Field Service

Tips for Working the Field When the Weather Ramps Up

Field service techs work in nearly every location imaginable, from people’s homes to … um … crime scenes. It’s all part of the job. But what happens when the mercury soars and routine service calls about the faulty A/C unit just can’t wait?

The SmartVan caught up with a couple of HVAC contractors in the Kansas City area to find out how they dealt with last week’s heat wave that pushed daytime temperatures above 100 degrees, which, in the Kansas City humidity, felt more like 120.

The soaring temperatures were, if nothing else, good for business. Jim Horlander, owner of Heartland Quality Heating & Cooling, said business was on the rise, noticeable since he’s a one-man show. He’s the only technician, so there weren’t any other employees to help deal with the increased service calls.

“It’s me, myself and I,” he said. “We work split shifts.”

Though originally from Lexington, Ky., Horlander said he’d spent enough time near Kansas City to expect the insufferable summertime heat.

“You know it’s coming. There’s no way to avoid it,” Horlander said. “You mentally prepare yourself, kiss your wife goodbye, and say, ‘I’ll see you whenever the weather breaks.’”

Fortunately, it broke this week, with temperatures dipping into the 80s and 90s.

Dave Dennis, owner of Climate Control Heating & Cooling, shared Horlander’s acceptance for the extreme temps. It’s miserable, of course, but the heat is predictable and brings in more business — and there’s little to be done about it, anyway.

Dennis estimated that businesses increased 25 to 30 percent during the heat wave. He said that this time of year it’s all hands on deck and that his technicians understand that they’ll be putting in some overtime to deal with the influx of business.

“Some volunteer to do it, some are volun-told to do it,” Dennis said about the overtime required this time of year.

Dennis supplements his full-time workforce with temporary staff, often students who are looking for a little spending money during the summer.

As for the techs themselves, Dennis said the company keeps on eye on their well-being by having drivers deliver Gatorade and by reminding employees to keep cool — or at least to try to keep cool. It’s good business, after all.

More: How Full Maintenance Contracts Help Put Out Service ‘Fires’.

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