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Worst Technician Stories

RayWohlfarthRayWohlfarth Posts: 724Member
Ok I wanted to have some fun today. What was the worst tech you had work for you? I had so many bad ones... One of my favorites was a tech I hired and we purchase six custom embroidered work shirts for each employee. The shirts are nice and cost about $20 each . He was a big fellow and needed extra extra large ones which cost more. A week after I gave him his new shirts, I showed up on a job site and asked the tech, "Where is your uniform shirt?" he replied that he forgot it.
I saw him later that week and again he was wearing an old shirt of his. When I asked him about the uniform shirts, he said "Those things are too itchy. I got rid of them."
"You got rid of them?' I asked
"yes I threw them away," he said My blood pressure shot up and I had the other tech drive the tech home and fired him.
I would love hearing yours
Ray Wohlfarth
Boiler Lessons
Click here to take Ray's class.
Click here to buy Ray's books.
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Comments

  • DZoroDZoro Posts: 761Member
    I had a tech who cut off the sleeves...…….
    BP got a bit high that day also.
  • RayWohlfarthRayWohlfarth Posts: 724Member
    High fiving @DZoro The joys of being a boss
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    Click here to take Ray's class.
    Click here to buy Ray's books.
  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 753Member
    The ones who steal. The groups of techs who steal and place the blame on the one who is on the up and up.
    Theft of product or theft of service. Doesn't matter which. Creates a big headaches.
    Sorry @RayWohlfarth , not a fun one but a reality.
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,641Member, Moderator, Administrator
    The tech who tells me that the last guy that was at our house (his fellow employee) is an idiot and everyone in the company knows that. Oh, and the boss is also an idiot. I know this because the tech just told me so.
    Retired and loving it.
  • ratioratio Posts: 2,003Member
    Heh. The tech before me, who erased all the error codes, changed a handful of random settings, and the told the customer it's working fine now. I hate going into a job with my pants down! Fortunately, I'm well paid.

    I once had two after-hours callbacks in a row, one a disconnect left off & one a jumper on a tired old heat pump, from the same tech. I was …slightly irate… after that. You could just see that poor old heat pump flop down panting as soon as I pulled the jumper out.

  • lchmblchmb Posts: 2,927Member
    a tech who refused to run an oil line under a trailer since it was raining and he wouldnt work in wet conditions.. or the one who told a customer adding high output baseboard to their house wouldnt correct their heating issues cause the salesman didnt know what he was talking about (the salesman has installed more system's than him)... or installed a furnace with 11 code violations but was really proud cause it only took 3 hours and had a good profit margin...
  • RayWohlfarthRayWohlfarth Posts: 724Member
    @Intplm. Been there done that. I feel your pain
    @DanHolohan Oh Yeah Ive been referred to as the idiot many times LOL
    @ratio That would be tough not to say something
    @lchmb did you have the Wicked Witch of the West working with you?
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    Click here to take Ray's class.
    Click here to buy Ray's books.
  • Mike_SheppardMike_Sheppard Posts: 476Member
    Oh boy where to start. I’ll go with the most recent one.

    The one who gave me a 200 degree shower that landed me in the hospital on his second day. Then was found doing hard drugs in the company van shortly after.
    Never stop learning.
  • RayWohlfarthRayWohlfarth Posts: 724Member
    Wow @Mike_Sheppard That is so scary
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    Click here to take Ray's class.
    Click here to buy Ray's books.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,794Member
    The one that replaced a refrigeration condensing unit TWICE because they would start, run for 30 seconds and never restart.

    They were pumping down because the LL solenoid at the evaporator had no power.

    Same guy condemned condenser fan motors because they wouldn't run they were off because the fan cycling pressure switch was open and the units had no refrigerant in it
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 831Member
    edited April 14
    Not heating , but newly opened pizza restaurant that just got city contract to supply pizza lunches to city high school.

    Driver delivering pizzas to school was caught with drugs on him on school property. Was arrested. Driver and pizza company's name made front page of the city paper and TV news.

    Bit of a bad eye for new restaurant
  • retiredguyretiredguy Posts: 28Member
    The service tech that replaced the contactor, then the capacitors, then the compressor, only then to have another tech find a blown control circuit fuse. Happened years ago
  • lchmblchmb Posts: 2,927Member
    Ray this tech is "to good" to be doing the small stuff and then in bad weather..not acceptable.. It's amazing how little techs wish to learn their trade nowadays.. Replace all the parts til the unit works again. That's the norm i see.. it's sad really
  • RayWohlfarthRayWohlfarth Posts: 724Member
    @EBEBRATT-Ed wow that could be a nightmare for the owner I always tell my techs to imagine you are on a hidden camera
    @Leonard Im sure they Tv news showed the pizza shop logo in high def.
    @retiredguy How did you invoice for that job?
    @lchmb I see that I tried having boiler classes at night and was told by many a tech they would not go if it was at night
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    Click here to take Ray's class.
    Click here to buy Ray's books.
  • lchmblchmb Posts: 2,927Member
    edited April 14
    I take calls from techs to try and assist.. They dont want an explanation on how to trouble shoot it, they simply want me to tell them what to replace.. I now refuse to tell them what's broken.. here's how to diagnose it, you'll find the broken part from there...
  • GroundUpGroundUp Posts: 515Member
    *hires guy as welder, who promptly tells me he's the best pipefitter I've ever seen*
    Me: Here, weld these 4 flanges on and then we'll get lunch
    Jim: I can't weld
    Me: Uh, okay? Switch gears- run these 2" copper mains full length down the West side of this hall at 7' 11" BOP, here are the tools and material.
    Jim: I can't solder
    Me: Huh, alright. Well how about, let's get you started laying out this mechanical room. Here's the print and detail- I was thinking of setting the pumps here, HX here, etc. But if you come up with a better plan I'm all ears.
    *2 hours later*
    Jim has the print duct taped to the wall, upside down, covered in black Sharpie.
    Me: How's it going in here?
    Jim: Hey ah, I'm actually not sure how to read this print- what's this mean? (Pointing at valve symbol)
    I'm visually frustrated by now and ask Jim, "what CAN you do?"
    61 year old Jim starts to cry and tells me I need to ease up on him because he just turned out as a journeyman in 2003 (this took place in 2017) so he's still learning. I kept Jim on for about 6 weeks, during which period he successfully screwed in a pair of boiler drains and not much else.

    But otherwise, I bid a job awhile back for a radiant slab in a new 7200 sq ft pole shed with 20ft ceilings. Went through everything with the customer, told him what I'd like to do and what kind of output he could expect, etc. This was going to include installation of a new outdoor wood boiler 200 feet away, so I sized him some foamed 1-1/4" underground lines (Thermopex) and Grundfos 26-99 to meet the load, 10x20x20 plate exchanger, the whole 9 yards. He countered later with an offer from the OWB dealer, to bury raw, uninsulated 1" pex for the underground, with an 007 at the OWB and 60 feet of 3/4" baseboard along one wall run with a 3 way zone valve to send water back to the OWB between heat calls. Nothing else. Mind you we're in MN and the heat loss on this building came to something like 150k. I explained the output of that system versus his heat load a dozen times but it didn't sink in. That price was a couple thousand cheaper than mine, and the almighty dollar ended up with the job. Guy called me a few months later asking if I'd come check why his new $300k shop wasn't staying warm. He now heats it with a kerosene torpedo heater. That OWB dealer/installer guy ought to be in jail
  • RayWohlfarthRayWohlfarth Posts: 724Member
    @lchmb That would be so frustrating I can see what you would do that.
    @GroundUp I have to confess I laughed out loud at your story. I know it was probably wrong but you made my morning. As far as the OWB dealer installer it amazes me that people like that stay in business.
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    Click here to take Ray's class.
    Click here to buy Ray's books.
  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 753Member
    The bosses son making drug deals out of the company work van. Big company name printed all over the van and making drug deals. Awful.
  • lchmblchmb Posts: 2,927Member
    Groundup are you in NH? Cause I think he's working with me now.. "sigh"
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,794Member
    It's hard to get someone to:
    show up on time ready to work
    be drug free

    That's the first step

    The fact they don't know much...you can't even get to that point
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 12,981Member

    It's hard to get someone to:
    show up on time ready to work
    be drug free

    And, not play with their phone every 45 seconds......

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • GroundUpGroundUp Posts: 515Member
    edited April 14


    And, not play with their phone every 45 seconds......



    I'm not afraid to treat those types like a child smacking their gum and take it away. Had a mid 40's guy that thought he was 15 taking a snapchat selfie every time I turn around- talking didn't seem to help, it then escalated to the point of me taking his phone away every morning and keeping it with me. He was surprisingly productive without it
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 831Member
    edited April 14
    Carpenter contractor working on our comercial building. At ~ 10:30AM noticed one of his younger workers taking occasional SMALL sips from a Pepsi bottle he kept. Didn't like his structural framing so talked to him about exactly how I wanted it done, smelled brandy. Was using handheld power skill saw, still had 10 fingers.

    -------------------------------------

    Forgot to say, Pizza restaurant driver was caught selling drugs to kids on high school property, during school hours, and IN uniform and truck with Pizza co name on them. Was a big deal in newspaper and TV, owner of previous restaurant that lost contract also held a political office, guess he wanted contract back.

    New restaurant handled it well, couple days later was big write up in newspaper how they "interviewed" their driver, then fired him few minutes later.
  • RayWohlfarthRayWohlfarth Posts: 724Member
    @Intplm. Drug deals? Nice
    @EBEBRATT-Ed Drug free? Thats expecting a lot LOL
    @GroundUp You took his phone away Kinda takes away the whole reason for getting a phone
    @Leonard I used to work with a guy who could down 8 shots in a half hour. I was the apprentice and designated driver
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    Click here to take Ray's class.
    Click here to buy Ray's books.
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 831Member
    edited April 14
    Funny thing, 30 years ago I was buying replacement heating parts at local supply house. Guy who waited on me at ~ 1pm was competent enough and had good enough answers, but clearly had drunk a lot. Slurred his words a bit even.

    Wondered how he kept his job. Found out he owned the place.
  • AMservicesAMservices Posts: 416Member
    Recently my helper unplugged a storage freezer so he could use the outlet. Never plugged it back in. Then I get an email from the customer a week later saying all the meat she had went bad.
    Had to replace 60 pounds of meat because my guy wasn't paying attention to what he was doing.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,794Member
    @AMservices
    Well that really sucks.

    But it could be worse. I know someone that did that to a refrigerator in a vacation home. It stunk so bad they had the refrigerator replaced
  • AMservicesAMservices Posts: 416Member
    Your right @EBEBRATT-Ed it could have been worse.
    You just have to suck it up and move on.
    If I couldn't do that, I wouldn't be in this business.
  • RayWohlfarthRayWohlfarth Posts: 724Member
    @Leonard wow that's amazing. Guess that's why he was the boss no one would hire someone like that
    @AMservices Betting the replacements were a better grade beef than the ones that spoiled
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    Click here to take Ray's class.
    Click here to buy Ray's books.
  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 753Member
    The one that shows up with no tools. NO TOOLS !!!
  • SeanBeansSeanBeans Posts: 303Member
    @Intplm.

    LOL. We had a guy show up with a camelback backpack filled with water and that was it.. for some reason he wanted to point out that my legs were really white, NO WAY, IM IRISH!!!
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,794Member
    The noisy one.

    The ones that talk the most and tell you how much they know usually are the worst
  • Mike_SheppardMike_Sheppard Posts: 476Member
    > @EBEBRATT-Ed said:
    > The noisy one.
    >
    > The ones that talk the most and tell you how much they know usually are the worst

    You are so right. That’s what I’m dealing with right now.
    Never stop learning.
  • Jean-David BeyerJean-David Beyer Posts: 2,622Member
    The worst one I ever got was the one for the first annual service of my new W-M Ultra-3. He asked me if it was oil or gas. I have never seen a drip leg on a gas pipe going into an oil burner, and I am just a homeowner. He had no combustion analyzer, no service kit (the one with an igniter and lots of gaskets). I would not let him touch the boiler. And I could not get in touch with the manager, so I replaced the most important part myself: the heating contractor company.
  • RayWohlfarthRayWohlfarth Posts: 724Member
    @Intplm. No tools? I had one of those and then he complained because he had to walk all the way back to the truck to get his tools.
    @SeanBeans You gotta hydrate LOL
    @EBEBRATT-Ed And @Mike_Sheppard SO TRUE HATE THOSE LOUD ONES!!!!
    @Jean-David Beyer A true service tech can actually work one a boiler using only his or her mind.
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    Click here to take Ray's class.
    Click here to buy Ray's books.
  • JellisJellis Posts: 116Member
    First day, first job fresh out of trade school. Boss told me i was going to be working with the best tech they had, he had been there 15 years, "real smart! pay attention and you will learn something!" the boss said
    I met the guy the next morning and just as soon as we pulled out of the parking lot he says "mind if i smoke?"
    his window was down so i said no problem.
    a few seconds later I realized it was not tobacco.... guy was smoking a joint in the company van rolling down the road!!! Lets say I did not stay long at this company


    fast forward to the next company... first day... take off with the guy and he says "mind of i smoke?"... i looked around and saw the bag of tobacco he obviously had been using, "its your van" i told him.
    He smiled and rolled a cigarette effortlessly with 1 hand while masterfully navigating the rotary we were driving through. we arrived at the job site after a few minutes and as soon as the van was in park i opened my door and went to get out. "Hey! what are you doing!" he shouted, i stopped with 1 foot half out the door, "your going to learn something about me right now" he said in a matter of fact tone. "I take my time, sit down and close the door"
    "But the homeowner is waiting at the door" I said
    "let them wait, there not going anywhere"
    I sat back down and closed my door as the confused homeowner watched him finish his cigarette.

    The personalities are endless
    Both techs were extremely bright by the way, just... Odd :)
  • Steve MinnichSteve Minnich Posts: 2,412Member
    Early 80's, a tech that installed a T87F upside down. How do you do that? I had to go out there on the recall and spin it 180. Original tech was called back to the shop. He was drunk and there was an open 12 pack in his truck. Terminated by the boss right there and then.
    Steve Minnich
    Tell me I can't, and I'll show you I can.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,794Member
    One of the "techs" (I will use the term loosely) was a known drunk. Not just a few too many, a black out drunk but he was friends with somebody at the top.

    One of the other techs out on a night call comes across this guy driving the company truck pulled over on the side of passed out.

    He walks up to the truck and says "joe what the hell you doing your drunk and passed out the cops are gonna get you"

    Joe looks up and says "Mikey what are you doing here"

    Mikey says "can you drive 1/4 mile to your house we gotta get you off the road before you get caught, never mind I will drive you and then I will walk back to my truck. Joe puts it in gear and zooms off. Mikey follows in his truck and he make it home

    Next day Joe remembers none of this.

  • lchmblchmb Posts: 2,927Member
    Ebebratt I would have to find a new job the next day..cause I'd probably break a pipe wrench over his hat rack...
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 831Member
    edited April 17
    "I have never seen a drip leg on a gas pipe going into an oil burner"...

    Understand but........ funny thing ....... with sludge in line that might not be a bad idea......but larger gallon drain tank instead.
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