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  1. #1
    I am 41 years old. I have been in a family business for most of my life. I never made alot of money, and with rents the way they are going I don't know how much longer I will be in this business. I want to learn a trade. I always loved this (HVAC) work. I learned alot from techs that worked on my air cond and reach-ins etc. Can anyone tell me if at this age I can break into this business. I want to go to school to learn the right way to do things. I understand some theory. It comes easy to me (so far). I need some guidence. Thank You.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    This trade is all about working like a dog in extreme hot and cold weather. Are you afraid of heights or working in confined spaces. Does spending the afternoon in someones attic or in a crawl space appeal to you. Then the bucks are waiting for you in this trade.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Chicago, N/W burbs
    I'm 43 and feel 53. Worked 10 hours Monday and 13 yestaerday. Probably another 12-15 today. Pay will be good but the work can be hard on ya for a stretch. I do say though, I love this work. Always something new and different.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Waco, Texas, USA
    Stephen, it is not work - It's fun! Think of it that way. Your biggest challange will be taking orders from a kid. I would not go to school. Most (not all) hvac schools are a waste. Go to work in the field right now and ask for some specific manufacturer training. If you find a good company they might even foot the bill.

    And then also come here every single day and ask questions.
    "And remember my sentimental friend......that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others" - Wizard of Oz.

  5. #5
    It all depends on you. Your perspective is everything!

    And .. you need to decide which facet of this industry you wish to serve in.

    And yes, do come here every spare monent ... oh ... and watch out for a guy whose name is Popa Dice.

    He is hired by us to screen out the lilley livered flea bags from other trades who try to come join our ranks.

    He attempts to scare em all off ... unless they are strong.

    Jus kidding .... after all ... odor isnt everything!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Colorado flatland native

    I just hired a green (untrained)

    40 yr. old. He is very mechanically inclined and working out excellent. Way more responsible than those young kids.
    My doctor gave me six months to live, but when I couldn't pay the bill he gave me six months more.
    Walter Matthau

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Fort Worth, TX

    I got my start in the trade working in hotel maintenance. When they saw I was serious about learning HVAC they let me have time and experience on the equipment and I gained confidence in the process. I also worked for a couple of good hoteliers who believed in training staff.
    Of course I was 19 when I first started but my point is this; confidence goes a long way at any age. I'm 42 now and feel a lot more confident about what I do now than then. It's all based upon a building momentum of knowledge and experience; the more the better.

    You may find yourself early on not earning a whole lot but you'll be learning a boatload of stuff and gaining tons of experience. Check into the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) Technical Institute program. I'm enrolled in it (working toward CM status), even though I've been doing this stuff for years, and I'm learning LOTS (even having to eat some humble pie about stuff I've been doing wrong or was taught incorrectly), along with the great wealth of info available right here on this site.

    I would recommend at our age you get into good physical condition if you are not already. HVAC work can be demanding, very demanding. You'll be climbing onto roofs, crawling under houses, wriggling your way into tight spots, enduring blazing heat, biting cold, dripping wet, etc. Cushy work this ain't but there's hardly ever a dull day.
    I maintain a weight training and cardio routine that helps me feel more like I should at 42...on my game and able to meet the demands of each day.

  8. #8
    Thanks so much. You guys have given me back a dream I have been thinking about for a long time. If I don't start by going to school and just go to work for a company, what type of company and where should I look for employment.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    We just hired a guy 38 years old. He knew nothing 2 months ago and after a lot of cramming and showin' him the ropes he's doing simple service calls on his own.

    You are never too old you just need to be prepared to learn more than you ever thought possible in a VERY short amount of time and you'll continue to learn more every single day.

    I agree with skipping the schooling. Right now is the busy season and you should have good luck getting in somewhere even with no experience. Once you have a job if the contractor is quality minded he will send you to some good factory classes.
    There are 3 ways to do anything in life; Good, Fast, Slow: You can pick any 2.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    katy texas

    get a job in roofing sales

    stephen, if you are in your 40,s and you have good people skills ,get out of the hvac bussiness, go to the library and read up on residential roofing applications. move to texas and apply for a job in roofing sales .FACT #1 the average HVAC salesman in houston texas makes around 100k the majority of the HVAC companys that have full time salesman have commission structures that make it very difficult to break over 100k.FACT #2 the average roofing salesman in houston texas easily makes 100k .I met one the other day who made 192k in 03 working 50 hours per week . the training timeline is 2 weeks !!!!!!!! go figure.
    i realise that the content of this email may annoy or irritate HVAC owners but so what ,this is FACTS our industry has dropped to the same level as automobile sales with the only people making a decent living being the principals.
    the average copier repair man makes more than a NATE certified tech in houston whats up with that picture . get out while you can .

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2004
    I kinda disagree with the not going to school content. I knew nothing about how a system works. with one class that i took i can tell you what parts are on a unit and what they do. its good to know atleast basics if you dont know anything at all. I myself wouldnt go to a 4 year college for this but some schooling is better than none, also I feel it takes alot of common sense to do this kind of work if you dont have common sense there is no work for you in this field.

  12. #12
    Funny thing is I really like the hvac business. You have to do something you like.
    Without going to school, how should I approach getting a job? I think I would like the type of company that troubleshoots and installs new units as well. I guess that is all I am familiar with. By the way, Comp. went out on my old Carrier at the bar. (family business). Called our guys. They asked what I thought was wrong. I told them it was a locked up comp. I was right. They replaced old Carrier unit (was 20 years old). Hinted to them if they ever needed someone to call me. Right now they are a two man show.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Stephen , I'm 48. was a dealer tech for General Motors for 25 years and got TOTALLY burned out with the car business. got tired of being called a crook because something wasn't free so I made the jump this past august to a company here in town. I did know the owner, we went to school together way back when.. but I used the dig that he would have an in house mechanic to do the light repairs on the trucks. I've saved him close to 5 grand so far. anyway , this week I started running with the service techs to get started as a maintinance tech and then eventually a service tech. point is , if you can show the employer your willing to work , and maybe already have a skill he could use...GO FOR IT! wife says I haven't been this laid back in 10 years. BILL

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