Mike Bell is a 30-year veteran of the outdoor power equipment industry and knows how difficult it can be to attract high-quality service technicians. As a co-owner of Minnesota Equipment, which is based in Ham Lake, Minnesota, this is where Bell excels. He is well respected when it comes to his knowledge of not only attracting service technicians, but also retaining their services.
“Recruiting technicians is the most difficult aspect of the industry,” Bell said. “Over the years I’ve learned that you need to have a presence in as many places as you can. We have an advertisement on our website, we attend job fairs, post on career websites, speak to vocational training tech classes and hire recruiters. But in most instances, word-of-mouth works best.”
The average age of service technicians is 39, according to Data USA. That means one challenge is enticing younger technicians to join the industry. There are several misconceptions that deter a younger demographic from working as technicians, such as poor working conditions and low pay, but this does not reflect reality.
“Service technicians start out making very competitive wages,” Bell explained. “As for working conditions, it’s vital to run a clean, well-lit and air-conditioned shop, which is what most shops do. Like all businesses, employees want to feel comfortable and safe while working.”
Bell expressed the importance of investing in your service technicians as a way of retaining their services for many years to come. This is an area in which Minnesota Equipment excels. Minnesota Equipment invests in its service technicians by providing education services, top-of-the-line lift tables and Hefty Hoists, and pays for fork lift certification, as well as specialty tools. As an added perk, the company also supplies its service technicians with uniforms at no charge, which includes laundry services to clean the uniforms.
“Service techs want to know you’re invested in them, and we believe going the extra mile helps us keep them happy at work,” Bell said. “Whether it’s speciality tools or training certifications, our service technicians value access to high-end equipment and the ability to further their education and skills. Taking care of our service techs plays an important role in the success and growth of the company.”
At Minnesota Equipment, technicians’ ages range from the 20s up to 60s, which helps foster a great learning environment for everyone.
“As our older service techs retire the demand for new hires increases,” Bell said. “We need to continue the conversation about not necessarily needing a four-year degree to make a good living in this country. This will help us better recruit young talent. I think younger generations are starting to see this take shape more now.”