I am 24 with some college and will soon be starting HVAC school. I have been working in residential HVAC Intall for almost 5 months. I would like to get into commercial service and learn the business so I can start my own in a few years. If you can help me, I would be greatful.
start your schooling, try and get a job with a company that does commercial hvac. Learn the trade before learning the business side. Both will benefit you in the manner you want.
The most important things to me when hiring a tech is do they have a thorough grasp of the basics. That is, do they "really" understand the refrigeration cycle and the operation of all the components in it. Also, do they understand and can they apply electrical troubleshooting.
Many of the techs I have interviewed just don't understand the fundamentals.
I would advise you while in school to concentrate on understanding the refrigeration cycle and it's components and electrical troubleshooting. After you get the fundamentals under your belt (even while in school), get a job with a contractor or OEM that will let you apply some of you newly learned knowledge.
The next thing is, do they have decent people skills. Their is nothing worse than hiring or working with a person that nobody else wants to work with. I have come across some people that are obviously very technically competent but come across as arrogant, rude, crude, or so self absorbed that they don't even realize that others don't want to be around them. When this includes peers and customers there is nothing left to do but let them go.
I would rather hire a person with good basic technical skills and good interpersonal skills than a technical superstar that is a jerk. The interesting thing is that, most of the time the jerk doesn't know he's a jerk.
I hope some of this made sense.
P.S. This is a great profession if you're cut out for it.
I've been in the commercial, industrial service service end of this business for only 5 years but have been lucky to have been tossed in with some very knowledgable techs. The most important lesson I've learned is I will never know even close to as much as I have left to learn. (but thats also probably the best part.) If you get bored its your own fault.
One thing you may want to consider is not making it known that you want to start your own business, many employers will not invest in people who they know aren't going to stick around.
All my leon freaked out!
Blake is just up the road from me and I have known his dad for the better part of 12 years. He is starting classes at a local tech school on refrigeration and air.
Finding a job with a commercial outfit right now where he lives is going to be tough. Our slow season is starting. I suggested he stay with his residential install job, go to tech school and come here. I just changed his status to pro so he can get into the pro tech areas and learn. He can also get into the "tips and tricks" area.
Blake, welcome to this site. There are the best of the best here and all are mentors for you to learn from.
You have reading to do my boy...
Oh yeah, tell Billy I said he was a lousy golfer.
Have you looked into a local union? They have training programs. Get on with as large a company as you can. You should get exposed to a larger variety of systems that way and a larger group of people to learn from. And don't expect to know alot after only a couple of years. This isn't like residential where there isn't alot of variety. It takes years.
Join RSES. You will have access to lots of technical info, seminars, etc... and may be able to meet fellow members who can hook you up with a job.
Of course you could get a lot of that here as well.
Make sure you choose a school that has some commercial contractors on their advisory board and that they offer courses in commercial units. That may also include things like ice makers and appliances but I've never met anyone too educated (other than someone who only THINKS they know it all. Stay away from them). Take good notes and absolutely ASK QUESTIONS. Do more than your lab work requires and see if you can get an internship through your school.
Best of luck to you.