A growing service department means finding additional technicians. In good economic times and bad economic times, it’s tough to find good technicians.

And now, the really good technicians know they are good and may have an “I can get a job anywhere” attitude which can cause many, many problems at your company.

You know that you need additional service technicians when one of the following scenarios occurs:

• In slower times you always have 40 hours or more of overtime each week.

• You enrolled an additional 300 residential service agreements or an additional 600 hours of commercial maintenance during the year.

• You are entering a new market such as going from a concentration in residential to a concentration in commercial work. This requires finding an experienced, competent commercial service technician.

The best place to find service technicians is to grow them. Internal training teaches the person to do it your way. Hiring an outsider is hiring some bad habits learned at other companies.

The reality is if you become the employer of choice in your area, everyone will know it. You will get resumes from people wanting to make a change. Your service technicians will be less likely to be tempted to leave because they know they are working for the best company. When you grow the business to the point where you need another technician or someone does leave, you have a drawer full of resumes to choose from.

Here are seven suggestions on how to find new workers:

1. Ask your employees.

Some field installers may want to become technicians. Some of the women in your office may want to become technicians too. This means that you invest time sending them to school. You need a lot of patience. You also take the risk that the person might leave after you have trained him/her for many years. But, these employees know your internal field requirements since they’ve been working for you.

2. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a service technician.

This means your friends, your church, your suppliers, your employees, and your distributors. Sometimes they know of people who are looking for jobs.

3. Find a smaller company with one or two technicians and buy it.

Many times these companies are started by former employees who thought it would be better when they had their own company. They get disillusioned quickly and after a couple of years many are ready to go back to working for someone else. You are purchasing the talent and maybe a small customer list. I often find that people who started their own businesses and don’t want to work by themselves anymore become some of the best employees. They truly understand what it takes to be in business and have decided it’s not for them.

4. Internet advertising.

If you don’t have time to grow them or can’t find a small company to purchase, you have to find trained technicians. Most technicians are job searching on line. That means Craig’s List, Monster.com or other online sites.

5. Trade schools.

Develop a relationship with a trade school instructor. He can point promising students in your direction. In addition, encourage your lead technicians or managers to teach at the trade schools. You’ll find the good potential technicians.

6. Parts house notices.

I still see notices in parts houses. However, since many companies don’t allow their technicians in supply houses except in extreme circumstances, the notices might not help.

7. Retired military personnel.

Sometimes the retirees make good employees. They definitely do understand discipline and a chain of command. The unfortunate part is that this type of individual is usually a specialist in something. You will have to teach him or her to be a well-rounded service technician.

Hiring service technicians is a continual process. You always have to be looking for qualified technicians. You might find a good one at the most inopportune time. Make a decision as to whether you can find a place for the person in your organization or lose him or her to your competition.

Copyright Ruth King. All rights reserved. Write to Ruth King, 1650 Oakbrook Drive, Suite 405, Norcross, GA 30093. Call (877) 520-4321; e-mail ruthking@hvacchannel.tv.