9 HVAC Dispatching Tips to Improve Routing and Communication (2023)

Jobber Academy

February 3, 20237 min. read

  1. Academy/
  2. HVAC/
  3. HVAC Dispatching

Many HVAC dispatchers work with inefficient processes and a lack of tools to help them plan, schedule, and route service requests effectively.

Whether you’re a dispatcher or service manager, reduce stress for yourself and your field technicians by building better communication, training, and technology into your HVAC dispatching process.

In this post, you’ll find practical tips for effective dispatching—and how to reclaim your time with convenient HVAC dispatching tools.

What is HVAC dispatching?

HVAC dispatching is the process of sending heating, cooling, and ventilation technicians and installers to service your customers’ HVAC systems.

Dispatching often involves scheduling the work you receive from customers, assigning jobs to field technicians, and routing them to the jobs in their schedule.

What does an HVAC dispatcher do?

An HVAC dispatcher assigns HVAC repair, maintenance, and installation jobs to HVAC field service technicians at their company. Dispatchers communicate with HVAC crews over radio, phone, or computer to direct them to customer properties and ensure their timely arrival.

HVAC dispatchers are the call center for customers and HVAC techs alike—they ensure customers that help is on the way, and manage technician schedules so that all the work gets done.

Do you need an HVAC dispatcher?

Not every business needs a dedicated HVAC service dispatcher, but someone at your company should handle dispatching

While medium- to large-sized HVAC companies typically have a team of dispatchers, smaller businesses might only have an office manager or the business owner dispatching technicians.

(Video) Dispatcher's Secret Dispatching Tricks - How to Avoid Inefficient Technicians

You can still dispatch effectively while managing other front-office responsibilities. HVAC dispatch software like Jobber saves you from manually mapping out all service calls, and can even design efficient driving routes for your crews.

9 best HVAC dispatching tips:

  1. Improve communication between technicians and the office
  2. Schedule ride-alongs with your HVAC technicians
  3. Create a system to prioritize jobs
  4. Give technicians access to schedules in advance
  5. Make customer notes and details easy to access
  6. Dispatch technicians by location groups
  7. Schedule consistent breaks
  8. Monitor technician progress with GPS tracking
  9. Keep customers informed about upcoming visits

1. Improve communication between technicians and the office

Create a consistent, repeatable process for communicating with HVAC technicians that you dispatch to service calls. A communication plan ensures dispatchers and technicians stay on the same page without getting overloaded with phone calls and texts.

Whether you use a radio, phone, or HVAC service software, here’s how you can improve your dispatch communication:

  • Set a communication protocol. This protocol should define when, how, and how often technicians and dispatchers should communicate. For example, do techs need to check in with their dispatcher once the job is done?
  • Stay informed about job delays. Technicians should notify you when jobs go over their allotted time so you can manage customer complaints about delays. Have your technicians notify you over text—or keep tabs on the tech’s location with GPS tracking (more on that later).
  • Send automatic schedule updates to your crew. Automating these updates will save you time and prepare your field techs for on-the-fly changes. In Jobber, when you make a schedule change to an employee’s current workday, they’ll get a notification on their phone with all the details.
9 HVAC Dispatching Tips to Improve Routing and Communication (1)

2. Schedule ride-alongs with your HVAC technicians

A few ride-alongs with HVAC technicians can show dispatchers what field workers go through in a day. Understanding a technician’s typical workload, travel time, and customer interactions will help you schedule visits without overloading your crew to the point of burning out.

If you or your office manager is in charge of dispatching, go on two or three ride-alongs to get a sense of the time your technicians spend on the job.

If you run a larger team with dispatchers, make ride-alongs with technicians part of your HVAC dispatch training.

READ MORE: HVAC technician job description: free template and guide

3. Create a system to prioritize jobs

Make it easy to figure out which jobs should be prioritized in your crew’s schedule. Assign each job an urgency level—either low, medium, or high urgency.

You should be capturing enough information in your work request forms or customer phone call notes to tell you how urgent a repair job is.

In Jobber, you can customize the color of different visits in your team calendar. This helps dispatchers recognize job urgency at a glance and make faster rescheduling decisions.

You can set a specific color for visits with certain keywords in their title, like “emergency repair” or “high urgency”

9 HVAC Dispatching Tips to Improve Routing and Communication (2)
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When you get last-minute emergency calls, you’ll know which visits you can rearrange in the schedule to make room for those calls.

4. Give technicians access to schedules in advance

When your HVAC techs can see their schedule any time and from anywhere, they’ll be more prepared for the day and deliver better customer service with the right information, HVAC tools, and equipment.

Use a shareable job schedule, like this one in Jobber, that lets you easily reschedule jobs or reassign them to a different field service technician:

At the start of each day, technicians can check their schedule for a snapshot of what’s scheduled and who’s working. From the office, you or your dispatchers can track the crew’s progress throughout the day, and make changes on the fly when needed.

Bonus: Choose from five different schedule views in Jobber—including weekly, monthly, and a map view—to match what’s most convenient for your dispatchers and techs.

9 HVAC Dispatching Tips to Improve Routing and Communication (3)

READ MORE: Better scheduling led to this HVAC business’s best year on record

5. Make customer notes and details easy to access

As the bridge between customers and HVAC technicians you need to equip your techs with the right information before they arrive at the job.

Choose one place to store details about each service call, as well as special notes and images technicians need to review before a repair.

These details should be easy to share and refer back to—so instead of back-and-forth emails or paper documents, store them in your customer relationship management system (CRM) or HVAC scheduling software.

When a tech needs to access details about a service call, they can simply click on the visit in their Jobber calendar and see the original HVAC work order, notes, images, and other attachments:

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9 HVAC Dispatching Tips to Improve Routing and Communication (4)

6. Dispatch technicians by location groups

Speed up dispatching by assigning HVAC technicians to the jobs that are closest to them. Location-based scheduling reduces driving time and makes more time for work in everyone’s schedule.

Follow these steps to organize your crew by location:

  1. Organize visits into groups based on location. You can group them by which part of the city or town they’re in (e.g, northeast, southwest, etc), or by neighborhood if your services are more localized.
  2. Assign one technician (or crew) to each location group. This way, your staff will spend less time driving from one job to the next.

Make this process easier by using route optimization software that maps out visits for you. For example, Jobber automatically creates the most efficient crew schedule based on the location of each visit—and lets you track your team’s location as they’re driving from job to job.

Once you assign a job to a team member, you can select Route From Here and let Jobber map out the rest of their day’s work in the most efficient way possible.

7. Schedule consistent breaks

Everyone at your HVAC company has the right to rest—so be diligent about scheduling breaks in each HVAC technician’s schedule.

To make it easier to manage employee breaks, you can:

  • Schedule breaks in advance. Setting a defined break time in each technician’s calendar (e.g., 12:00-12:45) before even scheduling jobs ensures you never miss a break.
  • Figure out your team’s peak productivity periods and plan your breaks immediately after them.
  • Allow input from the employees on their preferences about their work breaks. Note their preferences and schedule breaks that accommodate them as best as you can.

Breaks keep your team well-rested, prevent burnout, and might be legally enforced in your region. Check your regional and federal guidelines on minimum rest periods.

8. Monitor technician progress with GPS tracking

Track your crew’s progress and location throughout the day using a GPS tracking tool. Knowing the location of your crew’s vehicles can help you manage delays with less stress.

Using fleet management tools in Jobber, you can see when a technician is at a property for more time than expected. You’ll improve your customer service when you can quickly inform their next customer about the delay.

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READ MORE: 18 essential HVAC blogs and forums for technicians

9. Keep customers informed about upcoming visits

Successful HVAC dispatchers deliver great customer service by preparing each customer before their repairman or installer arrives. Use these strategies to keep customers in the loop as you dispatch your technicians:

  1. Automate your appointment reminder emails and texts so that all customers get a reminder 1–2 days before the service call.
  2. Get your field service technicians to send on-my-way text messages to customers. (Or you can automate those, too, using two-way messaging in Jobber)

In Jobber, you can schedule reminder emails and send standardized ‘on my way’ text messages before every visit without typing them each time.

Then, manage all these conversations in a single place. Using two-way text messaging, you can see what was sent, when it was sent, and which team member sent the message.

Being able to capture our workflow, from the moment of quoting a job, to ordering the supplies, to scheduling the job…

…and even having somewhere to hold the customer information? It just made sense to bring it all into Jobber.

9 HVAC Dispatching Tips to Improve Routing and Communication (5)

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What are the responsibilities of a HVAC dispatcher? ›

Primary responsibility is customer service. Communicates with customers to determine their needs. Schedules and notifies service technicians of work order assignments using GPS tracking and dispatching software. Receives check-in call from the service technicians and informs workers of the next job to respond to.

How can I improve my dispatcher skills? ›

Tips to improve trucking dispatch
  1. Go for a ride.
  2. Cultivate relationships.
  3. Be open to feedback and collaboration.
  4. Use truck dispatch management software.
  5. Use one channel of communication.
  6. Avoid “Mission Impossible” jobs.
  7. Refine driver scheduling.
  8. Set reasonable expectations.
Dec 10, 2020

What qualities make a good dispatcher? ›

Dispatchers must be willing and able to help callers with a wide range of needs. They must be calm, polite, and sympathetic, while also quickly getting information. Listening skills. When answering an emergency call or handling radio communications, a dispatcher must listen carefully.

What are 4 responsibilities tasks of a dispatcher? ›

A Dispatchers responsibilities include receiving emergency and non-emergency calls, monitoring driver logs, keeping records, addressing problems, and dispatching appropriate team members.

What skills do you need to be a dispatcher? ›

Dispatcher Skills and Qualifications
  • Documentation.
  • Data entry.
  • Telephone.
  • Listening and verbal communication.
  • High energy level.
  • Dependability.
  • Multi-tasking.
  • Emotional control.

What is the main responsibility of the dispatcher? ›

The purpose of a dispatcher is to respond to a company's emergency or non-emergency calls for help and information. Their duties include monitoring routes, updating call logs, and recording call information. Dispatchers usually work in the shipping or emergency service industry.

What challenges do dispatchers face? ›

The biggest challenge for dispatchers is exchanging all of the relevant information with the driver in an efficient and timely manner. The driver always needs to know simple things like the service address, but he may need other detailed information about the service call.

Why would I be a good dispatcher? ›

Aside from the basic dispatching skills, dispatchers should have the ability to handle multiple calls and tasks, communicate effectively, manage their time, and use good judgment. Additionally, the ability to listen, absorb information, and have empathy for callers is crucial for this job."

What is a good objective for a dispatcher? ›

1. Seeking employment as a 911 Dispatcher for ABC company to apply skills in customer service and documenting information. 2. Motivated individual desiring a 911 Dispatcher position with ABC company to use strengths involving working with the public, communicating with personnel, and operating communication systems.

Why do you want to be a dispatcher answer? ›

Some potential reasons for wanting to become a 911 dispatcher include a desire to help the community, a desire to support emergency response or police and skills in a high-stress and fast-paced environment. You can reflect on your answer to this question to develop a more personalized response.

What are the 5 W's in dispatching? ›

The Five Ws
  • Where, What, Who, When, Why? When calling 9-1-1 for assistance, these are questions the dispatcher will ask you. ...
  • Do stay on the line. ...
  • Do have the information available. ...
  • Do let the dispatcher ask the questions. ...
  • Do stay on the line as long as needed. ...
  • Don't hesitate to call 911!

When communicating with dispatcher what is super important to provide? ›

Helpful basic information to provide include whether the victims are breathing, pulse present and any significant bleeding or other life-threatening injuries.

What are the various steps in dispatching? ›

  • Step 1 - Checking and confirming the order. ...
  • Step 2 - Production or procurement. ...
  • Step 3 - Central excise clearance. ...
  • Step 4 - Pre-shipment inspection. ...
  • Step 5 - Clearing and forwarding agents. ...
  • Step 6 - Reservation of shipping space. ...
  • Step 7 - Paperwork and final checks. ...
  • Step 8 - Post-dispatch formalities.
Oct 27, 2021

What kind of training does a dispatcher need? ›

The police dispatcher will need to complete a 120 hour training program. It covers 14 domains. Among them are professional orientation and ethics, missing persons, domestic violence, critical incidents, interpersonal communication, and wellness management.

How much does a dispatcher make a month? ›

Average ₹29,847 per month.

What dispatcher makes most money? ›

High Paying Transportation Dispatcher Jobs
  • Radio Dispatcher. Salary range: $35,000-$77,500 per year. ...
  • Intermodal Dispatcher. Salary range: $38,000-$50,000 per year. ...
  • Truck Dispatcher. Salary range: $34,500-$49,000 per year. ...
  • Operations Dispatcher. ...
  • Freight Dispatcher. ...
  • Service Dispatcher. ...
  • Dispatch Coordinator. ...
  • Dispatcher.

What information does the dispatcher ask for? ›

Why do dispatchers ask so many questions? Dispatchers ask for pertinent information first – address, type of call, name of caller or those involved, and your call back number. Once the initial information is obtained, additional questions may be asked depending on the type of call.

How can I improve my HVAC skills? ›

To develop essential HVAC skills, consider pursuing continual education options, even after earning a high school diploma or undergraduate degree. This may include taking online courses or earning a certification.

How do I pass a dispatcher interview? ›

Here's how you can prepare for 911 and police dispatcher interview questions that ask about your knowledge of the job:
  1. Study the day-to-day duties of a dispatcher.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the communications equipment dispatchers use.
  3. Be aware of the challenges dispatchers face on the job.

Is the dispatcher test hard? ›

The Dispatcher test is considered a hard exam since it simulates the challenging tasks of actual 911 dispatchers. Also, since most candidates take the exam without any prior dispatch experience, they're often overwhelmed by its unique sections, such as multitasking, call summarization, and more.

What are the dispatcher goals? ›

The goals are: To provide 24-hour per day availability for receiving 9-1-1 and other public safety calls and either (a) dispatching law enforcement, fire protection, and emergency medical and ambulance services as needed or (b) transferring calls to the appropriate public agencies.

What are 5 skills a HVAC technician should have? ›

What Skills Are Needed to Be an HVAC Technician?
  • Problem-Solving Abilities. An HVAC technician must be able to identify a problem and fix it. ...
  • Communication Skills. ...
  • Time Management Skills. ...
  • Comfort Working With Heavy Objects and Machinery. ...
  • Familiarity With Computers.

What are 5 things that HVAC technicians have to do on a daily basis? ›

Some of the typical daily duties of an HVAC technician include:
  • Oversee installation of HVAC systems.
  • Provide good customer care.
  • Run after-hours calls as needed.
  • Troubleshoot and repair HVAC equipment.
  • Provide technical support when in the field.
  • Work with Sales and Engineering to develop products to meet market needs.
Dec 10, 2019

How can you improve customer relations in HVAC business? ›

5 Steps to Better Customer Service in Your HVAC Business
  1. Respect Customers' Time. ...
  2. Look Sharp and Organized. ...
  3. Explain the Work to Customers. ...
  4. Follow Up To Ensure Satisfaction. ...
  5. Simplify Your Billing and Customer Feedback.
Mar 26, 2015

What do dispatchers say when they answer the phone? ›

When you call 911, a call-taker will answer the phone and say "911" or "911, what's your emergency?". Ideally, you should tell the call-taker what the emergency is, for example: "My house is on fire!" "There's someone breaking into my home!"

What is a good score on a dispatcher test? ›

If an applicant's score is 40 or below, his/her performance is considered “below average” when compared to other applicants who have taken the test. If an applicant's score is 60 or above, his/her performance is considered “above average” when compared to other applicants who have taken the test.

Do you have to type fast to be a dispatcher? ›

Many 911 operator positions require candidates to achieve approximately 40 - 45 words per minute on a typing test with very high accuracy. You can practice for your typing test for free.

How stressful is being a dispatcher? ›

Being an Emergency Dispatcher is difficult for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, the job is incredibly intense and stressful; at any moment you could answer the phone to a panicked caller and alter the course of their lives depending on your actions.


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