Robert Pike (Rob) never envisaged himself as Hydraulic Service Technician, in fact, when he applied for the job, he had never heard of the company. His cousin, who works for DSM Demolition, was a regular customer of Pirtek and suggested Rob should make an approach to his local centre. Rob’s previous job was with a company where the installations could be anywhere in the UK, but with a young family and new responsibilities, he needed to make a change.
He wanted a role that would enable him to be home every night, be a constant presence in the lives of his children and have the flexibility that he was seeking whilst still feeling fulfilled in his work.
The job at Pirtek could not have been better suited to him. With a background in mechanics, Rob had always had a fascination with how things worked. After doing the two weeks of initial training he discovered how to fix some of the equipment that he previously used on site every day. “It wasn’t until I did the training that I understood just how many things operate on hydraulics and just how dangerous it can be when they go wrong,” says Rob.
“I remember my first day on the job and the first job I ever did on my own – it’s something that I will never forget. But my most memorable? I was called out to a low loader that had got stuck on a major local road, effectively closing it to traffic. The police were in attendance, and it even got on the local news! The suspension hose on the vehicle needed to be replaced and once I had done that, they were able to move it out of the way and traffic could start flowing again. It’s jobs like that, where you can solve a problem, that tend to stick in the mind.”
Rob has a passion for all things automotive so having Rolls Royce and Land Rover as customers is great. He also has had incredible jobs, such as the private customer who asked for help restoring an old car and installing a spitfire engine in it. “All the hoses needed replacing – there was quite a bit of work involved in it, but it was amazing to see the finished vehicle.”
A typical day for Rob starts at 8am either at a pre-booked customer job or at the depot restocking and tidying out his van. “About 90% of my work is breakdown work but only a few of these are emergencies where you have to drop everything and get there asap.”
Rob’s patch also includes Birmingham Airport, and he has attended a variety of different jobs there including working in the maintenance areas on the planes, as well as going air-side and working on the de-icers in the winter to ensure they are running effectively to support people still be able to catch flights even in the coldest of temperatures.
Having positive relationships with customers is one of the things that Rob really values about his work. “Over time you get to know your customers and build a level of trust with them. I have had customers who have moved out of my area but have still called me when they needed assistance because they know me, they know how I work, and they trust that I can do the job right first time. Our customers know that we are quick and can fix the same day or the day after and none of our competitors can offer this service.”
And if Rob were to offer one piece of advice for someone starting out as a Hydraulic Service Technician? “Be safe. It doesn’t take much to have an accident in hydraulics and they can be catastrophic when they happen. Pay attention to the training, pay attention on the job and you will walk away with a happy customer.”