Hiring technicians has always been an issue, but in today’s market conditions, just finding the right person is difficult. Where to find them and who to hire is another issue that we can discuss at another time. My question is when do you stop hiring? That is what confuses most and keeps many from being successful.
Actually, you never quit hiring. Let’s take a look at four reasons to make it part of your weekly activities.
1. You hire to grow your business. I would say 90% of small residential plumbing contractors hire for the minimum work load. They say they don’t want to over hire because when the business slows, they can’t afford to pay them or they have to let them go. If you truly want to grow your business, you hire for the peak, not the valley. Generally, the fall of the year is when it takes off. If you have the proper number of techs, you can take every call and capture all the business that comes your way. You will never lose a call because you can’t get to it. That is the goal.
When the business slows, you should have been marketing your business to minimize the slow period. You should be knocking on doors, calling past customers from your tickle list, and doing home inspections. As the owner, if you are doing your job, there is always work for your techs. Every year your business will grow and one day to will look out and see 30 service trucks on the road and on the job.
2. You never know when they will leave. There are times in my past where I got comfortable with the technicians I had. I would relax, stop interviewing for a while and the minute I did, bam! Someone moves from the area for family reasons – the wife has a great opportunity; a parent gets ill; they get a divorce and need family help with the kids, etc. Or, you catch one doing side-work, which is never allowed and you have to let this great guy go for stealing from you. You always need at least one tech in the wings waiting to go, because you never know when they will leave you.
3. You never know when they will get comfortable. I had a commissioned shop. No one worked on an hourly wage. If they did not make it, it truly was their fault, because the work was there. You have a good technician who has a great close rate, hardly ever a call back, works his scheduled 40 hours per week and makes what he wants to make. He is consistent and never will do more. He is happy making whatever every week. He is not where near the top of your tech list on sales or earnings and doesn’t care to be. You cannot grow your business with a tech like this. He doesn’t hurt your business, but he cannot be part of your growth plan. You have to hire more to take up his slack.
4. Planned replacement. In every shop I have seen, there were techs at the top of the performance list, and techs at the bottom. You always need to be hiring to replace those at the bottom. I am not saying to not train them, support them, and give them every opportunity to do better. You should be constantly doing that. However, some never respond and you should be looking to improve your staffing at all times. I call it planned replacement. After you have done all you can for the person at the bottom, it is time to free up their future and give someone else an opportunity. This is another way to grow your business.
When do you stop hiring? NEVER! It is your job as the owner to keep work coming into the business so your employees can grow with your business. Having a successful business is doing a lot of little things right. Hiring constantly is one of them.
Let me know if I can help you. Get more information at ThePlumbersCoach.com.
The Plumbers Coach™ Detailed personalized business coaching and training for plumbing contractors. Like us on Facebook @ThePlumbersCoach, follow us on Twitter @T_PlumbersCoach and LinkedIn @KeithGlass15.