Thou Art Is the Question

I want to work for you!

I want to work for you!
Image courtesy of

There was an article in a trade publication some time back about appearance and how much it matters in today’s HVAC industry. Specifically, the article was talking about piercings and tattoos, and whether or not that mattered. The article had interviewed some contractors who said it was okay if reasonable, and others who said they would not hire someone with piercings or body art. The article also cited an amazing statistic, that is that 40% of adults in their thirties have a tattoo and that 20% of all adults in the US have a tattoo.

Given the statistics, the odds are pretty high that at some point a contractor is going to face the decision of whether or not to hire someone with a tattoo or a piercing. Whenever the subject arises, so also does the argument of freedom of expression. It is the knowledge and skills that a technician possesses that is important, not how they look, so goes the argument. This argument advises contractors to look past physical appearance if they want to hire the best technicians. This typically does not apply to piercings however, given the concern for health and safety issues of those working around electrical currents.

On the other hand, some contractors say they find tattoos distracting and that given a choice of 2 individuals with equal skills, they would hire the one without body art. Still other contractors are concerned about the image a technician with body art will project to their customers. If a customer is turned off by the personal appearance of a company’s technician, they stand the possibility of losing that customer without ever knowing why. Service technicians need to understand this concern on the part of business owners without taking it personally.

In the final analysis, all the arguments in the world for or against don’t really matter, because it is the customer that decides. Service technicians need to understand the importance of the image they project to the customer as a function of any tattoos or piercings they may have, especially in an industry I once heard described as one where “consumers are concerned for their wallets when they let our industry in their door.” Therefore, if you are a service technician and considering whether to ink/pierce or not, let discretion be the better part of valor!