If you are a residential HVAC technician, plumber, appliance technician, or electrician, there are a few crucial questions you should make sure to ask during an interview.
You will always want to ask the standard questions regarding benefits, schedules, and pay, but there are other critical questions to include to ensure that the job is a good fit. These questions include:
What is the average ticket?
Working on a commission or piece rate basis, will directly impact your bottom line. Although the average ticket is one indicator of your success rate, it can also point to the more significant driver of how well the current technicians at the company are at maximizing each call. In addition, the average ticket price points to the fact that technicians have the training and support, and the company’s reputation in their market is solid.
How much does the highest-paid tech make, and how many hours do they work to get that?
Our clients see a vast range; from $50K for a plumber to $280K yearly. The range depends on many factors: base hourly pay (which can fluctuate with experience and licensing—i.e., a master will be paid more than a journeyman), and how many hours a technician wants to put in are but two of these factors. The most significant factors are how good the tech is at providing options and building a rapport with the customer, and how good the technician is at following the steps laid out by the company. If Tech A can bring in $280K, then there is little reason why Tech B shouldn’t have the same opportunity. Additionally, the pay structure shouldn’t be so complicated that it takes more than a couple of minutes to explain.
What is the company’s training program?
Like a doctor, lawyer, or accountant, technicians need constant training and an environment that supports continuous improvement. The industry’s best companies provide vendor, professional sales, and technical training. A company that has ongoing classes you can attend is gold. Staying on top of technological advances and keeping your skills with customers sharp will only improve your ability to make money and be the best you can be in your career.
What are the company’s core values?
Core values may seem relatively trivial to some, but it is an essential piece of what drives a company. If one of their core values is the same as yours, then you know the match has a better chance of lasting a long time. It’s the same as in a romantic relationship; you wouldn’t date someone whose values didn’t align with yours, and you shouldn’t work for a company with conflicting values either. If they don’t have core values established that is a red flag! These are the foundation of any company. Most of our clients put tremendous effort into communicating these to their team and customers. One of our favorite client’s core values? No jerks!
Why should I work for you?
Most companies have differentiators that make them stand out against the competition. Whether it is no “on call”, no weekend work, incredible spiffs, opportunities for advancement, or superb training programs, every company should be able to answer this question enthusiastically. Our favorite spiff? The Google review competition, where the tech with the most reviews over six months gets an extra week of PTO and a paid Air B&B!
What is your company culture?
One thing is for sure: no two residential service companies are alike. We see incredible differences in company cultures—even between those of the same size and in the same geographic markets. For example, we have seen some companies that have parties to watch football together on Sundays, or enjoy a fall festival or holiday party each year; but culture is more than just an event or a perk. It is something that is driven from the top down. Is the leadership team accessible when you have issues? Do they encourage their team members to share solutions to problems or process improvements? Do they listen when techs or team members have personal issues that arise? Do they do things in their communities to give back? If they say they have a team culture, why do they say that? What examples can they give? One example we’ve heard of spoke volumes: one of our clients found out a tech he had just hired was living in her car; he paid for a hotel for a month so she could get on her feet and save for an apartment. That example says everything you need to know. They have a caring and supportive culture.
Most technicians want the opportunity to make money in a supportive environment, while working for a company with a good reputation and a solid training system. Drilling down on core values and culture fit provides the extra details to know if the company will be an excellent long-term workplace and a place where you can be proud to work.