The Future of Your Business is Directly Related To Your Workforce

Patrick PetersonTake a good look at your company’s employees, specifically your service crew, and answer this one simple question: How old are they? Most of you will find your technicians are in their 40s and 50s. You may have a couple of apprentices in their 20s or early 30s, but the bulk of your work force is made up of middle-aged employees. (For all you middle-aged technicians out there, don’t worry about being middle-aged; you’re worth your weight in gold.)

Now let’s take a little trip back in time to the late 80s and middle-90s, and take a look at the average HVAC company’s employee roster. The apprentices were in their late teens to early 20s. The first-year mechanics were in their mid- to late-20s. The seasoned technicians were 30 to 40, and the sales people, estimators and service managers were in their 50s and 60s.

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Posted in Business Operations, It's Business, Why Didn't I Think of That Tagged with: ,

I’ve been doing this for 20 years

Technicians are quick to tell trainers “I’ve been doing this for 20 years”

And, we’ve all heard the old sayings, “Work smarter, not harder”  Measure twice, cut once”  “There’s no reason to re-invent the wheel” “Don’t eat the yellow snow” bla bla bla….

Training is darn close kin to “don’t re-invent the wheel”.

If you can learn from someone else’s mistakes, you don’t have to make them yourself. We never have enough time to do it right the first time, but we always have time to go back.

Yeah…not really.
Don’t assume your team knows everything they need to know…you know what happens when you assume…you make an ass of you and me…and them…

Don’t be an ass, Invest in training

And stay away from that yellow snow!

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Posted in It's Business, It's Humor, It's Learning

Twenty Years of Experience…One Year at a Time

There are 1st year technicians with 20 years of experience under their belt….and there are 20 year technicians who have 1 year’s experience under their belt….20 years in a row…don’t be that guy.

Your time in the trade doesn’t mean squat, it’s what you did with the time that counts.

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Posted in It's Humor, It's Learning

Excellent Customer Service; How to Walk the Talk

Everyone talks about how they provide “Excellent Customer Service”, but what does Excellent Customer Service mean?  If you ask 10 people, you’ll get 11 different answers.

Here’s an idea,  lets look at what customers think Excellent Customer Service is…..I know, I know, crazy talk….what was I thinking.

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Posted in Customer Diplomacy, Field Operations, It's Business, Marketing, Sales Tagged with: ,

Cooling Towers Part 2: Measuring Performance with Range and Approach

There are two terms you need to understand if you want to sound somewhat competent when describing a tower’s performance: Approach and Range.

Range is the temperature difference between the inlet water and the outlet water.

The formula is EWT (95℉) – LWT(85℉) = Range (10℉)

The higher the range, the more efficient the tower.

Approach is the difference between the outlet water temperature and the entering air wet bulb temperature.

The Higher the approach the less efficient the tower.

The formula is LWT (85℉) – WBT (78℉) = Approach (7℉)

Range Approach

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Posted in Cooling, It's Technical Tagged with: , ,

Cooling Towers Part 1: Basic Concept

One of our devout readers suggested we toss together some posts about cooling tower basics, maintenance, and troubleshooting. My first thought was- Good idea! My second thought was, why didn’t I think of that?

Cooling towers are like air handlers and pumps; very simple, yet so critical, and so misunderstood.

Because of the terrible under appreciation and lack of respect people have for these quiet giants of our industry, we are dedicating the next two weeks to these machines we all take for granted.

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Posted in Cooling, It's Technical Tagged with:

Averaging Thermistors

ser parrFrom time to time someone asks about thermistor sensor averaging. Typical questions are:

  • Why do I have to use four?
  • Why do they have to be connected in series-parallel?
  • What the heck is series parallel?
  • Have you ever seen a rash like this before?

The answers are:

Interesting if you are mathematically inclined/deranged. Magical for folks like Patrick…(math hates him, and the feeling is mutual)

And, you should really see a doctor about that….

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Posted in Controls, It's Technical, Uncategorized Tagged with: , ,

The Real Cost of Meetings

Time

Simple math, 10 people sitting in a room for an hour is not one hour, it is 10 hours.

Cost

Ten people averaging $35/hr sitting in a room for an hour costs $350

Opportunity Cost

If those 10 people sitting in a room averaging $35/hr are technicians that would be billing out at $125/hr, the your meetings cost is not $350, it $1,600 ($125 x 10 +$350)

Not all meetings are bad, but ask yourself:

  • Would I still have this meeting if I was going to be billed for the cost of the meeting?
  • Is the value worth the cost?
  • Are the right people in the meeting?
  • Is the meeting necessary?  
  • What can I do to increase the value of the meeting?  

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Posted in Productivity

Control Board Troubleshooting- The Ins ‘n’ Outs

inputElectronics work just like you do; they determine what’s happening by looking at inputs like temperature and pressure, and decide what to do based on what they “see”.

The only difference between your brain and electronics is you use your eyes, ears, and hands to determine what’s happening, electronics uses sensors like thermistors and transducers.

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Posted in Controls, It's Technical, Tricks & Tips Tagged with: , ,

Internet Security-Part 3-Password Do’s

Hopefully in Internet Security-Part, Password Don’ts, I convinced you how important strong passwords are.

What is a strong password?
An 8 digit numbers only password only has 99,999,999 possible combinations. How long do you think that would take a computer program to figure out?

Eight random letters, has 2,088,270,604,576, combining letters and numbers adds 8 more digits to the numbers.

If we were to include symbols such as ?$#@%&* our passwords becomes even stronger.

Today, most passwords are case sensitive. By combining upper and lower case letters in a password, we now working with 52 letters, instead of 26. Also, consider using capitalization wrong. Yes, get revenge on your 12th grade English teacher and capitalize the second letter of a form word “kEvin”, or capitalize the last “keviN”

Tips for creating strong passwords

  • Combine letters, numbers and symbols
  • Substitute numbers and symbols for letters
  • The longer the better
  • Avoid dictionary words
  • Use capitalization
  • Use capitalization wrong
  • Avoid using personal information that can easily be found out about you online. (That basically means any personal information)

In part three, we will explore some strategies for creating strong passwords that we can actually remember.

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Posted in Business Operations, It's Business