I was a "successful" heating & air tech with United Air Comfort (aka United Air Restoration). I thought the morning meetings with Adrian via satellite hookup (in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida) were extremely informative and beneficial. Instructional videos were played every morning, teaching us a lot more then we could hope for from any other heating and air company. I learned more each day there than I could've ever hoped for in a month at another company.
This was the only plus side for working in this inept company. I had to provide my own truck or van, my own gas, my own vehicle insurance and my own (extremely expensive) tools. I went to work before the sun came up and (often) returned after the sun went down - this is true ONLY if you are considered "one of the top" techs - otherwise you were sent home after having completed one job or no jobs at all.
You were still expected to show up at 6am whether or not you were assigned a job for that day. You had to endure another morning meeting - when I say "endure", it was pleasant if Adrian gave the meeting (he is extremely professional), if one of the owners like Mark Burch (spelling?) gave the meeting, you were subjected to extremely inappropriate, unprofessional and screaming language - totally belittling and berating. Mark would yell things like: "You stupid f***ing morons!" and one time he even sat up in a chair, bent over so that his rear end was aimed at the camera, pulled down his pants so that he was mooning all of Northern America, and yelled something like: "Does this make it easier for you to f*** me?!?"
I have been told by many that Mark is the calmest of the owners.
Didn't Mark Twain write: "Composure is a sign of intelligence"?
The owners of this company don't even know how to "spell" the word composure, let alone know what it means. I have never seen so many "temper tantrums" in one place before in my entire life (I am 40 years old BTW).
Now that I have revealed how unprofessional the owners of this company are, let's move on to the actual shop problems:
The only way the techs made money is if they lied and swindled the customer (but not always). I did better than most (I made around $150 - $250 per week being totally honest). This was after I paid for parts, uniform, supplies & chemicals - which was automatically deducted from my paycheck whether or not I actually used chemicals or supplies that week. Don't forget, I usually shelled out between around $50 to $75 per week on gas - which doesn't even take into consideration maintenance and insurance on my vehicle (not to mention vehicle payments either).
They have a dispatch area in Ft. Lauderdale (their headquarters). If you worked that day, you were given your first job. After you finished this job, you were to call in to dispatch to see if you had any other jobs that day. (Dispatch had a toll free number, and were expected to (unprofessionally) use the customer's phone to call in). I opted to hunt for a pay phone because I couldn't bare to be unprofessional and use the customer's phone. When you called in to dispatch, you were asked the dollar amount of the job you just completed (this was why I couldn't do this in front of the customer), and were usually told to call back in 15 minutes for your next job. When you waited 15 minutes and then called back, you were usually told to call back in another 15 minutes. There were many days I waited 2 to 4 hours of "calling back in 15 minutes" before I got another job or even worse -told to go back to the shop because there were no other jobs out there.
Now let's talk about the equipment:
Daily, each tech was given a number which corresponded to the equipment. You were never assigned the same equipment - it was always different equipment. Most of the time, the equipment wasn't complete because the schmuck who had the equipment before you left some attachments in his vehicle. Now you are stuck with having to do a professional job for the customer (many times in front of the customer) without all of the equipment you need. We were allotted the following: a shop vac - without any peripherals nor adapters (like connecting the hose to the blower), a ladder, some bladders (typically not enough), a hose and a negative air machine which was unbelievably heavy. We had to supply (or pay for) the following: extension cords, vent adapters, brushes, rags, foil tape, mastic, acid, sanitizer, multi meters, wire, freon gauges and many many other tools.
The morning meetings were like when I attended boot camp. You were expected to write notes - even though you had seen the same video 10 times. You weren't allowed to ask questions - especially that. You were expected to stand at "attention" or at least United's version of it.
Now let's get to my end of things: My shop manager Jeff. Never in my entire life have I experienced such unprofessionalism - period. This man has more issues than any one I know. The office walls are littered with pictures of naked women. His office is littered with magazines open to "his favorite women". He has a weight bench in the corner of the warehouse where the Ft. Lauderdale people can't see - they have control of the camera and can scan the shop at will via remote control. The shelves used to have supplies like foil tape, mastic, sanitizer, acid, transformers, thermocouples, limit switches and stuff that the tech would probably need out in the field.
Now we are expected to locate the problem at the customer's house, drive to Johnstone Supply at 16th & Riverside (even from Fishers or Noblesville or even further away), write out a purchase order for a $7 transformer, fax it to corporate (in Ft. Lauderdale), wait a couple of hours for the "go ahead", drive all the way back to the customer's house to put the part in.
You've successfully wasted 3-4 hours when all you had to do was keep one in your vehicle - oh, but I forgot, United doesn't keep them on the shelves anymore. It doesn't matter anyway, who cares about the techs anyway? This manager knows all too well what temper-tantrums are.
Every day he is yelling and getting into the face of one tech or another - always at the top of his lungs, always as intimidating as he can and ALWAYS unprofessionally in front of the entire shop. We all typically roll our eyes, ignore and laugh at him much like we treat Mark (the owner) on the TV.
He seems to get off on the techs cringing in fear before him. What a real man. He has taken up with one of the women techs there (talk about professional). He makes it quite clear that she is "his woman". I actually feel sorry for her - she is Hitler's girlfriend. One time she volunteered to go to a tech's house to pick up some equipment because the other tech had vehicle trouble and couldn't bring the equipment back to the shop for others to use. (This reminds me, we were expected to pick up our equipment every morning and return it every evening - even if we lived in Shelbyville and our job was 2 blocks from our home - what did they care if we spent an additional $25 on gas and time after having made $50 for the entire day?).
Anyways, back to Hitler's girlfriend. She decided to bring another tech with her to help her carry the equipment - the other tech was a man. This pissed Jeff off so he did what he always did: throw a temper tantrum in front of the entire shop - he was a good ranter and raver. "When those 2 get back to the shop, tell them to go into my office - they are fired!" This idiot was screaming that he was going to fire his own girlfriend and another good tech because they dared get into the same vehicle together - like I said, what an idiot.
I am tired of writing now so I'll quit. I still work there, I still dodge the temper tantrums, I still see the unprofessionalism, I still scrounge and fight each and every morning for the few scraps of equipment and parts I can find, I still endure the morning meetings "pretending" to write down notes. I still keep my questions to myself, I still see the naked women strewn all over the office, and I still hate getting up for work each and every morning - but I am honest with the customer (at least that) which means often I "pay" united to work for them (when I add and subtract all my expenses from what I actually made).
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