Addressing the Concerns of Female Customers in the Water Heater Service and Repair Industry

Disclaimer: In honor of Women’s History Month, we decided to examine the water heater service industry from the perspective of women. | Please Note: This article is in no way intended to discriminate based on gender identity. U.S. Water Heating Solutions is an equal opportunity employer and simply intends to inform article readers based on questions and concerns previously posed by female customers and employees in an educational manner. We are posting this article in an effort to further open the line of communication we have with all clients/potential clients, as we understand that every client has unique needs. 

Safety

Safety is among the top concerns of many women when searching for home repair services. Elizabeth A. Stanko’s article “Women, Crime, and Fear” examines the theory behind women’s fear of potential crimes, which may be the result of gender roles enforced by society, which have contributed to machismo and general male dominance. Stanko suggests that it may be difficult for some women to face these fears because they are surrounded by men (from family members to friends to local contractors) who could later perpetuate crime (1985). This begs this question: Who am I really hiring? when I call my product’s manufacturer for service or perform a simple online search for local repairs. 

In reality, online search results can be extremely vague, providing a potential service provider who: may (or may not) have undergone a background check prior to being hired and may (or may not) be licensed for certain activities. As a manufacturer warranty service provider for some of the largest names in the water heater and boiler industry like A.O. Smith, Rheem, and Rinnai, safety is a top concern for the manufacturer and for our team. As a result, service technicians must undergo and pass a background check, performed by Plus One Solutions. Additionally, company policy permits reasonable testing and documentation-based assessments of employees, in the event that there is reasonable suspicion of inappropriate medication, drug, or alcohol usage while the employee is on the clock. (Please Note: These company policies are in place to protect our customers and employees; we have never had any such issue with any employee as of date).

Do water heater repair service technicians need a license?

The short answer is: NO. | In the state of Illinois, there is no specific license that a water heater service provider needs to service or replace a unit. There are, however, certain aspects of service which may require a city/village permit and/or the presence of a licensed plumber. We currently have 2 licensed plumbers on staff (as a part of U.S. Facilities Solutions, our full service affiliate which provides services for water heaters, HVAC, electric, and plumbing) for commercial plumbing jobs and to aid on installs, typically when pipes need to be moved.

Water Heater in a Woman-owned Business | Chicago, ILIf there’s no official license, how do I know a service technician from U.S. Water Heating Solutions is qualified?

Another benefit of receiving service from a manufacturer’s certified warranty service provider is that our technicians are also factory-trained. Throughout their careers, our technicians are sent to various manufacturer training schools such as: A.O. Smith University (Tennessee), Bradford White (Michigan), PVI (Fort Worth, Texas), Rheem, Lyle Thresher (Illinois), ILLCO, and Porter Pipe. After attending various schools, our technicians are able to apply their knowledge in the field.

Are service technicians professional, respectful of me, and respectful of my space?

YES | Professional behavior and respect are the top two requirements mandated by the company handbook. Technicians are expected to provide a location update and notify customers 30 minutes prior to arriving. Technicians are expected to notify the customer of any unexpected findings and walk the customer through the services provided. It is our goal to ensure customer satisfaction through water heater performance and sharing knowledge with our customers. Depending on the type of unit in your space, our technicians may provide suggested cleanings or techniques to ensure your unit’s lifespan is as long as possible.

Technicians’ vehicles are also equipped with various supplies to ensure that your home or business is respected: from shoe covers to carpet covers to powder free nitrile gloves, our staff intends to keep your space clean. Our technicians also have various tools and technology to aid them on site, helping them to avoid damaging your walls or other surfaces while they are moving equipment on site.

Should I worry about swindling and mansplaining when hiring a service provider?

In the past, we have had some female customers express concerns about being swindled as a result of the common gender stereotype that females are less knowledgeable about water heaters. Consumers should always do their research prior to hiring a service provider by reading reviews and/or calling the company. U.S. Water Heating Solutions provides free estimates via the Request An Estimate link as well as via our Contact page. We never know how much experience our clients have with water heaters; as a result, our technicians may provide general pointers, but they are also there to educate. If you ever have any questions or concerns, feel free to ask! Every service provider is different, but we focus on honesty and education: our customers receive up-front answers and explanations, as well as explanations of various repair options (if available).

Do service technicians judge my home or business?

NO | For those who have never wondered, this question may seem unusual, but it is actually quite common and was a concern of our accountant’s and other female clients: Does the technician think my home or business is dirty? Our technicians service homes and businesses in five states— and have seen ALMOST EVERYTHING. The majority of our technicians are home-owners with families of their own, so they understand the struggles of maintaining a space on a busy work schedule. We even asked several of our technicians about this concern and they all responded similarly: the job of a service technician is to ensure that the unit is running properly and to educate our customers.