Appliance Circuit Board Repair: An Untapped Resource for Pros and a Profitable Solution

The COVID-19 pandemic, among its many consequences, has led to an increased shortage of home appliances.  Homeowners have been forced to opt for repairing their appliances as a result. In normal times such a situation would be a welcomed one; however, appliance repair professionals face limited replacement part supplies. The virus’s impact on global production lines and transportation prevents these items, many of which originate abroad,  from getting to the US. Those that do sell out quickly or get directed to existing back-order requests.

Despite these circumstances, technicians still possess a resource to complete jobs and keep their customers happy: appliance circuit board repair. The following article provides appliance repair pros with an overview of these services and solutions.

circuit board close-up

What is Appliance Circuit Board Repair and Why It’s Booming?

Circuit boards are composed of electrical or electronic components on an insulated material, which controls the different features in a device. Inside appliances, the parts regulate functions like temperature, displays, and lights. Newer models, in particular, consist of intricate electronic set-ups meaning that when issues arise they require immediate attention.

In 2020, a national appliance part shortage encourages homeowners to ask for appliance parts to be repaired versus replaced. Circuit boards, specifically, are one of the most requested repairs we’ve been hearing pros identify as being in high demand by customers. The situation continues today at an ever increasing rate. A few years ago we rarely shipped out computer boards for repair but now it is a frequent occurrence.

Below we outline how to identify if a circuit board is failing or broken, as well as a source who can help with these repairs.

How to Identify a Broken Circuit Board

Signs of a Failing or Dead Appliance Circuit Board

Although each type of appliance and its brand may offer varying warning signs, here are some of the most common ones appliance repair techs see.

Ovens and Ranges:

  • An error code may be displayed; however, this code does not specify the exact issue. Electric ovens often seem like they are working but will not heat up.


  • Many homeowners initially report a burning odor or a warm fridge.  Techs can confirm  this from error codes displays  or visible burns on the board.

Washers and Dryers:

  • Similar to refrigerators, homeowners often mention a burning odor to appliance repair professionals to tip them off about a faulty board. Additionally, a dryer’s failure to produce heat could be another symptom to investigate further.

Possible Causes of Circuit Board Failure

  • A heavy circuit that overloads the system
  • An appliance that is overworked and not regularly maintained
  • Heat sensitivity (ovens, ranges, dryers)
  • Compressor heat and improper venting can cook the board (refrigerators)

Circuit Board Repair: When It’s a Good Idea and How Much to Charge for This Service

Once you have identified that a faulty circuit board is a reason an appliance no longer works and you are unable to purchase a factory original part your only option is to ship the faulty board to a rebuilding center. Fortunately, my mentor Uncle Harry has been repairing circuit board for years and he has expanded this  service  to appliance repair techs and homeowners. I have personally used his service and it was quick and the rebuilt boards worked perfectly. He is charging $189.00 for a board rebuild including a year guarantee.  I charge $500-600 for this repair!  Follow this link for details>>.

Comparing Options for Appliance Repair Schooling [2022]

With the new year here and some readers potentially considering a career switch into appliance repair, I wanted to provide a fresh overview of the top appliance repair schools out there, their unique features, their drawbacks, and their costs. I examined the four significant entities offering training programs: Penn Foster, Master Samurai Tech, Uncle Harry’s Appliance Repair School, and Fred’s Appliance Repair. In addition to this information, you should be taking into consideration your existing knowledge of appliance repair, your general mechanical/electrical skills, your budget for education, and your timeline for starting work.

It is no secret that I started my career with Uncle Harry’s School and have been quite successful. However I often get comments asking me about other options so i have done my best to be objective in my analysis.

the word "training" on a keyboard

General Features of Appliance Repair Training

Common topics and disciplines covered across appliance repair training programs include the following:

  • Electrical and gas fundamentals
  • Appliance-specific parts, repair techniques, and common issues
  • Appliance repair business operations best practices

For aspiring appliance repair professionals, keep in mind that specific training programs will cover more or less detail about these modules. Thus, it’s important to identify what topics best match your aspirations. For example, if you’re considering starting your own appliance repair business, you’ll want to enroll in a school that prioritizes entrepreneurship and mentoring.

Along with knowing what is most important to your professional development, you’ll also want to take into consideration your familiarity with appliances’ components and how to repair them. Individuals with little to no background in the field should seek out a training curriculum that starts with the basics of appliance repair and take their time to enrich their knowledge. Rushing out to service calls will only result in frustration and hinder long-term success. More experienced pros, on the other hand, would likely do best with schools that offer specialized training, such as deep-dives into the electrical components of specific appliances.

How Four Appliance Repair Schools Compare

Penn Foster logo

Penn Foster

Who This Program is For:  Novices

Focus Areas:

  • Appliance repair basics
  • Electricity, electronics, and gas for home appliances including small appliances
  • Repairs for dryers, washers, microwaves, dishwashers, ovens, small appliances and sealed refrigeration systems (refrigerators and freezers)

Estimated Time for Completion: Three to six months


  • Low cost
  • Studies are delivered online
  • Self-paced
  • Variety of payment options for tuition
  • Dedicated Student Services Department for questions
  • Accepts veterans’ education benefits


  • Coursework is geared mostly towards novices. Impractical advice such as fixing blenders and other throwaway appliances.
  • Limited focus on running an appliance repair business
  • No ongoing support after graduation
  • Very old dated material

Cost: $799 to $929 depending on payment options

master samurai tech logo

Master Samurai Tech

Who This Program is For:  Novices, seasoned pros, and individuals with an interest in the mechanical/electrical ins-and-outs of appliances

Focus Areas:

  • Appliance repair basics: tools, common issues, and quick fixes
  • Advanced electricity, electronics, and gas repairs for home appliances
  • Deep-dives on the tech in modern appliances and how to identify problems
  • Customer service

Estimated Time for Completion: Two to three months (varies on the courses you take and level of experience going into studies)


  • Ability to customize a curriculum
  • Studies are delivered online
  • Self-paced
  • Variety of payment options for tuition
  • One-year subscription to Appliantology, an online resource for technicians, after graduation


  • Coursework is geared mostly towards experienced appliance repair pros. Gets very technical. Included deep electrical theory.
  • Limited focus on running an appliance repair business
  • Cost
  • Limited ongoing support after graduation via a support forum and email; no personal mentoring or phone contact
  • Lifetime access to training materials for a small fee ($5 to $10 per month)

Cost: $150 to $1895 depending on the number of courses selected

uncle harry's logo

Uncle Harry’s Appliance Repair School

Who This Program is For:  Novices, seasoned pros, and people with an strong interest in running their own business

Focus Areas:

  • Appliance repair basics: tools, common issues, and quick fixes. Includes important information on which calls to turn down and which ones are profitable.
  • Electricity, electronics, and gas repairs for home appliances
  • Ways to get started cheap[y,  make the phone ring and grow your own appliance repair business
  • Emphasis on honesty and great customer service

Estimated Time for Completion: Two to three months (varies on the courses you take and level of experience going into studies)


  • Ability to customize a curriculum. Variety of online options on Shopify.
  • Studies are delivered online
  • Self-paced
  • Variety of payment options for tuition
  • An appliance repair wizard tablet preloaded with 8,500+ of the newest service manuals and 200+ how-to on-the-job videos –> these get updated weekly
  • Optional laptop with 240 videos filmed in customers houses.
  • Job pricing guidance
  • Lifetime phone and virtual support, even when a tech is on a job
  • Students get set-up with a mentor


  • Doesn’t teach warranty or system work; it is Uncle Harry’s opinion that far more money is made focusing on COD work. Interestingly he has data to prove it.

Cost: $599 to $2899 depending on the selected package

fred's appliance academy logo

Fred’s Appliance Academy

Who This Program is For:  Novices

Focus Areas:

  • Appliance repair basics: tools, common issues, and quick fixes
  • Electricity, electronics, and gas repairs for home appliances

Estimated Time for Completion: 15 to 20 hours per course


  • Studies are delivered online and post-pandemic there’ll be an in-person option again
  • Self-paced
  • Variety of payment options for tuition and student aid
  • Virtual and phone support for current students


  • Limited focus on running an appliance repair business
  • Prior to COVID-19, students had to attend their training in-person

Cost: $200 to $300 per course

Tis the Season for the Home Appliance Repair Rush: How to Prepare

man repairing oven

The winter holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving and running through New Year’s Day, is one of the busiest times for home appliance repair professionals. Homeowners, wrapped up in planning meals and shopping for holiday gifts, may forget about doing basic home appliance maintenance. The result is panicked calls at the last minute, begging an appliance repair professional to come out and fix their issue.

With this situation in mind, I wanted to offer some tips for appliance repair techs that’ll be dealing with increased volume and pressure from customers to “just check out this one small problem.”

holiday dinner table spread

Tips for Staying Sane During the Busy Holiday Appliance Repair Season

1) Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No”

One of the best ways to minimize stress during the holiday season is to say, “No,” when your gut tells you to and decline calls that come through at the last minute. Sure, it’s tempting to squeeze in as many calls as possible, but trust me, nothing good comes from overstretching yourself. When a homeowner is in a high-stress situation, you’ll feel pressured to rush through the repairs and over-promise what you can actually do for them. You’ll also expose yourself to potential injuries stemming from trying to quickly complete a job and extended hours.

Instead of subjecting yourself or your team to these circumstances, start by being honest with homeowners. For instance, if you’re booked up with calls already, state this plainly, remain firm in your decision, and schedule an appointment date in the future. Some techs this year have been giving themselves up to two weeks to respond to customers given the surge in demand because of the pandemic. When a job is going to require replacement parts, I encourage you to get the homeowner to call a manufacturer directly and then have you install the components. Not only will this save everyone time, but it’ll also limit those daily check-ins from a customer, which takes you away from running calls.

2) Know About These Common Holiday Season Appliance Issues Ahead of Time

Once you’ve limited your volume of requests, it’s time to prepare for handling these common appliance problems often associated with the holiday season. Ones that frequently get mentioned in service requests include:

  • Ovens and stoves not working as a result of infrequent use throughout the year and using the self-cleaning feature

  • Washers  and dryers stop working because of inconsistent cleaning of the debris filter and overloading

  • Fridges and freezers stop working because of pet hair or other debris covering the bottom vents

  • Clogged sinks that arise from placing the wrong types of items down a garbage disposal, such as grease, bones, and large pieces of food

During your appointment scheduling call with the homeowner, make sure to get as much information ahead of time as possible. Doing so will ensure that you have the right tools on-hand, replacement parts are ordered, and no one’s time is wasted.

9 Reasons Why Appliance Repair is a Good Career Choice

home improvement tools on display

Appliance repair can be a great career choice for an individual. It offers you a potentially fruitful career that gives people a sense of purpose, financial security, and is almost always in need, especially as homeowners try to stretch their appliances’ lives.

In this post, we outline nine reasons why readers should seriously consider appliance repair as a career versus a temporary pursuit.

9 Reasons Why Appliance is a Good Choice

1) Appliance Repair is a Recession-Proof Business

With the prevalence of major home appliances and people’s reliance on them, homeowners are always willing to shell out money for their repairs.

2) The Service Largely Sells Itself

By the time someone is reaching out to you for a job, they’re ready to pay for it without negotiating on pricing.

3) You’ll Always Be Learning

Given how rapidly home appliances’ tech evolves, you’ll be continuously learning how to solve new problems for customers. Additionally, as you become acclimated to these changes, you can market your unique skills and boost your earnings.

4) You Won’t Be Stuck Inside at a Desk

Appliance repair requires you to be on the move and in people’s homes, which offers you variety when it comes to environments and people you’ll meet.

5) You’ll Be Staying Fit

Along with keeping boredom away, your work will help keep you moving and healthy. Hauling your repair tools to and from your vehicle daily can make for a great workout.

6) Your Interpersonal Skills Will Grow

Appliance repair requires interactions with customers online, on the phone, and in-person. These experiences will help you improve your communication skills and leverage these professional relationships for additional business via referrals or repeat service calls.

7) You’re Able to Set Your Own Pricing

Mentioned previously, appliance repair is often viewed as a necessity for homeowners. This situation means that you can set your prices and earn a good living. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2019 Occupational Employment and Wages report, the annual mean wage is $44,210. Just make sure to do some research on competitors’ prices and adjust yours accordingly so you don’t lose out on business.

8) You’re Helping Your Neighbors

Appliance repair technicians more often than not work in the same community or area where they live. Because of this, you’ll be helping fellow residents with a frustrating experience that may lead to future calls.

9) It’s Never Too Late to Start

Thanks to online training, like Uncle Harry‘s and others, and other resources, you can pick-up appliance repair relatively fast and without prior knowledge of the trade. Also, you can train at your own pace.

Appliance Repair School: What to Consider Before Enrolling

man using a laptop

There are numerous options, free and paid, for appliance repair schools for individuals considering an appliance repair career, but not all are created equal nor deliver. With years of industry and practical experience behind me, I wanted to provide a series of questions to guide these individuals’ decisionmaking before they enroll in an appliance repair school and spend their money. After all, it’s a big commitment to go through this training in terms of time, money, and energy.

7 Questions to Ask Yourself about Any Appliance Repair School

1) What is My End Goal?

Do I want to own my own appliance repair business or work at an existing company? If the latter, what types of certification or licenses do will you need to have beforehand? Having a clear goal in mind will help you narrow your search and prevent you from wasting money on programs that don’t aid you in achieving it.

2) How Much Time Do I Have for Appliance Repair Training?

Some programs are self-paced while others require in-person, multi-week sessions so you’ll want to know what works for your schedule. Additionally, you’ll want to think about your current experience level and how fast you wish to get working as an appliance repair tech.

3) What Do Past Students Have to Say?

Take a look at reviews and testimonials from past students. If they’re not available, stay away!

4) Who is Going to Be Teaching Me?

Be mindful of whether your program is completely self-taught via online tutorials/printouts or if can you speak to a real-life human. Personally, I’d encourage you to prioritize training that balances both elements. Furthermore, ask for the credentials and experiences of an instructor. This is important since you’ll want one that knows about your particular end goal. For example, is business ownership their focus or are they better suited to help someone who wants to work at an existing company?

5) How Much Does It Cost?

Pretty self-explanatory in that you can ask for programs’ pricing. If you’re comparing multiple schools, ensure that you’re also taking into account their benefits and how this is reflected in their costs. Remember, when it comes to education, going with the cheapest option might not be the best for you longterm. This is an important investment in your future so evaluate across different criteria.

6) What is the Curriculum Like?

Ask the school for a preview of their curriculum. Carefully examine what is being taught to students. Is it practical knowledge gleaned from experience or purely theoretical? Can your course materials be customized according to your interests?

7) What Do I Get Upon Completion of the Program?

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll want to know what you get upon graduation: do you become licensed or obtain an appliance repair certification? The strength of the school’s professional network, also, is something to keep in mind as you review program options.

6 Free Appliance Repair Marketing Sites

Appliance Repair Marketing: Use These Free and Easy-to-Use Tools blog post

Appliance repair marketing is essential for growing your business by getting your name out there and driving leads. Whether you’re a new tech starting a company or an industry veteran, you can always seek ways to improve your efforts in this area. You’ll want to be in the places that your customers are searching already and go to find service providers.

Knowing you might have limited time and resources for marketing your businesses, we’ve compiled a list of free, easy-to-use business directories that’ll help you. These resources are ones recommended by marketing experts, Moz, as well as ones I’ve used in the past.

Special note: Before you submit to these sites, make sure you have a working website and CRM up and running. You’ll want a place for people to request service and be able to monitor leads.

6 Free Appliance Repair Marketing Sites

To make the most of your time, prepare some basic information about your business ahead of time. Business directories typically require the following details:

  • Website URL
  • Business name
  • Your name
  • Contact information for the business
  • Business logo
  • One to a two-paragraph description of your business

Google My Business

What Is It? Google My Business is one of the top free tools out there for businesses. Getting your appliance repair business set-up with a profile helps you to manage your online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. Not only will customers be able to find you and leave reviews, but you’ll also get the opportunity to share company news, promotions, and other content to keep them engaged.

Special Considerations: Be aware that you’ll need to verify your new Google My Business listing. For most businesses, this means verifying ownership over the phone, via SMS, or by requesting and receiving a postcard to your address from Google. Get more information about this process here.

Raker Appliance Repair GMB profile


What Is It? Yelp is a social networking site that allows customers to post reviews and rate businesses. As a business you’re able to set-up a profile similar to Google My Business and share company photos, videos, and promotions.

Special Considerations: For new businesses, you’ll need to search on the site and claim it. Detailed instructions can be found here.

Yelp appliance repair service results Baltimore


What Is It? Manta is a directory meant to help small businesses promote themselves online and gain customers. Like the previous two resources, you’ll get the chance to upload your business information, along with the services you provide.

Facebook Business Page

What Is It? Getting yourself a Business Page on the world’s largest social network is a great way to help customers find you. Aside from offering them basic information about what you do, Facebook makes it a breeze to respond to messages and helps you generate leads in one place.

Special Considerations: For new businesses, you’ll need to verify your business by answering an automated call from Facebook after the page is created. This process will ensure customers know that you’re legitimate.

Uncle Harry's Appliance Repair School Facebook Business Page

Yellow Pages

What Is It? The Yellow Pages, or now referred to as YP, is the online version of the old school telephone directory arranged according to business categories.

Special Considerations: While you can join YP for free, expect follow-up emails and phone calls encouraging you to sign up for premium features and advertising.

Yellow Pages profile example


What Is It? Nextdoor is one of the newer online platforms that focuses on neighborhoods in select cities. For business owners, you can create a profile for your company and as of 2019, offer special Local Deals to customers near your location. Customers will also be able to provide recommendations to their neighbors about your business.

Nextdoor business profile example

14 Must-Have Appliance Repair Tools (2020)

14 Must-Have Appliance Repair Tools (2020)

We want to make sure appliance repair techs can get their jobs done right, safely, and efficiently by showing up with the right tools. This list is informed by years of appliance repair experience, as well as recommendations from industry veterans.

Disclaimer: This list is a great place to start and works for many repair jobs, but be aware that some require specialized tools not shown here.

1) Rechargeable Flashlight: Might seem obvious, but many repair jobs require working in tight spaces with limited natural/environmental light. Never worry about needing to replace batteries while on a job with a rechargeable flashlight, like this one you can find on Amazon.

Rechargeable LED Flashlight


2) Pocket Thermometer:  Check that your refrigerator and freezer temperature-related repairs are complete with this pocket-size tool.

Pocket Thermometer


3) Utility Knife: Designed to be a lightweight, multi-purpose cutting tool, this knife will help with marking cut lines, trimming plastic or wood materials, or to cutting tape, cords, strapping, cardboard, or other packaging material.

4) Screwdriver Set: One of the most used appliance repair tools. Be prepared for any job by purchasing a battery-operated driver with Phillips head 1/4”, 5/16”, 3/8” magnetic nut drivers plus T10, T15, and T20 Torx drivers. Today’s battery-operated drivers will last a week without a recharge.

Just in case the battery-operated unit conks out, I recommend having Phillips and flat head screwdrivers both large and small in reserve.

Torx Driver Set


Power Driver


Magnetic Driver Head Set

5) Wrench Set: As with your screwdriver and nut driver sets, you’ll want to have an SAE and Metric-compatible wrench set. While they are seldom used and never carried into a customer’s house, they are kept in reserve.

6) Adjustable Wrench: This wrench features a jaw that is adjustable to accommodate various bolt and nut sizes. It’s particularly helpful with hard-to-reach fasteners.

Adjustable Wrench

7) Analog Multimeter: A tool that measures electrical voltage, resistance, and current, and is essential for diagnosing electrical problems. As Uncle Harry preaches I have found an analog multimeter far more useful and less misleading than a digital one.

Analog Multimeter

8) Needlenose Pliers and Wire Cutters: Two other tools that you’ll want to have are a set of needlenose pliers and wire cutters. The first is great for dealing with small pieces, as well as bending or cutting wires. The second is pretty self-explanatory.

Needlenose Pliers


Wire Cutters

9) Putty Knife: Along with being used for spreading putty, this tool can aid in scraping and prying.

10) Rubber Gloves: Protect your hands from the combination of brute strength required and the endless sharp edges of sheet metal surrounding your hands (not to mention exposed screws).

11) Pipe Thread Sealant: Use this stuff on appliances’ threaded pipe fittings to prevent leaks. Sets quickly and firmly bonds to various materials, such as PVC, steel, and copper.

Pipe Thread Sealant

12) Telescoping Magnetic Pick-Up Tool: Spare yourself some headaches and time by purchasing this tool. It can save your life when you drop odd sized screws down into hard to reach spots of the appliance. This is a must-have.

Telescope pickup tool and grabber

13) 8′ Test Cord: A standard household extension cord with the female end cut off and insulated alligator clips soldered on.

14) Turkey Baster and Hand-Held Steamer: Use these tools for refrigerator-specific jobs where the drain plug is freezing and causing a blockage. It’ll help you effectively melt the ice and complete a service call in no-time.

Hand-Held Steamer Tool

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 takes 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. Plus the value of time is seldom mentioned. A pro is constantly weighing time in his profit calculation.

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 .

Uncle Harry’s 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 are critical to your success. I know that from personal experience.

Penn Foster has as 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.

Samurai Appliance Course.: The Samurai course is basically a useful library of helpful hints on appliance repair.  He advertises himself as the ultimate source of knowledge in appliance repair and I admit he posts a lot of useful information. If I had only seen his material when I was pondering my venture into appliance repair I’m afraid I would have been frightened off. Two things bothered me: one, everything seems so technical when he presented it and two, I immediately concluded that most jobs involved meters and high tech circuit  analysis solutions.  Once I talked to Uncle Harry, who has degree in electrical engineering, I calmed down and realized that I was worrying way too much. Only 10% of my work gets technical and I always work around it using simple tricks.  Once I mastered Uncle Harry’s techniques, I have been amazed at how problems can actually be easily solved. So if you are an electrical novice, as I was, go the Uncle Harry route. If you feel you want to dig deeply into schematics Samurai is your guy. Personally I’m more interested in making money.

The YouTube Revolution is Changing the Appliance Repair Business

Fact 1.  YouTube Has Changed  the entire “How To” World

It is undeniable that the millions of YouTube videos have changed the “How To” world.  Appliance repair is just one of many service business affected by all this content. Plumbing and electrical issues, HVAC work and  medical problems all  look easily solved when you view them on YouTube.

I saw a great sign on the wall in my doctors office, it said “Please don’t confuse your Google search with my medical degree.”  I pity the poor doctors.




Fact 2YouTube has resulted in a proliferation of information

There is an incredible amount of how to information available on YouTube and elsewhere on the web.

Fact 3.  There is no editing or filtering of videos on YouTube.  Everything gets posted!

Virtually no web information is edited by any fact checker.  I’m certain that most content is well intended and not intentionally misleading.  However, accidentally or not,  a tremendous amount of questionable or completely inaccurate information is posted.  Every happy egotist proudly posts his solution to his problem. And his problem seems exactly like yours!

Fact 4.  There is no easy way to determine whether YouTube facts are accurate or inaccurate?

It is very difficult for the average person to determine if the solution is correct and is it going to work for them?

Fact 5.  The average Joe believes everything he sees on YouTube

Innocently, most people jump on the first popular how to video that they see  and follow the instructions as gospel.  They really have no way to determine if the help they are getting is accurate.  Oh boy, does that ever create a quagmire of trouble.




Fact or fiction? Nobody calls servicemen anymore, they use YouTube and fix everything themselves.

It has gotten to be common place for a customer to call for service only after they have exhausted themselves trying to fix it on their own. They open the conversation with a long story of how they have tried to fix their problem.

As servicemen we never know how many are successful and how many fail. We only hear from the frustrated failures. Some companies get huffy and refuse to work on machines worked on by others.  I can certainly sympathize with that policy; however, I prefer a different response.  It has been my experience that few customers get in very deep. They get frustrated quickly. In most cases you can easily solve their problems and become a hero. Now the customer knows an appliance expert who they can call plus they have your name to give to their friends.

It is safe to say that most of the problems solved by YouTube are simple ones. It is also true that there is so much repair work available that we are just as happy to not take the silly, simple calls. Middle to upper income families, the ideal customers by the way, seldom have time or interest in repairing their own appliances.  They have more important things to do and are happy to pay us for service. (Learn how to attract the ideal customers by studying Uncle Harry’s guidelines.)

YouTube is Killing My Business!

Blame it on YouTube

Recently at my local appliance parts supplier, I ran into a friendly competitor, Phil. He was curious as to whether I had any service calls and I said, ” Yes, I can barely keep up.” He complained angrily that his business was dead slow and he had an explanation. He claimed that since the advent of YouTube his business had died. He said, “Everyone goes to YouTube to figure out how to fix their own appliances and never have to call me.” He went on at great length and was quite bitter about it. I sympathized with him and let him rant.

The Power of Social Media

Unfortunately for Phil, there is a lot more to the story. Over the years I have watched his business tactics and listened to more than a few of his very unhappy customers who came to me to correct poor repairs done by Phil’s company.  Apparently he has a bad habit of both ignoring callbacks and getting irritated with customers.

Today it is extremely easy for an unhappy customer to post a bad review with full details of what a bum Phil is.

Facebook, Google My Business, NextDoor

and many others are all great platforms where people discuss interactions with service companies. Unhappy customers yell far louder than happy ones. A bad review is like stabbing a service company in the heart, it is virtually impossible to overcome.



I took the trouble to look up Phil’s Company on the web and found a very poor rating on all the platforms. It’s so easy to see why his business is slow. It’s a wonder anyone calls him.

Make Sure Your Customers are Happy

Over the years my pattern has been to bend over backward to make sure every customer is happy.  In the rare worst case I simply give them back their money so that they really have no justification for complaint.  The power of social media is so strong that service companies have to be exceedingly careful and avoid any negative reviews.  You can safely assume that every homeowner has checked you out on the web before they call.  It is imperative that you monitor social sites and check your ratings.  Years ago it was far easier for an unscrupulous company to survive.  Today we are all under the microscope.

The YouTube Effect

Getting back to Phil’s complaint about YouTube, there is no doubt that YouTube has stolen some service calls.  However, the YouTube effect is complex and covered in far more detail in another post.  Overall good business practices, though slow and sometimes painful, always win in the long run.  Phil finds it easy to blame YouTube when in fact his own business practices are where the fault lies.

For details on the best customer service techniques see That’s where I got my start. Uncle Harry is an expert in building long term relationships with customers. He’s been doing it for over 50 years.

How to Wire a Three or Four Wire Dryer Outlet

It is very easy to understand why many people get confused when attempting to install an electric dryer. For starters, the heavy cable used on an electric dryer may have three or four heavy wires. Since 2000, electrical code states that four wires are required. For many people fooling with these heavy wires is very intimidating. The wires are heavy gauge because the dryer heating element draws 15 Amps. Normal lamp cord wiring will get hot and melt.   I have seen many novices cause a lot of trouble by mixing heavy and light gauges.  Most folks are frightened away by the heavy wires and leave the job to appliance technicians or electricians.

comparing three-prong and four-prong dryer cablesMany different situations are encountered. If a person moves an old dryer to a new house they may be faced with an old three-prong line cord on the dryer and a four-prong outlet.

Second, a new dryer does not come with a line cord. Often a retailer will sell the customer a four-prong cord (The current code). When they get home, they find that their house has a three-prong outlet and they don’t know what to do.  Of course, they are irritated because they thought all they had to do was plug it in and start drying clothes.  I must admit that fewer and fewer homeowners attempt to connect up anything involving 220 V.  It scares them to death.  However, this post will explain the logic behind the national code changes and how to handle these situations.

First, let’s review a bit of history. When electric dryers first came out 60-70 years ago they were all hardwired to the house (no cords were made back then).  The cable used was 10-3 with the ground. It included four wires. Three of the wires were 10 gauge a black, white and red. The fourth wire was 12 gauge, bare copper.

dryer cord wire diagram

The three colored wires were attached to the terminal block on the back of the dryer with the white wire going to the center. The bare copper wire was screwed to the metal frame or shell or the dryer. The red and black are interchangeable but typically the red is connected to the right-hand side of the block. Nothing could be simpler. It was hard to get it wrong. The white wire and the bare ground wire parallel one another back to the panel box and are connected together and to the earth. The neutral wire carries minimal current while the red and black carry the heater circuit. The bare ground wire carries no current and it’s purely a safety circuit.

As the years went by new homes were built with a dryer outlet already installed in the wall and three-prong line cords were made available to connect the dryer to the heavy outlet. These line cords were three wire only and did not include the bare wire.220v outlet

A cautious electrician or homeowner would add a bare wire, a ground wire, from the case of the dryer to the metal case of the outlet or a water pipe. This insured that the metal case of the dryer was directly connected to the earth ground through the electrical system of the house.  By doing so it was impossible to get a shock by touching the dryer.


dryer ground wire

A grounding strap was added next to the terminal block inside the dryer connecting the center tab (the white one) to the chassis metal of the dryer. This was the second way of ensuring that the metal case was connected to earth because the white center wire is connected to the earth back at the panel box. All of these shenanigans are in place to prevent or dissipate any voltage from appearing on the case of the dryer thus preventing electrocution.

dryer power cord

With the advent of the extra-safe four-wire heavy line cord the missing bare ground wire from decades gone by has reappeared within the line cord. It is the fourth wire and color-coded green. This green wire is to be connected to the chassis or case of the dryer. The grounding strap within the dryer (supplied by the manufacturer)  is removed. The new green wire takes it place.

setting up a ground wire on a dryerBack at the panel box the green wires, any bare copper wires,  the white center neutral wire are all connected together and directly connected to the utility ground and also to a heavy copper rod that is driven into the earth.

dryer line cordBack to the problem at hand, it is far easier to change the line cord then it is to change the socket.





matching line cords with the socket



Consequently, match your line cord prongs to the socket holes and by a line cord that fits.


Wire the matching cord as shown here.

three wire and four wire electrical





If you can handle connecting dryer line cords and outlets you surely have the aptitude for making money with your skills. Learn from as I did and start making yourself $100,000 per year. Ask to try out some of his free sample courses. It is a great way to make a living with minimal start-up costs.

How to Start an Appliance Repair Business

How to Start an Appliance Repair BusinessA few years ago I 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
    • Free Online Service Manuals (a good free source is
    • Parts Sites ( has repair videos & 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.

2.  I put together my business tools:

  • I built my appliance repair business web site using 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 – they have great prices for full color, coated, two-sided business cards, great customer service and they’re FAST!
  • I had invoices printed using – 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:
  • 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:
  • 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 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 as 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.