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  1. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by allenrobinson2269 View Post
    I will work for helpers wages no problem for as long as I need. The thing about helper's wages is at some part you know enough you don't have to work as a helper anymore.
    That's when your boss promotes you. Are you thinking of promoting yourself from helper to owner? That is a fantasy.


    Quote Originally Posted by allenrobinson2269 View Post
    My objective is to use contractors as a source of experience and start my own business.
    That will take more time than you are imagining now, in my experienced opinion.


    Quote Originally Posted by allenrobinson2269 View Post
    I hope I can get on with an older established contractor adn buy out his business when he gets ready to retire. I have no intetino of making a "career" with a company.
    At this point, you need to ask yourself if you would be happy making a career at a company, because that is exactly what could end up happening. If that idea is abhorrent to you, I'd say ask for your tuition back.


    Quote Originally Posted by allenrobinson2269 View Post
    This is strictly a business ownership prospect for me, and from a lot of what I have read that is the way to go. It seems the guys who enjoy the business are guys who are owner technicians.
    If this is only a business ownership prospect, then open a MacDonald's franchise. Your only real expertise there is management and customer service, after Hamburger University.

    You have to love the work, first and foremost. If you think you want to learn the work so you can take over an established company, I think you may be setting yourself up for failure. I say that because it sounds as though:

    a) you are not aware of the amount of time and effort it takes to become proficient in the trade

    b) you believe that a few years at a company will expose you to all you need to know to run that business, and I can tell you with certitude that idea is not often true, and

    c) you picture yourself as an owner first, and not an experienced technician.

    Few others may be as direct as I have been, but I believe this is what you need to hear, and to think about, based on your stated objective. I have no other information about you on which to base advice, so it is based only on what you have posted.

    That's my
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

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  2. #15
    In that case I will have to create a company from the ground up. That is what I plan to do is pass my company on.

  3. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by allenrobinson2269 View Post
    In that case I will have to create a company from the ground up. That is what I plan to do is pass my company on.
    At your current age, you should be able to do that by age 70.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

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  4. #17
    I would love for someone who has been around a while talk about how to do something rather than talking about why not to do something. Not starting a business really isn't an option for me. That is te direction I am headed regardless of the field. The reason I chose HVAC is it is a need everyone has (Shelter) and it requires skill and has a lng learning curve but the training is accessable. I compair this to other things I could have done or that some of my friends have done. I thought about going back to law school, but way expensive and getting your foot in the door is rough; really long hours and little credit for anything you do. It takes at least as long to gain competence in the law as HVAC. I worked on my MBA but it's all theory; You would still have to have a skill or product to sell, or find a job with all the other MBAs out there. Teaching is the same way as the MBA. Pretty easy to go to school but crappy job market. Electricians in Jersey get laid off a lot, and I'm really not interested in automotives as a career. My old contractor told me unskilled unlicensed trades are a waste of time, and should be left to illegals. So I decided on HVAC. I like science, drafting, electricity, and welding so it kind of makes sense.
    the business side of the corporation will be handled by my wife who has an MBA and works as a corporate CPA for a large company that actually manufactures AC units and controls.
    My objective over the next ten years is to become ultra-skilled. I may work for a while and go back for my electrician's license just to do my own hookups and inspections. This isn't my first time in school. I went the university route to begin with and have two BAs in English and industrial safety managment. I neet some practical art now.

  5. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by allenrobinson2269 View Post
    I I like science, drafting, electricity, and welding so it kind of makes sense.
    What is your present skill level in these disciplines?


    Quote Originally Posted by allenrobinson2269 View Post
    the business side of the corporation will be handled by my wife who has an MBA and works as a corporate CPA for a large company that actually manufactures AC units and controls.

    Has she managed technicians, or worked as a service manger? That's the expertise needed to run an HVAC business. Everything your wife knows can be farmed out to payroll and compliance firms.

    Quote Originally Posted by allenrobinson2269 View Post
    My objective over the next ten years is to become ultra-skilled. I may work for a while and go back for my electrician's license just to do my own hookups and inspections. This isn't my first time in school. I went the university route to begin with and have two BAs in English and industrial safety managment. I neet some practical art now.
    I agree that automotive is a dead end. I also did not go to law school, because there are too many lawyers, so no demand. I worked instead as a flight instructor, commercial pilot, and adjunct instructor in aviation science on the college level.

    So, you can trust me when I say that you must love what you do. I'm not sure you can get there from school alone. If I had been you, I would have taken a job as a unskilled helper to get a look at what goes on daily, to see if I liked it. Then, only some time is lost. Before flying, I spent MANY years in railroad signaling and automotive, and I had repaired many an AC system in everything that moves, so this was not a big jump, for me.

    So, to summarize:

    if you love to integrate your hands and mind, enjoy physical work, being more of an electrical detective than a filter changer or new furnace quoter, and you are willing to let OTHERS be the judge of when you actually become "ultra skilled," you can establish yourself as a working technician.

    You can't go from school to owner. If that is your plan, I'd say forget it.

    You CAN go from school to helper to technician to great technician to owner.

    THAT is not a ten year journey. Just so you know.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

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  6. #19
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    Jun 2006
    Location
    Richmond, VA
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    2,870
    I was in the same position as you and your posts are almost mirror identical.

    Got engineering degree, Got Navy experience, Never went to VOCAB school but grew up mechanically and electrically inclined.

    As others-don't get hung up upon bending metal-you can get a sheetmetal shop to do that for you cheaper than whatever you can learn to do it. However, they only know the sizes you give them and you are not going to learn that at Vocab and you won't learn that OJT either working as a helper.

    Your wife as a CPA isn't going to make or break you as a viable business. I worked with CPA's for years and as long as your debits match your credits and you keep track of your expenses-you are fine. You have to GET the work......which leads itself to the largest "problem" with this industry..... Wifey is also gonna start telling you...YOU NEED TO MAKE MORE MONEY.

    You have to compete with less knowledgeable companies to be "competitive".... Your duct design, equipment, manpower might be outstanding...however...Bubba will do "the same job " and it $2k less than you. You might eventually end up with the work to rip out Bubba's handywork.....

    Yes this is an industry everyone needs! And yes this is an industry that NOBODY has successfully been able to "franchise" and its is only because every job is custom to do it right and YOU CANNOT teach anyone in a few years to KNOW what YOU KNOW.

    The bright future is now the industry is starting to add much complication to equipment with communicating controls....modulating furnaces, etc. that is starting to seperate the men from the bubba's...but bubba can still go in and replace a whole ECM motor when only the module was bad.
    Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.

    Give a man a capacitor, doesn't know what to do. Teach a man to install it, now he knows everything.

  7. #20
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    Nov 2006
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    Southeastern Pa
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    I have to agree. In residential, Bubba is the enemy to making a good living. In fact, in Pa, there is no HVAC license. We did adopt a "home improvement contractor law," but no one in Harrisburg will say if replacing a defective unit is considered a "home improvement" or a "maintenance repair."

    They say you have to hire a lawyer to find out.

    So many reasons to love the commercial side.....
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

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  8. #21
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    May 2012
    Location
    Upper Michigan
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    Around here I get lots of work from bubba, when he sells a furnace changeout for under 1550 and above 1350 how the hell do you compete. The trick is don't, find customers who want to pay for quality work.

  9. #22
    Exactly. I won't waste my time on low-end jobs. I don't know what the requirements are for HVAC installation are in NJ. Most things here are tightly regulated and you have to be qualified to do any work here. I know you can paint and install drywall and other non-skilled jobs, but those are mostly done by illegals for bottom dollar. I can get plenty of cheap labor for that type of work and will keep painters and drywall guys on call in the event the customer needs those jobs done, but I want to concentrate on only the skilled portion of construction as HVAC applies. I am interested in the science and skill of a trade and can afford to work cheap for an established journeyman to learn skills. I have no problem paying my dues for ten years. I am 43 and plan to have an established company by the time I am 55. And I won't undercut myself.
    This is the best advice I have seen on this site. Bubba work won't cut it in the long run.

  10. #23
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    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    67,876
    You might be surprised to find out how ow the install prices are on RNC. And often commercial isn't any better.
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    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  11. #24
    Timebuilder. Practicality would rule out waiting till 70 to start a business. I believe I can do it in seven years. I am creating a sound business model based upon education and experience in various disiplines. Frankly I could go to law or medical school in less than four years. I think the belief that it would take as long to learn about HVAC is really underestimating yourself.
    So the question should be; if you were to do it again what would you do to have a more sound business model and what mistakes have you made that I should avoid. That would be exceptionally good information and would save me a great deal of time.

  12. #25
    I am as interested in the challenge of running an HVAC business as I am in the science and technology. This is why I have no desire or interest in spending a "career" working for someone else.
    I would recomended to anyone who feels underpaid to get more training, take more test and work more hours and stop working for someone who only pays low wages. Union scale in NJ is $37.50 for a journeyman. If you are working for less then you need to start looking around. I have never seen time spent on education as a waste.

  13. #26
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    Oct 2011
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    Chicagoland Area
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    4,564
    You want to own a business so you can pass it on to your son? He's 3. What makes you think he'll want to be in the trades? I worked at a previous shop for 8 years. Neither of the owners kids wanted anything to do with hvac/r. He wanted to retire and I almost purchased the shop, but we couldn't agree on terms. He's pushing 70 and is still stuck with the shop because of his stubborness, and his physical health is failing. I don't think that was his retirement plan, but it's become his reality. Food for thought.
    Officially, Down for the count

    YOU HAVE TO GET OFF YOUR ASS TO GET ON YOUR FEET

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