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Thread: hvac slums

  1. #1

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    some perspective from pennsylvania

    I've been in hvac for 22 years. plus four years as a boiler tech in the US Navy. Do i know everything? nope. There's always something new to stumble across.
    4 years ago i was looking for a new job. I had been working for an hvac company that did all new home construction. You know the deal. 8 dollar/hr helpers that can't read a tape measure. etc. so, I put in applications at a few different places. As for me, I have a Universal Certification and have worked on everything from industrial boilers and chillers to residential HPs. That's installation and service. I'm not perfect. But, I'm a good tech.
    Anyway company X calls for an interview. looks at my resume and says looks like your well rounded, good work history etc. then offers me 13 bucks/hr. I got up and walked out. pissed too! Company Y calls for an interview and offers me a job at it's other location. a 45 mile drive to work. an $15/hr. NAH.. Company Z calls an offers 17.50/hr for a commercial install job. No on call. 50 hrs a week. Yes, I'll do that. Having been on call 20 years...Well, 4 weeks into the job, company Z needs help in Service. Ok, i'll help out. Till the spring rush settles down. Next week here comes a call schedule with me oncall 4 times a month. Wooo doggie. I ***** and ***** some more. So they send me out to clean 5 residential oil boilers..... That was my last day with those folks...
    I wouldn't recommend to anyone to get into the hvac trade. It's a slum job. You have to be an electrician, plumber, tinknocker, welder, pipefitter, control tech and more. for what?
    So, you can work 50-60 hrs a week and be oncall at all hours of the freeking day or nite. Hope you don't like your family !! Or have any hobbies, cause you can throw them out the door too. HVAC is the pits. And that's from a lifetime hvac tech.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Coastal Georgia
    Posts
    34,902

    Thumbs up

    I love HVAC. But then, I love myself also.

  3. #3
    I love hvac. But, i love myself too...

    What kinda stupid notion is that?

    I love life, my children, family and myself.
    Maybe that's why hvac in Pennsylvania is so bad....

    The employers want to take all that away...

    I'm self employed these days, and that is all good.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Coastal Georgia
    Posts
    34,902

    Pennsylvania

    What a mess!


    Let go of the bad vibes, you're bringing us down.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    161
    HVAC is Great!

    Never got stuck in dead end like you mention hvacmike.

    Ive found that if I generate the work I want to do, employer leaves me at what I am best at and enjoy. We both make out.

  6. #6
    Mike, Mike,, Mike.....Your first mistake was to work for anyone for 17.50 an hour, call or not. Our second year apprentices make more than that. No employer will respect you for falling for that kind of dough. You have to come to a reasonable amount and never back down from it.

    There seems to be a recurring theme here in the job search section if anyone but me has noticed, Most jobs posted seem to be from roughly the same places....NC, PA, and FLA. and of the monies listed these seem to be lower than the going rate for the rest of the world. I dont know why this is.

    But Mike is right in his estimation of the trade itself, It is a slum type job, with few rewards, and some of the worst hours and wages there are. Mikes problem is, like me, having done this work the largest part of our lives, we are TYPE CASTED....Nobody is willing to let us do anything else, for the same money we make now.

    I myself would love the opportunity to be a gynocologist, or their assistant. All but for a little piece of paper, and years of practical experience, I would. But alas, i'm stuck.....marred in the quagmire of a dead end job, to which i will retire thanklessly, and live out the remainder of my life on a monthly allowance as dolled out by the federal government.

    Get out Mike! it's too late for me....Save yourself...... I hear the nation will elect a president this year, maybe you should go for it! MIKE for PRESIDENT.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    1,936
    my boss will take on any job, intall water heaters to pipe gas lines, he even took on demo a solar array once

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    17,815
    Thats why I work for myself. Sounds like some shady companies in your neck of the woods. Now I do mostly service and I love it. No crawl sp., No oil furnaces, no nothin that I dont want. If I have to do it, I sub it out. This includes ductwork. Strictly equipment baby. Peace and good luck to you.
    "Politicians are the lowest form of life on Earth. Liberal Democrats are the lowest form of politician"

    - General George S. Patton

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    214
    i have also noticed the fact that PA FL and NC are low on the pay scale. but they aren't the only places. I see many people from IN with the same gripe. I'd like to know where 2nd year apprentices are making over 17 an hour though. As far as being a gynecologist i couldn't deal with problem cat all day but doing service i think we are on parallel with proctologists sometime.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    4,986
    PA and NJ. Aprentices after 3 years are in the low twenty an hour range.
    Originally posted by deltavolt
    i have also noticed the fact that PA FL and NC are low on the pay scale. but they aren't the only places. I see many people from IN with the same gripe. I'd like to know where 2nd year apprentices are making over 17 an hour though. As far as being a gynecologist i couldn't deal with problem cat all day but doing service i think we are on parallel with proctologists sometime.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Stoney Creek, Ontario
    Posts
    884
    3rd yr is over 21/hr in ontario. 17.50, cant seem to get out of bed for that

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    4,986
    I wouldnt get out of bed for $40CA!!!
    Originally posted by shaun66
    3rd yr is over 21/hr in ontario. 17.50, cant seem to get out of bed for that

  13. #13
    <<<PA and NJ. Aprentices after 3 years are in the low twenty an hour range.


    Maybe in Philly. Heck, Go 50 miles west and there are guys running whole new Developments for $12. And that is no lie.
    Raises, I actually got a ten cent raise from 1 employer, talk about an insult.
    There are always 5 HVAC jobs in the local paper here. I know tons of guys that left the trade for "better" work at the same or better money.
    Here's some interesting data from my area. Cost of living as based on the national average is 101%. The average wage as based on the national average is 75%. That implies the average worker here is 26% behind the national average.
    So, much for the wonderful life in PA Dutch Country.
    There was a builder that wrote an op/ed piece about how wonderfully he paid his "gold" collar workers. $12/hr. I replied with an op/ed piece that showed these figures and listed sources. The paper printed the article in a high profile manner, and titled it "Gold Collar Jobs lose Luster".. Made everyone I know give me a call and we shared a mutual laugh... A couple builders didn't talk to me for a year...

    I have often considered work around Baltimore, But, for now the self-employment thing is working. I actually, get to wake my kids up, make breakfast and eat with them. Since, I have gone the self employment route, my childrens school work has improved considerably. As well as their basic attitudes and outlook and behavior. So, if you think lots of work and money make a good father, I have proof here that shows exactly the opposite. My sons reading went from the bottom of his class to the top... as well as his math scores.
    And that is by biggest gripe. " most" Employers "here" don't care about you or your family, just their damn profit. No wonders the USA is in a state of decline.. And I must be slow, it's taken me 43 years to figure that out.

    And James, I didn't hope to bring anyone down, I'm just calling the facts as I see them. I understand Chicago and Arizona are great places to work HVAC, as well as California. So, it would seem to be a regional issue.




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