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Dispatching debate

wrollins84wrollins84 Member Posts: 1
edited March 2019 in THE MAIN WALL
Hello, I'm a new "member" to the site but have used it many times as a valuable resource in the past, so I want to thank you for all you guys do. I'm fairly new to the hvac field, and I'm office manager for a new residential service company. 8 months in, we currently run 3-4 technicians and cover a fairly large geographical area in the delmarva area. I'm having a dispute with a co-owner about whether technicians should be given their full route to begin the day or whether they should be given one call at a time, then call in for their next assignment. How do you guys dispatch at your businesses, and why?

Comments

  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 3,412
    One at a time. And I'm a service tech. I get my calls for the day and whatever else gets thrown in.
    Most that I know who get the daily schedule, their mind is set on that schedule only. Throw a wrench in and there's a temper tantrum.
    SuperTechGWSTEVEusaPA
  • ratioratio Member Posts: 2,489
    I would think that a days' route would be only a guess, as there's no telling how long any given stop will take. At least, I'd hope to be able to spend as long as necessary on a call to find & fix the problem, as opposed to spending only the allotted time there.

    NB: I am a comercial installer/startup guy. The only resi work I do is pro bono & family stuff. Can't charge for that, so I take as long as I want to. 'Course, I take as long as I need to on everything else too…

    Doubt I'd argue with the boss about it though—there's a good argument for Doing It The Way The Boss Wants It Done.

  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 7,091
    One at a time. The less they think about where they need to go next the better they will focus on the task at hand
    CTOilHeatSuperTechSTEVEusaPA
  • GrallertGrallert Member Posts: 443
    When I was on the road we used a combination of both. I'd get a couple of services orders and take off knowing that things can and will change.
  • Intplm.Intplm. Member Posts: 1,164
    When I was on the road we did one or two and possibly three scheduled. After that, we would dispatch others to fill in the remaining or new appointments.
  • John Mills_5John Mills_5 Member Posts: 935
    I was a service manager for 27 years same place, started dispatching. Always 1 at a time. Never know what calls will come in and where they are located and also when a tech will hit a nag and run behind needing to move a few things around. They are a bigger company but cover a smaller area it sounds like. Nice to give 1st call the previous night so they have something to do. Then after you see what comes in 1st thing you can swap calls around for least driving and whatever else comes into play.
  • SuperTechSuperTech Member Posts: 1,344
    As a service technician I only want to be concerned with one call at a time, that way I stay focused on the task at hand. If I have to rush then there's a chance a mistake will be made, and that's not fair to the customer.

    I also like to know the first call of the day the night before if possible, that gives me the opportunity to prepare for it.
    Intplm.STEVEusaPA
  • Steve MinnichSteve Minnich Member Posts: 2,541
    My first job right out of trade school, 20 years old, I was handed 10-12 every morning. Panic set in right away.

    One at a time!
    PHC News Columnist
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/minnich-hydronic-consulting-and-design
    SuperTechSTEVEusaPA
  • GWGW Member Posts: 3,766
    My one and only svc tech sees the whole day. if I have several svc techs i would do 'one at a time'
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    www.wilsonph.com
    [email protected]
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,947
    A word from the client's point of view... I'd much rather that if I need a service tech., they will have as much time as they need to do whatever needs doing without feeling pressure from the next job. There is one other aspect, though: while I don't mind at all not knowing well in advance when they will show up -- even, unless it is a flat out emergency, what day -- I do really appreciate it if they can call in advance when they do know when they are coming so that I can be sure to be there...

    So I guess I'd say one at a time, but give the client a ring a bit ahead of time.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    Intplm.Canuckerrick in Alaska
  • mikeg2015mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,178
    I’m a new tech, but coming from the industrial facilities engineer role, so I’d rather have the whole route for the day. One advantage, I’d there’s a part I don’t have, I could get a furnace going temporarily, then run the other calls then circle back and make only one trip back to the shop if they too need parts.
  • Intplm.Intplm. Member Posts: 1,164

    Hello, I'm a new "member" to the site but have used it many times as a valuable resource in the past, so I want to thank you for all you guys do. I'm fairly new to the hvac field, and I'm office manager for a new residential service company. 8 months in, we currently run 3-4 technicians and cover a fairly large geographical area in the delmarva area. I'm having a dispute with a co-owner about whether technicians should be given their full route to begin the day or whether they should be given one call at a time, then call in for their next assignment. How do you guys dispatch at your businesses, and why?

    Hello, I'm a new "member" to the site but have used it many times as a valuable resource in the past, so I want to thank you for all you guys do. I'm fairly new to the hvac field, and I'm office manager for a new residential service company. 8 months in, we currently run 3-4 technicians and cover a fairly large geographical area in the delmarva area. I'm having a dispute with a co-owner about whether technicians should be given their full route to begin the day or whether they should be given one call at a time, then call in for their next assignment. How do you guys dispatch at your businesses, and why?

    I have found that the person answering the phone and taking the time to desypher the information from the customer to get as much CORRECT information from them is your key to success.
    And when all that is accomplished I would ask the customer if they wil be asking the ultimate schedule killer to the tech......"Hey, while you are here, can you...............?"

    The person taking the call in the office must ---qualify--- that customer as best they possibly can. That first contact is very important.
    Scheduling with the best communication possible.


  • ThermalJakeThermalJake Member Posts: 112
    I think it depends on your intentions, and your guys. Everyone who commented so far is making the assumption that we are all just trying to run a clean and efficient business. But sometimes you have to manage the people - as people. In other words, some techs work better being focused on the task at hand, and others work better with a holistic view (or at least estimate) of what to expect for the day. Some like to make arrangements to visit the favorite coffee shop... if they do good work and dont abuse it, that should be encouraged. If not, it should be discouraged. In the end it is all about people - your people. And whether you are using carrots or sticks. A "one size fits all" approach wont work. And the "preference of th scheduler (or the boss)" approach wont work. Management means making it easiest for the guy who does the work - to do the work.

    My two cents.
    ThermalJake
  • HenryHenry Member Posts: 968
    We have two dispatchers. All our service people have a tablet. All calls are sent via email to them. They are booked days in advance. If there is an emergency call, it is sent via email. All work orders or COD are done on the tablets. Since we have a GPS system in all the trucks, the arrival and departure times are logged also in the tablets and on our server. For a COD, the plumber fills out his work order and the pricing for all parts is automatically shown. He can then print a bill in his truck.
  • StetStet Member Posts: 21
    Change with the times. Before the technologies out now, we gave the service guys a bunch of slips and hoped for the best. Now it's one at a time. That way the dispatch has a better handle on things. Start the day with prioritizing the urgency of the calls. Then let the calls filter down geographically. It also lets you give your customers a better idea of when you might be arriving. These days, one at a time just fits.
  • GBartGBart Member Posts: 753
    NEVER EVER GIVE YOUR TECHNICIANS THEIR ROUTE FOR THE DAY, THEY WILL BANG THEM OUT AND PRETEND THEY ARE WORKING WHEN THEY ARE ACTUALLY HOME UNLESS YOU HAVE GPS TRACKING

    We had a guy do that and then one day he called for his third cleaning after lunch and the office said your third called in and said they have no hot water since you left, please come in to the office.
    SuperTechGW
  • GWGW Member Posts: 3,766
    Henry what program you on? We are on Titan
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    www.wilsonph.com
    [email protected]
  • gerry gillgerry gill Member Posts: 2,978
    we can see the whole day or beyond. We use a program called Jobber
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com

    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • SuperTechSuperTech Member Posts: 1,344
    > @GW said:
    > Henry what program you on? We are on Titan

    We use service titan as well, I think it's one of the best systems available for dispatching software.
  • GWGW Member Posts: 3,766
    Super, I'm looking to jump, it seems like it's designed for the big big companies looking to micromanage their worker bees. I get frustrate all the time when i use the 'tech' log in. I think most of the guys and gals here aren't on dispatch software, or i'd start a new thread (I think i did once and got little/no reply)
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    www.wilsonph.com
    [email protected]
  • Intplm.Intplm. Member Posts: 1,164
    Another thing to consider and to watch out for is scheduling a tech. too late in the day. Many a tech have left companies because of burn out. Getting home late in the evening over and over again.
  • HenryHenry Member Posts: 968
    Sorry but I am not sure of the software now being used. I was instrumental on having a GPS system implemented specially when one of the owners was passed by a service truck passed him at over 70 MPH hauling 4 ATV! The GPS system saved a lot of: he was not there, he did not do that time or even worst the plumber going to a shop and spending 1 hour gabbing. It ok less than a year to clear the air for both staff and customers.
  • hot_rodhot_rod Member Posts: 13,500
    Do you have a software program?
    I've heard Service Titans dispatch program watches where the trucks are, traffic condition between various calls, alternate routes, etc. It helps you and your trucks maximize the hours in a day.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
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