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  1. #27
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Pavilion, NY
    Posts
    2,197
    While many people's experiences are different I can share mine. I went to school originally to be an electrician and got bored quickly as it was not mentally challenging. From there I took 2yrs college for plumbing,hvac. I graduated and started with my current employer the following Monday. You learn very quickly that the service sector is quite a but different as 24/7 service means someone is working 24/7. 18hrs on, 8hrs off during peak winter and summer is not unusual. This is not for many people. In the hiring sector I find that people that are use to a 9-5 job generally do not adjust well. While the entry level pay rate is low, you can demand to be paid what your worth. Install position has hours more stable but tend to be feast or famine depending on the season while service work is typically more steady. Overtime and double time makes up for the slow time. Some companies offer commissions on service agreement sales and can vastly supplement your Income. It is a career that will never go away! We will always be heating And cooling homes. Many other careers cannot have that security. Family can be difficult due to the uncertainty of hours. We had a customer 2 Fridays ago in a high end home that wanted a pool heater installed at 3pm. The closest unit was 1.5hrs away. NO PROBLEM. 2 installers and a delivery person worked till 930pm To get the customer taken care of. That is not a typical day but is expected. If I was to make a suggestion to a new person it would be to get hooked ip with a large company that will pay you to learn the trade. When I was hired the owner I the company told me "your job is to learn as much as you can so you can compete against me,,,my job is to make it so you do not want to" fast forward 17yrs and I am still there and plan on retiring there.
    ...

  2. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    up in the hizzy
    Posts
    1,440
    Quote Originally Posted by kangaroogod View Post
    While many people's experiences are different I can share mine. I went to school originally to be an electrician and got bored quickly as it was not mentally challenging. From there I took 2yrs college for plumbing,hvac. I graduated and started with my current employer the following Monday. You learn very quickly that the service sector is quite a but different as 24/7 service means someone is working 24/7. 18hrs on, 8hrs off during peak winter and summer is not unusual. This is not for many people. In the hiring sector I find that people that are use to a 9-5 job generally do not adjust well. While the entry level pay rate is low, you can demand to be paid what your worth. Install position has hours more stable but tend to be feast or famine depending on the season while service work is typically more steady. Overtime and double time makes up for the slow time. Some companies offer commissions on service agreement sales and can vastly supplement your Income. It is a career that will never go away! We will always be heating And cooling homes. Many other careers cannot have that security. Family can be difficult due to the uncertainty of hours. We had a customer 2 Fridays ago in a high end home that wanted a pool heater installed at 3pm. The closest unit was 1.5hrs away. NO PROBLEM. 2 installers and a delivery person worked till 930pm To get the customer taken care of. That is not a typical day but is expected. If I was to make a suggestion to a new person it would be to get hooked ip with a large company that will pay you to learn the trade. When I was hired the owner I the company told me "your job is to learn as much as you can so you can compete against me,,,my job is to make it so you do not want to" fast forward 17yrs and I am still there and plan on retiring there.
    if you work for Artic or Turnbull, I feel bad for you

  3. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Pavilion, NY
    Posts
    2,197
    That would be a negative. I prefer a red van
    ...

  4. #30
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sherman, TX
    Posts
    9,441
    It's been my experience and observation...that the guys who truly succeed at this trade, are guys for whom the trade is also a "hobby" as much as it is a "trade" or "profession".

    The guys who really do well, are the guys who eat, sleep, and breathe this stuff.

    And no, I don't mean that you forgo your family and your "life"...but you gotta love and pursue this stuff as much as you do your hunting and fishing....if you REALLY want to seperate yourself from the pack....

    Technical incompetence is NOT a sales tool....

  5. #31
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Anderson, South Carolina, United States
    Posts
    7,775
    Quote Originally Posted by John Markl View Post
    It's been my experience and observation...that the guys who truly succeed at this trade, are guys for whom the trade is also a "hobby" as much as it is a "trade" or "profession".

    The guys who really do well, are the guys who eat, sleep, and breathe this stuff.

    And no, I don't mean that you forgo your family and your "life"...but you gotta love and pursue this stuff as much as you do your hunting and fishing....if you REALLY want to seperate yourself from the pack....

    X2

  6. #32
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    535
    It depends. Recently on a commercial job we had a bunch of "electricians" Running line voltage to all of the components of the building off a Trane Tracer. Unfortunately hardly half of them could barely speak English. Same thing at another job, the guy was from Peru. They couldn't wire in motors, relays, etc. It just makes you wonder whether they're documented or not. I don't know if you could call that "skilled trade" work or not. I mean, with their lack of education I doubt that they could work in or part of the trade(as far as service was concerned).

    But are kids such pussies now that they can't do any type of work with their hands? It's crazy

  7. #33
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sherman, TX
    Posts
    9,441
    "Skill" is the key. We have plenty of "bodies" in the trade, but a dearth of skill.

    If you are truly skilled, you will always have work. Buying some tools and taking a 9 month course at a tech school or community college does not make you "skilled". It just makes you dangerous.

    Don't believe it? Just ask a skilled and versatile guy how many hours he scored last week.
    Technical incompetence is NOT a sales tool....

  8. #34
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    SE Washington
    Posts
    559
    id say NO, stick with unskilled as a life long endeavor, that way the people who are pursuing a real career can work
    Total Energy Management, inc

  9. #35
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,946
    I must be a bonehead because I only got 40 last week.

    Same as the week before and before that....


    Used to work a lot more hours and still get nothing done...

  10. #36
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    311
    OP Hasn't posted for a few weeks but on the chance he is lurking,



    This trade is really only worthwhile if you are good at it. It is not one where you can set you aspirations low enough to just grab your 40 hours and knock out. Even as just a service tech, there is a tremendous amount on continuing education that must be done to keep up with changes in technology, design and practices. However, those worth their salt are the ones who make the figures that trade school admissions rep pitch to potential recruits.

    Those who don't are the are often the guys, who after 20 years, are only doing maintenance, humping compressors and motors up stairs so someone else can do the start-up and commissioning and cry that they don't make any money.

    Being competent in this trade can make for a potentially easier transition into other positions and fields as well should you decide to later on. You can develop a very large understanding of mechanical/electrical engineering principals, building science, automation, indoor air quality, technical sales, and maybe project management skills if you're around new construction long enough.

    Let's say, for instance, you decide you want to get into the energy services field You work on the equipment that accounts for 30-60% of the energy consumed in many facilities, which share a synergistic relationship with the building envelope, involves enough knowledge of electricity and circuit function to understand VFD's, and automation systems.

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