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Who Is Your Go To Tech?

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There are 30 seconds left in the game, and your team needs a three-pointer to defeat your rival from across town. Coach calls a time out. The question? Who is going to take the last shot? He could tell whoever is open to take it, but more than likely than not, he will ask Billy to try to take the last shot. Why? Statistics.   

The coach keeps records the entire season. He knows statistically who the best three-point shooter is. As you might have guessed, Billy scored more three-pointers than anyone else during the season and has the highest percentage of shots made. The choice was easy…if stats are being kept! Billy takes the last shot. 

Now, let us look at YOUR service techs. Which one is the most productive in terms of dollars generated per billable hour? Do you know? If not, you should, because it drastically affects the service departments profitability. 

The first step is to determine a goal. How much “should” each service tech be bringing in per hour to hit your gross sales goals. To determine that you will need three pieces of information. 

  1. What is the current hourly rate you chargeWe will use $145. 
  2. What is the average cost of materials sold, per billable hour?  This varies by trade, but for the HVAC industry it iabout $20 in part sales. 
  3. What is the average parts markup in the service department? Yes, it is sliding scale, but on average, parts markup is around 100 percent. 

Armed with this information, you can determine what each service tech should bring in per billed hour. The number is $185/hour for each hour they bill the customer ($145 + $20 parts cost + $20 parts markup = $185). You now have a goal for each service tech.   

So, the question is, who is hitting that goal and who is not. For this you will need the gross dollars billed, per tech, for the month and the actual billed hours charged the customer.   

Note: These are not the hours on the tech’s timecard, these are the hours charged to the customer during the month.   

Do the math. Look at the gross dollars brought in for some period. It might a week, a month, or longer.  

Here is an example:. 


Sam billed the customer $13,200 in gross dollar and worked 77 billable hours. Again, these are not the hours on Sam’s timecard, these are the hours charged to customers during the month.   

Average Revenue brought in per billable hour = $13,200/77 billed hours = $171.43/billable hour 


Jen billed the customer $16,325 in gross dollar and worked 83 billable hours.   

Average Revenue brought in per billable hour = $16,325/83 billed hours = $196.69/hour 


Ed billed the customer $11,835 in gross dollar and worked 74 billable hours.     

Average Revenue brought in per billable hour = $11,835/74 billed hours = $159.93/hour 

Now, review the three service techs. Which one is our top performer?  Even though the number of billed hours varies by tech it is obvious that Jen is the service departments top performer. 

Armed with this information, what kind of decisions can you now make: 

  • If one of the service techs needs to be transferred to the installation department for a day, which tech needs to go? The answer is to send the lowest producing tech, which would be Ed.   
  • How would profitability be affected if Jen had been transferred to installation for a day, instead of Ed? Jen bills out at $196.69/billed hour while Ed bills out $159.93/billed hour. That is a difference of $36.76/billed hour. If Jen were transferred, and Ed was kept in service, and 4 hours were billed out that day, it costs the company $147.04 ($36.76 x 4 billed hours = $147.04) in gross sales. 
  • If one of the three techs needs to be laid off, which one do you lay off?  Again, the lowest producing tech needs to go, which is Ed. The last to go is Jen. 

Once the goal is set, which in this case if $185/billable hour, it is a simple process of setting up a reward system based of productivity to help your team reach it. Keeping a few statistics upon which to make decisions can scientifically affect the bottom-line profitability of the service department.

Tom Grandy

Posted In: ACCA Now, Management

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