As I present the trades to students, organizations and those unfamiliar with the industry, many are surprised that the plumbing industry also needs skilled office workers. The office staff in a trades company must be diversely skilled and able to handle long days and high-stress environments. For a select few, working in the office for a trade company is the perfect fit. Below, I outline the various office functions for us here at Mr. Plumber Plumbing Co. in San Antonio, Tx.
- MUST know the geography of the city. This is not optional. Technology and software can now map the most-efficient route for the technicians based on the jobs for that day and will provide them with the ideal route. Have you ever used an online mapping system? They are flawed! Therefore, a dispatcher must understand (independent of technology) the layout of the city to plan efficient routes for the techs while conserving gas expenses.
- Must know the technicians. The dispatcher needs to know the best tech for the job. Each technician has his or her forte or specialty and the dispatcher must know each technician’s skill set. Also, the dispatcher must know which jobs the technician is LICSENSED to perform. Technicians may have different license types or endorsements that allow them to work on certain systems.
- Should know the trade. A strong dispatcher has a deep understanding of the trade itself. He or she may even be licensed in the trade. This skill helps with overall scheduling and ease of understanding and dispatching the technicians.
Customer Service Representative (CSR)
- The CSR is, most often, the customer’s first interaction with your business. They must be positive, focused and organized to convey professionalism to your customer.
- Basic functions include, but are not limited to, answering the phone (booking appointments, rescheduling, avoiding cancellations), data entry (invoices), personal assistant (random tasks that occur during business operation), computer skills (Word, Excel, Quickbooks), etc.
- The outbound marketer is responsible for customer follow-up and obtaining new leads from various sources. This individual must be self-motivated, competitive, outgoing, friendly and personable. They should have a strong sales background and years of phone sales skills to be able to present additional services for existing and new customers.
- Also referred to as “the money.” This position tracks the revenue and expenses of the business. Someone in accounting MUST have strong math skills and be trained in basic accounting and the accounting software that the company uses to track its profit.
- Must be a jack or jill of all trades. This job manages the office staff and occasionally the technicians as well. He or she ensures the proper operations of the company systems, procedures and practices.
- Works with the owner and other supervisors on changes to procedures or systems.
- Strong customer service skills, strong math skills, strong leadership skills are required for an efficient office manager/supervisor.
There you have it! A brief breakdown of the office staff that keeps the business fully operational. Some functions and tasks may vary depending on the size of the operation and their individual needs and skills sets. Some businesses may be so small that workers take on several different functions – or the operation may be so large that it has multiple individuals working in each category. As the trade industry grows, so does the need for skilled trade office workers. If you’re interested in learning more about starting a career in the skilled trades, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.