Summer is here and it looks to be a hot one, which is great for business, but stressful for your team. Here are 11 tips to make this a less stressful, more profitable summer.
1. Remember the Spouses
Most of your technicians are males. They will be working long hours over the summer, which means the spouse must pick up the slack. The saying, “happy wife - happy life,” is true. Take care of the technician’s spouse and she will be more likely to support the company and tolerate the demands of the job. Buy her a gift card to a spa (get them affordably from GroupOn, Living Social, etc.). Mail it to her with a note stating that you understand and appreciate the sacrifices she must make over the summer and that she deserves a little pampering. If the spouse is male, send a pair of tickets to a ball game, a Bass Pro gift card, etc.
2. Focus on Fundamentals
During the summer, it’s rush, rush, rush. Everyone is trying to get to as many calls as possible. This is when procedures get left behind, mistakes get made, and money gets left on the table. Go back to the fundamentals in your weekly service call. Drill people on the exact procedure you want followed on a service call. Don’t skip steps.
3. Sweep the Cash
With hot weather, the company can become flush with cash. Each week, wweep the excess, beyond what you need for day to day operations, into a savings account. It’s less likely to evaporate there and will be available to reinvest in the company at summer’s end.
4. Give Techs a Choice
Some techs want every extra hour they can get. Others will put in the overtime if required, but aren’t thrilled with it. Do you know who is who in your company? If not, ask. Talk to them. Remind them that sometimes there’s not a choice, but when there is a choice, ask if they want the extra hours, or not. People like to control their own destiny.
5. Help Techs Save
Your technicians will make a lot of money from overtime. Talk with them about saving it, about creating their own personal sweep account. When Larry Taylor ran AirRite in Fort Worth, he got his technicians to agree to allow the company to deposit the overtime pay into a separate savings account, which they could draw from when work slowed in the off-season. Techs with money in the bank are less likely to be lured away for an extra dollar an hour.
6. Treat the Techs
Make your techs know you appreciate them and their efforts. Bob Haak at Black-Haak in Appleton, Wisconsin keeps Dilly Bars and other frozen treats in a freezer for the techs during the summer. Kathe Stewart at Precision HVAC in Ellendale, TN provides breakfast for the techs.
7. Keep Everyone Hydrated
Make sure that everyone who works in the field stays hydrated. Provide them with the sports drink or soft drink of their choice. Keep some in a cooler in your vehicle and visit your installers on jobs to take them refreshments.
8. Keep Hiring
You may be busy during the summer, but you should still keep recruiting and hiring. Never stop recruiting. You never know when a technician will flake and vanish. When it happens, it’s nice to have a bench to draw from so you can stay on the sidelines to coach and manage.
9. Focus Forward
A hot summer can seem endless. Take the focus off the heat by creating an end of season event if the company hits certain goals. It could be a fishing trip, BBQ, rafting, or weekend at the beach for the entire company and everyone’s family. Put pictures of people enjoying the activity selected around the shop.
Create rewards for individual goals. Ask people what they want within a certain price range. It might be a fishing reel, camera, large screen TV, etc. It should be the individual’s choice. Give each person a picture to put in their trucks to stay focused on the prize, not the discomfort of the moment.
10. Log Opportunities
Hopefully you are always logging opportunities for future work by noting recommended repairs that the customer defers. In the summer, you will long more opportunities because you are on more calls and people just want to get the A/C running. Log these daily. When the heat fades and work slows, call these customers and offer them an off-season discount to get the deferred repairs taken care of.
11. Keep Your Cool
Above all else, remember to keep your cool during the summer heat. Your team takes their cues from you. If you become frustrated and lose your temper, chances are good that your team will reflect the tension. No one needs that.
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