While the labor shortage across the country can be seen as a positive sign that unemployment is low and labor conditions are improving, it has also meant that many job postings across the trades have gone unanswered.
As CBS Moneywatch recently reported, “blue-collar industries are having a tough time finding workers. They’re raising pay, sweetening perks and even doing away with requirements like drug testing in order to fill their openings. There are now more open jobs than people seeking work in nearly every industry.”
The HVAC industry has been hit as hard as any.
A quick search for “HVAC technician” on the jobs site glassdoor.com returns roughly 35,000 listings across the U.S.
According to a spokesperson from New England Tractor Trailer Training School, which offers HVAC tech training program in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, “with unemployment being so low, the talent pool has pretty much dried up.”
So how can an HVAC company short on technicians weather the storm? The answer is less complicated than you might think.
Service Call Prevention
The best way to address a lack of service techs is to reduce the number of preventable service calls across your customer base. For heating oil dealers, this means practicing diligent tank housekeeping protocols, understanding the challenges associated with ultra-low sulfur heating oil (such as increased moisture and tank corrosion), and enhancing the quality of your product via fuel treatment.
A premium heating oil treated with a multifunctional additive package can virtually eliminate plugged nozzles, strainers, filters, and sludge from customers’ heating systems, drastically reducing service and off-hours “no-heat” calls. Not only does this free up your technicians to prioritize higher revenue-generating (and let’s face it, less annoying) services such as installations and equipment upgrades, it also serves as a key competitive differentiator for your business. You may even find that you’re not as short staffed as you thought. With oil burner technicians averaging an annual salary north of $55,000, according to Zip Recruiter, upgrading to a premium heating oil has the potential to reap a significant bottom-line windfall. And that’s not to mention the savings associated with reducing unscheduled service calls, which add miles to your vehicles, billable hours to your payroll costs, and frustration to your customers’ lives.
If you’re still short on technicians, however – along with offering a competitive salary and benefits package, generous performance bonuses, and an emphasis on work/life balance – advertising your premium product in a job listing is a good way to stand out to potential applicants.
In an employee review of a premium heating oil dealer on Indeed.com, one service technician writes:
“Nice place to work, the quality of the blended oil makes a huge difference to me as a technician because the heating systems are always running very clean. If we are claim free (which we always are) we receive bonuses … The management is very supportive and treat us well. I enjoy working here.”
Investing in the quality of your product is investing in the satisfaction of your technicians and customers. Your techs should love your company for the same reason your customers do: You value them, take great care of them, and one rarely has to meet the other for an off-hours service call.