Striking a Balance Between Plumbing and HVAC Work

Customer demand for plumbing and HVAC services varies depending on the time of year. Here’s how one contractor keeps the workload as steady as possible year-round for the two service offerings.

Striking a Balance Between Plumbing and HVAC Work
Frasier's encourages its technicians to gain skills in both plumbing and HVAC, so that they'll stay busy no matter which service is in higher demand at any given time.

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The overall workload for Frasier’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, is split nearly 50-50 between HVAC work and plumbing work. But there is a clear ebb and flow of which one is more dominant depending on the time of year.

“There are slow times for plumbing and slow times for heating,” says Phil Frasier, the fourth-generation owner of the longtime family business. “I can recall times being busy out doing heating service and a dispatcher calls and says a plumber is short on work.”

Frasier’s employs a couple of solutions to help with that problem. One is trying as much as possible to schedule annual HVAC service agreements during the slower period for that type of work. That also minimizes how much the company gets backed up on its workload when HVAC work demand peaks.

A second solution is to have technicians who can handle both plumbing and HVAC work, so that they stay consistently busy no matter which service is in higher demand. Frasier says of the company’s 14 total employees, about four are currently trained in both HVAC and plumbing work.

“We’re trying to have these hybrid techs who are trained in both so that they’ll stay busier,” Frasier says. “I did both when I was still working out in the field every day. You tend to gravitate to one more than the other, but as much as we can we’re trying to offer our techs opportunities to gain experience in both. For example, for an HVAC tech, we’ll help him get a restricted plumbing license. That way he can do some plumbing service without going through an entire apprenticeship. We also have plumbers who have been willing to learn HVAC service. It’s a win for everyone when we can do both trades out of one truck.”

Read more about Frasier’s Plumbing in the February 2018 issue of Plumber magazine.



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