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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    Lower Mainland, BC Outlook

    Hey guys. Trying to get some real information on the trade. Sounds interesting with some variety to it. The government here keeps hyping up how in demand skilled trades are, so wanting to see what REAL people in the industry have to say.


    Is work fairly steady? M-F 40 hours a week, year round, and do years vary greatly from one to the next? Whats overtime like?


    Is the trade interesting and challenging? Do you use your brain more then just back-breaking labor everyday?


    Whats pay like? I understand UA516 is 43/hr, so doing 43*40*52 would be roughly 85k/yr before overtime as a Journeyman. Does that sound accurate, and are you consistently making this or more every year?


    Do you regret/enjoy choosing this as a career?


    Anything else you think would be helpful to know?


    Thanks for your time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    forney texas
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    It's a good trade, hard to break into it at first, but once you get started, learn all you can and you still will not know it all.

    If you are in an area with 4 seasons, work is probably steady. In the South, where heating is rarely used, the winter months can get testy, but if you do commercial it's ok.

    You can make a good living


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    I apprenticed at 516 and thought it was the best training of any UA office I have seen to date, and that was 25 years ago. The nice thing about 516 is it is only an HVAC union so they are close to the highest paid in Canada. Don't know where you live now but you will be spending 600,000.00 for a place to live and your commute could be 1.5 hours each way. It was the best decision I have ever made , I have been doing this for 25 years and still love going to work and fixing things, especially when other guys can't.
    Federal Reserve, stealing your kids futures since 1913

    UA290

  5. #4
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    Jan 2017
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    Good to hear. I just signed up for the JARTS intro course, it's a 2 month long, 2 day and week night course, we'll see how it goes.

    I love figuring out things, as a kid I was always taking apart electronics, BB guns and other crap to see how they worked. I don't know how prevalent programming/technology is in this trade, but I love that sort of stuff too.

    After much research I've found university doesn't seem to guarantee much, or pay very well except for a few degrees, and most of the other trades are mediocre pay and mostly brainless labour (couple exceptions). Maybe I've found my calling.

  6. #5
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    Jan 2004
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    Just leave your cell phone in your pocket and open your eyes and ears. I'm a hard ass, I will share my knowledge with anyone, but I will only say it once. If I take the time to teach then I expect my apprentices to take time to learn.
    Federal Reserve, stealing your kids futures since 1913

    UA290

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  8. #6
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    Jan 2017
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    Believe it or not, I'm in my early 20's and hardly ever use my phone. Unless I'm checking some stocks I bought, I use it far less then even my parents haha.

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    forney texas
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    Take a course in basic electricity, especially circuits. Most of your calls will be something electrical as if the refrigeration circuit has not been messed with, it's usually good, with the exception of TXV's and other bells and wistles


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Ft. Worth, TX
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    The outlook for BC (especially Vancouver area) is more hookers and more blow! Sorry, couldn't resist. Stay away from there.

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    I would recommend going to a few of the wholesalers, checking the job board & talking to the manager.

    Wholesalers usually know what the job market is like. A lot of companies refuse to post jobs & will tell

    the wholesalers if they are looking if anyone asks.

    I live in another province but vacation in B.C. stop in the wholesalers at times. In the wholesalers that I

    have been in I have noticed that apprentices post their resumes on the job boards; depending on the year

    & the location have seen 5 to 9 resumes posted; usually these are entry level apprentices.

    It can be tough the first year or two; have had apprentices move to the province where I am living,

    they get their journeymans & move back.

    Hvac can be slow in late Feb to Apr. by this time most of the heating equipment that had problems is repaired

    & it is to early to start cooling inspections.

    I have been involved in commercial hvac/refrigeration & supermarket refrigeration.

    I have no problem getting hours any time of the year with market refrigeration & hvac.

    Not sure if Johnson Controls or Honeywell could use someone with programing skills.

    The company I work for is large enough that they have a couple of guys that do the configuration, updates, install

    with E2 or MicroTherm controllers, they are involved with store renos & new store installs.

    While on vacation this year, stopped in Christy Clarks office in Kelowna.

    The staff advised me I that I probably would have a larger wage where I'm living now due to B.C.'s

    ........sunshine tax. Would like to move but don't like your cost of living.

    Do I enjoy my work......I generally like the work but some customers & employers don't give journeyman the respect they deserve.

    Most of the time I have made 91k to 96k as a journeyman, two years ago (different hvac contractor) was my worst year as a journeyman 78k.

    This year 115.5k, wages fluctuate a bit. My first year as a journeyman I was a lead hand for a supermarket install, lots of overtime

    made 106k that year (2007)

    On call can be stressful, some people (usually families; co-workers girlfriend) doesn't understand that you can just pack up &

    go home at 4:30 pm, if you are in the middle of replacing a compressor, repairing a walk in freezer or what ever, you need to

    finish before going leaving. This can cause problems as mentioned with family members & might be difficult to get involved with

    ball or hockey.....not saying it's not possible.

    The good part about this trade is if your good at service work, work should be there (there will be slow periods).

    The equipment doesn't care about the economy; it will still run, it will breakdown, need to be repaired or replaced if

    the economy is good or bad. This why I prefer a skilled trade over a construction trade.

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  13. #10
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    I'll take a wild guess and say Alberta your from?

    Anyways, good information, thanks. Come this summer, I'm going to be handing out resumes everywhere I can. I think this is for me.

  14. Likes James Holden liked this post
  15. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    I'm from Sask. Love B.C. vacationed there about 20+ times

    Don't wait til summer, you will want to be contacting employers in early spring (March/April),

    once the weather turns nice employers will start with cooling startups & condenser pressure washing.

    You will want these employers to have your resume before this time.

    Please be don't just chase $$$, I have worked for various companies union & non-union.

    Some off the union contractors had better wages, benefits, etc. but in late February & into March some weeks their

    employees were only getting 20 hrs/wk. (this was a former employer of mine)

    Some contractors will go on a hiring spree if they have a few big install projects; hiring & indenturing apprentices,

    once they project(s) are done & others are not lined up you will get laid off, when you are new be careful

    of a false sense of security until you have built up some of your skills. I know of people once they get hired a few weeks

    later they go out & buy a new car, spending money not realizing at the end of the project they will get laid off; be sure to budget.


    A local electrical company had three large projects hired a bunch of electricians, apprentices, indentured new hires people left other

    electrical companies as this company was offering $65/hr journeyman rate & other companies were paying about $50/hr;

    well once they bulk of the work was completed the company went from about 250 electricians to about 80.

    Don't rule out working for companies like this, just beware of the pitfalls, working for a companies like this can help

    you get your foot in the door & gain trade experience.

    Where I'm from an apprentices wage is based on a percentage of a journeymans wage, the more hours worked along with

    another level of trade school the higher the percentage.

    Buy good tools & especially comfortable work boots (I use boots that have the composite toe that have the same certification as steel toed boots; they are lighter)

    In this trade it is constant learning, read manuals for say roof top units, refrigerated cases, make up airs, ice machines, etc, boring to read but help in school & when

    you are new in the field, pay attention to the wiring diagrams, ask questions.

    Make sure you have good paperwork & can write a good work order, the work order is a snap shot what you did, be sure to always write down the

    make, model & serial numbers of the unit(s) you are working on; take pictures of the equipment, take notes.

    Some wholesalers have free training seminars once in a year or so they are usually after work 5:00 to 8:00, be sure to sign up & go;

    some are not much better than sales pitches but can usually learn something, get literature & meet other tradesman.


    I hope this helps, wish you the best of luck.

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