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Paying HVACR Technicians Part Five

This will be the last segment of this five-part series on the subject of paying HVACR technicians for the work they do; installing, troubleshooting, and servicing air conditioning equipment. And, while we started this discussion based on only the idea of whether or not a technician should be paid an hourly wage vs. earning commissions and bonuses, it has evolved into much more than just making a decision to go one way or the other. We’ve delved into the subjects of ethics and values, why someone might think they need to sell a customer something they don’t need,  and how a service organization can effectively manage a commission/bonus system for their technician and technician teams.

That’s actually the bottom line on this issue…the fact that, as always, it “starts at the top”. Which simply means in this case that a technician won’t sell a customer something they don’t need, cover up a mistake with more charges, or take any approach other than honesty and fairness with the customer as long as they know what the company they work with stands for (and won’t stand for!) and they receive constant support and guidance from all levels of management and supervision.

With that said, the final point I want to make here is about an employer providing opportunity for an employee. A company called Nuance, a small steel manufacturing company has a very simple philosophy regarding employee opportunity. They follow an approach of: “Hire five, who work like ten, and get paid like eight.” And it works. Their team bonus system that provides opportunity for their employees is the foundation for their performance on Wall Street, enabling them to consistently earn higher profits than their much larger competitors, not just for quarters in a row, but for years in a row.

And, while it’s obvious that 99.9% of HVACR organizations don’t have anywhere near the resources at hand that a steel manufacturing company…even a comparatively small one….has, that doesn’t mean that the fundamental philosophy that is the basis of their success won’t apply on a smaller scale. The philosophy, applied in a company that is large or small, is based on an harmonious employer/employee relationship. Not one that promotes the processes of “getting as much work as possible out of somebody for the least amount of expense” and “getting as much money as I can out of somebody for the least amount of effort possible”.

 And it’s not based in sell!, sell!, sell!, and add-on!, add-on!, add-on! through daily pump-em-up sessions that are designed  to allegedly motivate technicians to squeeze every possible dollar out of every possible customer in order to consistently increase that service call dollar average, because, after all, “that’s how you make as much money as possible for yourself and your family”.


It’s based in the understanding that the mission of the service department is to provide the maximum value for the customer’s money spent while giving them every opportunity to make a buying decision about the things they need and/or want relative to the equipment in their home that keeps them and their family comfortable, safe, and healthy.

And, the technical professional who embraces that mission, and follows it consistently, earns the right to the opportunity to be paid like a professional.

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