I've been in this business nearly 15 years and so far, every Spring has been somewhat slow... Is this year any worse than the last or the one before that?
It also depends somewhat on the work you do, when I did resi repairs Spring was murder, same with resi sales... Since I've been where I am now I make my own work and I'm busy. D4 is keeping pace while others are slow for the same reason... I'm thankful I have a boss who lets me run, otherwise I'd be sitting home.
They can't stop building around here. Whether it's new commercial buildings, homes, or homes being torn down to build another home on the lot.
I've been working Saturdays for about eight months straight now...with exceptions to holidays and Christmas vacation. Even worked a couple Sundays. No less than 48 hours a week. The boss said we have a ton of work coming up. I'm single with no kids, so I don't mind working as much as I can.
The number of new housing starts in Phoenix last year this time was 60,000. This year the number of new housing starts is 30,000. Builders have 6,500 spec homes for sale, this time last year there were 4,000 spec homes for sale. They operate on cash flow too, and I'm sure the banks still want to be paid.
I think there are over 17,000 resale homes now for sale on the local market. Average time on the market is 120 days. I would be interested in finding out how many bank owned homes there are now, compared to last year. Anyone know where I can find that out?
Investors drove up the market to insane levels this last summer. They over bought and now investors are walking away from deposits on new homes comming to completion and sales based on contingency are falling though.
Many people are in over thier head even with two incomes.
I'm seeing more ads in the newspaper by divorce/child custody lawyers. "Can't make your house payment? Call a divorce lawyer, keep the house and make that lazy smuck of a worthless husband pay you more money."
25% of the phoenix economy is directly or indirectly related to the sale of new homes. There really is not much industry here. Build or bust. I expect the local economy here is in for a bumpy ride for awhile. I had a call on monday. The homeowner is moving out of state and his house is for sale. I asked him if the home inspector had already looked at the AC. He doesn't have a buyer yet and I noticed 5 other homes for sale on his street as I was leaving. But he's hopeful it will sell any day now
I'm watching the market and waiting for the right time to buy. I should be able to find a really good deal here shortly
Some of the HVAC shops around here are slower than ussual, but to me there always seems to be a few months where everyone panics. Every year around the same time too. All I can say is, thank god it gets hot here. Even poor people find the money to fix a broken AC.
Has anyone been through a recession in HVAC?
A seasonal bussiness during a recession has got to be the pits.
[Edited by refrigeration mafia on 02-22-2006 at 12:24 AM]
Originally posted by coolwhip Im sure you deal with the oil side em. Do you know of any issues with natural gas? Salesreps never mention the issues.
I've used the gas furnaces for probably 15 years, not a high volume, but enough to get a feel for them I guess. The only thing I've done is replace a board and a couple of motors. I don't know of any other issues.
I am your average HVAC/R guy. I do resturaunts, I do cafeterias, id some warehouse distribution. I do not HVAC remodel or HVAC new construction. But I do alot of new refrigeration. New Walk In Coolers. I sub for a national manuafacturer. Then I always got evap replacements, condensing unit replacements. I tend to sell the idea of everything being remoted to the outside, so in the summer I push for fall and winter work. And I got a lot of refrigeration maintenance stuff I do in fall and winter. A ton of it. I got a warehouse that the coils need done every year. It's atwo week process.
My typical accoutn though is, If there is a walk in cooler in the joint, there is uaully an ice machine too. In any of my accounts that I do the refrigeration, I almost usually do the HVAC. So. HVAC stuff. Aint nothing going on this time of year. But there is always an ice machine needing service, cleaning ect. Walk in's don't follow the weather. Mine don't cause none of them are half assed fixed. But walk ins go down. Contactors, leaks, plugged drains, clocks, ice ups, condenser fan motors will fail at anytime, headmasters fail, since the equipment runs year round, it has more duty life on it.
I get slow, but only for stints of time. A week. In the winter, I am 20 MPH for three days, then the next seven I am going 80, then back down to 20.
The bulk of work in winter for me is new boxes, remodels, maintenances, and ice machines.
Since I do both HVAC and R I think it's diversified. And so is my accounts list. I don't just do one category of commercial. I am into all kinds of different business's. I never thought I'd get into this, and swore I never would, but money helped me decide, I am dabbling with food equipment now, and it's not that bad. It's a natural fit to what I am doing in that joint already. I kept being asked. And I kept seeing the food guys try and take on my work, so. I had to compete. I actually like it.
Having said all that, I can stay busy. But I try to measure the work load. I don't like the idea in this time of uncertainty taking and putting employees on. I could certainly get busier almost immediately. But with all I said up above, also I am seeing any one account, any one customer, they have stopped spedning money in the way they use to. I have made several concessions on my rates to keep the work from going elsewhere.
I can do that. I am a small shop. I have little overhead. Plus I will get it from you on the parts. If I had guys and vans and insurance and all that, it would be much more difficult to wiggle my pricing cause I have x amount of nut to crack. With it being just me. I take $100 less, no big deal at all. And in order for me to keep the work going to the next one man show or desparate shop of 5, I concede.
I am just worried. What I am seeing come in is different but not by much. Some of the price concessions I have made have been small but yet I was asked to come down. I see small little things in my business pointing to the fact that the economy here sucks. But nothing major for me. But then I got the supply houses, or talk to my buddies at shops, and it's like a ton of bricks. There hurting. Their getting 15 to 20 hours. Everyone is scared of getting laid off, if they haven't yet.
Lot of guys are getting laid off and then going out and getting work on the side, which depresses the work we do even more so. I am worried because what I am seeing take place around me. Yet we are okay. But it I like to prepare and be on point and be ready for bad. The only thing I can do is save my money, make it while I can, don't take on more risk. And that is exactly what I intend to do. lay in the weeds.
I've been day to day for quite a while now. Just filed for unemployment Monday.
Was on a call on friday afternoon, a little walk in beer cooler at a bar. One of the three evap. fans was missing a fan blade, had come off the mtr. shaft. Took off the fan guard, reached in to grab the blade to go find a replacement, and it wasn't there. Missing in action. Evap coil inlet was plugged with dirt. Was low on refr. too, oil dripping from a couple flare fittings.
One of the bar customers must have been working on it. You can always tell when a non-refr. tech works on a piece of equipment, they never have a service wrench, so the service valve stems are rounded off, no caps either of course.
So I threw some refr. in to get it cooling. Showed the customer the fan, and that I'd come back Mon. morning to get a fan blade for it, clean the coil, ect.
Customer called as I got to the shop Mon. morning, and said she didn't want anything else done, she couldn't afford it, and it's cooling fine now.
Bad enough one fan's not working, the evap coil inlet was totally plugged with dirt. After adding refrigerant, I figured it was running about a 0 degree superheat at the compressor.
They had nothing else for me to do, that last call was definitely the bottom of the barrel, so I gave up for now and took a layoff. Tired of dealing with the office politics, competing with other service techs for work.
Maybe a little golf trip down south might be in order. Or I could continue with my reading project. Trying to gain some knowledge about DDC, been reading a lot of user guides and stuff. Just finished the Excel Care guide, 884 pages. A lot of it over my head, but who knows, maybe something will sink in.