Making mistakes is part of learning, but making mistakes on the job is also expensive. An appliance tech can only afford to make so many before they are out of business or looking for a new job.
We want to help you avoid this! Here are 3 common rookie mistakes that you should watch out for.
Not a rookie? Then it’s even that much more painful when you catch yourself acting like one. Be honest - have you made one of these mistakes?
Wanna know which ones the Samurai himself has made? Keep reading...
1. Not verifying the customer’s complaint
This is a classic mistake. Even seasoned veterans sometimes get ahead of themselves and dive into their troubleshooting without first verifying the complaint. This usually means getting the customer to show you how they were using the appliance so you can see/hear/measure what is really happening.
There are few things that will make you smack your head and say “D’oh!” like spending an hour taking things apart and making electrical measurements only to realize you missed something obvious to start with - or you didn’t have the data you needed to draw a proper conclusion.
A common blunder is not taking temperature readings in both compartments of a refrigerator before doing anything else regardless of the original customer complaint! A customer report of “warm” can mean many things. Compartment temperatures tell the story that a technician needs to know. Freezers should be right around 0℉. If you see a freezer compartment at 10℉ or higher when you first shoot the temperatures, you need to find out why before you do anything else.
Pro tip: when scheduling a “warm” refrigerator call, ask the customer to leave the refrigerator plugged in and running, and to refrain from opening the doors within an hour of your expected arrival.
2. Making diagnostic conclusions based on a “good” ohm’s test
One of the worst feelings in an appliance tech’s world is to order a part for a customer, go back to install it, but the appliance still doesn’t work. You increase your risk of this mistake when you don’t know which electrical measurements will give you the slam-dunk answer for the situation you’re facing.
“Ohms testing” has fooled many a rookie (and even those who should have learned better).
If a component tests “bad” (open, or ohms much higher than specifications) on a resistance test, then you know it has failed. But if something tests “good” on ohms, more testing needs to be done before you can make a conclusion.
Why is that? Resistance (or continuity) measurements are done without energizing the circuit. Many loads and switches can start failing in a way that they pass a continuity test, but will fail open when electrons start blasting through it.
Pro tip: Remember the expression “ohms lie”. Resistance tests can be useful and appropriate, but you’ve got to understand their limitations.
3. Going on a job without prediagnosing the appliance
A job that should go “bip-bap-boom” often grinds to a halt when a tech realizes that the tech sheet is not on the appliance, or the tech sheet he downloaded ahead of time was for the wrong model, and he has to try to find a copy online, but he doesn’t have good signal and the customer can’t remember the password to their WiFi, and so on. Then he finally gets the right tech sheet, only to have to scratch his head for awhile figuring out his plan of attack for troubleshooting, and how to do that complicated key-dance to get the dang thing into service mode.
Meanwhile, the customer is not impressed.
What a rookie move! All of that downloading and head scratching should be done at the office, NOT in front of the customer.
Master Samurai Tech's Ten-Step Tango troubleshooting procedure is taking the appliance repair world by storm, helping to organize the thoughts of many a tech so they can zero in on the failed component with speed and assurance.
In most scenarios, the first 7 steps of the Tango can be done ahead of time - a technique we call “prediagnosis.” You’ll know what tests you want to make, and you’ll know which parts are likely to be needed. You will wow your customer with your competence and efficiency, while increasing your First Call Complete rate and profitability.
Pro tip: Make sure you get a model number from the customer when you book the call. Check it right away with one of the parts retailers online (RepairClinic, AppliancePartsPros, for example) to make sure it’s valid. Then use Appliantology to get the documents you need for the job, and proceed with your prediagnosis using the Ten-Step Tango. You will be ready to rock that service call!
What do you think of our list? Are there other rookie mistakes that you think we should warn others about?
The Master Samurai Tech Academy specializes in teaching rookies and veterans alike how appliance technology works and how to troubleshoot, so that you can kick butt on any appliance - even those you haven’t worked on before. Knowledge is power!
So, which rookie mistakes do you think the Samurai has made? All 3, of course. Back in the day, when we started our appliance repair business, he had a firm foundation in electricity and electronics from his Navy training, but was learning appliance repair on the fly. He quickly realized that our fledgling business wouldn't survive many of these rookie mistakes, so he began creating a system for troubleshooting and running service calls efficiently and profitably. Fast-forward to today - that system is perfected and you can learn it in the Master Samurai Tech appliance repair courses rather than learning by trial and error!