There Is a Shortage of Good Technicians – Really?

How Long Are We Going To Keep Having This Conversation?

For the past 20 years – since I first entered the plumbing business – I have listened to contractors across the globe talk about the shortage of good technicians. I’ve been one of them. In fact, many contractors will tell you it’s the greatest challenge in their business.

Over the years I’ve heard all kinds of solutions proposed, tried and discarded as too costly, too time consuming or too ineffective.

At the same time, as I travel across the country training and speaking to service technicians I find a common thread in many of the most successful technicians – they started young in the industry and learned the trade and learned to sell on the job.

So, I ask myself and I ask you – if I had committed to growing my own technicians 19 years ago would I still be asking the question, where are all the good technicians?

You have the opportunity to change the cycle now. It’s not going to get any easier to find great talent. We just end up swapping technicians from company to company and hiring new talent is costly. Factor in lost time, recruiting costs, interviewing time, training time, signing bonus, onboarding, etc. It costs you dearly to hire and bring up to speed even the most talented technician.

How about taking the long term approach to the challenge? This might start with summer help from high school students, spending time working in your local community trade school, teaching a home repair class at a community center. It’s our job to get the younger generation interested and engaged in the possibilities of working in the trades. We all know that the opportunities are amazing, now we need to share that with the very people we are seeking.

I’m sick of hearing that there are no jobs and that kids coming out of college today will struggle to find gainful employment. While I listen to contractors complain that they can’t reach their goals because they can’t find help, I’m sure there’s a better way.

Let’s not be having this same conversation in another 5 years. Let’s end the cycle and start growing the next generation of service technician now. It’s all of our responsibility; it’s all of our challenge. Game ON!