Is there a person in your HVAC, plumbing or electrical business you go to for any and everything?

  • What happens when that person takes vacation or sick time, do the tasks or duties pile up?
  • What if the unthinkable were to happen, and your key employee could not (or chose not to) return?

If you are in this position you need to start getting organized now. If you are not in this position, this is something to stay aware of.  The concern here is your HVAC operations business is dependent on an individual and not a documented process. Successful home service contractors rely on business systems to keep things running smoothly, but rely on people to run the systems. To help your people be more effective and efficient create a documented process and reporting structure.

Structure is applied with job duties and descriptions, which are assigned to departments and titles. As you work to build structure the duty list by title need not be exhaustive, however it should be appropriate for the expected skill set of that position. Expecting your HVAC service manager to generate the financial balance sheet is, in general terms, not the best use of his or her skill set. So we create a job title such as “service manager”, and we look for what skill set that person should have and what duties they are expected to perform. Clearly defining each position’s roles and responsibilities also helps with accountability. When there is no true owner of a task, and it is simply handed to whoever is free; when it is not handed off, do not be surprised if it is not done in a timely fashion or even done at all.

For each title, set the tasks, expectations of quality, and deadlines for delivery. Just take care, when setting these titles and duties, that you do not lose your team mentality or foster a “that’s not my job” culture when you need to make an adjustment or introduce a new process. When you introduce a new or changed process, bring together your leadership team and those affected by the process, and ask how it will affect them. Encourage them to identify both challenges they see and possible solutions for those challenges.

It’s important to have titles for structure and reporting flow, but remember, as people, your team is not just titles, in the fact that titles are static (non-moving) and people are dynamic (always moving). Have a title structure so employees and customers know where the buck stops, but never allow someone to hide behind their title as a reason not to contribute – especially you. The most accountable contractors have accountable leadership.