There’s no shortage of appliance repair technicians out there. Type “appliance repair” into your search engine of choice, and you’ll see what I mean. The recent pandemic and homeowners being home more incentivized more people to enter the field, making it even more crowded.
Given this situation and knowing many readers may be considering an appliance repair career, I wanted to devote a post to the skills that distinguish true professionals from the guys just out to make a quick buck. Additionally, I’ll share my perspective on the best ways to learn the trade and how I personally stay on top of industry changes.
Basic, Must-Have Skills for Getting Into Appliance Repair
Since 1997 I have trained many rising appliance repair professionals across the US. These interactions, coupled with my own time as a repairman, revealed baseline skills that I believe all technicians need to possess before starting their career. These include:
Good Mechanical and Electrical Skills
This quality may appear obvious, but I don’t take it for granted in appliance repair professionals. Prior to enrolling in a training program, I recommend individuals familiarize themselves with the basics of mechanical and electrical engineering. Not only will this help accelerate their learning, but it’ll also help them diagnose and address issues during service calls.
Clear Analytical Thinking
The ability to clearly and quickly analyze a problem on the job is priceless. It enables the repair tech to confidently handle whatever appliance problems they encounter and do so in a timely fashion. Resolving issues the first time and quickly means they’ll be available for more business.
Must-Have Skills for Starting Your Own Appliance Repair Business
For those appliance repair pros with a desire to start their own business, these individuals should possess additional qualities to succeed.
A Family Culture of Self-Employment
I’m a firm believer that the entrepreneurial spirit is something that begins at the familial level. If you want to run your own appliance repair business, it helps to have a role model at home that can mentor and inspire.
A Strong Support System at Home
Along with having role models within their families, I’ve found successful business owners have strong support systems at home. Starting a business often requires long hours, periods of financial uncertainty, and time away from a family. If someone is going to succeed and build a lasting enterprise, they need to be sure their loved ones are on-board with their aspirations and are willing to make sacrifices to see them fulfilled.
It’s not enough to just dream about setting up a business and working for yourself. One must have the determination to make it a reality and endure a sometimes nerve-wracking road ahead. Furthermore, an entrepreneur will need to be okay with taking risks and trying new things to grow their operation.
Access to Capital
Last, but perhaps most importantly, getting a business going requires access to money. This capital may come from family members or other sources; regardless, an individual needs to know for sure they have it and there’s a plan to repay it.
The Best Ways to Learn Appliance Repair
When I began my career, appliance repairman often started out as “helpers,” shadowing veteran techs. This trend, however, is largely disappearing as more companies seek to hire experienced staff who don’t require much hand-holding.
What’s an aspiring appliance repair tech to do then?
First, enroll in a quality appliance repair training program that encourages entrepreneurism and emphasizes real-world application of skills. This education can take different forms, ranging from online, self-paced courses to in-person trade schools. Figure out which route works for you and get moving.
Second, and in tandem with education, a person should begin running service calls to gain experience and apply their knowledge. I recommend doing this for a year or two then evaluate the next steps.
The Qualities That Distinguish Excellent Appliance Repair Technicians
Appliance repair technicians are a dime a dozen, but ones that excel (and reap the financial benefits) are rarer. To set themselves apart, distinguished repair pros demonstrate two essential qualities:
Being able to focus and quiet outside distractions when engaging with customers is a sign of an excellent pro. They listen to a customer closely and use whatever clues they reveal to fix an appliance.
Along with being a good listener, they are able to draw upon past experiences from other jobs. This skill allows them to identify issues and address them faster, which ultimately means more time to make money.
Uncle Harry’s Recommendations for Staying on Top of Industry Changes
One final thought for readers: never stop having a curious mind, especially as it relates to repairing appliances. Here are the ways that I keep updated and learning all these years into my career:
- Running Service Calls: Even at my advanced age, I enjoy staying active in the field and seeing appliance issues in real-life. Experience is a great teacher.
- Seek Out Information: During my down-time, I’ll peruse YouTube and other parts of the Internet to keep a pulse on new appliance technologies and see how other pros are responding to issues.
- Use Manufacturer-Provided Guides as Needed: I like to use manufacturer-provided manuals and crib sheets as a starting point but I don’t treat them like the gospel.