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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    933
    I am wondering which way to go next. I am about 30, I have been in maintenance for 5 years, I have been in school pursueing a Hvac certificate, while working full time. My initial thought was to get the education and continue up the maintenance tech ladder, but I am wondering if I would be better working for a hvac contractor. I enjoy fixing stuff, I am bored with painting and stuff like that. I at this point am interested in residential, and light commercial work, walkins, ice machines and commercial kitchen equipment interest me.
    I have about come to the conclusion that five years experience with a contractor, and then possibly stepping back into a good maintenance postions may be a good plan although my interest and ambition's may change.
    my present employer allows me to make my own hours, around school, @ about 11.50/hr I think i will stay put until I am done with school,

    my question is any advice on what to (or not do) next?
    Still learning opinions welcome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    Stay where you are at,unless you can go to school at night,and work for an HVAC contractor.You'll probably start out doing installation work which is great experience.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    up in the hizzy
    Posts
    1,390
    My advise to you,"start looking for another job as soon as you can,$11.50/H is way too low for somebody your age ,with your experience.
    Dont settle for residential,Look for an entri-level commercial-industrial tech. or at least for an industrial maitenance position, if you like to fix stuff and learn,after a few years in the trade,if you are good and dont waste time, you will be earning double and doing the stuff that you love to do.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    77
    5 years is about the time you can really start to make good money and better opportunities become available. It's the point where all that hard work starts to really pay off.

    It's more than likely you would be heavily tempted to go back into maint. long before you reach 5 years in this trade; those are the toughest years.

    If you have the dedication to go that far, you shouldn't plan to walk away from it.

  5. #5
    If you do a search of this site for the thread topic: "Design a tech" authored by me ... you will find a lot of answers to your question.
    There is a lot of input there from business owners as well as other mechanics.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,358
    I am wondering which way to go next. I am about 30, I have been in maintenance for 5 years, I have been in school pursueing a Hvac certificate, while working full time. My initial thought was to get the education and continue up the maintenance tech ladder, but I am wondering if I would be better working for a hvac contractor. I enjoy fixing stuff, I am bored with painting and stuff like that. I at this point am interested in residential, and light commercial work, walkins, ice machines and commercial kitchen equipment interest me.
    2story, I caught your request up in Resi.

    I'll be honest with you, I'd probably be back in a service van now if the gig I have wasn't so good. Maintenance jobs are either great or a grind, not a whole lot inbetween. My employer gives me a lot of liberty to use my various*skills, which along with HVAC/R include the usual maintenance arsenal of painting, carpentry, electrical, etc. The people I work with are research scientists, educators, or support staff, mostly professional types, so it's different from, say, working hotel or apartment maintenance. I very seldom have to answer a call to the building after business hours, as the place shuts down at night.

    Anyway, I said all that to say that maintenance isn't a bad way to go if you get into a good gig where you can grow your skills and responsibilities, and the working environment is decent. I started out years ago in hotel maintenance, learning PTAC's, ice machines, walk and reach-ins, and RTU's. Not bad for a kid right out of high school. I also did some time in the trenches in apartment maintenance, which I would not recommend to anyone unless they just need something to keep from going broke (yeah, I've been there ).

    However, as for you and your question, you seem to have a multiple interest in both a/c's, ice machines, etc. This would seem to steer you into commercial work over residential and light commercial HVAC. I've worked as a service tech in resi and light commercial and never touched an ice machine or walk-in the whole time. I also worked two hotel maintenance jobs and became the go-to guy for the ice machines and walk-ins, along with the PTAC's and RTU's.
    If you do decide to return to maintenance in the future, do so as a supervisor, chief engineer, or whatever other title is appropriate.

    I will say this in closing: do push for the education. Get all you can. It'll be refined and tempered by OJT, for certain, but nothing can beat a tech that's got a good balance and sense between book learnin' and hard-won experience. There are plenty of guys in this field trying to run on just OJT, but that octane level runs shy at times, especially as even resi HVAC becomes more technical.

    Hope this helps. Holler if you have any more questions.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    where the beer flows like wine
    Posts
    2,871
    shophound,wow!! solid advise!! you should write a book, I been in the same spot, made the same mistakes, feel the same way, How old are you?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    933
    thanks you all for your responces, education rarely paints you in a box, OJT only seems to.
    thanks agian.
    Still learning opinions welcome.

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