The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts 304,000 field service jobs will be added through 2031. However, there are already more jobs than qualified technicians, and that is unlikely to change soon.
So, how are companies planning to fill those roles without drastically increasing their labor costs?
For many businesses, the answer lies in diversifying their workforce by adding contractors. When used strategically, contractors and automation can significantly reduce field service labor costs.
Consequently, let's look at the advantages of boosting your labor force with professional contractors.
The cost of downtime has increased by around 60% over the last decade. If you are paying full-time employees, you are looking for ways to increase their utilization rates. However, when utilization is the primary goal, it is often at the expense of your profits.
Businesses might send highly qualified service technicians out to jobs a less specialized technician could handle, or worse, send technicians well outside of their service territory, all in an effort to keep them busy.
It is understandable to want your full-time employees to maintain a high utilization rate, but it has to be done in a way that positively impacts your bottom line.
By tapping into a pool of contractors, you can reduce the number of employees you keep on staff based on the amount of regular work you have available.
With this approach, you gain better control of your workforce and do not pay for excessive technician downtime when no billable work is available.
Your business has to have qualified field service technicians, but your field service operations do not have to turn into a cost center.
For instance, you can deploy AI-assisted dispatching to determine if you currently have an available, nearby technician to fulfill a job request or if it would be more profitable to work with a local contractor.
With Zuper, you can schedule a technician by availability, location, or skill. So, you will know if you have the right technician on staff or if you should opt for a contractor in only a few clicks.
Some of the largest expenses for field service are costs related to travel and overtime, so by lowering them, you can better predict your recurring costs and, in turn, find ways to improve your profitability. And using Field Nation, companies can usually find a contractor within 25 miles of a job.
Moreover, when you refine your service area and coordinate with strategic service contractors, you cut down considerably on vehicle and equipment maintenance costs. Since Field Nation contractors use their equipment, they handle all equipment acquisition and costs—further lowering your overhead.
Field Nation contractors are professionals that understand what you need and come ready to serve your customers.
Acquire Top Talent
One of the most notable challenges for field services is attracting and retaining top talent to help you hit the ground running. Recent research indicates it costs $1,633 to hire a field service technician and an additional $650 to $1,100 to train them.
When you tap into a contractor platform like Field Nation, you gain access to thousands of highly trained and knowledgeable field service technicians across a broad range of skills—without the hassle of finding, interviewing, and onboarding paperwork.
But the best of the best wants to hone their work to what fits their strengths–whether that is specializing in a specific skill within the industry or choosing to work in a limited service territory–so they are not spending more time on the road than providing the service.
Some of the most skilled workers prefer to operate on a part-time schedule, like technicians moving toward retirement. Acting as a contractor for respected businesses allows them to work in the field longer but have free time instead of “downtime.”
These contractors provide massive value to your business that would be impossible to find if you only work with full-time employees, or at the very least, would raise your labor costs dramatically.
Create Brand Advocates
In field services, your technicians are your brand advocates. They are the face of your company, and their work determines whether customers return or do not. Therefore, having the most qualified staff is paramount to success.
As previously discussed, many of the top experts in any industry have moved into a contractor role. They want to pick and choose to work for the best companies and jobs in a service area close to home.
By empowering them and adding the flexibility to accommodate them into your workflows using the Zuper platform, you gain their expertise and put it to use to strengthen your customer experience.
Partnering with nationwide contractors lets you create a network of trusted experts that bolster your brand at scale without the overhead costs that come with employing a large number of skilled technicians.
With that reach, you can create a “support squad” your customers' value and trust. A group of talented technicians that understand the ins and outs of the services you provide, allowing them to work efficiently with higher first-time completion rates.
To grow the field service arm of your business, you must focus on two major shifts. The first is lowering costs, which is what the previous sections of this post addressed.
What is the second shift? It is going after opportunities to grow your business.
You have to capitalize on more opportunities, such as bidding on larger jobs, an expanded service territory, or even moving into another type of service.
It may seem counterintuitive to reduce your labor costs while pursuing opportunities. But with the help of creative staffing and modern technology, it is more than possible. With over 150,000 qualified technicians on Field Nation, you can scale up as much as you need on short notice.
The Zuper and Field Nation integration lets businesses find the right field service technician to support their operations and immediately integrate them into their preset workflows—simplifying the onboarding process and getting contractors into the field faster.
Zuper is the most flexible and customizable field service management platform that can help you reduce labor costs through smart scheduling, seamless workflows, and advanced automation. The Zuper platform helps turn your field service providers–employee or contractor–into customer experience ambassadors.
In short, businesses will always need skilled field service technicians, but maintaining a large, widespread workforce is not easy. The Zuper and Field Nation integration helps overcome the challenge.
This post was inspired by Zuper FM’s Field Nation: Cutting Labor Costs in The Market with Mynul Khan. Listen here now.