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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    3

    Question

    Hey all...

    First, let me say I love the diversity of this forum and the wealth of knowledge that is here. You guys seem to be a great community - one I hope to be joining soon.

    I live in AZ - Far SE valley to be exact and would like to learn more about HVAC. I have been involved with the CATV field as a contractor for years and know my way around just about any kind of electrical system - AC and DC. I love troubleshooting and can figure out just about anything pretty quick. I pride myself in doing a professional job with anything I am involved in.

    I think there is a good niche in my area's HVAC market for a professional, reliable and most importantly - reasonable contractor. It seems that most outfits that are any good are not accepting any new customers because they are booked a year in advance and, the ones that are, RAPE people for a service charge - $275.00 for an hour's work (no materials - just labor), come on! Or, they are just not worth any amount of money. Everytime myself or any friends/neighbors have a problem it's "Oh, you need a new unit... we happen to be having a sale (or clearing out of this particular unit)" yadda yadda, you all know the drill of the shiester(sp?) salesman...

    So, I would like to know where I could get schooling or learn more info on getting into this market here. Is there a good, or industry standard, "HVAC bible" out there? I do not want to get involved with new build, mostly just service and at some point, retro-fitting.

    Are there any "online style" courses?

    There are hacks in every field... I am coming to you people here to steer far away from the machette... know what I mean?

    I know there are going to be the diehards that say you have to go through the school, then apprentice, then work with someone else... yadda yadda ten years down the road you can get a route.

    I am not knocking experience but, I have never worked that way. I rebuilt my first engine when I was 14 and have always been able to read a book on something and then go out and do it, I have had my stumbles here and there, and I am by no means saying I am perfect or anything. But, I have time and again proven I can pick up things in a week that take most people a year.

    I listen, I pay attention, I think ahead, I always ask why? to myself... and I am not happy until I know the answer. I find the problem, I do the research, I fix it right the first time.

    But, in the little research I have performed on this field, there is a lot to learn and a lot to know.

    Can you help a guy out?

    Sorry for the long read.

    Thanks in advance for your time,

    Vic

  2. #2

    get a station wagon an go for it.

    but most states require 3 years experience to apply for the exam. usually a combination of school an experience. next time leave the tech alone, an he'll charge you the normal rate.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    North Las Vegas
    Posts
    785
    Type HVAC Training in your search engine and there is plenty of research there to accomidate most learning styles, Remember also the inspite of all the training, tools are still required and certainly not cheap by any means Good Luck !

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Bennington, Vermont U.S.A.
    Posts
    13,864
    If you want to make alot of money in this business, start out with a fortune.

    That's an old line I know but there is no quick buck in any legitimate business. You have to base any business on the truth or it is short lived.

    The truth is that you don't know what you are doing. So I would suggest 2 things. First, befriend a one man operation and tell him of your intentions to start your own business in this trade. Ask him if you can work for him as a sub-contractor/helper.

    Second purchase the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society's (RSES) correspondence CD assisted course. There are 12 disc which is suppose to take you through the year. At the end of the year they will test you.

    When you pass this course and work under the independent for awhile then you will have something to sell. Then you can start to think about business.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    1,606
    Originally posted by benncool
    If you want to make alot of money in this business, start out with a fortune.

    Thats kind of what I was thinking.
    Kinda like the wine business...
    If you want to end up with a million dollars then start with two.
    "The Bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    4,970
    Have a hard time believing they charged $275 for an hours worth of work with no parts but I get a kick out of how many friends of mine look at it that we a screwing people at what we charge an hour. Now they are comparing it at what they make an hour working for someone, like they are paying for insurance, vehicals, advertizing inventory, liscences, shop ,you name it. They have no idea of the hours and stress of having a business being their working 8-5 and going home and their is someone else handling everything. Their the ones always complaining about how they are worth a lot more and in the next breath tell you how they goof off all the time being they have been their for years. Their always the one thats are going on strike for more money.
    As far as learning it on the side I dont think there is a book out their to do that although if you do find it let us know Im sure we would all like to read that lol. their are so many differant things out their that the odds of it being something you have read in a book is pretty slim. If their was that much money in it and that easy to learn, everyone and their dog incuding you would be doing it already. With that many people doing it there would be no money in it. Without working with someone in the feild ,your an accident waiting to happen sorry thats just a fact. Anyone just looking at it to work with someone just long enough to go out on his own is proabbly not going to make it either being their in too big of a rush to learn it right and being your already looking at it that all of us are over charging, you will be thinking your boss is making too much. Always looks easy to someone looking in and no we dont set up all night counting our money, we are still out there fixing something lol.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    3
    Hroper - station wagon... that would be too funny if there was not already guys out there filling that market. For your info, I did leave him alone and it was @ my sister in law's house.

    retired btc - thank you for your input. I was planning on investing some good money in the specialty tools needed. I estimated 15k to get started, considering I already have a late model service truck and the majority of the Fluke and klein catalog... J/K but, I am a tool whore

    benncool - That is probably the best line I have heard in a while. They say basically the same thing in my trade... I believe you get out of things what you put in them. I have worked 120 hours in a week at times, because it was needed. I have no doubt what-so-ever that I will succeed in this venture as well. You are right, I do not know what I am doing - that is exactly why I am asking the most professional group I could find the best route to take to start. You have pointed me in the right direction - For that I thank you very much.

    dec - Believe it... I was there. She called at like 10:30, they had a tech in the area and was there at about 11. The only thing wrong was the backside of the evaporator was clogged with dust and dog hair. He was invoicing her before noon... $275.

    I am not looking to get rich by any means. I am just looking to make a living. I do understand all of the extras that come along with contracting - For an hour in the field there is at least an hour of paperwork, maintinence, stocking, errands, etc. I have been a contractor for years and know that there is more to it than blow and go. I am a professional, I put my name on everything that I do and stand behind that work.

    I do not think you all are overcharging... some guys and situations would warrant a $275 call. This one clearly did not - no travel time, no parts, no BS.

    I was not looking for a book to read and then take out an ad in the yellow pages and open for business. That is rediculous... I would like to be one up on an FNG, and figure that I could team with a guy and learn more than from any book. There is no substitution for hands on experience IMHO.

    I believe that HVAC is a skilled trade, I don't think even if there was a fortune to be made, that everyone would (or could) jump in. Sure there are guys and thier dogs out there with the station wagons that only use a VOM, guages and freon tank to fix it... but I am better than that. I could not sleep knowing that I did not do the job right.

    You have some very good points for the regular "I wanna put some freon in er" guys. I hope I am a little beyond that. I have common sense (ever notice how common sense isn't so common?) and an extremely good work ethic going for me.

    Thank you all again for your opinions, I value each and every one of them.

    Vic

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    1,503
    Benncool is the hvac/r grandmaster here, he should charge for his advice...



    Thought I knew some sheet after graduating top of the class from 2 hvac tech schools...



    Once you blow some sheet up, get shocked, burned, pinched, frostbitten and cut up a few times, gassed out from phosgene and co-workers, sweat & freeze your azz off alot, caused a couple of minor floods and fires, THEN you'll have a start...


    Still learning after 10 years...


    You seem to have a good attitude though (most important). GL

    [Edited by spike on 02-04-2005 at 03:33 PM]

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    100
    If you must be a HVAC contractor. You may try hiring a good technician, to gain some industry knowledge. Trust what everyone is telling you, the learning curve is to great to become a HVAC contractor without the expierence. Profit margins in this industry are to slim. Alot of that is due to guys starting new business, and not understanding there true cost of doing business. This only hurts us all. I know nothing of the guy you stated charged 275.00 for cleaning the coil. But I bet very little of the 275.00 was net profit. That's what customers don't understand.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Cincinnati
    Posts
    7,977
    Go for it. Payson needs some new pictures.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    496
    $275 for cleaning an evap? Sounds cheap to me if it was done right? A 2 dollar filter could of avoided the whole thing, but hey, what do I know....................


    One of best friends did AC work in Zona, he loved the area but said they dont pay to well, I heard they even have temp services just for AC work? Good Luck az vic

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    3
    spike - I believe in the same thing as you - you can never quit learning. Thanks for the insight

    Wornout - I am not planning on undercutting everyone out there. I just think there is a good niche in the far SE Valley area for an independent service tech that is honest and affordable. The hacks and salesman here are rediculously abundant - as evidenced by Payson's pics. The fact is I love troubleshooting... Anything wth problem solving - the bigger the challenge, the more fun I have at it. Thank you for your opinion.

    mattm - LOL... You will not find anything of mine looking like that crap that he is seemingly blessed with on a daily basis.

    Spidy - Well, he did not remove it, nor did he completely clean it. He basically found the problem shut it down for about 20 minutes while he used the homeowner's vaccuum to clean the coils. He did say he could come back at a later time and remove the evap and straighten the fins (the rear side somehow got most of them flattened - while the front looked like brand new) but that would cost something like $580.00 and would take a couple hours - oh, and that was a discounted rate since she paid the service call.
    They have temps for everything here...

    Thanks again guys - I appreciate your time.

    Vic

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Veterans Home Yaphank, NY
    Posts
    2,309

    Talking Breaking in

    I agree with everyone else experiance is the only way. As far as what that "Contractor" charged your sister-in law just one question why complain ? You go to a Lawyer and to issue a paper is $1500, go to a Doctor its $75, and all he does is refer you to someone else. Yet these same people when they are our customers act like we are the biggest theif in the world. Go figure.
    RAM Teaching Tomorrows Technicians Today.

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