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  1. #14
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  2. #15

    Hrm

    Just noticed the bookmark to this forum and decided to check up on my post. Seems as if alot of my questions were answered with questions but there was good information hidden here and there.

    Maybe I should explain my situation a little better. Almost three years ago I made a five year goal to learn a trade/start a career, after some research (in hindsight not enough) I choose the automotive trade. I finished an associates degree with honors ahead of schedule and became a technician at a Ford dealership within a year and a half of starting my 5 year goal. Since then I have had a chance to work with or be taught by some of the best technicians in the business. I am currently working on my master certification and have received enough raises from my entry level pay rate to be living well with my minimal expenses. I have just finished paying off my student loan before it began to accrue interest and I want to start a family with my girlfriend but I can't imagine being able to afford a child let alone a wedding when the amount of work that comes through the shop is so unstable from week to week.

    I have learned enough of the trade and own enough tools that I will not need ever need to have someone else work on my car until combustion engines completely disappear. And the more I think about it the more the time seems right to start a new 5 year goal and develop a different career while I'm still young. So I have been visiting forums for different trades to find out what people think about their job. I enjoy learning, I enjoy working, I am comfortable talking to customers, and I am looking for a job that I can be proud to be good at but more importantly I want to have enough income to support a family. So how do you veterans feel about your career? Do you like what you do? Is the pay good enough for it to matter whether you like what you do?

  3. #16
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    Nov 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewDarko View Post
    Just noticed the bookmark to this forum and decided to check up on my post. Seems as if alot of my questions were answered with questions but there was good information hidden here and there.

    Maybe I should explain my situation a little better. Almost three years ago I made a five year goal to learn a trade/start a career, after some research (in hindsight not enough) I choose the automotive trade. I finished an associates degree with honors ahead of schedule and became a technician at a Ford dealership within a year and a half of starting my 5 year goal. Since then I have had a chance to work with or be taught by some of the best technicians in the business. I am currently working on my master certification and have received enough raises from my entry level pay rate to be living well with my minimal expenses. I have just finished paying off my student loan before it began to accrue interest and I want to start a family with my girlfriend but I can't imagine being able to afford a child let alone a wedding when the amount of work that comes through the shop is so unstable from week to week.

    I have learned enough of the trade and own enough tools that I will not need ever need to have someone else work on my car until combustion engines completely disappear. And the more I think about it the more the time seems right to start a new 5 year goal and develop a different career while I'm still young. So I have been visiting forums for different trades to find out what people think about their job. I enjoy learning, I enjoy working, I am comfortable talking to customers, and I am looking for a job that I can be proud to be good at but more importantly I want to have enough income to support a family. So how do you veterans feel about your career? Do you like what you do? Is the pay good enough for it to matter whether you like what you do?

    Well the first bit of good news is that you work for Ford, and not Saturn.

    Some employers are respectful of the 33 -odd ASE certs and four master certs I accrued. Some were not. It's just a gauge to help you find out what you know. I actually made more money writing ASE study books than I did from having the certs, sort of the way that late night commercials for real estate investing make more money than actually investing in real estate.

    Government is getting so heavily involved in automotive, and warranties are getting so long that wages will not rise much in automotive. Warranty rates (for time spent repairing, as in flat rate) are usually 50% of standard time allowed. When you do a lot of warranty repairs, your wage drops like a rock. That is in the cards for all auto techs today who stay in dealer networks. Soon, almost all diagnostics will be computer-driven, and that makes the tech a "parts changer." You can get almost any tuner kid to do that job.

    Since most HVAC equipment (other than the very top end stuff) does not have anything akin to an ECM (maybe a board with a flashing LED, like turning a Chrysler ignition key to "on" twice, and counting the MIL flashes) the onus is still on the tech to accurately diagnose and repair the system. HVAC is where auto was in the late 1980's, meaning that we still have another 10 -20 years of needing guys that can do what is being done now. At a certain point, HVAC will be dumbed down too, but not yet.
    Last edited by timebuilder; 10-02-2009 at 07:43 PM.
    [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
    So how long did you spend in the Auto biz compared to how long you have spent in the HVAC biz? Do you regret changing? Etc etc?

    What ASE study guides did you write for? I was broken in on warranty jobs. I was lucky enough to work next to a dual senior master tech that has been master certified with all 3 domestic manufacturers and he taught me how to make time on warranty jobs. I break even more than i make time but it all works out in the end. After cash for clunkers the next three years will probably be heavy on warranty tickets and thats another thing that I have considered in the future pay of this job. Ford will not have a problem with the new regulations that the government has put on emissions and mpg standards for the next few years. They are doing some interesting things but with all first generation technology i foresee alot of warranty repairs. The standard for warranty repairs is 40% less than the flag time listed on Mitchell (sp?) and AllData, but I can still make time if not break even. I am just hungry for more and I know that I am at a point in my life where I make a move or focus on what I am doing, so I am calculating that move and weighing the odds. I have found that there are alot of hacks in this trade that are have the attitude of quick diagnosis, quick part swaps and deal with the comebacks when they comeback. I took the advice of one of my teachers and took the time to learn to do things right before I do things fast. This has really worked in my favor and I have a future in this business if I want it but... etc etc.

    So from what I understand of what you're saying, a good HVAC tech can make alot of money by understanding how to diag system problems. Or no? Wasn't clear on that part of your post. Thanks for the info.

  5. #18
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    I repaired my first car in 1963 at the age of 11. It was a 1957 Cadillac with an electrical problem. I was also building radios at that time. You have a lot of time on a farm, and when your dad is an engineer and your mom was one of the nation's few female college professors, you pick up a lot.

    I have done mechanical work of one form or another ever since then, except when I was at NYU. I didn't even take a car into Greenwich Village.

    From what I have seen of the auto repair industry, it has been steadily de-volving from a trade that could support a family well on a normal life schedule, to one that requires longer hours and has fewer benefits. Part of this is the widespread "car hobby," which gives every kid the idea that he can be a pro mechanic.

    The rise of the Vo Tech program here in the US has given these kids a place to go that is non-academic in nature. For that reason, I found it very frustrating to try and have a conversation with some of the techs on subjects like history, economics, US policy, and the like. They simply do not know much about anything except replacing a timing belt, and even then, they have trouble if it's an interference engine. That's sad to me.

    When I was asked to write the books for ASE tests, I thought that it might help some of these guys that have one cert for "brakes" glued to their tool box. My name is not on those study books, only the name of the famous auto publisher that commissioned my work.

    I got out after spending some time in fleet maintenance, a couple of GM franchises, and a major chain store. What I found in the chain environment was that I was being asked to take a hit on labor because their "guaranteed" parts failed so frequently that my flat rate was being eroded. Plus, the desk guys were just promoted from tire changer, and could not manage to contact the customer and sell the work consistently. Luckily, almost none of them could even look an an AC system, so I had a TON of AC work. So many bad evaporators in those Chrysler mini vans...

    I took the fact that I used to fly with my dad in his plane at age 10 and started instructing young pilots, and then took a job flying Lears. Nice work, but every part of aviation that is not an "airline" has become a feeder job for airlines, so the scramble for flight time and experience by young people who are being supported by their parents serves to keep wages down. I needed my old work that kept me humble and fed.

    All along, I have fixed appliances and air conditioning. Got into gas heat when I worked for the railroad, and kept at it until I went flying. Truthfully, I missed the challenge of diagnostics and working with my hands as a sat on a beach in St Martin for the third time in six months.

    I think there is a much better future for a young HVAC tech than an auto tech. For one thing, there is no group of guys on the street corner discussing how to make a furnace more efficient, or how to tell why a heat pump won't go into defrost. This makes HVAC knowledge more specialized and unknown, and that means that we have a knowledge that needs to be called in when the systems refuse to operate.

    When a car has a problem, there is a kid down the block that has completely rebuilt his Honda and lowered it, added gull wing doors and a huge stereo, and he works in landscaping, for pete's sake. Then, in three minutes, he finds that your coil pack is bad, and you go to Pep Boys and buy a coil pack, and you're off and running. You and I never even knew that car needed a coil pack, because that car never came in. In fact, I drove by a Pepp'y a few days ago at 5:00 pm. 12 bays, two cars. Two.

    So, this trade is in a class by itself. No hobbyists, no interest from most teens, no "classic AC meets."

    A bright young guy with mechanical ability (that's the "aptitude" that I often refer to) a clean look and a desire to succeed can be his own boss in a few years, and make two or three times what he might have made as an auto tech.

    That, and you never have to tell a customer that his Hybrid batteries are out of warranty now, and it will cost several thousand to replace them. Ouch.
    [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

    Thx

    Thanks for the response you've told me alot. More about your life than your trade but you sound like you've had an interesting life so no harm no foul . So what field of HVAC should I get in/start in? Whats the most profitable? I have a love for electronics, is there a field of HVAC that is electronics heavy?

  7. #20
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    Apr 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewDarko View Post
    Thanks for the response you've told me alot. More about your life than your trade but you sound like you've had an interesting life so no harm no foul . So what field of HVAC should I get in/start in? Whats the most profitable? I have a love for electronics, is there a field of HVAC that is electronics heavy?
    I'm no expert, but if you like electronics, controls would be the best for you. I'd like to work in refrigeration or controls. I'd like refrigeration because theres year round work, and if I wanted a maintenance job I could go for that.

  8. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewDarko View Post
    So what field of HVAC should I get in/start in? Whats the most profitable? I have a love for electronics, is there a field of HVAC that is electronics heavy?
    Go to the controls forum. They speak Lon, and several other languages there.

    And start reading. Tell us what you decided after reading in there for a month.
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  9. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewDarko View Post
    Thanks for the response you've told me alot. More about your life than your trade but you sound like you've had an interesting life so no harm no foul . So what field of HVAC should I get in/start in? Whats the most profitable? I have a love for electronics, is there a field of HVAC that is electronics heavy?
    Since you have an auto background, I wanted to use my story to point you to yours. The point is that auto is going on the skids to a low-skill, computer-says parts replacement skill, and HVAC is still a high skill, lesser known job that requires real thinking and aptitude.

    As was said, if you posses my level of electronics knowledge, you might want to investigate controls.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

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  10. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewDarko View Post
    Thanks for the response you've told me alot. More about your life than your trade but you sound like you've had an interesting life so no harm no foul . So what field of HVAC should I get in/start in? Whats the most profitable? I have a love for electronics, is there a field of HVAC that is electronics heavy?
    Do aride along with someone a few times see what you think.
    If you help others then you are a Success

  11. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDick View Post
    Individuals who make comments like this are an embarrassment to their trade.
    Especially your final comment!

    If a person with this attitude and outlook worked for me I would show them the door or better yet assign a beginner to you and let your life become a living he11 and when your done with that one here's another one and then I'd kick your rear out the door as in terminated.

    If I was Drew and read your comments I'd say to he11 with this trade.
    I not sure way JP post got you so upset what he said is a fact and what most Service Mrg or Operations Mrg will tell you.

    Get in field do sometime and you'll most likely have a good future with your background.
    If you help others then you are a Success

  12. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by fcs View Post
    I not sure way JP post got you so upset what he said is a fact and what most Service Mrg or Operations Mrg will tell you.

    Get in field do sometime and you'll most likely have a good future with your background.
    What can I say.....

    I have a way with people.....



  13. #26
    I understand what you were trying to say I didnt mean any disrespect just trying to get some answers. I agree with everything you said about the automotive trade I've been seeing it happen everyday for the past 3 years. Thanks for your help everyone, I will start reading the controls forum and see what the scene is like. Godspeed everyone.

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