A day in the life of a service technician can be unpredictable, presenting a variety of challenges throughout the workday. These in-demand workers often don’t know what tools or equipment they need until they get into the field and diagnose the repair.
Hear more from three technicians who fill similar roles but get called to many different jobs. Josh Guzman (Lodi Truck and Equipment), Ashley Harden (Peterson Cat) and Jacob Marlette (Cobalt Truck Equipment) discuss jobsite challenges, most-used tools, and resources that help them get jobs done quickly.
As a technician, what is a typical day like for you, and what type of work might you encounter on a jobsite?
Jacob: Every day is different for the most part. There's always something new and challenging and different locations to go to. That's why I like it. I usually get my schedule about 48 hours ahead of time. The day starts by traveling to the job scheduled that day. It could be service or inspection. After the inspection, I submit any issues or follow-up to our office. Then I put together the quote and get approval for repairs.
Josh: A standard day starts with a pre-check and then I head to the jobsite. I might be doing diagnosing or service work. I preform a wide variety of jobs. A lot of what I do is pre-planned with appointments, but it’s not uncommon to get a 911 job where I have to rush out and fix something. I gear up the truck, get the things I’m going to need and head out. I use any downtime to catch up on things like shop maintenance and servicing my truck.
Ashley: I usually start around 5:30 in the morning, sometimes earlier. I may work 12- to 14-hour days. We have dispatchers that organize everything. I’m usually racing around town getting machines up and running and swapping out parts.
What are the tools and equipment you use most on your service truck?
Josh: I use a lot of hand tools, diagnostic tools, lights, multi-voltage readers, amp readers. Nowadays my laptop is important.
Jacob: Since we do a lot of service inspections, I use basic hand tools like wrenches and ratchets to pull the filters off and put new ones on. I use a power-program multimeter for troubleshooting a lot if you’ve got electrical issues. I use more electric tools than air tools. All of my electric tools are battery operated, so I do use the inverter on the truck to keep the battery charged.
Ashley: I rely on the electrical power and the air. I use the air compressor for large impact wrenches. I clean a lot with the air compressor, clogged radiators and blowing dirt off machines, and I jump a lot of dead batteries. If I’m changing out cutting edges on buckets or pulling out transmissions or radiators, I use the crane. The crane on the truck could pick up about 12,000 pounds, so I use it for small and big jobs.
What are the biggest challenges for you on the jobsite or things that keep you from getting your job done efficiently?
Josh: Just trying to be as efficient as I can and as ready as I can. My biggest enemy is the time I spend encountering obstacles. I’m in the heat, I’m in the rain. I’m chasing down a truck. Getting the most information possible from the customer so I understand which problem is most important helps me gear up to take the right parts and supplies.
Ashley: The hardest part of the job is that everything is just big and massive. And the technology with these newer machines is constantly changing. It can be hard to keep up with training on the new equipment. I try to be as knowledgeable as possible to do my job accordingly.
Jacob: I would say my biggest pet peeve as a field technician is when I’m on a site in the middle of nowhere and there's no cell phone service. I’m trying to get resources like manuals or communication with a third party to walk through troubleshooting steps, but I can’t get what I need. I may think I have everything, but without cell service I have no way to get additional resources or communicate with someone else.