The Forensic Plumber

Being a top service technician in commercial plumbing maintenance is, in essence, being great at problem solving. You are presented with a problem for which you must provide a solution. Simple, right? So, what distinguishes a good maintenance plumber from a great one? I believe it’s in their heads. What distinguishes them isn’t technical knowledge or years of industry experience, although these do play a major part. What distinguishes them is they approach problems with a passionate state-of-mind and attitude.

From the moment the service technician arrives onsite, they follow a strict set of procedural and highly-tuned processes. Their senses are in a heightened state, feeding on and processing the streams of information that are all around them. They are tuned in and ready. They begin by actively listening to the client’s problem or issue, explained in layman’s terms, and like the enigma ‘code-breaking’ machine, they filter and decipher the client’s description for hidden clues that may lead them to an early diagnosis.

Failure to follow these directives can result in the problem being missed and remaining unsolved. In the eyes of the technician, failure is not an option. There will only be one outcome.

Success is a State of Mind

Top service technicians approach the problem with confidence and a belief that they will find a solution, whatever it takes. They have determination, a fire inside, and a competitive spirit that drives them to not give up. These qualities help them to come out victorious with an innovative and comprehensive solution. They believe that they will solve the problem even before they know what the problem is. Now, this could be perceived as arrogance, but I assure you it’s not. In fact, arrogance or ego has the opposite effect. The minute you decide you know what the problem is, before you’ve even narrowed it down, you’ve effectively put on the blinkers and blinded yourself to other possible clues or signs that may lead to the primary problem or potential series of problems. A great technician is like a seasoned detective on a crime scene; they assume everyone is a suspect, and suspects can only be ruled out, not ruled in.

Thrill of the Chase

Truly great service technicians take pleasure in the toughest of challenges, particularly those that have been attempted and failed by another trade professional. They get a buzz from problem solving and the tougher the problem or greater the challenge, the bigger the buzz. They relish in the opportunity to tackle the most difficult of challenges and come out victorious. Top service technicians often end up in situations where standard or textbook solutions do not apply and they find themselves in unchartered territory. They have to dig-deep, drawing on instinct and innovation, to create a truly customized, ‘out-of-the-square’ solution.


Being a great service technician is not just solving the problem, but having the better judgment, which leads to the right solution. “Band-Aid” solutions and quick fixes have no place here. The right solution is the one that not only resolves the problem and prevents it from recurring, but also provides peace-of-mind for the customer for many years to come. Whether it’s a one off solution or a carefully developed periodic maintenance program to manage a particular asset or persistent problem, the primary focus is to accurately provide the right solution. Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.


A successful service technician must evolve in order to grow, and yet some methods of problem solving should never change. In all areas, they MUST be consistent. From their arrival time to the job, the cleanliness of their equipment and workspace, the speed when answering a call, to their attitude and professionalism—ALL must have uniformity. “It’s not what they do once that shapes a great service technician. It’s what they do consistently.”


Today’s service technicians have to evolve with the ever-changing needs and growth of their customers and their assets. In this dynamic climate, they must put themselves at the forefront of developments and technology within their industry. One means of keeping up-to-date is reading the latest edition of an industry magazine or publication. Another is drawing on and incorporating new technologies, products, and systems in day-to-day operations. Another is constantly looking for ways to improve service or offerings. Great service techs are often the ones who make their boss or customers aware of a new product of technology that could save them money or improve efficiencies. They have the ability to quickly learn and take pride in continued professional development. The success of a great service technician isn’t based on their ability to simply change. It is based on their ability to change faster than their competition and customers.

Attitude Wins

Being a top service technician in commercial plumbing is all about having a great attitude. They consistently conduct themselves as professionals and are proud to be of service to their customers and their business. Setting the highest of standards for themselves, they are obsessed with quality workmanship and excellence in service. Never giving up, they inspire others around them dig-deep and come out on top. They have a willingness to be the best, yet are humble with their success, often shaking it off as a team effort. They are leaders who motivate and inspire others around them. The ultimate team players, they are the glue that bonds the team together. Top service technicians are highly motivated, self-driven and reliable, but above all, are those who take pride in their work.