Top 10 things all Tech's should know

Discussion in 'Professional Discussions' started by Water Saver, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. Water Saver

    Water Saver LawnSite Member
    from Nor Cal
    Messages: 100

    I'm trying to come up with a fast way to weed out experienced from inexperienced technicians.

    What do you think are the top 10 things an irrigation technician should know, and be able to explain to you, to prove their competence?

    I can appreciate that there are hundreds of things that one needs to know (Maybe 1000's) to be proficient, but I'm trying to whittle it down to the essence of what somebody should know before you give them a shot.

    Appreciate any feedback you have.
  2. NC_Irrigator

    NC_Irrigator LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,460

    My Top 2
    -Understanding a volt Multimeter. And knowing what is OHM'S and Volts
    and understanding what you are actually checking for and how current flows through a irr. wiring system.
    -Understanding The PROPER AND EFFICIENT Use of each of these 3 devices; Wire Tracer / Valve Locator / Fault Finder (not many techs know how to use a FF)
  3. stebs

    stebs LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607

    What swing pipe is
    Proper way to go from PVC to male threads
    Proper way to join metal to PVC
    Tell you what difference between static and dynamic pressure is
    Tell you optimum pressure for different types of heads
    Explain head layouts and choices to you
    Demonstrate proper way to make repairs
    Know proper way to glue pipe together
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  4. Srlance31

    Srlance31 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 736

    Ahh love fun interview questions and assessments. My ex-inventory clerk was a general contractor and his first interview question was to toss a tape measure to the interviewee and asked "find me 16 7/8." Simple and effective.

    Are you looking for questions to put on a multiple point test or things to toss to the interviewee to answer/do?

    I like the above suggestions. Definitely important to know how to use a multimeter. Do you do mostly residential, commercial, conventional, 2-wire?
  5. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,862

    What's that in tenths and hundredths?

  6. Srlance31

    Srlance31 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 736

    Tape measures are used to measure distances. Usually in inches and feet. In this case, 16 7/8 inches.
  7. kawasaki guy

    kawasaki guy LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from USA
    Messages: 19,320

    how to glue PVC with blue glue AND purple primer without making a mess.
  8. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,862

    Actually the "tape measures" we are familiar with are flexible metal or cloth rulers delineated in feet, inches and fractions thereof (architectural) feet, tenths and hundredths (engineering) and (metric) which I'm not familiar with.

    Architectural rules are more for measuring lengths, engineering rules are seen as measuring instruments for distance and elevation measurements.

    I was asked your tape question when I was 18, gave the same answer and was asked how I converted the measurements.

    I told the contractor it was pretty simple, I know the common numbers by heart 3"=.25 / 4"=.33 / 6"=.50 / 8"=.66 / 9"=.75 and go from there.

    Engineering and architectural rules don't match exactly but if you do any building, commercial work, public or underground you'll need to be comfortable with 10/100.
  9. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,082

    I've hired a few "textbook" techs that could answer all the questions posed, had pretty good resumes, as well. Only problem, was they had such large egos (which, after checking with previous employers) would not listen. Every contractor has THEIR way of doing things, and a prospective tech could be a flat-out loser, and why I finally only hired smart cookies I could teach the trade to MY WAY! One of the the best techs I had was a well-spoken college english major. Yes, a few slipped through the cracks, and were fired.
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  10. mitchgo

    mitchgo LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,523

    A service tech is much different then a install tech-
    For servicing- This is more a foreman

    #1 Ability to actually TALK to people . Not only does a technician need to know their job at hand you wouldn't be good if you don't have actual talking skills. Explain to the customer the situation in a manner they understand while keeping a professional approach. ' Man, this is the crappiest thing Ive ever seen! ' Not so good there.

    #2- Ability to distinguish Sprinkler brands, material and their applications to the relevant field you are working in. ( I.e. if you work on golf courses for 15 years I don't expect you to know all residential products and visaversa) . It's one thing to come across an item and say ' In all my years working on sprinkler systems I've never seen this' and completely different if someone didn't know what a Hunter PGP was.

    #3 Ability to identify and distinguish plumbing and sprinkler fittings. Have a general knowledge of types of pipe, sizes and their applications. Flow rates and pressure . If I ask you what's the difference been class 160 PVC and scheduled 80 PVC and they say ' What?' ... My first day I had no experience on sprinkler systems and my boss asked me to grab a marlex... I said ' What's a marlex??'

    #4 Ability to perform electrical diagnosis and have experience with a multi-meter- utilizing volts ohms and amps and applying to our field of work , valve locator- tracing wire runs and locating valves , fault finder , tone probe . Understanding of waterproof connectors. If I performed a ohms reading at the controller for zone 1 and I received 4 ohms of resistance and on zone 2 - 240 ohms of resistance what would this indicate.

    #5 Ability to repair plumbing efficiently- thinking outside the box in order to make a decent repair. Digging properly is important for this and having the right tools for the job. Did you have to make 6 trips back to the truck in order to complete the repair or were you proactive and got what you needed ahead of time. Did you have a plan of repair before you started cutting? In plumbing- Always make your last connection with the point of play . If you dig up and find 4 1" 45's with in 2' of plumbing with the piping leading into the same direction as before the first 45 - do you repair it exactly the same way or can you re-work it such as 2 90's and a coupler if it's off set or perhaps a slipfix or union if it's in line..

    #6- General knowledge on sprinkler systems/ sprinkler head water usage and operating water pressure . Understanding precipitation rates and what a mix matched zone can do. If you replace a sprinkler head and installed a 5GPM Nozzle on a rotor completing a 90 corner rotation and the rest of the zone visually appears Much less water usage then your sprinkler head.. You check out the 360 rotor and the nozzle is only 3 GPM, what's going to happen?

    #7 Genereal knowledge of designing . Triangle, square, single row patterns and their differences.

    #8 Ability to program- Factor in your hydrozone, microclimate, sloap , soil, Design of DU , and application to adequately program a system up.
    Does a single row van sprays on lawn full sun need the same run time as full shade established shrubs on rotors square design?

    #9 Knowledge of back flow preventors and why we use them.

    #10 Always continue to learn in our forever evolving field of work. I don't by that ' This is the way I've done it for 30 years' crap...

    A Crewman helper .. All I want is someone with a positive attidude and does what I'm asking of them

    . As much as I encourage them to learn as much as they can . You almost don't want them to have much knowledge because it usually turns into this daily ' Wall ' of disputes, disagreements and extra non needed stress
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017

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