By Kyle Barnhart of Chown Appliance
When I was looking for a service tech I tried several different avenues. I contacted one of the local high school counselors, without any success so far. I put an ad on Craigslist. I had two responses with phone interviews and one of those showed for a face-to-face interview. Neither worked out.
I then went to a local temp service that also does direct placements. I met with them and explained everything I was looking for and what my company has to offer. They put together the job postings and did the advertising looking for candidates. They also pre-screened applicants to make sure they met my minimum requirements. Once they had some people interested and passed the first round, they forwarded their information for me to look at. I then lined up interviews through the temp service for the candidates that I wanted to look at. The cost for the temp agency’s service was a percentage of the first year wages of the person once I hired them.
Once I hired a person I did my own background and drug screen tests. My insurance company actually offers this as a service. The first person I hired did not work out after a month. They wouldn’t show up for a couple days to work after pay day. I let them go and explained all of this to the temp service. They started looking for another candidate for me and found the one that I hired and has been here going on four months. I was only charged for the person that worked out and has stayed.
I’m located in a small rural town (population 374) between two larger towns about 20 miles from me in opposite directions. It took the temp agency a couple months to find the first person I hired and then about 3 months to find the tech that is still with me. It was nice having them do all of the search work for the candidates. This kept me from having to place a lot of ads and pre-screening candidates.
The tech I hired is fresh. He had no prior appliance repair experience. He had completed two years of a sheet metal apprenticeship. The new tech rode along with my current tech of 35 + years as part of his training.
On-line training is an excellent resource. I found a website/program by Uncle Harry. His website is www.rakerappliancerepair.com. This website is designed for people who want to get into the appliance repair business on their own. Obviously, I don’t want to teach my tech how to start his own business, but this website has several levels of programs. After talking to Harry Raker, I chose one of the top programs. The cost was around $2,500. The program is broken out into several manuals. The easiest way to describe it is the “How to start and run a business” manuals are separate from the “How to fix appliances” manuals. The program I purchased also came with an iPod with around 200 training videos. These training videos are actual step- by-step repairs. If the service tech is on a call and gets stumped, he can locate and watch the video. I gave the new tech one manual at a time for him to read. When he completes a manual, he brings it back and I give him another one. He has been running some service calls on his own for about two months.
A nice part of using this program is that I already have all the manuals to help train my next new tech. I won’t have to repurchase the program. The program also has a website available to help diagnose problems and service manuals on-line. There is a small annual fee for the website access. I’ve been reading the “How to start and run a business” manuals to get new ideas and a different perspective on the business side.
Hope this helps,
Kyle Barnhart, Chown Appliance