A recent PBS News Hour segment titled, “Despite rising salaries, the skilled-labor shortage is getting worse” focused on the difficulty that the skilled trades are facing in attracting new staff. While appliance repair wasn’t explicitly mentioned, the issues discussed are relevant and shared by individuals running appliance repair services. Some of the reasons that business owners cited as making recruitment of new staff difficult included:
- Social stigma around being a trades-person, i.e. these individuals are “low-class” and uneducated
- Individuals being unaware of the income potential for working as a skilled laborer
- The perception that learning a trade is something only for young people and not someone who had another a career
With this in mind and knowing that the appliance repair industry specifically has been in high demand, this article responds to each of their misconceptions and makes a case for becoming an appliance repair technician.
Four Misconceptions About Being an Appliance Repair Professional and Why They’re Wrong
Misconception #1: Appliance Repair is for “Drop-Outs”
Individuals considering appliance repair likely have confronted the social stigma around people who work with their hands. Tradespeople only a few generations ago were held in high esteem across the US; unfortunately, American society has changed. Nowadays, social validation is given more readily to college-bound students, yet the realities of current events show that appliance repair and other trades are needed and require trained professionals.
Appliance repair technicians, for instance, often enroll in training programs where they learn the ins and outs of home appliances, which requires considerable focus, grit, and commitment. Industry professionals also acquire knowledge about running a business, managing a team, and delivering great customer care. Tell me that’s not an education worth pursuing!
Misconception #2: You Can’t Earn a Good Income Doing Appliance Repair
Individuals working in appliance repair often don’t know that appliance repair offers a path to earning a good income and with the right work ethic, presents a path to owning a business eventually. Don’t just take my word for it. According to job posting sites, like ZipRecruiter and Indeed, appliance repair techs can do quite well, with average annual salaries ranging from $44,088 to $53,125, respectively. Furthermore, salaries in this field, like any other, are influenced by a variety of factors:
- Years of experience
- The company an appliance repair pro works for
- An individual’s grit
Along with a base salary, appliance repair professionals enjoy benefits, including:
- Health insurance
- 401K sometimes with matched employer contributions
- Gas cards
- Flexible schedules (commission-based so time off when needed and weekends)
- A company vehicle
Misconception #3: Appliance Repair is Only for Young People
I can understand why people outside the industry would have this belief. Appliance repair is a physically-demanding job; however, my team and I have worked with students of all backgrounds and ages. Some individuals even took on appliance repair after retiring from another profession, ranging from airplane machinists to long-haul truckers. Being a great tech comes down to an individual’s commitment to learning and humility, as it’s a craft that requires sustained effort and a willingness to learn from mistakes. To illustrate my point, consider this testimonial from my past student, Andrew B. from Florida:
I spent 20 years as a major account manager in business telecommunications. Around 2016, my LG washer broke. Not knowing who to call, I used the Yellow Pages and hired one of the big local companies. They sent two teams out, replaced a bunch of parts, and told me it was unrepairable. I paid $90 and had a broken machine. While I knew nothing about fixing appliances, logically something didn’t add up and I didn’t want to throw away a $900 washer. I researched online and within 20 minutes I found the problem, bought a $24 part, and installed it using a YouTube video. The machine sprang to life and has worked ever since.
It felt good enough that I started looking into the repair business online as I was at a point in my career that I wanted a change. Very quickly I found Uncle Harry’s Appliance School and learned I could make as much as I had during my best years in sales, a solid 6-figure income! As I approach the 2-year mark as President/Owner of Bloom Appliance Repair, I feel as though I’m the luckiest guy in the world. This year I’ll surpass the $100K income mark and have repaired in excess of 1,000 appliances.
It’s not just about the money. This is a very fulfilling career, and Uncle Harry has been there every single step of the way. Since starting, I’ve taken a few of his students under my wing just as Harry and his students did for me. This is the best-hidden secret in the trade world!
Misconception #4: Appliance Repair is a Dying Industry
Last, but not least, appliance repair is not going anywhere despite the application of automation in other parts of the American economy. Unless robots are suddenly able to begin running service calls and interacting with homeowners, the industry will continue to require newly trained professionals. The inability to automate this profession also means that it provides greater stability over the long-term.