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10 Ideas for Hiring More Technicians for Your Home Services Business

hiring technicians
Josh Angle

Growing up, my father had a small business building homes in our hometown. As the business grew from building a few houses a year to hundreds, I saw firsthand the challenges of growth.

At Scorpion, we help local plumbers, and HVAC technicians have the business they want through digital marketing and other tools. But we know that the world's best marketing expertise and technology by itself isn’t going into your customers’ homes and completing a plumbing job. If you want to do more jobs and grow your business, you will eventually need more real-life human beings to do it.

Recently we interviewed over 30 of our current home service customers and asked what kept them from hitting their company goals. We are happy to report that virtually none of them were worried about marketing or getting more leads; they had Scorpion’s help in that department.

What over 90% did say was that they were worried about hiring enough skilled labor to keep up with demand. Despite some economic rumblings you might be hearing on the news, small business hiring and finding good technicians is still extremely difficult.

Pulling ideas from our amazing customers and personal experiences, we wanted to share a list of 10 ideas for hiring more skilled labor and achieving your growth goals. I even included my father’s secret hiring weapon as #10, but fair warning, it is expensive and requires a long lead time!

1. SEO: Get found by potential applicants

Job seekers are often looking for jobs the same way potential customers are looking for service providers: Through the internet! Many people on the job market start searching online for the local companies that might need their skill set. Having your company appear when someone searches “Dallas plumbers” is a great way to attract candidates.

2. Online presence: Show them what you are about

The standard procedure for job seekers is to check out the employer's website and online presence before submitting an application or contacting the employer. A website is a great way to showcase your culture, values, stability, and professionalism.

Having a careers page and strong social media presence can increase your recruiting reach and help job seekers know what to expect from you.
Finally, don’t forget about reviews. No one wants to work for a company with bad reviews, and studies have shown that many people have turned down job offers due to bad reviews.

3. Recruitment Ads

Just as paid ads can help you find more customers, they can also help you find more skilled labor. There are several options to consider and experiment with:

  • Google Display ads
  • YouTube video ads
  • Facebook paid ads
  • Search Engine PPC ads

4. Job recruiting websites and companies

There are several websites and companies whose whole business model is to help businesses hire more people. Everything from the more traditional job board websites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and Craigslist to more full-service recruiting companies like PeopleReady. Some options are free, some have free trials, and others cost a fee. Depending on your needs and budget, this option might work for you.

5. Compensation changes

We have heard from several of our clients that their employees are leaving for slightly better paying jobs. Often they have invested and trained the employee for over a year or more just to lose them. Sometimes the painful but right answer is that you need to increase your offered compensation to retain and attract more skilled labor.

But it doesn’t have to be just a straight increase in hourly wages. Alternatively, you can explore retention and profit-sharing bonuses; both are common in various industries. These types of bonuses can be a powerful motivator and help align the interests of both employee and employer. If the business does great financially, then everyone will do great financially.

In one of my previous jobs, I was offered a profit-sharing bonus if I stuck with the company for two years. It worked on me, I stuck around, and I was very invested in the success of that company.

6. Internal training programs and apprenticeships

Finding skilled plumbing or HVAC technicians is so difficult that it is easier to develop talent yourself. One of our HVAC clients developed their training program for high school students to earn while they learn. They like that they have control over the training of their technicians so that they all know the right way to do things.

This approach makes the most sense for more established companies than those just starting. It's a great option if you need a steady stream of new technicians, can set up a program, and wait for the young employees to develop their skills. The US Department of Labor has several resources for employers interested in starting or joining apprenticeship programs.

7. Flexible work schedules

Flexible working schedules are becoming more and more the norm. People value the ability to fit work around their schedules vs. having the strict 9-5 jobs of the past. Offering more part-time or non-standard work hours could help attract new technicians.

A handyman I recently talked to had retired, moved to a new city, got bored, and then started working part-time for a home services company. He had all the skills and experience but wasn’t looking for a full-time job. It's a non-traditional source of labor that is largely untapped.

8. Trade schools and educational groups

Local trade schools, technical colleges, community colleges, and high schools are a great (but relatively inexperienced) source of future technicians. Many community colleges and high schools have programs to give students exposure and skills in the trades.
Connecting with these institutions can help the community, get your name out there, and potentially find new workers. There are many ways to get involved, from helping to advise high school students to just utilizing the local community college job board.

9. Referral programs

Referrals can be a very effective way to find more workers, and referral candidates also tend to be better fits and stick around longer. Just as some of your customers come through word of mouth, a significant part of your applicants can come through the same method. It doesn’t happen magically, though; there are several things you can do to grow this source of talent.

The first thing is to actually ask for referrals! Ask your friends, your family, your employees, and your customers. Anyone might know somebody, and it never hurts to ask.

Secondly, you need to have a stellar reputation and happy employees. If your employees don’t feel well treated, they will not refer their friends.

Finally, you can offer small referral bonuses to those that give you a successful referral. I’m speaking from personal experience on this one; a friend of mine referred me to my current job and cashed in on a bonus. It works!

10. My family’s hiring secret

It's super simple; just have 7 sons like my father did, all who worked for his construction business. Not for the faint of heart, but it was effective for our family business.

Whatever your hiring needs are, I would recommend sitting down and coming up with a hiring strategy. Think through your business goals (something Scorpion is always ready to help with!), your budget, your headcount needs, and timeline. Determine what hiring ideas and methods you might want to try. Not all of the above will work for your business, but one or two might just do the trick. Best of luck out there!

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