By: Steve Zannos
During the 2017 UASA / ASTI in San Diego, I had the opportunity to sit in on the UASA Advisory Committee Meeting. One of the “hot” topics of discussion is what we can do as an industry to help us grow our technician base and pipeline. All of the OEM’s, Retailers and Service Providers present were very willing and interested in working together to help make appliance repair more “sexy”, so we can attract new young people. One of the stumbling blocks mentioned was the low salary numbers that are published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). So, I decided to do a little research.
The job description for a Home Appliance Repairer on the BLS site is someone who “repairs, adjusts, or installs all types of electric or gas household appliances, such as refrigerators, washers, dryers, and ovens.” The BLS also states that the “mean annual wage” for a Home Appliance Repairer is $38,820, which works out to a “mean hourly wage” of $18.66. In some states they show an entry annual wage in the $19,000’s. Does that match what the average UASA service provider is paying their technicians?
Just in case you were wondering what we are up against, the BLS states the following “mean annual wage” for these competitive jobs.
- HVAC – $45,110 (+16%)
- Automotive – $40,720 (+5%)
- Computer – $38,990 (+0%)
It’s debatable how much value we put into these numbers, but if any high school teenager or ex-military personnel are doing research on possible vo-tech careers. How do we sell appliance repair as a career and why should a potential candidate pick us over HVAC or Automotive? I found these “3 appealing reasons to get appliance repair training” on the trade-school.net website.
- You can finish in a matter of weeks
- It can qualify you for a trade full of real demand
- It can amplify your potential for making a good living
One key element that they mention is that “some repair techs made over $29.29 per hour ($60,700 yearly).” This is taking the high end of the BLS data and sheds a better light on this profession.
So, what can we do as an industry to get the word out on the full potential of a career in appliance repair? If you and your techs look back at your careers, what benefits and value is there in appliance repair vs. the other job options? The UASA Board took on the responsibility to keep all of us engaged on this topic and I’m challenging us to not accept the status quo. This is a great industry with a lot of great careers…we just need to make sure everyone know it.
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