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Work smarter, not harder

This is a well-known saying; one we immediately agree with as being well within our capability, and one we immediately ignore for the very same reason. Here is a little story that may help you think differently about how you go about completing your repair jobs.

We had occasion to call an electrician to the house the other day. I'll call him John for the sake of the story. A small job that required the mains power to be turned off for a brief period. Nothing unusual, and the job was done in less than 15 minutes. When I thought the work was completed I offered to go and turn the power back on. John refused, gently letting me know that he still had things he needed to do. He promptly walked around to the meter box and pulled out a tool from his bag. It looked like some sort of gun, and in fact turned out to be a thermal temperature gauge with a laser sight.

John proceeded to take readings of all the components in the meter box.  It turns out that John was working smarter than the average fix/brake electrician. John explained that he was in the habit of taking temp readings at all jobs he worked on. He had taken readings before he started the work when he first turned the power off, and a second set now, once the job was finished. John explained, "The first reading sometimes tells me there is more to the problem than the householder thinks. The second reading lets me know that there is nothing lurking around that I have missed." Apparently, the temperature gun had uncovered an unexpected fault on a number of occasions that John has been able to resolve before it became a problem for the customer, thus allowing him to earn a little more for the superior service he is able to provide. "Sometimes all I need to do is re-tighten the fuse wire retaining screws, but it means I'm not being called back a week or two later. No customer likes to see me that often", he grinned.

These temperature guns cost less than $100 and allow the user to quickly identify if there is a problem brewing. As is often the case, once you see something in action you start to see them all over the place. I noticed one on the workbench of my local motor mechanic, which has probably been there for some time judging by its condition, but I probably would never have noticed it if I had not seen John's in action.

If you are looking to reduce your call back rate on jobs, or improve your net chargeable value on jobs, I think a visit to your local tools supplier will be just the thing you need to start working smarter.

Posted by Mark Chimes
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