Get World-Class Tech Help at for FREE with your MST Enrollment

Posted on July 14, 2019 by - Academy Talk, Tech Talk

Team Samurai maintains and develops two different websites: Master Samurai Tech and Appliantology. Each site is designed to assist you in different stages of your appliance repair journey.

Master Samurai Tech is an online school that provides state-of-the-art appliance repair training, both for new techs and techs who have been in the business for decades.

Appliantology is a tech support community that provides peer-to-peer tech help, service manual downloads, and live training webinars to techs who are hard at work plying their trade. This is the daily information tool that helps to keep you at the top of your game after you've completed your training. Or, if you are already working in the trade, you can use it while you are also taking your MST courses.

While the sites' missions are distinct, they are interconnected in powerful ways. If you enroll with us at the Master Samurai Tech Academy, you can earn premium membership at Appliantology 100% for free.

These memberships are the Master Samurai Tech Student membership and the Master Samurai Tech Alumnus membership. Here's how they work:

When you enroll in any course at Master Samurai Tech, you immediately become eligible for the MST Student membership. That's 6 months of premium membership, giving you access to everything Appliantology has to offer with no extra charge.

How to sign up: your Appliantology 101 course will step you through the process.

Once that half a year is up, you can either transition to one of our other tech membership options, or, if you achieved a certifiable grade in our Fundamentals course at Master Samurai Tech, you can upgrade to the prestigious MST Alumnus membership.

An Alumnus membership is just like a Student membership, empowering you with access to all of Appliantology -- but it can be renewed indefinitely for no charge. All you need to do to keep up an Alumnus membership is participate in the forums (more info on that here).

Enrollment at the Master Samurai Tech Academy doesn't just teach you invaluable repair skills; it also opens the door for access to all the great tech help at Appliantology forever.

Want to take advantage of all these powerful knowledge tools? Start with an enrollment at Master Samurai Tech today.

And remember, if you're shooting to earn the MST Alumnus membership, you need to get certified in the Fundamentals of Appliance Repair course.


Free MST Student Premium Membership at Appliantology

Posted on April 19, 2019 by - Academy Talk, Career Talk

We know techs: you are trying to get your skills polished and get your troubleshooting mojo amped up ASAP so you can bring home that bacon.

Step 1 of that process is taking the courses here at the Master Samurai Tech Academy.

Step 2 is using the resources at our sister site,, to help put your training into practice.

We've made that second step even more attainable by giving MST students a FREE 6-month premium membership.

Appliance repair is a trade, which means you are in a constant cycle of learning then doing.

First you learn the basic principles here at Master Samurai Tech, then you master those skills as you apply them in the field.

Appliantology offers several unique ways to help you rise to the top of the trade.

  • Tech-only forums where you exchange tips, tricks, and know-how with other professionals who share your desire to be the best
  • Webinar recordings covering both fundamental and advanced topics
  • Download and request schematics and service manuals
  • and much more, all in a private, ad-free, collegial environment (in other words - not Facebook!)

Details of the MST Student Membership
Who: any student currently enrolled in one of our technical courses
What: full, premium access to everything at Appliantology
How long: 6 months
Cost: free!
How: the sign-up form is in the Appliantology 101 course, which all students have access to. Go through Units 1, 2, and 3, then you'll be good to go.

You'll find Appliantology 101 in your course listing on the Members Area page. That's the page you land on when you log in. Or, if you're already logged in, click "My Courses" in the upper right on a computer, or at the bottom of the "hamburger" menu on a device.

Bonus Tip:

Get Certified in the Fundamentals course, and you can then earn a free, one-year premium Alumni Membership at Appliantology!

Expert troubleshooting mojo on a Maytag refrigerator evaporator fan problem

Posted on April 18, 2019 by - Tech Talk

This video demonstrates how the powerful skills and techniques that we teach at the Master Samurai Tech Academy will make your diagnostic work not only more accurate, but easier and faster.

We went to work on a Maytag jazz board style refrigerator with a warm fresh-food compartment. The evaporator fan seemed to be getting voltage but wasn't running. Change the fan? Not so fast.

Watch how we zeroed in on the faulty component with a few easy measurements from the control panel.

No tearing the freezer apart to reach the fan! (We are all about minimizing the hassle and liability of disassembling the appliance unless absolutely necessary.)

So much of what we teach in our online appliance repair training comes into play in this service call:

  • reading the schematic,
  • using EEPs (electrically equivalent points) to avoid unnecessary disassembly,
  • voltage vs. voltage drop,
  • proper meter settings, and more.

The most important and valuable work we do as appliance techs happens between our ears. Being able to read a schematic, devise smart electrical testing, and interpret the results is what leads to a slam-dunk diagnosis. This is how you avoid call-backs and improve profitability and customer satisfaction.

If you can't quite follow or understand the troubleshooting in the video, fear not: You can learn how to troubleshoot like this, too! We love teaching electric circuit troubleshooting to people who want to learn these skills. If you want to earn more money and have greater job satisfaction, enroll now in Fundamentals of Appliance Repair.


Business Tips from ASTI – a glimpse into Mrs. Samurai’s notebook

Posted on April 8, 2019 by - Business Talk

Most of Team Samurai was in Nashville last month for the Annual Service Training Institute put on by United Servicers Association. We had a booth at the trade show and enjoyed chatting with many of our students and business owners. It’s great to be able to meet folks face-to-face!

I always attend as many of the Business track courses as I can while I’m at ASTI, as they are always filled with interesting and useful information.

Here are some highlights from my ASTI notebook for you:

Be friendly!

“Friendliness” is very highly ranked as an influence on how a customer rates their experience. Many business owners report that their most popular tech is not necessarily the most technically proficient.

So - take those friendly techs and give them more appliance repair training at Master Samurai Tech to make them a powerhouse!

Friendliness is also critically important for the Customer Service Representative who answers the phone.

Google continues to keep everyone on their toes

So there’s Google My Business, which is a free listing, and Google Ads (pay-per-click), and now a new feature that Google is rolling out called Local Services. It will show up at the top of a Google search results listing, and is meant to be like Home Advisor. You can be “Google Guaranteed” - for a price. You’ll pay a fixed price for leads, and you only pay if they actually contact you.

I acquired the slides from 3 presentations given by a Google trainer on many aspects of using Google to market your business. You can download them here:

Reach Customers Online with Google

Get Found on Google Search and Maps

Using Data to Drive Growth

Algorithm, Shmalgorithm

Like it or not, the vast majority of people (over 80%) use Google for search. So, when they release an algorithm change (that is, when Google changes up the secret way they determine who will rank highly on search results pages), if it negatively impacts your website’s search results it can be a big hit on your business.

In a presentation on digital marketing, Christina Kraker of Servicer’s Web talked about how to “algorithm change-proof” your site

  • Get online reviews (should have 50+ Google reviews) and keep them as positive as possible.
  • Have a diverse online profile - claim all those directory listings out there!
  • Have an active blog (at least one post per month)
  • Make sure your search-engine-optimized pages are good quality and diverse. (For example, if you create different pages for different towns, they actually have to have different content.)

Email Marketing

Email services like MailChimp are an easy way to communicate with your customers, especially if you set up “work flows” where pre-written emails are automatically sent when you add their email to the mailing list. Initially you can thank your customer for their recent service call and ask them to leave a review (with link(s) to make that easy). Then, send out a monthly newsletter (can mostly be the monthly blog post that you are going to write at your website blog.)

Entice visitors to your website to sign up for your newsletter by offering a coupon in exchange for their email address.

Expect the Unexpected

I sat in on an interesting panel discussion where several business owners described a sudden, devastating event and how they dealt with it.

  • Technician death while on the job. First takeaway: OSHA requires that you notify them of a work-related injury or death. There are fines if you fail to do so within a certain time period. In the case of a death, that time period is 8 hours. Second takeaway: while these types of events are very rare (this was the result of improper electrical installation by someone else), train your techs on basic safety precautions and how to spot warning signs.
  • Ransomware. Several companies have fallen prey to this, and lost valuable time and income while recovering from the data loss. Takeaway: BACKUP YOUR DATA and keep one copy off-site (or in the cloud). If you don’t know much about cybersecurity, hire someone to help assess your vulnerability.
  • Natural disaster. Similar warning as above in terms of your data. If your computer equipment got destroyed, do you have a backup somewhere else? Also, having enough cash on hand to help you and your employees to survive until work can resume can increase the odds of getting back to normal more quickly.

Inventory Management for Fun and Profit

1. Having the part you need when you go on a job can increase your First Call Complete rate

2. On the other hand, minimizing your parts inventory can prevent wasting money on parts that sit on the shelf for years.

The trick is balancing those two realities by effectively managing your parts inventory. Eventually this will help you to cut costs, save time, and effectively budget and forecast.

The typical way companies have dealt with parts was to have storage in the shop in order to replenish the vehicle as needed.

Michael Noe of Mr. Appliance said that increasingly their franchisees are going to a zero shop inventory model. This means there is only truck stock of the most commonly needed parts - those that you tend to use 3-4 times per year. All other parts are ordered as needed. This generally results in about 100-200 parts on the truck worth about $2500-3000. No more needing storage space for parts in the shop or ending up with money tied up in parts that don’t move on a regular basis.

Consider drop-shipping special order parts. This takes away the handling on your end, and if the part takes awhile to arrive (or the wrong part is sent), the customer will not blame you, but will see that it was the fault of the supplier.

The fastest way to keep up with your inventory is to scan the codes with a laser scanner. Note: the bar codes on Bosch and Miele parts will not give you a proper part number, so you’ll need to create labels for those. There is inexpensive software and label printers that allow you to do this.

Inventory should be scanned on a regular basis (quarterly, at a minimum) to determine what should stay on the truck, what should come off, and any restocking that’s needed.
Did these suggestions give you any ideas for your business?
UPDATE: Our friends at Fred's Academy posted the slides from their two dynamic business presentations at ASTI. You can check them out here:

Scheduled Downtime from 12 – 1 PM Eastern Time

Posted on February 26, 2019 by - Uncategorized

Just a quick heads-up -- today at 12 PM Eastern, we'll be upgrading from the Master Samurai Tech Academy's current server to a brand new, $6 billion, NASA-style supercomputer, complete with artificial consciousness and sake liquid cooling.

So, what does this mean for you?

It means about an hour of downtime from 12 to 1 PM EST, during which both Master Samurai Tech and Appliantology will be inaccessible. But after that, it means better site performance and an even more robust, secure server going into the future.

See you on the other side!