We had one of the hottest summers throughout the country that I can remember. If a company didn't do well this season - something is wrong.

Now much of the country is starting to cool off and many companies aren't doing much. It's too early for fall and too late for summer. This is the time for a few weeks of rest.

However, if you are still busy, you probably have very tired technicians and installation crews. It's been a hot summer, where air-conditioning systems got stressed for the first time in a while in many areas.

What does this have to do with being tired? Tired people can be grouchy people, make mistakes and don't always take care of the customer the way you want. So, how do you deal with tired and sometimes grouchy people - especially when you, as the owner, may be one of them?

First, tired people may not be complaining people. Even though many owners are incredibly tired right now, every one I talk with is thankful that this was a hot, profitable summer.

Even when you're tired, your employees and you should enjoy coming to work every day. Yes, there are busy and stressful days. However, overall, everyone should enjoy what he or she is doing and the work environment should be pleasant. In positive environments, employees are generally upbeat about what they do. When describing their work, they tend to down play the problems and say "There are days," but don't dwell on the negatives.

Spotting a problem

When employees are tired, recognize it. This is the time for many pats on the back and thank-you messages. One company I know has a luncheon at the end of the summer for all service technicians. This is a thanks for their hard work in the summer. The service manager cooks for the technicians!

Others have held contests for record sales and taken their company (along with their spouses and significant others) to dinner. Many pay for the babysitters, too.

If you are tired, find a way to spend at least some time every day getting away from thinking about or doing work. This could be doing a hobby you enjoy, losing yourself in a good book or working out. Even if it is a walk around the block, this will help you become more energized.

If your technicians are tired, then your dispatchers have to watch them carefully. They might send one or two home early on a rotating basis to get some rest. It is important that they stay as fresh as possible so they think right and have less chance of making a mistake.

I know of one company that had no technicians on call one weekend during a busy summer. Everyone was burned out and needed to take a rest.

They told customers who called in. Amazing to company officials, the customers understood. (They did have staff for true emergencies.) They didn't lose any customers.

Motivating employees during hot weather conditions means saying thank you, giving them lots of pats on the back, and watching to make sure that they don't burn out.

This is the time to celebrate the good, profitable summer. Hopefully you've built a great prospect file to handle the usually slower times for the next few weeks. And, say thanks to everyone for the hard work this summer.

Copyright 2006, Ruth King. All rights reserved. Write to Ruth King, 1650 Oakbrook Drive, Suite 405, Norcross, GA 30093. Call (800) 511-6844; e-mail ruthking@hvacchannel.tv.