HVAC technicians are becoming few and far between, leaving service managers scrambling for ways to fill the void left by baby boomers who are retiring from the industry. With a lack of interest amongst the younger generation to enter the trades workforce, despite the industry seeing a 22% jump in wages between 2006 and 2016, HVAC service organizations are having to find ways to continue offering exceptional service with a limited number of technicians at the ready.
This trend has affected the way service is delivered and how some HVAC organizations are running their business, as being more efficient and productive aren’t just buzz words anymore for those in the HVAC field service space, but rather are words of survival for organizations who are falling short on qualified hands.
Technology, however, is doing its best to help solve some of the challenges HVAC enterprises are having with their technician shortage, as HVAC field service management software is providing useful tools that are helping HVAC field service departments run smoother and more efficient, but more important, are helping them cope with the continued decline of their technician pool.
Focused on preventative maintenance
One way to prevent emergency break/fix repairs of HVAC equipment that could require on-demand service, which would force stress on your already over-booked workforce, is to place a focus on ensuring the equipment is constantly working at peak efficiency, and identifying problems before they happen. Setting up a preventative maintenance contract in your HVAC field service software will ease the burden on your workforce, as contracted inspections can be planned well ahead of time, and dates and times scheduled into your technician’s schedule, along with other jobs, to keep the technician as productive as possible.
A major problem with emergency repairs is that it can take an available technician out of their way geographically, so valuable time is being wasted on route to the job site, and then back again to their regularly scheduled appointments. With preventative maintenance, however, service isn’t needed immediately, so scheduled times can be moved around and reorganized to better optimize a technician’s schedule, meaning the limited staff HVAC organizations do have, can complete as many service calls as they can in their scheduled day.
Hiring subcontractors to fill the void
No matter how many scheduling tricks your dispatchers pull, sometimes there is just too much work to be completed by your in-house technicians. Subcontractors are a great way to arm your workforce with qualified technicians, without the overhead costs attached with hiring them on full time, or in the case of the current labor market, even finding them in the first place.
HVAC field service management software has made hiring subcontractors a lot easier, as third-party vendors, such as WorkMarket, have integrations built into field service software for quick on-boarding of subcontractors, as well as the ability to push work order information out to the work pool to allow for bids and quotes, without having to leave the field service software.
As well, subcontractors can be scheduled and dispatched just like in-house technicians, and with HVAC field service mobile apps, they can have all the work order information sent to their mobile device, including checklists for workflow management. And with the ability to track travel and labor times, extra expenses and parts, capture photos to show work is completed, and get customer’s electronic signatures, subcontractors can be a valued extension of your HVAC enterprise, just as much as an in-house employee is.
The HVAC industry needs more skilled hands to complete work, but in the meantime, HVAC field service organizations can do their best to solve the challenges of having fewer technicians available by using an HVAC field service software. Scheduling tools, maintenance contracts, mobile apps and subcontractor management solutions are readily available to revolutionize how your HVAC organizations deliver its maintenance and service.