Amazing appliance repair wizard tool – The perfect technician training tool

Uncle Harry’s amazing appliance repair wizard tool  is a patented tablet computer that allows the technician to do many things. Drawing from over 800,000 pages of reference materials, it is very similar to having a huge library at your disposal. Like any good tool it takes some experience to learn how to use it effectively and quickly.

It is important to know that the wizard materials do not need to be downloaded; the reference materials are actually already on the tablet. This very capable tablet never needs to be connected to the Internet.  No Wi-Fi or hotspot is required.  Let’s investigate the many capabilities of the wizard tablet.

First off, the technician can quickly diagnose appliance repair problems by using the checklist associated with customers common complaints. For example, he could research a front loader that makes a loud noise in spin, a dryer that will not heat or a refrigerator that will not make ice. The checklists provided will properly direct him from the most likely diagnosis to the least likely with associated pictures and videos. These checklists are designed to keep a greenhorn technician on track and out of the weeds. They are a perfect learning tool for training a novice. You can use it as a self training tool or as an employee training tool.

Going even further, if a technician is not familiar with removing the cover of respective appliances  there are videos showing him exactly how to open each type of appliance. Charts are provided which identify trouble some repairs and easy repairs. For technicians who do not understand the branding tricks used by all major manufacturers there are lists of design associated with various brands to unravel this common confusion.  Sears Kenmore is a perfect example of brand confusion. A chart is provided to decipher the various model prefix number in order to determine which manufacturer made a specific appliance for Kenmore.

The diagnostic section of the wizard breaks appliances down into the following categories, washers both top and front loaders, dryers both gas and electric, refrigerators of all styles, ice makers, dishwashers and disposers. Also included are training manuals that cover all of the appliance basics. Notably absent from the wizard are any marketing, pricing and business techniques as they are covered in other sections of the platinum program for those wishing to start their own appliance repair business. This makes the tablet extremely useful for training employees.

The Wizard tool goes far beyond the basics. As all professionals know, new computerized appliances include self diagnostic capabilities which are specific to particular brands and models. The theory is the same on all appliances but the specifics differ. Consequently, many thousands of manuals are included which are specific to each peculiar model. These are broken down by manufacturer and type. For example in addition to all of the ordinary Electrolux, GE and Whirlpool products, the tablet includes such peculiar units as duel fuel Wolf ranges and Fischer Paykel dishwashers.  Virtually nothing is omitted.

To make life even simpler, a powerful search tool is provided on the wizard login homepage which allow you to search by model number, brand or complaint to locate information pertinent to your question.

This is by far the best tool in the industry for training technicians, supporting on the road technicians or having in your hands when you’re on the job site need immediate information.

 

Sears is Going Out of Business! – A Golden Opportunity

 Sears has over 7,000 technicians running appliance service calls and those technicians are scared to death that Sears is going under and that they are going to be out of work. This translates into a gold mine for all of the independent appliance repair companies. Customers will be scrambling to find someone to repair all of their Kenmore appliances. For many decades Sears has been the largest appliance repair Company in the United States. Not too long ago Sears sold 70% of all appliances in the US.

However, times have changed.  In my short time of being in the appliance repair business, I have had more and more people come to me complaining about the quality, reliability and timeliness of Sears appliance repair service.  They have been stood up one too many times. It is only getting worse and customers  are looking for alternatives. The word is now out as magazines and newspapers circle the dying dinosaur like vultures.  Amazon, Home Depot and Lowe’s have been chipping away at Sears marketshare for a long time. The technicians at Sears are demoralized and overworked.

I don’t need to read the articles in the newspaper to know that Sears has a problem. And how do I know? I know because Sears representatives have called me numerous times to run their service calls. It’s obvious that they cannot get the work done and need help. Their good people are all gone. I have turned them down half a dozen times and irritated at the numerous phone calls. I have no interest in being a representative of a national company that has a terrible reputation for quality service.

From Consumer Affairs

All of this creates a tremendous opportunity for anyone interested in entering the appliance repair business or growing their existing business or diversifying their business. Folks such as handymen contractors, plumbers, HVAC companies, and electricians should all seriously view appliance repair at this time as a huge diversification opportunity.  For anyone in the appliance repair business it’s as good as the California gold rush!

Uncle Harry’s Mobile Appliance Wizard Review

Mobile Repair Wizard TabletLack of experience was the hardest obstacle I faced as a new appliance repair technician.  Nothing was harder when I  started out taking service calls than to be at a customer’s house and literally not be sure what my next move forward was.

Back when I started out, the only thing I could do was to study Uncle Harry’s materials ahead of a service call as much as possible, and once I got on site if I ran into something I wasn’t expecting, I had to tell the customer I would be back the next day, then go home and study some more.

Uncle Harry now has an instant Mobile Appliance Wizard loaded onto a handheld tablet that gives you immediate and targeted access to an enormous framework of service data, technical manuals and videos for any appliance or problem you might be working on.  Take a look at a sample video on YouTube.  It includes a handy search tool that makes it easy to locate manuals among the many thousands that are on the tablet. Quite impressive and useful.

I recently got a chance to review one of these, which was simply not around back when I got started taking calls, and I really wish it had been!

This powerful tool will instantly add years of knowledge, and the confidence that comes with it, to your new career while you’re busy getting real world experience under your belt.  And it has everything I still use every day on my service calls as an experienced technician.

With the easy to use wizard, you don’t need to be connected to the internet – it works anywhere, anytime.  In seconds you can get disassembly instructions for any appliance, troubleshooting and diagnosis for the specific problem you’re working on, and step-by-step instructions on how to complete the repair.

I remember that sometimes just being new was enough all by itself to get me stuck on something, even if I had studied it before.  And even when I thought I knew how to solve the problem in front of me, I still could have used some kind of confirmation that I was on the right track.

Having this Mobile Appliance Wizard at your fingertips can definitely take the mystery and anxiety out of getting started doing appliance repairs by fast tracking the diagnostic and repair process. This will not only make you look experienced and knowledgeable to your customers, but will most importantly help you complete your service calls quickly and successfully.

I have spoken highly of Uncle Harry’s program in the past, but this is why I continue to be a big, big fan.  I was proud it only took me 30 days before I ran my first service call, but with this powerful tool, I see no reason why anyone can’t get started in the appliance repair business immediately.

How to Start an Appliance Repair Business

How to Start an Appliance Repair BusinessI recently decided to start a major appliance repair business, and I succeeded.

Here’s a recap of how I did it:

1.  I looked for appliance repair training, including books, appliance repair training schools, free appliance repair training, and online appliance repair training courses:

  • The best appliance repair book I found was Troubleshooting and Repairing Major Appliances, by Eric Kleinert.
  • The best free appliance repair training resources I found were:
    • YouTube Videos (search on “appliance repair training”)
    • Repair Forums (check out appliantology.org)
    • Free Online Service Manuals (a good free source is appliancejunk.com)
    • Parts Sites (repairclinic.com has repair videos & partselect.com has DIY advice)
  • The best appliance repair technician training I found was Uncle Harry’s home study course. This training is the closest thing you’ll ever get to hands-on training in an online course – it can bridge the gap between reading the book and actually taking service calls.
  • “Uncle Harry” also has a 52 lesson online-only video course at Trade Commander which has the basics of practically everything related to getting started.

2.  I put together my business tools:

  • I built my appliance repair business web site using Lunarpages.com because they offer economical hosting with unlimited resources for bandwidth, storage, and email accounts.
  • I got a toll free number using Ring Central, which is very economical for a startup business with one line.
  • I had business cards printed using nextdayflyers.com – they have great prices for full color, coated, two sided business cards, great customer service and they’re FAST!
  • I had invoices printed using carbonlessondemand.com – they have excellent prices for your invoices.

3.  I put together my appliance repair service tools and parts:

  • I had most of the tools I needed already according to Uncle Harry’s list of tools, but I bought my digital multimeter using the resources in this post: http://appliancerepairstartup.com/multimeter-basics
  • I bought appliance repair parts inventory using Uncle Harry’s list of essentials.

4.  I promoted my business:

  • I got my appliance repair business website listed on free directories in this post:  http://appliancerepairstartup.com/free-online-business-directories/
  • I placed business cards in local grocery stores, businesses and hangouts
  • I bought fairly inexpensive signage and had it posted
  • I contacted local appliance related businesses to see if they needed assistance, and succeeded in forming a partnership with a used appliance dealer who needed a service technician to refer calls to.
  • I signed up with home warranty companies.
  • I signed up with inexpensive paid lead services

5.  I started taking calls:

  • I would use the Uncle Harry resources to research the repair, including his wizard, his technical manuals, videos and appliance repair service manuals
  • I would also call Uncle Harry personally if I had stumper calls, and he always answered the phone and helped me work through the problem.  I can’t say enough about this – his live support was huge!!
  • I would use online appliance repair forums like appliantology.org as additional technical resources

6.  I’m getting paid and business is going great:

  • I opened a free business checking account and started depositing my checks.
  • I am currently taking 3-6 calls a day.
  • In my area, I charge a flat fee of $128.00 for my calls plus a 25% markup on parts, and my customers love it.

For more details on starting an appliance repair business like I did, read the rest of the posts in my startup blog, and for more on how my business is going, read my business blog.

Why Running My Own Business is My Dream Job

Dream JobRunning my own appliance repair business is possibly the best job in the world.  I have a phone that rings, rates high enough to make plenty of money per call, and the ability to take time off when I choose.

Here’s how I dialed it in:

Charging top market rates means I don’t have to bust my butt doing call packed days in order to make my target income each week.

When I used to undercut the market average rate by 10%, I was converting 98% of my incoming calls and now that I’m 10% above market average, I only convert 95% of my incoming calls.  Hmmm…that math works out to a 20% raise with a 3% loss of market share.  No problem.

Being a one man shop is part of the perfect appliance repair business for me.  I tried running a crew of contractors, but I found out I don’t really like being anyone else’s boss.  I’m just a technician who likes fixing things and making good money doing it.

All the extra work tracking other techs’ calls forced me to work in the office late every night, and early every morning.  In the end, I decided it was simpler just to do the calls myself.

Controlling my schedule is one of the main reasons I started my own business.  In order to do this, I had to learn to turn down work, which is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

I had trouble resisting my instincts to run every possible call that came in, but finally got good at telling people I was booked (which is a whole other blog post).

Now I work a 4 day week and stack all my calls on those days.  Those 3 day weekends come around fast, and I am really, really, enjoying my extra personal time.  Whenever I want to turn the volume up, all I have to do is book more calls.

I realize I am very fortunate to be running my own business, to have the freedom to decide how much money I want to make and how hard I want to work.  It’s some people’s idea of a dream job, and yes, I’m one of those people.

What Does it Take to Become an Appliance Repair Pro?

These are the phases I have been through as an appliance repair technican and what it took me to become a pro:

PHASE I:  AMATEUR  While I was a real estate investor, I worked occasionally on appliances in my rental properties to save money so I didn’t have to call a repairman.  I fixed maybe two appliances a month.

PHASE II:  STUDENT  After the real estate crash, I needed to start over.  I chose appliance repair and became a student, first by reading Troubleshooting and Repairing Major Appliances, by Eric Kleinert, then by studying Uncle Harry’s technician program intensively for 30 days so I could start making money as fast as possible.

PHASE III:  BEGINNER  After a quick, intensive study phase, I hung my shingle (put up my website and listed my business in online directories) and started running service calls.  I considered myself a beginner during this phase, leaning heavily on Uncle Harry’s support system before and during  each call.

PHASE IV:  INTERMEDIATE   My beginner phase ended quickly and I turned intermediate during my “boot camp” days at a used appliance repair yard where I did warranty work for the owner who offered a one year guarantee.  He also gave me my own independent leads which he did not service.  I ran an average of 6 calls a day most days, and in my downtime I fixed stock on the lot.  I saw a large variety of appliance issues, became familiar with real world appliance repair work and real world fixes.

PHASE V:  PRO  I am proud to say I already consider myself a pro after a very short time in the business.  My definition of a pro is someone who can handle a minimum of 80% of calls with relative comfort, and has no more than 20% of calls that are challenging.  Appliance repair is not a perfect science, and even the pros don’t always have an exact answer for every problem, they just have their solution for it.  I have found my style and my stride, and it just gets better from here.

For Ex-Retirees Only…

Lost Savings - Need Post-Retirment IncomeAbout 3 months after I retired, the Great Recession came down on me like an avalanche and basically wiped out my savings.

I could not start over doing what I used to do, which was real estate investing, because the real estate market had crashed, and I had little recent experience doing anything else.

I was over 50, unemployed, and literally did not know how I was going to buy groceries for the rest of my life.  I lost a LOT of sleep before I finally discovered the idea of becoming an appliance repair technician.

I know I am not the only one in this situation.

There are people out there over 50, post-retirement, that have either lost their savings or are living on borrowed time.  They need not just supplemental income but a day job, and are having more than a little trouble finding employment.  Even menial jobs are flooded with applicants, companies can have their pick, and believe me we are not first on the list.

Starting an appliance repair business is an exceptionally good fit for this set of life circumstances, even if, like me, you are starting from scratch with no technical background.

While age is usually an obstacle to finding a job, oddly enough it is actually an advantage in the appliance repair business for several reasons:

  • First, customers assume I have years of experience from the moment they open the door, and I can bypass the usual “newbie” scrutiny.  With the confidence I gained by studying Uncle Harry’s course and relying on his support network while out in the field, all I have to do is keep my mouth shut that I’ve only been at it a short time, fix the appliance and be on my way.  If the customer is satisfied, that’s all that matters, and no one ever needs to know the truth.
  • Second, with my lifelong work experience, I don’t have a tendency to make some of the common business mistakes younger people often make. For example, I avoided overspending on my startup business in the first year.  I did not lease a storefront or an office but worked out of my home instead, I used my personal car as a service vehicle, and I only advertised for free on the internet.  Because I knew to proceed with caution, my business now has solid roots and continues to be successful.
  • Third, years of dealing with people have been the foundation of my first class customer service.  I get great reviews on internet search sites because I know how to treat people.  I know not to focus on making money, but on taking care of my customers.  These common sense ideas are not new, but they are learned and reinforced over time.

With running my own appliance repair business, I do not have to worry about getting hired by someone else and competing in the marketplace with younger applicants.  I can also control the volume of calls I take, so I don’t have to work at a pace that would kill most guys my age.  And, all my years and wisdom are an asset that give me an edge, rather than a liability to be hidden or excused.

I am grateful every day not only for an opportunity to work for a living, but to actually make enough income to start thinking about and planning for retirement again.

 

 

Review of Uncle Harry’s Appliance Repair Training

Start An Appliance Repair BusinessI bought Uncle Harry’s appliance repair technician home study course and used it to successfully start my appliance repair business, which I write about in my startup blog.  In retrospect, this is how I feel about the value of Uncle Harry’s materials and support.

When I started out, I knew absolutely NOTHING about the appliance repair business, and I had no relatives, neighbors or buddies who could mentor me and teach me the business.

All I had when I started was “Electronics for Dummies” and a book on appliance repair called Troubleshooting and Repairing Major Appliances, 2nd Ed.  I had watched all the free YouTube videos I could find, and I had studied DIY forums for all they were worth, but I just couldn’t bridge the gap between being an amateur and becoming a professional without SOMETHING else.

I looked at Penn-Foster pretty closely, but I was concerned that it would be too theoretical, kind of like the appliance repair books on steroids.   I wanted something practical that taught me what I would encounter in the real world.

With all the manufacturers, models, types of appliances and years of technology changes that I would need to become an expert on, how was I going to go from knowing nothing to taking appliance repair calls?

Uncle Harry had a very valuable solution.  First he taught me the hands-on fundamentals using videos of repairs being done on actual machines, and technical manuals with step-by-step instructions.  Next what was really important is he taught me the business itself,  including advertising/marketing, parts inventory, customer service,  invoicing.  After all that, he had an extensive support system as I started go out on my calls.

Before I ever started taking service calls, I studied Harry’s materials thoroughly.  Once I started taking calls, I would research specific problems I was trying to solve by reviewing them in Uncle Harry’s course materials.

Harry  personally answered my emails and phone calls and helped me through my stumpers, which was critical for me in the early stages of startup.

Not sure how I would have started my appliance repair business from scratch without using Uncle Harry as an intermediate stepping stone between being a DIY guy and a professional.

For more about how I started my appliance repair business, read my startup blog, and for more about my ongoing business read my business blog.

Raising My Rates

I Deserve A RaiseWhen I started my appliance repair business, I decided to undercut my competition’s rates by 10% to convert sales, book lots of calls, and build a loyal customer base.

To be honest, I also charged lower rates so I could feel comfortable during service calls considering my inexperience.  Basically, I wanted to be cheap enough that nobody would complain if it took a little longer to fix something.

And this strategy has really worked.

The phone rings constantly, I convert over 90% of my calls, I have satisfied customers who give me repeat business, and nobody complains about my turnaround time.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right?

Wrong.

I just raised my labor rate 30% to top market, and I’ll tell you why.

First, the phone rings constantly.  It rings so much, I can’t run all the service calls myself.  I have hired other technicians in the past, had as many as three other techs working for me at one time, but I’ve discovered I’m not really looking to run a huge operation.  That’s just a personal choice.  So when the phone rings, I have no alternative but to turn away business.

I figure, one smart way to turn away business is to charge more money, right?

Best decision I’ve made since I chose appliance repair in the first place!

First, I now make a lot more per call while running the same number of calls.  Basically, I just gave myself a big raise.

Second, I realize if I’m converting over 90% of my calls, that’s actually a sign I’m charging too little.  By charging more money, some of the calls do shop around and I get a few more cancellations – mostly the penny pinchers – but I have to admit I don’t miss those guys one bit.

Third, my repeat business does not really come from my rates.  I provide great service, and it turns out the tons of positive feedback I get is about my service, NOT my rates.  All things being equal, even competitively priced, my regular customers still choose me.

And by the way, I am an experienced technician now so I don’t feel like I have to cover my inexperience with lower rates anymore, and I’m pretty proud of that.

Hey, maybe I should have done this sooner…

Starting an Appliance Repair Business on a Shoestring

When I started in appliance repair, I had very little money, so I’m going to tell you the absolute minimum I think you need to get started running service calls.

THE SERVICE VEHICLE:

Although it is a big advantage to have a traditional service vehicle like a truck, van, or even SUV, I will tell you it is not absolutely necessary. If you don’t have a truck or van already, you may not need to buy one right away.

As I said, I was really broke when I first started.  I didn’t have a truck and could not afford it, so I worried about this, but I had no choice.  I originally ran service calls right out of my four door sedan. I know it doesn’t look as established as a truck, but I never had a single customer doubt my abilities once I got inside the door.

I filled my trunk with tools and inventory (as shown in the photo) and I also neatly filled my back seat with stuff. I think it looked to them like I was a subcontracted technician who worked on overflow business for the company. No one ever said anything negative to me or to the office about it, and by the time I was done with the repair, they always wanted extra business cards to stay in touch and share with others.

If you already have one, the advantage of a nice truck or van is obvious, and will certainly help establish a professional image. Adding magnetic door signs at about $100 is a very effective way to help promote and brand your image, well worth the money and will also get you extra business.

Be sure to declare a portion your car or truck as used for business purposes with you insurance company. If you have a claim and they investigate and find you were out on a service call, they will deny your claim. I was able to add my vehicle to my existing policy with no increase in premium. Results will vary from state to state.

INVENTORY:

Inventory is a whole subject unto itself, but I started out with about $250 worth of the most basic parts and tools mainly based on the list from Uncle Harry.

I tried to carry the common things that the customer would expect me to have on hand like, fuses, thermostats, belts and switches, with a few other frequently needed items peppered in like motor couplers, universal inlet valves, and defrost timers.

Depending on the appliance parts vendors in your area, and turnaround times ordering online, you will be surprised how little you need to stock at first. Let the local parts house or online supplier hold your inventory for you until you get more established.

You will eventually get tired of running to the parts house or waiting for online parts to be shipped for your most frequent repairs, and making two trips to the customer’s home, and start holding more inventory yourself.

OFFICE SUPPLIES:

I started out with 500 nice, glossy, full color, two sided business cards from nextdayflyers.com for around $30 shipped, 500 carbonless invoices from carbonlessondemand.com for around $50 shipped, and self sticking magnetic business card blanks (in bulk) at about 30 cents each.

I also use an HP Netbook with mobile broadband for an on-site library of technical manuals and online support (any laptop or portable will do), and mobile broadband costs $50 per month.

I can’t imagine going out on calls without being able to read full sized manuals and wiring diagrams and geting on the internet for downloads. A must have, in my opinion.

MARKETING AND ADVERTISING:

All of my marketing and advertising is via the internet using free search site business listings (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) (Check out this article for more information.).

I do not buy local print advertising, phone book advertising (which is expensive and considered not worth the money by most service technicians), door hangers or signage.  I’m not saying that there are not some viable things to do to get your name out there, I just don’t use them in my business. A strong internet presence is all that I have found necessary to get things going.

My wife is skilled at website design and internet marketing (that’s how I have this nice blog site!). If you feel you want to try doing your own website design and management, Lunarpages.com has some great deals for annual hosting, domain name registration, email, and website design templates.  If not, it’s a tricky one for me to answer because, luckily, I have never shopped for website design or SEO (search engine optimization).

Good SEO is essential to drive traffic to your website, but free reviews from your satisfied customers are worth their weight in gold, and get you better search rank than anything else you can do!

LEGAL STUFF:

Three important items are license, insurance, and business entity. I would not recommend attempting this business without all three. Get a business license from your local government – mine cost about $50. I have a business owner’s policy for $1,000,000 per occurrence in general business liability insurance which costs me $450 annually.

You will need to decide if you want to be a corporation or LLC (not all states offer this choice).  My LLC cost $100 to set up, and I did it online in one day by going to the Secretary of State website for my state.

Carefully consider before choosing a corporation over an LLC. The paperwork and additional accounting services at tax time made this an unattractive choice for me.

I would suggest you NOT choose to operate as a DBA (doing business as). Spend the money and set up a corporation or LLC to protect your family from the direct consequences of events within your business. Remember you are going into other people’s homes, best to be on the safe side!

BOTTOM LINE:

I spent, bare bones, around $1,000 to set up my business and don’t regret any of the choices I made in the process. Good luck and let us know how it’s going!

Free Appliance Repair Training vs. Paid Training

Free Appliance Repair Training vs. Paid TrainingFree resources are available on the internet, and some of them are very helpful, but paid training can catapult you onto the next level that free training can’t.

Free appliance repair training can also take longer to accumulate the knowledge that paid training can condense into a much shorter period of time. There is a huge amount of free information on YouTube and elsewhere on the web but, unfortunately it is unfiltered and often in error.  Rarely do you find accurate diagnostic instructions. Instead you only find how to replace parts videos.

Paid training  is also much more thorough, and fills in a lot of gaps that free training leaves.

If you spend your money wisely, you can get a great education in a short period of time and get your business started quickly.

  • Books:  Choose wisely and you don’t need that many of them. The first book you need to learn appliance repair troubleshooting is Troubleshooting and Repairing Major Appliances, by Eric Kleinert.  It’s like a troubleshooting encyclopedia. For a practical application of the techniques, it really needs to be supplemented with Uncle Harry (see below) .
  • Home Study Course:  There is nothing else out there like Uncle Harry on the market.  Harry has worked since 1997 developing step-by-step repair manuals and videos, and teaches you how to actually run your appliance repair business including advertising/marketing, parts inventory, customer service,  invoicing.  This training is the closest thing you’ll ever get to hands-on training in an online course – it can bridge the gap between reading the book and actually taking service calls. Getting text, email, and phone support is critical to your success.
  • Professional Training Schools:  Penn Foster has a professional appliance repair technician’s training course which focuses on theoretical training. The price is reasonable, but unfortunately, Penn Foster spends a lot of time on small appliances such as mixers and toasters.  Professionals in the appliance repair business turn down such requests and focus on major appliances where they can make $100 per hour.

Enter the Stealth Tech

It’s the back half of my second year in the appliance repair business, and I am running at full capacity on service calls all day, every day.

I have multiple commercial accounts, one of which is a 600 unit planned development complex that keeps me pretty busy all by itself.

My wife now works full time in the office answering the phone, scheduling and billing, and I have had to hire a subcontractor to take overflow calls.

That doesn’t change the fact that I still have only a year and a half experience in appliance repair, and that means I still have a lot to learn.

Most of the jobs with problems I’ve never encountered  I can handle using online resources and remote experts.  I continue to tap into Uncle Harry’s online support system to find solutions.  I even use my smartphone’s high resolution camera to shoot detailed pictures of broken appliances and send them out to his network of experienced techs who can recognize what they see.

But on some of the jobs I found myself wishing I could just knock heads together with someone who could put their hands directly on the unit, do some real time troubleshooting on site while I shoulder surfed, and give me their second opinion.

I seriously considered subcontracting with someone else’s company so I could gain this “fly on the wall” perspective.

A happy accident occurred when I hired my subcontractor.

He had been a full time appliance repair technician for 8 years for a national company before going freelance.  He didn’t focus on full scale lead generation or dealing directly with large commercial accounts.  He got most of his leads by word of mouth around town from one appliance repair company to the next.

When we met it was a perfect match.

As luck would have it, not only does he handle my overflow calls, but he also helps me out with my high complexity calls as my “stealth tech.”  All I tell the customer is that I’m going to have Steve take look at their appliance because he has worked on a lot of these particular units.

I now have that boots-on-the-ground resource that can take a physical look at some of my more difficult cases after I’ve had a crack at them.  I get a chance to watch how he approaches the problem as an experienced technician.  Sometimes it’s the same as I went about it and he just confirms my diagnosis, but sometimes it’s different and he comes up with different results.

Right now I call him in about once a week to take a look at something I’ve been working on.  It’s just one more handy component while I’m closing the experience gap.