As Mike Weil mentioned in his editorial, our industry is experiencing a higher rate of change than ever before.

Not only is technology changing at breakneck speed, so is our labor pool. Technicians are leaving our industry in droves with baby boomers retiring at almost twice the rate as younger people coming in.

Then there’s the age-old problem of poaching, where some play the zero sum game of stealing employees from each other, offering signing bonuses and other perks. This game of musical chairs discourages loyalty for both employers and employees.

In the midst of all this chaos, we have to somehow continuously provide these good people contractor training to keep them and their customers safe, and provide a higher level of precision and accuracy than ever before.

When you look at it from that angle it’s a pretty tall order. Add to that most contractors feel they cannot afford the lost opportunity cost of taking their people out of the field for training; which is by far the highest cost.

How Distributors Can Help

Contractors could really use help from distributors to get the training they need in a manner that won’t break the bank. Just as important, the training has to actually make a difference.

This is true from a technical standpoint, especially with new technology like inverter systems that require high quality design, installation, and testing. It’s also critical when it comes to monetizing what a well-trained contracting organization has to offer – especially a high-performance contractor.

The silver lining is distributors who support and encourage this level of contractor training benefit from higher ticket sales, fewer callbacks and warranty issues, and a stellar reputation for their brands.

Contractor training done right can be a win-win for everyone in the channel including manufacturers, distributors, contractors, field people, and most importantly – end customers.

At a HARDI (Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International) Conference a number of years ago the theme was, “How can a distributor be more than a commodity?

The most common question that echoed over and over was, “How can I add value to differentiate my organization?” Simple: Offer the best contractor training programs in your market!

The Contractor Training Challenge

So, I lay down the challenge to all distributors out there to take a hard look at yourselves in the mirror. Are you a training-oriented organization that regularly supports and encourages customers to attend good training at your location?

I’m not just talking about “product demo and a slice of pizza,” training, but one or more day-long classes, that preferably include certification exams. This type of training is what will move the needle for your customers — and your company.

The right training not only makes contractors better installers and servicers of the equipment you sell them, it also helps them sell higher efficiency equipment as well as air distribution renovations to ensure the equipment can efficiently deliver the comfort it was designed to provide.

With the right training partners, it’s not that difficult or costly to offer a solid training program, preferably at your location, where you can invite both existing and potential customers to come see what you are doing to support them.

Don’t put it off. Now is the perfect time to build your training program for 2024. Need some help? Give NCI a call. We’d be glad to share what’s working for many great distributors out there!