We’re just big boys disguised as men no matter how old we get.
Not hard to find evidence to support that statement when you look at the power tools we accumulate both personally and professionally as we move along in our contracting career.
Yes, I know we need it to do the work. But, we also love the toys [um….I mean power tools] that weld stuff, breaks stuff or joins stuff. And if it’s loud and sparks fly so much the better.
That said we do have a dilemma to address and that is do we own them or rent them. The prevailing thought among many contractors is to own them.
In general, I would agree owning can be smart but ONLY if you’re adhering to the following 6 things:
- Your company has got money. That means you have cash to pay your bills on time and you’re not just surviving on borrowed money.Note: Just one quick test might be your current ratio which is your assets divided by your liabilities being at a 2 to 1 ratio or higher.
- You’re using the particular tool at least 10 to 15 working days a month.
- You have the power tools stored in a segregated secured tool storage area with limited access. Typically, it’s a section within the locked and secured warehouse area.Note: A power tool stolen or lost is no longer a power tool you own!
- You can visually look into the tool storage area and see what’s there and what’s missing. That takes creating a place and a space for each every power tool the company owns.
- You have the Techs sign the power tools both in and out with the Warehouse Manager or Install Manager [or, whoever fills that role at your company].
- You’re doing a quick bench test and looking over what’s being handed back in so you can verify it’s still in good working order. And if it’s been damaged through normal wear and tear it gets fixed at your shop or goes to an authorized dealer to make an expert repair on a power tool worth fixing. Also, if there’s signs of unwarranted abuse, you can address it with the Tech at fault right away.
At this point, you may be asking, “Why is Al so crazy about this?”
The reason I’m so crazy about this is the policy and procedure above is the same one I created and followed when I was a contractor because I got sick and tired of:
- Big expensive power tools gone missing.
- Big expensive power tools sitting around collecting dust and tying up cash.
- Big expensive tools being abused beyond the normal wear and tear.
Want one more reason for “Al’s craziness on power tools?”
I HATED when I would be working as a Tech and I’d get to a job that was an hour’s drive from the shop [when else would it happen?] and I’d open up the chopping hammer box only to find that I had either dull chopping bits or no bits at all!
When my clients see the light about what I’m sharing here, I have them agree to put this policy and procedure into place at their shop. We start by having the power tools signed both in and out with a book at the warehouse door.
The warehouse itself has limited access so this is the perfect spot to open up the tool with the Tech who will be getting it and for testing it when it comes back before returning it to the dedicated secured-storage location.
One more thing. I share with clients that there’s one more thing to do and that is share with the Techs why you’re doing what you’re doing. Techs need to know the why and what their WIIFM [What’s In It For Me] is for this program to have any long-term traction.
I say that because it’s only natural that Techs could feel you don’t trust them if they’ve had free rein to power tools and there’s been no accountability. That’s why you want to get ahead of it vs. dealing with bruised feelings.
So, I teach my clients to share how frustrating it is as a Tech to get to a job without a power tool they can rely on. It’s going to be no fun to get to a job done right with a power tool that’s either not up to snuff or fully ready for the work ahead. In fact, it’s going to be a long miserable day unnecessarily. Your Techs will get it if you make it about them having a better day and a better day is a power tool in hand that you can trust.
Do this and everyone wins…your customers, your company and your Techs.