Have you ever watched a news program featuring a sting operation? Sometimes they’re set up to see how a contractor might handle things on the job, which sounds like a good idea, but it’s not often fair.

Yes, there are still too many unscrupulous contractors out there who take advantage of the unsuspecting customer. But, I also feel that the way these shows set up the problem the contractor is asked to uncover is equally unscrupulous.

For instance, they take a furnace that may be 25 years old or more and rig up a problem. A well-trained technician should be properly trained by you to go through a step-by-step process to find the root cause and make a suggestion about what needs to be repaired. But, the unit is statistically reaching the end of its useful lifetime and very unlikely to be as efficient and green as anything that’s been manufactured in the last 10 years.

So to me, a tech is obligated to present both a repair and replace option. If a customer wants just the repair, the tech is once again obligated to advise them of the downside to spending a lot of money on a potentially obsolete piece of equipment vital to the safety and comfort of the homeowner. Ultimately, the customer should get to decide UNLESS it’s a safety issue, and then a contractor has to train their techs to do the right thing, not the convenient thing.

Hey, I’ve got a question. Have you ever seen a show like, “Catch a Contractor” make a big deal about all the contractors who did the right thing? Probably not. It doesn’t make for good TV, I guess.

The only thing to know is these sting setups are only going to increase and fuel homeowners’ wariness of contractors in general.

Too many times, companies have been either severely hurt by the actions of just one misbehaving tech, or they’ve created a culture that secretly endorses any sales over what I call “ethical sales.”

What can you do to minimize this happening to you?


Train like heck!

The first line of defense on this needs to be a very strong offense. Here are the things I do to help my clients:

  • We put in detailed operating manuals that talk about gateways to discuss appropriate repair and replace options, so it’s company policy.
  • We put in detailed operating manuals that help techs do a better job in a step-by-step diagnostic to minimize a misdiagnosis.
  • We do role-plays using the manuals to help techs look around without the blinders so they see the whole job as a system and can be more of an expert advisor.

The manuals give the techs good questions to be asking (kind of like a doctor should do with you when you need a checkup) so they get to the right solution and they don’t skip steps.

If and when something did come up, the company can cite that they have manuals, they do training and they have mystery shoppers hired to make sure that everyone at the company is performing to the highest standards.

You can’t afford to be winging it, and you must be proactive, and not just reactive.


It’s just one more reason that I’m on a mission to help 30 plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical companies Build Your Operating Manual program. To learn more and potentially be one of the 30, go to 7powercontractor.com/byom7PC today.