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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    106

    Installation Crew Helper/Apprentice ?'s

    Hello All,
    I will most likely be hired on with a residential HVAC company very shortly, for an entry level installation position. And I was wondering...what do installers do in the winter? Install furnaces? And what are the odds that I would be laid off come winter time? Especially being the new guy. I would like to hear some different experiences from people on here.....Also...If you do get laid off, what do you do next? Revert back to your old line of work? Find some kind of temporary labor to get through the winter? Then go back to HVAC in the summer and hope next winter you don't get laid off because this time you will have more experience? Just some questions that run through my mind before entering this field...Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    56
    Greenhorn, it can be a rough business, especially when you are first starting out. I started as an installer helper about 9 years ago and the first few years were extra hard. Being on the bottom of the ladder, you are the first one to sit home, I really never knew if I was going to work 60 hours a week or 20 and being a helper you don't usually make that much to begin with.
    Best advice is to make yourself as useful as possible, as soon as possible. Work with whoever they send you with and learn from everyone of them. You can learn from everyone, what works and what doesn't, the right way and the wrong way, learn the difference and do it the right way when you do your work! If you have nothing to do, watch what your installer is doing, ask questions, anticipate what tool he needs next and have it ready, you will learn a lot this way.
    The more you know and the better you do your job, the more valuable you are to the company and the more money you make them and less headaches you will cause them. Everyone makes mistakes, the difference is if you learn how to fix your mistakes and not rely on others to fix them for you.
    As for being laid off, I have not been, I have had slow times 20 or less hours a week, but you get by. Do whatever you have to to get by, my current helper still delivers pizzas on the weekends.
    Most important learn as much as you can, and get out on your own, running your own jobs for the company and you should be fine.

    Hiptech

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    106
    Well the job is salary which sucks for the summer, but the guy was saying it pays you back in the winter. I'm actually taking a pretty hefty pay cut to switch careers, but HVAC is a much better career for the long run. I'm not taking the job because I need a job, I'm taking it because I want to learn HVAC and go places in the industry. I've already graduated from an online course, and have gotten universally certified on my own. It's a broad field that is constantly evolving so it's a continued education, hands on yet technical, with potential to make some good money. I'm sure it has its draw backs but so does every job. I'm just a little worried about the winter, being the new guy with the least experience. But hey it all works out one way or another (hopefully!).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    56
    Well salary sounds good for a start, yes you may regret it in the summer but winter should pay you back, as long as that is the case and they don't lay you off, as you are worried about, hopefully they are a company of their word. Check online reviews for them if you can, that can tell you a lot about their character, if they do what they say and if they have happy customers.
    Sounds like you have taken this all on yourself, which to me is a good sign, getting yourself certified and trained. That is a good start, in this business, you can only rely on yourself to get the job done. You work for a company but for the most part you are really on your own, start to finish. Hope you do well, it is a tough industry, but satisfying and never boring, which for some is what makes it great. You don't get a lot of pats on the back, in my experience, but if you can take pride in your own work you should be ok.
    I like the variety and the challenge of the work, no job is ever the same as the last and you get to see something new everyday, not the same four walls. Works for some.

    Hiptech

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