Clear written instructions and a S**t load of check lists are the answers to most of your problems.
Focus on the processes, not the people. The people will come and go, some will do the job, some won't. You'll drive yourself crazy wondering why, and how to change it, so stop thinking about the people and start thinking about the processes.
Fast food restaurants figured this out ages ago. Look at their ramp up speed for a new employee. I know there's alot more to know as a tech then a sandwich maker, however, there's so many things you can learn from the way these fast food chains train their employees, and the systems, processes and checklists they use to maintain consistency across many locations.
At the end of the day, security installations is like the fast food of the trades. We serve up mostly the same products, day in, day out. It's the same type cable, to the same terminal, programmed much the same way. Cameras, access control, intrusion, doesn't matter. 100 doors or 10, the basic fundamentals don't change all that much from site to site. If you can have most of your techs master the basic fundamentals, and then have one or two key people to worry about the finer details that vary site to site, your life just got a ton easier.
The basic fundamentals are very easy to document and create checklists for. Of course you won't have a process or checklist for everything, but how much easier would your life be if you can remove even half the phone calls, half the stupid questions, half the "oops, sorry I forgot"?
I spent many years pulling my hair out, frustrated to no end with techs that just didn't seem to care, that wouldn't follow up, needed their hand held every step of the way. As soon as I started putting written processes and checklists in front of them my life got way easier! The checklists and processes gave them a confidence I never knew they had in them. Sure we still get bad hires, some people really don't have it in them. Again though, the checklists and processes make management so much easier. "here's the process, why didn't you follow it?" If you can't follow a clearly written process, then you can't work here. Very easy conversation to have. Very quick to vet out those who are going to make it and those who aren't. Processes and checklists are the Kryptonite to excuses.
For years I was convinced every person I hired was a dumb ass. It took me a long time to realize, that more often then not, they just didn't have all the right info. Once I started to give them better drawings, project road maps, milestones, daily goals, checklists, written processes etc....all of a sudden my dumb asses started to succeed.
If you haven't yet read the book " The E-Myth Contractor: Why Most Contractors' Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It", jump on Amazon and buy it. It's an easy read and I'm confident you'll get lots of great info out of it.
NOTICE: This comment was moved from an existing discussion: Help - Techs Who Need Their Hand Held