There are several reasons these thoughts have flitted across my brain lately and so I thought I would share them with you. Please feel free to comment and don’t hold back one ounce of what you’re thinking as I intend to do the same.
When I drive around town I see many different bug guys and gals and to be quite honest I’m a bit disappointed. For an industry that touts professionalism it sure looks like we don’t care to much about promoting this idea. Now I’m not a prude and like you, I like to be comfortable in what I do. So you may catch me in a pair of jeans from time to time and on days where I have nothing but vacant repos to do I might even skip shaving for that day.
What do we call professional?
Is it a tie or collared shirt with a shiny mag lite hooked to our belt? What’s the mandate on hair length or mustaches and colors of our pants? Do you have to carry a metal notebook to be professional or have a vehicle with mouse parts welded on? These aren’t really questions for me to decide. It’s up to you what your image is. Sure the industry has leaders whose voice carries weight and there are tried and true looks that have been proven over the years. What it comes down to is your business model and what promotes you and your company. In the end the bottom line makes the decisions easy for you because you’ll either grow as a company or not- your customers will decide that for you
Case In Point
Almost everybody knows Billy The Exterminator and for the most part people love him. The people that do not, seems to be the technicians and pros who write me or comment on forums around the web. Of those, the overwhelming majority always mention how he looks. They don’t like his hair, his sunglasses or all that shiny spiked metal he’s adorned with. The comments are pretty straight forward and claim he is tearing down the industry among other things. Now to be fair, most of the well thought out commentors address other issues (which I will as well in part 2) but still, they almost always start with his dress–It must bother them.
So I wonder; Is it just old crotchety techs with crew cuts and penny loafers who feel this way? Is it because he has a TV show and is suddenly adored by millions of people? Does the sight of a guy in leather suddenly make you feel like you’re surrounded by a biker gang?
Whatever you think of Billy consider this; He knows the power of a uniform because he served his country in the Air Force wearing one everyday. His customers don’t seem to mind and hundreds of thousands of fans search the net looking for his apparel. His family dresses the part and unless he just came out of a crawl space he is never dirty or looking like he just rolled out of bed hung over.
The Techs We Don’t Talk About
What probably bothers me most about this discussion is no one really addresses the look that I see almost every day out on the road. Techs who look like Grizzly Adams and haven’t showered in a week. Faces that look like a mug shot, ratty tennis shoes and even a t-shirt for their favorite Nascar driver. The trucks aren’t much better with sloppy goo dripping from a leaky tank, B&G perched on a bucket of rat bait and trash flying out every time they get up to speed. This may make you angry to hear but it is a reality I seldom see addressed. Sure I live in a small town but I see this everywhere I travel & I always wonder, “Would I let them into my home? Could I trust someone who looks like that to professionally apply chemicals where my family lives? Can they possibly do a professional job?”
I Realize it’s Just TV But
Yes I might take a double look at Billy if he were walking up my drive but whether you like it or not, his uniform is coordinated with a deliberate theme. You instantly know the UPS man in his brown shorts right? I’ve never seen a shoddy Vexcon truck with chemicals oozing onto the road nor do I take packages from a driver whose boxes are crushed in a heap. Both by definition then are professional at least in appearance whether you like the look or not. I’ve searched the web and not found any ‘real articles’ except one a reader sent me. This coupled with the many e-mails and comments on many different forums started this train of thought for me and I’d be eager to hear what you say. To be quite honest, if it came down to it and I had to choose between some of the techs I’ve seen out there and Vexcon, Billy wouldn’t be that bad, What say you?