Washington Post Spotlights Appliance and Service Tech Shortages

Service techs are lonely no more.

By Alan Wolf, YSN

An article in last week’s The Washington Post has helped bring national attention to a topic near and dear to self-servicing BrandSource members: the dearth of trained repair techs.

As the Post reported, the increased wear and tear on major appliances from housebound families, combined with historic out-of-stocks and backorders due to pandemic-related production delays, is placing a greater burden on already understaffed servicers.

“Gone are the days of the lonely Maytag repairman,” the article stated. “The repairman of 2020 … has been working nonstop for the past seven months as the suddenly homebound find themselves cooking and laundering more than ever.”

As a result, servicers are triaging calls and scrambling to hire new employees, the Post said, which is only adding to the industry’s age-old challenge of finding, training and retaining appliance repair techs.

According to Corrine Caruso, general manager of Solar Refrigeration & Appliance Service in Metairie, La., and president of BrandSource partner United Appliance Servicers Association (UASA), the shortage is largely due to a limited number of formal training schools. This forces many business owners to teach new hires on the job, she told the newspaper, and to protect their investments in time and education by offering good pay and benefits to keep them.

AVB/BrandSource, which has been supporting servicing members for 50 years, is keenly aware of the problem, and the group’s National Service Committee has forged a host of industry partnerships to address the issue of training and retention. Among them: Master Samurai Tech (MST), an online training academy that is affording BrandSource members a maximum discount toward the regular price of virtual classes.

BrandSource has also joined forces with the Professional Service Association (PSA), a national trade group that supports and promotes technical skills training at high schools and colleges, and provides specialized training programs for BrandSource member techs and discounts on PSA’s ISO-approved certification program.

In addition, the group’s partnership with UASA provides discounted attendance at its Annual Service Training Institute (ASTI), a five-day educational forum, plus access to training videos, webinars and UASA’s vast library of training and service manuals.

A full rundown of BrandSource’s industry affiliations, plus a compilation of labor best practices, can be found in the group’s new 32-page Service Playbook, available in the member Backroom.

In a follow-up to the Washington Post story, UASA received a request from NBC News and the Today show to poll servicers on the increase in repair requests since the outbreak of COVID. The survey can be accessed here.

BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.