What is the Starting Salary for an HVAC Technician

Hey folks, what is an HVAC technician’s starting salary? That’s what we are going to discuss today on Fox Family Heating Air and Solar. Intro If this is your first time watching our channel, please click the subscribe button. If you click the bell next to it you’ll be notified of all of our new videos as it’s released. The first thing you need to know is, in the trades like HVAC if you have a great personality, are clean cut, responsible, will get to work on time, and not drink alcohol or smoke weed on the job, you’ll probably go far in his field. It’s a job that will keep you fit and strong because your carrying, lifting, pushing, squatting, climbing all around during your shift! It’s also a job that never seems to be the same day in and day out, which is what I absolutely love about HVAC.

So, The US Bureau of Labor Statistics say the need for HVAC techs is going to grow by 15% until 2026. At the same time there is major shortage of blue-collar workers to fill those HVAC spots. Why is that? Is it because our parents have been telling us since day 1 that we have to college and get a degree if we want to make something of ourselves? I think that might be it actually. Since my childhood growing up in the 80’s, I have definitely witnessed the increase in white collar jobs out there. And… those jobs today most likely need some sort of degree.

I get it. However, I think the Baby Boomers and Generation X’ers are making the push for that kind of thinking in their children. A mindset that has almost ignored the fact that we still have to flush toilets, turn on the heater, and sometimes fix our appliances, or run pipes for sprinkler systems. All jobs that do not require a college degree. Not only does it not require a college degree, but you wont have a crazy $15,000 college tuition to pay for when you do finally get a job. Skilled trades are acquired. Handed down from generation to generation. In my opinion, HVAC techs learn the best from on the job training. Nothing substitutes learning out in the field.

For those of you thinking about going to trade school, that’s fine, but here I am and I didn’t have to go to trade school. Now, one thing you need to keep in mind about HVAC technicians is there are so many types of HVAC jobs. I would say, Service techs, installers, and maintenance techs are the HVAC jobs you probably think of the most when you think about getting into our field.

But warehouses, need workers to supply those technicians with the equipment they need. So maybe you’d like to get into HVAC and work in the distributors warehouse. You name a brand of HVAC equipment and there is probably a supply warehouse in your area that carries that equipment and all the parts it needs for servicing. Your probably going to get a $10 to $15 an hour job working in the warehouses, but hey, you wont be crawling around attics either! In California we have Title 24 Technicians that act as a third-party verification technician who comes out at the end of all our jobs and verifies proper return air, refrigerant charges, and duct leakage.

These guys are making hourly rates like $plus they get a monetary “bonus” for each actual job they test. These guys are making good money, but they drive to hell and back all over the state trying to get to their next job to make that money. Looong days during the busy season, and short days of work in the slow times. Another HVAC job is Home Performance. Technicians deal with the whole house performance and try to get existing homes to perform better for their customers by sealing up air gaps and penetrations to make the house less leaky. These techs usually work off commission. They are salesy type technicians selling a concept of home performance. And the jobs they sell promise lots of rebates for the customer and a good salary for the technician. I’ve already told you guys this, but when I started out in the HVAC industry, I was 35 years old and had just left my job as a bartender for 15 years where I was making really good money.

Around $75,000 a year. But for me it was time to get out of that industry and move up to a “real job.” Because I was a mechanic in the Air Force back in the 90’s, I already knew I had an inclination for the mechanical field. Working with tools came pretty natural for me. So, I found my first HVAC job at one of the big companies around here. The advantages of starting at a company like a bigger company, are steady work, for one. As an installer I was literally installing every single day. It was grueling hard work sometimes, but I wasn’t at home sitting on my butt either. In 2010, they started me out at $10 an hour…(pause and stare) but I knew if they saw my work ethic, I would get a raise soon. And I did! I got my EPA and my 410A certificates which got me an extra $2 an hour, so within a month I was already at $12. A few months later, after they saw my work and how dependable I was, they gave me another couple dollars an hour which brought me up to $14. I was working for the install department at the time and had just been bumped up to $16 an hour before I started asking to go into the service side of the field.

Well, my install manager wasn’t having it. Instead she offered me a position as lead installer, running my own jobs for another $2 an hour. So, after one year I was making $18 as an HVAC technician. A couple months later I got up to $20 an hour. And maybe even on to $an hour. But naturally, my inclination was to move over to the service side where most techs want to work. In order to do that my company made me go all the way back to $14 an hour so I could prove to them I knew the service side. So, once again I just had to keep working hard and proving myself to get back up to about $18 an hour before I quit and started my own company. The crappy part of working for big companies is this company had a ceiling of $25 an hour which is barely higher than the national average of an hour for HVAC techs.

But take my technicians for example, they make 20-27 an hour have opportunities throughout the day to make extra money on system add-ons that we really think will help the system last longer and be safer for our customer’s family. They also sell complete systems while they are out in the field. If a system is sold by those techs they get a percentage of the sale. In our case it’s 6% of the sale.

Our techs love that big pay day when it hits! And now with us installing solar, their sales tickets are getting bigger and their commission on a 20,000 solar sale on top of a 10,000 HVAC sale really starts adding up. We currently have a tech that is getting ready to propose a 78,000 dollar job to a customer of ours for over 30kW of solar.

If it sells, he’ll make over $4,600 commission on just one job. That’s crazy! But back to when I started. Even when I got to $20 an hour, I knew I couldn’t go any higher than $25 at my company. This is eventually what made me start looking outside of that company and onto bigger pay. So, that’s just my story. So many technicians before and after me will have a different story about how they got into the field and everything. And their starting salaries were probably different than mine, probably higher starting pay for sure! I know of techs who started working at the state for an hour plus full benefits. But for the most part, HVAC Apprentices workers start in the field around an hour. On a national scale, the highest paying areas for seasoned techs are the District of Columbia at $32 an hour. Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, and Connecticut are right at the $30 an hour mark on average. The states with the highest number of new openings for HVAC mechanics and installers are Florida, California, Texas, New York, Arizona and Nevada. If you are coming into this field green, you may need to start at the bottom and work your way up.

This is the best way anyways because then you get to learn how your new company does things instead of trying to break you of old habits you may have learned at another company. Once again, it’s called the trades for a reason. And – It’s a learning process. Well guys, good luck and stay with your dreams. I told you about the lack of techs in this field because I want you to be armed with that knowledge as you negotiate your pay. I mean there’s always people out there who will take your job and do it for less. But it’s a rarity someone wants to work as hard as an HVAC technician. Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you on the next video! .

 

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