To the Point: Training Planning, Economic Growth and More December Hot Topics


The Pointman Team
December 23, 2019
minutes to read

We all know how vital training is to the success of any individual’s career or company’s success.

But it doesn’t just happen — it requires forethought and planning. Now is the perfect time to set training goals and allocate part of your 2020 budget to training your employees. 

Check out these practical guidelines from HVAC Today — including how to set goals, assemble a training calendar, utilize a training intent letter and more — to make training a priority and keep your team at the top of its game.

Then, dive into the rest of this month’s roundup of articles hand-selected by members of the Pointman team.

Business Strategy

“Small Businesses in ALL 50 States Saw Revenue Growth in 2019” (Small Business Trends)
Great news: The construction sector — which includes residential HVAC, plumbing and electrical — led all small business revenue with a growth of 23.3%.

“2020 Economic + Industry Report” (AHR Expo and ASHRAE Journal)
What HVACR segment has the greatest growth potential? Dig into that and much more through the latest annual economic outlook survey.

Customer Service

“Could a Single Phone Call at the End of Every Job Change Your Business?” (Pointman)
Learn how making a “debrief” standard practice for your techs and office staff can increase sales and help you wow your customers.

Extra Points

“Year in Review: The Most-Read Articles of 2019” (Plumber)
Catch up on this year’s hottest Plumber mag stories — troubleshooting touch faucets, focusing on profit vs. revenue, and yes, exploding toilets. Plumber also shares the year’s best witticisms and sage advice in “In Your Words: Wisdom From 2019’s Profiled Plumbers.” 

“Top 25 Changes in the 2020 National Electrical Code” (EC&M)
It’s that time again. Walk through the most pressing Code updates facing electrical professionals through this easy-to-digest slideshow.

“Keep Your Service Technicians Warm With High-Tech Clothing” (Pumper)
Here you’ll find good advice to keep techs in any discipline warm and safe in demanding conditions. 

“Your HVAC Career is a Success. What’s Next?” (Contracting Business)
Want to expand your knowledge and increase career satisfaction? Mentor and teach others.

Human Resources

“Try This Now: Take the Time to Say Hello to Your Team” (Thrive Global)
Learn how a simple gesture from managers can have a major payoff when it comes to employee engagement and trust.

“Engage Employees With Non-Financial Rewards” (Plumbing & HVAC)
Want to retain key employees and breed a culture of success? Try these low-cost options to keep employees engaged and loyal.

Sales & Marketing

“HARDI Distributors Report 3.0% Percent Revenue Growth in October” (HARDI)
More growth: Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) reports average sales by members went up 3% in October.

“Plumbing Certifications Can Win Over Customers” (Cleaner)
Learn how certifications can open doors you didn’t even know existed — and set you apart from the next plumber on the list. 

“Winning Small Business Awards Can Boost Your Company's Credibility. Here's How to Get Started.” (Entrepreneur)
Try out this simple yet effective way to get the word out, be noticed and elevate your credibility.

Software Matters

“Do You Have a Software Problem or Do You Have an HR Problem?” (Contractor)
Software only works if the people using it follow shared practices. Check out these tips for getting the whole team on the same page.

“Ensuring Your Technology Is an Asset, Not a Liability” (Future of Field Service)
Explore ways to make technology our useful servant — but not our master.

Look at Pricing

The start of the year is a great time to look at pricing. Usually, you have an idea of how your company fared the year prior, and you want to ensure you will continue to grow in the months to come. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions with respect to spending or saving in our personal lives, and it’s no different for business owners. Making sure your pricing is in line with where it should be is one of the strongest ways to start the year the right way.

Part of looking at your price book is finding where the issues are, and that can take time. An HVAC company in January is going to be very busy, so it’s a difficult time for a close look. However, a plumbing company might not be as busy. Whenever you tackle this job, your best bet is to look at what your labor rates are. Start there, and let it trickle down across the board. Ask yourself, “Are my labor rates helping my business stay profitable?”

Remember, there are many different services out there and many different groups or communities that you can engage. Never hesitate to say, “Hey, I’m a business owner in Florida. What should my labor rates be?” You can build your price from there. There are also some great billable hour calculators available.

Set Goals

There is no better time of year for looking inward than January. Set your personal goals and company goals for the following 12 months. If you can break those down into departmental goals, even better! Perhaps that means a CSR booking closing rates a little better, or a truck doing 250,000 a year rather than 200,000.

Many companies have found that using an Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) goal-setting system pays off. Looking for a guidebook when it comes to OKRs? Check out Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr. 

One key question is the best way to handle setting goals: Is it smarter for business owners to handle this solo, together with staff, or to delegate completely? 

The best approach is to set goals at the department level. As an owner, you need to take the time to understand what the goals are in each department, and make sure they are in line with your goals for the company. No one likes to set unattainable goals for themselves, so make sure you push your departments to set goals that are lofty, rather than simple ones to feel good about hitting. Entrust your staff to aim higher, and watch how they respond.

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