I have a couple general question for all of you techs and business owners out there. But first a little about myself.
Iíve been in the HVAC&R industry for about 20 years. The last 6 year I was a controls tech with a large corporation. The 4 years prior to that I worked in high tech environments working with precision temperature control equipment, data centers, cleanrooms and laboratories. And before that I was primarily a residential/commercial HVAC service tech. I did have a little residential service work thrown in the mix over the last 10 years but not much.
I recently left my job as a controls tech because I got fed up with the corporate culture and found that I was just not happy sitting at a desk designing control systems all of the time. Iím a hands on type of person and I like the diversity and challenges you get from working in the field. So I quit my job and have decided to start my own HVAC contracting business.
So here is my first question;
What are the major changes in residential/commercial HVAC&R equipment over the last 10 years? When I was last in the field, ECM motors and modulating furnaces were pretty rare. There were attempts at residential zone systems and touch screen thermostats were new to the market. Also, R-410A was just entering the market and most equipment was R-22 and you could buy 22 for less than $100. Refrigeration systems were still trying to find a good replacement for R-12 with some so called drop-in refrigerants that IMO didnít work very good. So, what have you had to learn in the last 10 years to stay current in your field? What's in fashion now?
Second question;
What advice can you give a guy whoís looking to start a HVAC business? Itís not without some trepidation that I enter into this venture. Thereís a lot of competition and I am getting a little old to be starting a HVAC company. Pushing 50 years so I donít have too many years left to do the work myself. Iíll have to have to get enough work so I can hire some employees to do the heavy lifting so I can stick with the sales, estimating and managing the business. But until then, Itís just me. Freedom has itís price.
Thanks in advance for your time and feedback.

Martin a.k.a. air1