Al Levi has helped Jason Kim tackle the systemic issues that touch every trade company these days: finding, training and retaining technicians.
The CEO of The 7-Power Contractor, Levi has been consulting with small business owners on training and growth since the 1980s. He has a method called Signature Staffing System (S3).
Levi’s system helps companies take people without any technical skills and grow them into technicians. S3 helps create employees who do systems and processes the way you want—and in a way that will help a business grow and scale.
“I can train anything and I can fix anything,” Levi says. “The only thing I can’t fix or train is somebody who is unwilling.”
Over the years, Levi says he’s encountered nearly every training scenario.
“I’ve learned what works,” he says. “Make people show that they can earn their way onto your team. And, let people learn in pieces. Don’t ever train (in a classroom) for more than four hours. Reinforce training with work in the field.”
Levi’s tried-and-true system worked wonders for Kim, owner and service manager of Zoom Drain - Long Island, and Ray the Plumber.
Kim recalls spending long hours working with Levi on editing training manuals and spending quality time having conversations with employees.
“It’s hard and expensive to do this,” Kim says. “But we had a fundamental commitment to a cultural change. The days of an apprentice handing the wrong wrench to a technician and the tech throwing it back at the apprentice are over.”
Change doesn’t happen quickly, Kim says. It’s an ongoing process.
“We have the foundation for growth now,” he says. “There's nothing we can't accomplish—because we spent the time putting the foundational, structural pieces in place.”
Is the sky the limit?
“Now, I feel like we could add another 20 trucks in a year or two and we'd have no problem because we have the team members who understand the goals,” Kim says.
Al Levi and Jason Kim recently joined ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel as part of Season 6 of the “Toolbox for the Trades” podcast, which included thoughts by Levi and Kim on:
Collaboration between coaches and business owners.
Unique approaches to staffing in the trades.
Cultural adjustments that come with training programs.
Commitment needed from leadership to implement change.
How to gauge results from a training program.
To hear more tales from the trades, subscribe to Toolbox for the Trades on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, our website, or anywhere you get podcasts.