the silver stuff is more money. Those that braze do not use a nitrogen purge. Those that have nitrogen don't want it used often for a simple pressure check.

    Soon, I will be installing split systems in an office condo complex. Print calls for type K- we used linesets. A PVC pipe sleeve would have prevented copper and cement contact between floors in the chase- I was told to use duct tape. There will be 10 joints per system and the boss does not want to use a nitrogen purge while brazing. It would be a simple matter to add X amount of refrigerant based on lineset length, but the boss doesn't have a scale (or thermometers), so it will be charged to "beer can cold". I know it will be overcharged, but that is what the boss wants, and I do not care.

    That's how I deal with the resentment now- I just do what the boss wants and how he wants it done. If I ask for the tools to do it right and he does not provide them, it just gets done however it can. I walk away and get my check every week.

    Last time I cared, I got fired. Never again.
    Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

    "There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey. It's unwise to pay too little.
    When you pay too much, you lose a little money -- that is all. When you pay too little, you may lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

    The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot -- it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better."

    John Ruskin


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,666
    Originally posted by offthegrid
    I posted this under techs worst nightmares and its similar to one of the earlier posts. You go to a service call on a system that was a contract install. No one ever accepts the work or inspects it and now you show up to a cascade of complaints. Return duct too small, attic air handler boxed into corner of attic so that you have to sit on it to get over it and access the service side (filters in this unit
    instead of drop down return grille), heat pump cuts directly to electric back up, tstat wired wrong, major leaks when system runs and other examples of cut and run work. The service tech becomes the installer but has to figure out what is wrong first, not as easy as a finish job.

    Companies I've worked for to this point preach one thing and practice something completely different. The straw that breaks the camels back is the resentment you seem to get when it takes a long time to reinvent the screwed up install and a hopeless attempt to defend the company to the customer. It seems the installers top priority is to collect the check and start the next job with no accountability. The service techs top priority is to fix the install and fit legit service calls inbetween.
    I could go on and on.
    I would gladly quit that job in a big hurry.
    Van dropped off early next morning and never look back.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    11,858
    Speaking from the BOSS or "double SOB" point of view.

    I like to read these stories. In doing so, I get a chance to look back when I had the freedom of being a tech and if I say so myself, I was/am darn good at it too. (in my specialties, that is)

    I started out as one-man-shop due to family medical situation and bills that had to be paid. Paid them all in full and on time but I ate a lot of beans doing it.

    I've been in my town for a long time and get along with just about everyone. Soon I had umpteen trucks and guys and state wide contracts. Cool! What I didn't realize was the bigger I got, the more of an albatross my business got.

    Explain if I may... My world was small and was being pulled upon by my customers as in a relation to the earth and moon gravitational field. My moon (work) was gently circling my customers (earth) without a hitch. Soon, as I grew my world turned into the sun pulling on all of my customers and family and employees (the earth)

    This change in business growth also changed the way I presented myself and handled my employees. The tougher the pressure the more of a financial pinch it was thus driving me to push my employee's harder and harder for billing. In doing this the quality of our work went down the toilet. It wasn't the fault of the tech. It was MY fault for pushing so hard. Trying to find that extra 10 bucks to make payroll.

    During this time in my life the stress became so great that I now have to live the rest of my life with a battery in my chest. Payback if you will.

    My senior techs held down the fort until I was able to come back to work. Changes in the work place started to take form. Quality was back, customers were happy again and cash flow was back to a manageable flow.

    I then realized what an ass I had been. How I let my work take over my values as a tech and replace quality with money. Yes, I am still an ass but at least I know it!

    Gradually I decreased the size of my company to a manageable structure and dropped the bottom 1/3 of my customers that didn't appreciate anyone much less a hard working service tech. As my business size reduced my cash flow increased?!?!?!

    More reductions, upswing in rate charges, bigger and better gear and trucks and support.... more up flow in cash management. Very Cool! And the quality of work was at the top our game. 1% or less recall rate with 0% during our slower months.

    Sorry for being so long here but here is the bottom line.


    Money and responsibility can change a man to look away from his roots in the business. To really succeed you must stick to those roots and never sacrifice quantity for quality. Take care of your techs and when you find yourself in trouble they will be the first to offer a way out. I am very grateful to my guys both past and present.

    Now I am 1/3rd the size I was making good cash flow and paying them very well with bennies and trucks to go home in. That won't change.


    Cheers


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    Posts
    1,557
    Lusker, great post, if more companies did that, technicians would be happier, customers would be happy to be getting quality work and business profits would be up, the only losers would be those who don't appreciate quality.
    "Profit is not the legitimate purpose of business. The legitimate purpose of business is to provide a product or service that people need and do it so well that it's profitable."

    James Rouse

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    828
    Originally posted by Lusker
    Speaking from the BOSS or "double SOB" point of view.



    Gradually I decreased the size of my company to a manageable structure and dropped the bottom 1/3 of my customers that didn't appreciate anyone much less a hard working service tech. As my business size reduced my cash flow increased?!?!?!

    More reductions, upswing in rate charges, bigger and better gear and trucks and support.... more up flow in cash management. Very Cool! And the quality of work was at the top our game. 1% or less recall rate with 0% during our slower months.



    Now I am 1/3rd the size I was making good cash flow and paying them very well with bennies and trucks to go home in. That won't change.


    Cheers

    Edited the quote to the really important part. Ever read Joseph Schmidt? He wrote regular articles for one of the trades, advocating the same thing. Weed out the weak customers by charging more. Every time I see someone post on here about how hard it is to attract techs to their company, I think of him. Worked for 25 years for a mom and pop, raised rates significantly the last few years and it worked pretty well.
    The problem seems to be techs going into business for themselves with no business sense or training.
    eventu rerum stolidi didicere magistro

  10. #10
    "I would gladly quit that job in a big hurry.
    Van dropped off early next morning and never look back."

    I already left. Unfortunately in the new england its slim pickings from now till heating season starts.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    W.Va.
    Posts
    70
    i thought purging was illegal!!!!!!!!!i found that piece workers are the first to leave things unsoldered and not completely put things together. butn this there job get in get it done and get out, i think residetial builders didnt try to get the houses done so fast problems like this wouldnt happen. see these guys figure its not there problem, its the servicemans problem. i have heard this a thousand times, and it aggrevates me. this is one of my peeves.also another problem i have is a dispatcher not getting enough info, like exact address, time to be there. or homeowner who calls 5 companys and whoever gets there first,or a home owner that knows exactly whats wrong and tells you how to fixit,and they know there unit dont work and calls at 11:00 p. m.and wants you there then.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    right, here! in the heartland of the homeland!
    Posts
    737

    prevention

    considering factors.,
    short term vs long term affects from lack of thinking things through before making a decision or company policy/s
    foresight,commonsense,manipulation of selfish employees are considering factors of making these polcies.
    saving money or shortchanging the tech, what ever one wants to call it, can be more expensive,or costly, in the long run, than shortchanging or just as shortchanging oneself or the customer!
    In the beginning profit might show, repairing service vehicles, replacing them, are long term cause of hurrying techs, least to mention the quality of workmanship!
    attitudes change and professionalism and company/tech image suffers.
    to shortchange the tech is to shortchange onelsef, and the to become greedy, is to forget become the best or be like the rest!
    Theres alot of ways to make money and staying succesful , without having to make excuses to shortchange the company techs/customers to make payroll.
    Being mean or harsh to techs wont accomplish anything good, in fact they treat customers better, and employers better when treated fair, compensated fair.
    the ones who take advantage it shows, whether its the tech the employer or the customer, and doing business with them isnt worth the headaches, its like a spoiled apple in the bunch, it has its place.
    As for Market tech, find a better company to work for!
    and those that waste their gas and beat their vehicles suspension,or interior , and risk their tools being stolen, whether its their vehicle or your own, and having to be late to calls or run to the first call, change to a company thats stable and is fair to you and your future too, and one that doesnt short change you or want to save money at your expense, or simply cant make foreseeble commonsense decisions!
    hopefully they will take you into account as a profitable asset to their company, and everyone doesnt feel pressured about losing/keeping their job, or having to get paid on payday!
    these are only my opinions, hopefully it will all work out for everybody, that helps themselves, or can see it coming
    and do something about their situation, before the decision is made for them.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    CHICAGO SUBURBS
    Posts
    464
    Man...I was getting pissed at my facillities job @ a major airline because of a bancruptcy and pay cut a couple of years ago and almost went back in the van for a big mechanical contractor.I decided to stick it out for a while and I'm glad I did. The more I listen to guys here, the more I realize how good I got it even with a little less money than I made before which is still more than some are saying here that they get.I make a little less than journymen fitters in my area but have 5 weeks paid vac. and good med. with small co pay and I'm pretty much my own boss in charge of my own building.I know that some guys have a good relationship with a small contractor but I never worked for "that" contractor.For now I like the big corp. world.
    Some people swear by me and some at me

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