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Advice for people entering the HVAC industry

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HeatingHelp
HeatingHelp Administrator Posts: 653
edited November 2017 in THE MAIN WALL
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Advice for people entering the HVAC industry

Here are some unsolicited bits of advice for anyone who is new to this glorious HVAC industry of ours. Take it or leave it, but either way, welcome to the industry.

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Comments

  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
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    That bout says it all..
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,384
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    Yup! That's good advice for people entering just about any field, or just trying their hand at life. ;)

    Yours, Larry
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,829
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    And stay off the cell phone when at work!!
    BobCCanuckerdelta T
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    And be nice to your body and it shouldn't let you down. Be careful lifting too much and stay in shape it will save you time, money, and pain!
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    Canuckerdelta T
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,736
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    Great points

    The more rounded off you are the more valuable you are. I’m not the best at any one discipline but am pretty good at many aspects of the heating and HVAC trade. The problem is it take longer to get there.

    Also it’s good to understand that newbs can’t absorb some tricks of trade, until they have some context/experience. The newb sees your lips moving but it’s not making sense. I think some old pros like to hear their own vocal chords, aspousing all the great nuggets
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,480
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    When I was a boy I had to walk 6 miles to school through rain, sleet and snow - uphill both ways!

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    @BobC In your Dad's worn out boots!
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,600
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    That last one, while true, causes me grief. What is the right balance between work and family?
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,736
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    That’s the beautiful thing about America, you get to decide. Too much of one or the other may create second thoughts down the road
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
    Canucker
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,480
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    @Solid_Fuel_Man Boots hell. thems expensive. It was in his "religious" socks - AKA holy!

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,600
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    GW said:

    That’s the beautiful thing about America, you get to decide. Too much of one or the other may create second thoughts down the road

    Unless you work in a ‘right to work state’. A state where you can be fired for any reason or no reason at all.

    Or, you work for a small business with a lot of work.

    Can anyone relax at home with the family knowing that coworkers are working hard putting in extra hours?

    Is the 8 & skate attitude a good attitude?
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,736
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    Slam I don’t fully follow your point. There’s no right or wrong decision
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,600
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    My point is, do you take care of your job so you can take care of your family? Or, do you take care of your family at the risk of losing your job?

    I don't own a business, but it looks like you do. What would you do if you have a big job that requires a lot of Saturday work, in addition to other jobs that you normally have, but your employees do not wish to work on Saturdays because they want to go fishing with their kids?

    Or, you need your team to shift hours to work to say 8pm for a couple weeks but it is softball season and they are involved parents?

    How much would you tolerate from an employee whose idea of work-life balance is skewed more to life?
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    @SlamDunk that's the free market (America). If you are a valued employee your boss will understand ducking out early for a softball game. Also, as an employee, you value your job and.your boss so you go in earlier on those days you need to duck out to a softball game. Saturdays come and go, when it's busy we all have to work a few either on the job or work at home on somethig. If an employee is always late for work or has poor work ethic, it's the boss's job to assess and decide if they stay or go. Same as it's the employee's "job" to keep their job by ethical work and adding value to the company.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    delta TCanucker
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,736
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    Yes Slan I understand better now. Yes I have just 3 guys and a small office staff. 1 and a 1/2 ladies.

    All the owners have their own drum beat. There’s no rhyme or reason to how the owners make their gigs work. Me, I do some stuff on Saturdays here and there, but the employees are off. I share a beeper with one of the employees. We don’t get tons of after-hours calls, that’s by design.

    We haul serious mail when we are busy. Days don’t get too crazy. 5 is common, 6 or 7 is occasion. Later than that is rare. When we are slow I’m paying the guys to stay busy, not fun but that's the cost of running a business

    Anyway, the goal is to get to the end of your working days with enough dough to live well yet still have your family intact. Sounds pretty trivial the way I worded that but take a look around, it’s not far from reality. Obviously you have people on extreme sides, but most of us try their best at work and family.

    Having fun, well of course. Some have expensive hobbies, some get by with a deck of cards.

    I hope I can smile when I’m all done
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
    Canucker
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,600
    edited November 2017
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    I work with a lot of business owners/ managers in the trades and their biggest complaint is that employees do not want to work. 8 & skate is not a term that I made up. There is a high turnover in the trades. Is it because expectations of employers and employees are out of sync?

    So, i think good advice to new people entering any trade is to be ready to work long hours in a good economy and hope it is enough to stay employed in a bad one. That, inherently , means less time with family at times.





  • Timco
    Timco Member Posts: 3,040
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    SlamDunk said:

    GW said:

    That’s the beautiful thing about America, you get to decide. Too much of one or the other may create second thoughts down the road

    Unless you work in a ‘right to work state’. A state where you can be fired for any reason or no reason at all.

    Or, you work for a small business with a lot of work.

    Can anyone relax at home with the family knowing that coworkers are working hard putting in extra hours?

    Is the 8 & skate attitude a good attitude?
    All the co workers at a company I work for are 8/skate. I’m the only one besides the owners that really feel the pressure of getting heat or hot water back on. It’s pathetic. I also make double what a lead guy makes, so there’s that.
    Just a guy running some pipes.
  • NY_Rob
    NY_Rob Member Posts: 1,370
    edited November 2017
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    ^ where I work, we tell the hourly employees that if it's busy stay until the rush ends- we leave it up to them as to how long they want to stay past their scheduled hrs. Of course they get paid 1.5x their regular rate for staying late. Other than one or two conscientious employees, most still go home after 8hrs even if it's busy! Very frustrating!

    We also had to put out another reminder memo this morning regarding personal cell/texting usage when it's busy :(
    For some reason, pretty much all the new employees seem to think it's acceptable to text, etc... while on the job?
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,600
    edited December 2017
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    Feel the pressure. That is a great way to put it.

    Advice for people entering the hvac industry- or any industry:

    feel the pressure.
  • Timco
    Timco Member Posts: 3,040
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    1...Feel the pressure. If you’re not seeing the desperation in your customer’s face or your boss’s schedule, you need to be an installer and not a tech. Or work at Duncan doughnuts where they don’t care how long the line is.

    2...Own your jobs. Care about every detail and don’t let the responsibility skate by. Finish your jobs and don’t screw the next guy.

    3...Never be late. Be 30 early, but never late. Period. Call. Communicate. Never just be a no show. Never.

    4...Look respectable. Trim that beard. Dress decent. Don’t look like you’re there to loot, look like you’re there to work.

    5...BUY TOOLS! Be more independent. Don’t ask to borrow every tool besides channel locks. Invest in yourself.

    6...If you know where you’re working today, Check in and then get to work! Don’t wait every single day to be told to go to the same job. Save time. Be efficient.

    7...Recognize you’re on someone else’s time. You wouldn’t pay a stranger to talk or text or joke with the Sparky, and your boss doesn’t want to pay you. It’s about production, and your skills are needed all day long, not for short periods of time throughout the day.

    The list goes on and on......
    Just a guy running some pipes.
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    @Timco Well said!
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,344
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    Great advice. Thanks for sharing!

    President
    HeatingHelp.com

  • Jackmartin
    Jackmartin Member Posts: 196
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    Right on.
  • Jackmartin
    Jackmartin Member Posts: 196
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    I have been watching you tube lately and some of the people who post on the channels are truly awful. One guy installs an instant hotwater tank system, he has no idea about where the equipment should be in the system, and after he finished this mess he says ,Oh well, it is what it is, WHAT. The hardest thing to do is make a kid learn ,go to school ,buy books, listen. The problem being a lot of the youngsters coming into the trade are in for the big bucks. We can really do without your help son. When you get a kid who genuinely wants to be a HVAC tech. you teach him everything you can because he respects the trade and the people who have spent their lives trying to get a little better each day. I really am amazed, people who do a horrible job and know nothing, make fools of themselves on Youtube. Some are really good but only some.
    All the best and Happy New Year Jack