The Truth about Labor Shortage for Field Service Techs, and 3 Ways GPS Fleet Tracking Can Help
It’s getting harder to find experienced field techs… for a lot of reasons
Maybe you’re feeling the same crunch as many service businesses we work with. For the first half of 2021, they’ve been telling us variations of the same thing:
We want to hire. We have open positions that pay well. But we can’t find experienced people. We’re having to turn down jobs and scale back our operations.
The data will tell the same story…
- 55% shortage of plumbers are available for work (National Homebuilders Association)
- 81% of contractors are having trouble filling positions (Air Conditioning/Heating News)
- 430k more workers are in demand for the construction industry (Associated Builders and Contractors)
What’s going on here? A few things are happening at once.
1. The populations of these professions aren’t replacing themselves
The skilled workers in these fields are getting older and retiring, while not enough new people are entering the profession to replace them. For example, the National Association of Contractors Electricians says each year 7,000 new electricians join the field, but 10,000 retire.
2. The pandemic created big spikes in demand
At the same time the supply of field service technicians has been shrinking, the 2020 lockdowns sent demand for these skills through the roof. (Speaking of which, the roofing industry is facing the same challenge. In fact, 88% of roofing contractors report difficulty finding skilled labor in 2021.)
Just as the demand for services was going up, uncertainties around the pandemic and the addition of government stimulus checks and extension of unemployment insurance has made it even tougher and more expensive for businesses to bring back skilled service techs.
3. The competition for skilled workers is making it even harder to hire
The high demand for service technicians is enabling the experienced ones to shop their skills around, demand higher salaries or hourly rates, and take their time committing to an employer.
In fact, even at the apprentice and helper levels, open positions in construction, roofing, and carpentry are staying unfilled for unusually long periods of time. According to research by the industrial staffing company PeopleReady, for example, jobs for electrician helpers take an average of 27 days to fill.
A real-world example
ClearPathGPS recently interviewed Lauren Martin, Vice President of Seaside Plumbing in Maryland. Customer demand is up, Lauren told us, which should be great news. Problem is, they can’t fulfill all the job requests they’re getting.
“We have 12 field technicians and we’ve been looking for more. That search is painful because we can’t find people with experience to fill those roles, and it means we’re having to turn down business every day. It’s the biggest challenge we’re facing right now as a company.”
How GPS Fleet Tracking Can Help
Now, ClearPathGPS can’t help you find more experienced field technicians. But our GPS fleet tracking solutions can help you operate more efficiently and cost-effectively with the staff you do have. Here are a few ways.
1. Sweating your assets with better fleet routing and utilization
When your dispatchers don’t have a real-time view of where all your field techs are, they can’t be confident they’re assigning the right tech to each new order that comes in. Choosing an employee who’s clear across town—and will take 45 minutes to get to the next job—could mean your company can’t handle as many jobs that day.
But when you roll out ClearPathGPS across your fleet, you’ll be giving your dispatchers a clear view of every vehicle and field service tech in the field every minute of the day. They can keep the map view up on a display in the office—as many of our customers do.
When a call comes in, your dispatcher will know where the closest vehicles are to the jobsite, how long each of those techs have been at their current jobs, and which are the most likely to be finished with their current assignment soonest.
Armed with all that information on a user-friendly map, your dispatchers will be able to route more techs to more jobs each day. And that means more revenue going to your bottom line.
2. Increased protection against unearned revenue overtime
When you send your techs out into the field, you have no way of knowing where they are, how long a job takes, or whether the hours on their timecard are accurate.
Plus, when you’re already short-staffed, you’re not going to be as eager to question a field tech’s timecard. And if you’re working with fewer people in the office, they’re probably overwhelmed as well, and won’t have time to manually review every timecard.
With the GPS fleet tracking system from ClearPathGPS, though, you can automatically track every minute of your techs’ time out in the field. You can even generate an automated timecard—accurate to the minute. Just like that, no more paying unearned overtime.
3. Ability to handle issues before they become bigger problems
Finally, when you gain visibility into what’s happening with your fleet throughout the day, you’ll be much better equipped to spot small issues before they become big ones.
For example, if you have a tech who’s accelerating too aggressively or taking corners like a maniac, the ClearPathGPS app will let you know. That means you can talk with the tech and correct that behavior before it becomes a problem that hurts your business—like damage to your vehicle that requires downtime for costly repairs.
And those are just a few of the ways you can become more efficient with ClearPath. From vehicle dashcams to equipment tracking to integrations with apps like ServiceTitan, ClearPathGPS can help your team do more with less. Let us show you how.
Let’s chat about how ClearPathGPS can help you better manage the labor shortage. Talk with an expert today
At ClearPathGPS, we are focused on helping our customers improve their operations and bottomline. Our top-rated GPS fleet tracking solutions provide real-time data insights and tools needed to more effectively manage the vehicles, people, and assets businesses send into the field everyday. Can ClearPathGPS help your operations get better results? Let’s find out – request a demo or contact us today!