Emphasis on Technician Training Yields High Levels of Customer Service for Contractor

It’s not a mystery that in this industry training for employees is a worthwhile investment, but Colorado’s Plumbing Systems Inc. is a good example of a company being especially committed to continued education and the benefits it produces

Emphasis on Technician Training Yields High Levels of Customer Service for Contractor

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There’s no lack of competition in the markets served by Plumbing Systems Inc., a plumbing, heating, cooling and drain cleaning company based in Edwards, Colorado. So when owner Jim Harper established the company in 2000, he steadfastly built a brand based on great customer service.

“Our slogan says we’re committed to the best possible service. Period,” he says. “That’s always our goal and intent — to provide the best possible service we can every day. I make sure my guys always operate from that mindset. Whatever they do has to be good for the customer, the company and the technician — and in that order.”

To ensure a high level of service, the company invests heavily in training its technicians, which include about 10 lead plumbing technicians, a dozen drain cleaners and eight HVAC technicians. For starters, the company facilities include a 1,000-square-foot training area outfitted with everything from urinals and kitchen sinks to dishwashers, furnaces, water heaters and lavatories — even a sewage ejection lift station.

“We’ve got about a six-figure investment in facilities where our guys can practice their craft,” Harper says.

Upon hire, technicians must take four hours of company-developed training every other week, done on their own time on Saturday mornings, plus two hours every week on a weeknight. Harper says he knows that’s a lot to ask, but it’s also a good way to winnow out anyone who is not fully committed to their new jobs.

“It’s a way to make sure they’re all-in,” he says. “They do this training until they’re good enough to become a lead technician.”

After that, technicians also get 40 hours a year of higher-level paid training, done on company time. They learn how to work on things such as power burners and boilers and learn about a range of other matters, such as backflow prevention or how to operate a vacuum or pump truck. 

Technicians also receive ongoing North American Technician Excellence training to get certified for working on heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems.

“Our customers care about training a lot,” Harper says. “A lot of guys figure things out by themselves along the way. But they don’t understand why things go where they go in, say, a hydronic system. If I send someone to your house, I want him to know why he’s doing what he’s doing.”

The company really ramped up its training programs about five years ago. To motivate technicians, the company gives them raises based on their skill levels and ability to sell jobs to customers, Harper says.

Read more about Plumbing Systems Inc. in the July 2020 issue of Plumber magazine.


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