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  1. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    831
    Welcome to the trade. Get used to long hours and not always having time for lunch. Like the pros have said:

    -No texting on the job. I set a ring tone for certain people and the shop so I know when that ring comes that its important. If you need to make a call ask the journeyman first so he knows what you're up to.
    -Hands out of pocket
    -Get used to what has to be done and start getting the tools in place as theyre needed. Example: the copper pipes for the A/C have been run. Get the torch before hes done laying his pipes out. After that grab the vacuum pump and a set of a gauges and the extension cord if needed. And maybe the caulking or spray foam to fill the hole for where the pipes go in.
    -Always have something in your hands. If youre going to the truck take some garbage or something the tech is done with. Eventually you will get to know the codes and requirements and if you see something small just do it. In my experience, showing initiative and doing without being told at the right time REALLY will get the journeymen wanting to take you along. By right time I mean dont start running control wire when the new furnace isn't even in place.
    -Above all the best rule for the new guy. IF YOU DONT KNOW- ASK!!!! They know you hardly know anything. IF you don't know what you've been asked to do rather than attempt it just admit you don't know how to do it and that is when you will learn how to do it.

    All and all the right attitude and right ethic will leave the trucks waiting for you. IF they aren't waiting well....maybe its time for a new line of work?
    Get money, get paid.

  2. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Somewhere in Cali
    Posts
    190
    First get your EPA card, second buy some tools, and third write a resume. I know you don't have any experience, but at this time your life you are not sell your knowledge, but you are selling your personality, your character, your attitude and don't forget at least three references for character check. and don't say anything about working for free. you might want to say that you are willing to take an entry level salary and in return you are willing to give 110% back. I doubt a respectable Air Conditioning company would let you work for free. Do you know why? Because if you are not in the payroll and you get hurt. Do you know who is resposible? You got that one right the owner of the company.
    Before you become a good HVAC fitter, be a good sellperson. you are going to need it in this trade trust me on this one.

  3. #16
    I've been helping some family members move these last two days and I've got to say I wasn't expecting to get such solid advice. Its helpful to find out what the professionals are looking for and their point of view.

    simplyrollin I wasn't able to get back to you in time but if your in my area Illinois Lake County Grayslake/Gurnee. I'm just looking to assist on a couple of jobs, I couldn't work full time for free or indefinetly. If you need somebody maybe 1 to 3 days a week, that would be do able. I'm enrolled for classes in the summer for 3 days a week.

    I guess my thinking was working for free took the risk away from the employer but liability issue opens a whole new can of worms. Obviously getting paid for your hard work is the right thing for both parties. My desperation for experience blinded me a little bit. I'll definetly sell myself a little higher. Reading through this forum is definately a good compass.

  4. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    831
    I joined this forum when I was in trade school. Needless to say its a wealth of knowledge. Heck, I've even gotten job interviews off of this site. It will definetly help you.
    Get money, get paid.

  5. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    831
    Quote Originally Posted by aixha1969 View Post
    Before you become a good HVAC fitter, be a good sellperson. you are going to need it in this trade trust me on this one.
    Double post but I just wanted to elaborate on this. While at first you may not know exactly what to sell a customer to meet their heating or cooling need, you are a representative of the company out in the field. Manners are key. Use proper english. No slang. You are essentially selling the company out there. Smile. Friendly tone. Introduce yourself and anyone you are working with. It takes a lot for a customer to let someone into their home especially to do work. Its a financial undertaking for them. So professionalism by far is one of the most important traits youll have to use.

    It has been my experience that a customer will have less problems with a job where the installers were great people. Its psychological. You and your journeyman are nice and polite. Ask to use the washroom. Take your outside shoes off when going on the customers carpets and flooring and the customer will be happy with the work done, and will find less flaws with the job. Even though they may not actually be flaws, psychologically its in their mind.

    Also another point to make. The internet is everywhere these days. Including websites where customers can rate contractors. That can help or hurt business. So make it help it. All it takes is one bad customer to turn away a dozen. Easily.

    But it feels good the day you go on the web and Google your company and a customer you did the work for gives you a full 10/10 and says "I would recommend this company to anyone." Especially when they say things like "polite, courteous, friendly."

    Now get yourself some basic hand tools and go get the money
    Get money, get paid.

  6. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Paige, TX
    Posts
    11
    I have a strong electrical background and I applied twice for a job at the company I currently work for and was rejected. Once before I started school and once near completion of school. One of our classes was an internship for 80 hours of work, so I called them up and told them that I needed 80 hours for free. They agreed and actually hired me after only 32 hours of work and then gave me a truck (that scared me). They were available if I ever had any questions, which I had plenty. After nearly a year of work I hardly ever call anyone unless it's about prices I'm unsure of. So it does work but I'd wait 'till you had a few basic classes under your belt so you know what you're looking at and the basics of how everything works. You'll actually learn a lot working while getting the basics from school. Good luck.

  7. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Hobart, In.
    Posts
    324
    If you can do all the stuff RayD said call 219-464-4919
    Twilly is my hero!

  8. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    upper michigan
    Posts
    103
    Quote Originally Posted by Roddy73 View Post
    ..... And NEVER put your hands in your pockets
    I had to laugh at this one......I learned that one a long time ago in the military. It's so true but not often said. I've even heard it said to sew your pockets shut....lol

  9. #22
    I actually got in contact with a local shop and they are giving me a interview on Monday. On the outside looks like they have a very big warehouse 6-7 trucks/vans. I guess things are looking up for me. I got a interview on my first phone call on my first choice of places

    Thanks for the offer Theantihack. I have to try this place first, they are a 10 min walk from home.

    I think I'll mention that for the first week or 2 I can work for free. Until I start my education I'm happy just for the chance to ride along and ask questions. The tricky part is that I'm working a minimum wage job as kitchen help and I could use the income but I would like to transition out of that job for more challenging things. They way I was brought up thinking was that only quality work should be rewarded. My uncle and I do a lot of massive DIY projects on rental properties and home projects and he's a really hard task master or should I say workaholic but the results are worth it. For instance at age 15 we re shingled my grandpa's house. His ethic was start before the sun came up and get it done that day. I made $500 that day. My job was to rip off the old shingles. Then I layed down the tar paper and feed my uncle shingles so all he had to do was nail and cut to the pattern. I like to be useful.

    I have a habit of telling people stories about work I've done. I haven't done much HVAC but hopefully I find things to talk about during the interview. For instance maybe adding this piece of information is a bit over kill. At age 12 I climbed my first 14,000 foot mountain. I'll try to read up on some text books. Wish me luck.

  10. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    831
    Quote Originally Posted by oneinamillion View Post
    I actually got in contact with a local shop and they are giving me a interview on Monday. On the outside looks like they have a very big warehouse 6-7 trucks/vans. I guess things are looking up for me. I got a interview on my first phone call on my first choice of places

    Thanks for the offer Theantihack. I have to try this place first, they are a 10 min walk from home.

    I think I'll mention that for the first week or 2 I can work for free. Until I start my education I'm happy just for the chance to ride along and ask questions. The tricky part is that I'm working a minimum wage job as kitchen help and I could use the income but I would like to transition out of that job for more challenging things. They way I was brought up thinking was that only quality work should be rewarded. My uncle and I do a lot of massive DIY projects on rental properties and home projects and he's a really hard task master or should I say workaholic but the results are worth it. For instance at age 15 we re shingled my grandpa's house. His ethic was start before the sun came up and get it done that day. I made $500 that day. My job was to rip off the old shingles. Then I layed down the tar paper and feed my uncle shingles so all he had to do was nail and cut to the pattern. I like to be useful.

    I have a habit of telling people stories about work I've done. I haven't done much HVAC but hopefully I find things to talk about during the interview. For instance maybe adding this piece of information is a bit over kill. At age 12 I climbed my first 14,000 foot mountain. I'll try to read up on some text books. Wish me luck.
    Books will only teach you so much. The best way to learn is tools in hand. You can read about the compound gauge all you want. But until you put it on a system (and by the way screw it on as fast you can refrigerant burns SUCK!) and pump down a system and pull a vacuum and see what the gauges readings are through all that THEN you will learn. Eventually youll learn to see from this gauge if you're undercharged or even if after a vacuum if you have a leak. As my first journeyman said to me "Take what you learned in trade school and toss it out the window. This is where the learning starts."

    The right attitude and work ethic will impress them. Achievments ...well... won't mean much when you've been doing an install all day and realize that the existing drain or venting is against code and the only way to do it is to re-do it all. They will want someone who will for lack of better words "GIT-R-DONE."

    And your body will probably hate you for the first couple weeks until youre used to it. You will get home and do nothing but sleep. But once you get the hang of it youll see.

    One good thing about the mountain climbing that will come in handy is having a fear of heights will hurt you in this business. Get used to climbing rickety old ladders and standing on the "DO NOT STEP."

    Good luck. And remember to keep your hands free of potential pinch points.
    Get money, get paid.

  11. #24
    So I had my interview and the boss there seemed to really interested in having somebody dependable and motivated as me. He offered me minimum wage which is great for me studying and working. He must have good personality or awesome interviewing skills because he totally put me at ease. From what I was told it seems like I'll probably start helping the techs with air conditioning maintaince. I appreciate all the advice everybody gave me it definetly put me in the right frame of mind. This interview took about a hour most of my previous interviews lasted about 10 mins for other jobs. On a side note he explained to me that he has installers and service technicians and they don't work together. Is it better to start out doing one before the other?

  12. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    831
    Depends on who you ask I guess. Im an installer. Both have their ups and downs. Installers have to worry about where everything goes and how to put it in there legally. Where as service do maintenance and repairs which sometimes involves fixing things installers may have done wrong. But from what Ive seen the biggest part of service unfortunately are the crazies. The person who thinks their water bill is too high because water comes out of the drain on the indoor coil and the unit is wasting water (wait till he discovers the city is distributing his water through pipes and NOT the air). The person whos ductless split doesnt work right when theyre using the wrong remote for the unit. Then of course theres compressors that go, parts that need to be replaced. You will see the diagnostic side of this trade isnt a walk in the park. Somethings are easy to spot. Others require talking to tech support for hours on end.

    If you will be doing maintenance type work you will really want to save up a couple hundred and get yourself a clamp on amp meter. CAT III 600V minimum capability. That will handle everything from an outdoor unit to a rooftop. Another tip youll most likely learn on your first day the easiest part of this job-the filter change. Check the direction of airflow on the filter. Air goes into the unit from the return and out via the supply.

    Long interviews are good. If theyre interested youll be talking for a while. Ive never got a job from a short interview.
    Get money, get paid.

  13. #26
    The boss called me a week later said that he couldn't take me on at the moment but told me to call him back after I started my classes. In 4 weeks I'll be in school so I'm looking forward to that and I'm helping my uncle install a Payne furnace 37,000 btu(small one) and AC in his home so I'll get a little taste to see what HVAC's like in the mean time. Getting rejected is tough, but I think I'm still on good terms with the boss. He told me he would get back to me after a week and he did. It just doesn't seem like hes in a rush to take me on, it gives me a chance to get better prepared.

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