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  1. #1

    Confused controls tech, no truck?

    Any guys out there working for a company, and driving their own vehicle, who are not contractors?
    I've been offered a job by one of the larger control companies, but they told me I have to drive my own car. A part from that everything seems fine.
    Is this an epic fail in negotiating on my end?
    If it was my company, it'd be a bit embarrassing for me to have my guys driving their personal vehicles on service calls. Is this something that may get rectified after a trial period?
    I'm currently looking into other companies, hopefully something comes up before my start date.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Paper Street Soap Company
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    2,304
    Nope.

    They offer you a fuel allowance at least ?

    Im commercial service so driving my own vehicle would be a deal killer.

  3. #3
    Apoogies, I failed to mention that, 50¢ per kilometre. Maybe most jobs will generally last all day/week or even month with laptop only. I obviously need to talk with them again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,813
    Years back knew a few JOHNSON Pneumatic service guys who drove their own cars instead of a company van.

    Today a lot of the Big NON name brand places have their techs using their own cars , know of 1 that charges them to use a company van ( Gas / Parking ) if they need to move anything too big for their car.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    1,295
    Sounds like a rather large liability for the owner of the company you are working for.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Edmonton, AB Canada
    Posts
    603
    Quote Originally Posted by iceman2013 View Post
    Apoogies, I failed to mention that, 50¢ per kilometre. Maybe most jobs will generally last all day/week or even month with laptop only. I obviously need to talk with them again.
    Good day Iceman,

    Ensure that you consider all of the costs with using your own vehicle... For example:

    1. Car insurance will be more, because now you are driving more and are using it for commercial purposes. Greater risk of vandalism, theft, etc.

    2. Extra wear and tear on the vehicle (mechanically and aesthetically) and more mileage and so reduced value when time to sell/trade in.

    3. Additional service costs because of greater usage.

    That being said, you might/should be able to claim some of these additional expenses as deductions on your income tax... however, now the issue is you have to log all of your travels, document everything, and potentially pay more for accounting fees because of it.

    Sadly, a number of firm's are doing tactics like this to reduce their overall employment costs. The other rage is for firms to not provide office space/equipment and so people are forced to work out of their homes, as this reduces their operating costs big time (no upkeep/maintenance insurance, lease, phones, network, etc).

    Cheers,

    Sam

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Amarillo by mornin'
    Posts
    853
    When I was done doing T&B I promised myself I would not have a job that I have to drive my personal vehicle for commercial work ever again.

    Alot of times it's at a new construction job site. Job sites are usually you parking in the near by rock/grass/mud field, so it looks like $h!t real quick. Not only being dirty I had other issues. I had the rear driver door scratched real bad and had my spare tire stolen.

    The final straw was when my then boss had to ride with me. He actually had the nerve to give me a hard time about having a child car seat in my car!

    When I started here I had a probationary period of 6 months of driving my own vehicle. It was explained to me that they have had guys talking the talk, they get a vehicle and it gets abused and then they quit. So I broke the promise to myself and started driving my wife's car (small compact) and I was actually making money because the work at the time was 3 counties away. Still the same thing though. Car was always dirty inside and out, and had to carry tools, wire, laptop and parts in my car.

    Long story short. If you have to drive your own personal vehicle permanently for work, to me it says very little about the company or they just don't trust you.
    "It's not that I'm smart, it's that I stay with the problem longer”
    Albert Einstein

  8. #8
    Wise words s2sam, I'll definitely check into that, and you're right, could be some tax benefits worth claiming.
    xarralu, you sound like me a few years back. When I first got into the HVAC trade I had an employer who made me use my car, and after quitting 2 weeks later, I vowed I wouldn't do it again. The difference now is my salary is substantially more, especially when you consider that I'm entering a training phase to focus solely on controls.
    At this point, the important thing for me is that I won't be a roof rat...rain, sun, and snow, slugging another compressor into the truck, up a ladder and onto a roof, or inhaling that freon/mustard-gas cocktail which is almost impossible to avoid, or change belts, dirty, dusty filters etc.
    There's a great community in this forum, thanks for your feedback.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Amarillo by mornin'
    Posts
    853
    I remember when I worked for a mechanical company and I used to help the other service guys doing unit/compressor change outs. That just flat out sucked!

    The worst I remember was I had to change an evap blower motor out on a 20 ton Lennox RTU on a warehouse by myself. "Oh yea, Lennox is easy slide it out and slap in a new one". That wasn't the hard part. Getting the damn motor up there and getting it across the roof that looked like you were looking into the horizon and then getting the old one down was the hard part. I thought I was going to die by the end of the day!

    Kudos to "y'all" doing it day in day out. I get worn out now just getting pipe and a bender on the roof! So I understand why you want to get out of it. It will make an old man out of you.
    "It's not that I'm smart, it's that I stay with the problem longer”
    Albert Einstein

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Pacific Time Zone
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    4,206
    Quote Originally Posted by xarralu View Post
    then getting the old one down was the hard part. I thought I was going to die by the end of the day!
    What, getting it down is the easy part, just drop it off the edge of the roof!

    Quote Originally Posted by xarralu View Post
    Kudos to "y'all" doing it day in day out. I get worn out now just getting pipe and a bender on the roof! So I understand why you want to get out of it. It will make an old man out of you.
    Definitely, but I didn't start losing hair until I started in controls...

    Back to the OP. I hated and still hate driving my own vehicle, it'd be one thing if there was a better vehicle allowance, but even at that when I started in controls I gave up my service van and had to drive my own truck at 45-50 cents a mi. (maybe your deal is better since km's are less than mi, *but liters are less than gal and you pay more for fuel, so maybe the same*). I'd carry enough tools to do my job then on the weekends when I wanted to take the dogs and go hunting I had to unload most/all my work stuff and then reload it back Mon morning/Sun night. Got old in a hurry.
    Got a company truck eventually then changed jobs a few times and now I am back to driving my own, but not hauling all too much in tools so it isn't as bad. I think one could come out ahead if they drive a fuel efficient and cheaper vehicle. Problem is I like a truck too much. I am compensated enough that it's not a huge bother, but each year in my review on what can help me to do my job better I put down a company vehicle.
    Last edited by crab master; 07-20-2012 at 11:50 AM. Reason: *gal-ltr*
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Amarillo by mornin'
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    853
    Quote Originally Posted by crab master View Post
    Definitely, but I didn't start losing hair until I started in controls...
    VERY TRUE! I remember the first time I had to download a chiller plant at a up and running data center. I thought I was going to have a heart attack!
    "It's not that I'm smart, it's that I stay with the problem longer”
    Albert Einstein

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Desert Southwest
    Posts
    663
    Quote Originally Posted by xarralu View Post
    VERY TRUE! I remember the first time I had to download a chiller plant at a up and running data center. I thought I was going to have a heart attack!
    Yea, but was it at three in the afternoon on a friday?
    Always a lot of fun.
    If you can't fix it with JB Weld, Duct Tape, and Ty Wire it has to be replaced.
    No good deed goes unpunished.
    If you want to take off friday to go fishing then make sure you train your helper right.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Near Philly
    Posts
    512
    I drive a company piece of crap Ford E-250 with a 170,000 miles on it. They buy the gas and pay for repairs. So I don't complain. The AC and radio still works, I think when it comes to a life end I'll be looking at the 50 cent per mile refund for my own vehicle.

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