Ice machine repair
I am new to the industry and was thinking about specializing in ice machine repair. Is this a viable idea? Do any of the major companies offer training? I live not to far from Manatowoc WI.
The vast majority of customers want a service contractor that can service all their refrigeration needs (and sometimes even the hot side).
Exceptions to this would be if you set up an ice machine leasing business, or set up a bulk ice manufacturing business. But then, you would also have additional storage equipment to maintain.
As far as education, no one beats the major ice machine companies. Check out their websites, and you can be busy for days learning. Contact your local distributors, and they usually have a yearly seminar with techs from the company they sell do a half day presentation.
You should have many tools in your belt. Good luck!
Experience is what you have an hour after you need it.
Like baub says, most people use the reefer guy for the ice machine, and if they are happy with their reefer guy, they usually will not call any one else any ways. You could try and become authorized by all the major brands, but warranty work is more of a loss leader, but we have picked up some good clients just by being authorized Scotsman Ice Care reps.
Originally Posted by baub
The more things you know how to fix the more profitable you will be which means the more money you will make. It's ok to specialize in one area but I would at minimum recommend ice machines and refrigeration as those seem to go hand in hand. Always try to learn as much as you can about all types of equipment.
I have been doing Ice Machine only repair since 1991. Before that I was general manager of a Kold-Draft distributor and gave technical advice on fixing them for 11 years. When Kold-Draft went under I bought the rental division and went off on my own. Since then I evolved into selling and service and now just service for a company that services and rents ice machines. I am warranty authorized for all makes you are ever going to see except Whirlpool.
This all came to pass because:
1) I live in a large enough Metro area to support specialization
2) Everyone in the industry knew me from my previous experience
3) Few refrigeration guys work on ice machines enough to keep up with service bulletins, service schools, and new models coming out.
I would recommend working for someone who specializes in Ice Machines and get familiar with the common machines. The service schools will overwhelm you if you don't have familiarity with the unit. After a couple of years you could go off on your own. When I was self-employed I had at least 10 refrigeration companies use me to service their customers because I only serviced Ice Machines and they didn't want to be bothered with them.
Ice machines can be lucrative but they shouldnt be your only gig. I am a Hoshizaki CSR, a Manitowoc CSR and a Scotsman Ice-Care Rep and i still wouldnt be able to support my business off of those three. I am located 20 min from NYC, 5 min from SINY so i have a lot of opportunity. However, just being on the website for Hoshi, i was able to get new customers and vendors. Hell, being on Hoshi's website got me my gig with MicroMatic.
What i'm trying to say is dont put all your faith in ice machines. My advice is to take care of refrigeration AND ice machines. If you get into ranges and fryers and stuff, it just makes you more marketable. That way your customer just has to make one phone call.
All the major brands offer training in your area (especially Manitowoc, but their factory training is expensive). Look on their respective websites-they have a schedule on there.
Every customer you take for granted today will be someone else's tomorrow.
I did not start learning the ice machine side until 6 years into my career, and now that is my favorite part of the business. Now that I have seen our wages continue to slide downward, I am starting a side business that only does ice machines. From what I have seen, most techs are either afraid of them, or don't have the patience to do it right. And the big companies are so "hurry up, hurry up" that they never get them right either. Case in point - a friend of mine referred me to a deli chain with 2 machines down - one was dead and not worth fixing because it was 14+ years old, and the other (a hoshi) was embarrasingly dirty and still running even though it didn't make ice. After I did my secret magic to this machine and adjust it properly, it made beautiful ice. I came back the next day to pick up my check and the guy behind the counter kept asking me what I did - he said that machine had not worked for the 5 years he had worked there, and he personally saw 4 different companies try to repair it. That gave me a little boost. I think the other guys are right though - it is good once you have your foot in the door that you can work on their other equipment also. Good luck to you!
I think my favorite thing to work on are ice machines. unless its an IB unit in a mcdonalds.
totally agree, if you can fix an ice machine you can fix almost any refrigeration issue in a restaurant, leard the sequence of operations for the machine. If you know what its supposed to do and when, it makes your life much easier in troubleshooting. definately a good niche though.
Originally Posted by tuba
An oldtimer advised me when I was starting (and i'm on the oldtimer side now)
Ice machines are a lot like women except they're easier to understand and you might even win the odd arguement
In my two years experience of working on ice machines, I have found knowing the sequence of operation to be critical for troubleshooting. Also the service techniques you can study from most major brands websites is also very helpful.
Can I quote you on that
Originally Posted by K_Neil
The premise of ventilation is that the OA is clean or of sufficient quality to be used for dilution. Traditional ventilation is somewhat being threatened by the fact that the EPA is changing the requirements for outdoor air quality which is creating non-attainment zones in what is now becoming a significant portion of the country. That means that buildings in those areas will need to clean up the OA before they bring it into the building.
Genesis Air Inc.