As I write this, HVAC contractors across the country are either gearing up for the traditional summer busy season or are already into it. Depending on where your business is located, things have already heated up.

According to Weather Channel predictions, summer temperatures will be hotter than average in the East. They will milder in the Plains and Midwest, and a mixed bag in the South. These same predictions say that June will burn hot from the Southeast into the Mid-Atlantic. Even parts of the Pacific Northwest will be much warmer than normal.

So why am I going on about the weather? First, for most contractors, this is the time of the year where they make the bulk of their annual revenues. It is also when chances are very high that their field service and installation crews can suffer “technician burnout” from working too many hours going out on too many jobs.

So who is to blame? Burnout is really caused by just two people: a company manager and the technician himself or herself.

Technician burnout is caused by only two people: the manager and the tech himself or herself.

Management Perspective

From the management standpoint, it is really a matter of short-term and long-term priorities. Short term, it’s all about quantity — getting the most jobs in as quickly as possible and grabbing the biggest chunk of the pie as possible.

But long-term, what if the techs burn out? How will they continue to perform at their best and what does that do to your company’s reputation, its bottom line? This is particularly problematic if your techs are expected to take system measurements, test, and make diagnoses based on the data they uncover.

Furthermore, burnout has ramifications for the techs’ health, their families, and their careers. Ultimately, they may decide to leave the HVAC industry and that really hurts long-term because it already is so hard to find good technicians now.

Technician Perspective

From the technician standpoint, here are some thoughts on how they hurt themselves as well. How many techs set out to prove how good they are by volunteering for too many hours? Or want the overtime pay? Some want to impress the boss by getting as many jobs in per day as they can, as fast as they can. Others are just competitive and want to out-do their fellow techs.
The passion is great, but it can be misplaced and cause the tech to become disillusioned, tired, and lead to burnout.

So what’s the answer? In a word: Balance. There is a great value to making a healthy work-life balance a priority in your company, especially during the busy summer season.

According to an article on the Service Excellence Training website (ncilink.com/Burnout), techs with a healthy work/life balance are happier, have less stress, less sick time, less medical bills, and are more astute at doing their jobs better and more accurately. And that makes happy customers, which creates longterm relationships, referrals, and higher profits.

Have you considered implementing things like limits for on-call rotations, or mandatory time off? Maybe offer breaks from always being available for emergencies.

So what is YOUR priority this summer? What things do you do to keep your techs healthy?

Please drop me a note and let me know how you handle technician burnout in your company.