Licensing Technicians: Owner’s View
The other week we talked about the pros and cons on licensing technicians from the technician’s point of view. This week I want to look at licensing from an owner’s perspective.
The following scenario is based on some assumptions that may be true depending on the specific law in your state. Obviously, every state is different and their legislators will determine their level of licensing regulations. Some may have a simple fee while others are detailed with requirements for training, experience, education and apprenticeship/mentoring.
If licensing is proposed in your state, it would be wise to carefully read the law and determine the impact on your particular business. Then voice your opinion on its contents and work to amend the law if needed. This could mean the difference between surviving and thriving in a new regulatory climate so pay attention to the details.
I am an owner of a two technician shop with business growing to the point of looking to hire another tech. Licensing was passed recently and I went through the proper steps of grandfathering my current installation staff to meet the regulations. It cost me a few bucks to pay for annual licensing fees and process the paperwork but it was relatively painless. My techs were already certified and had their retention system training so all I had to do was supply the proof of compliance. I actually pity my competitors that gave little or no training to their installers because they have a lot to do and a lot of expense to meet the criteria stipulated in the law. Some may not make it. Wait a minute, is that bad?
Now I need to follow the rules concerning the hiring of new licensed techs. The first thing I notice is the lack of licensed techs in the job market. Prior to the passage of the law, I had techs calling me every week looking for a job. Now I have one a month if I’m lucky and they may not have the credentials to meet the licensing requirements. What am I going to do? Train my own or hire already licensed? If I train my own, I might be able to get them at a lower wage because I am offering them a career and the training that goes with it. That’s worth something, isn’t it? But I need them now not a month from now. I need production. I think I’ll hire already licensed. How much do you want per hour? Are you kidding me? Well, considering that no one is beating down my door for a job even after two weeks of advertising, I guess I have little choice. Evidently, the techs know what they are worth.
I wonder why my business is growing so rapidly, all of a sudden. Could it be that with fewer licensed technicians doing the work, there are competitors that cannot stay in business because of problems finding quality licensed help? Could it be that poor training in the past has caught up to them and now they can’t afford to get their current techs licensed, even during the grandfathering period? That’s it, fewer competitors mean higher demand thus my services are worth more and I can get the prices I deserve. Could licensing be a blessing in disguise?
This scenario is fiction. The actual events after the passage of a licensing bill in your state would be different depending on the regulations of the bill. If and when that bill is introduced, it is your responsibility to craft it into a workable piece of legislation that will benefit you and your business and protect your clients and customers from unscrupulous companies that defraud the public. Isn’t that what a licensing bill should do?