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  1. #27
    I went to vo-tech to be an electricain. At the time they didn't have an HVAC program so they kinda thru in the basics in the electrician class. Got my Journeyman electrician, and EPA. Went to work back home for a HVAC company and picked up most of the trade from the boss. I get to do almost everything. Service, Installs, refrigeration, ice machines, gas piping, and we do a majority of our own electrical work. I've been there 12 years now and am now NATE certified. Its always been just the boss and me with some occasional helpers. We cover about 100 miles around our shop so we are always busy year round. This year we just hired a Tech out of school to help us. The boss is getting close to retiring and I will probably be buying the business. I think everyone has their own unique story of how they got started. I think if you can at least get in as a helper and catch on quick its a good industry to be in and room for advancement.

  2. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Jacksonville,Fl
    Posts
    123
    Quote Originally Posted by HeyBob View Post
    I was a slave for my Father and Grand Father.

    I was always instructed that this is what I was going to do for a living!
    LOL, love it

  3. #29
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Texas Hill Country
    Posts
    53
    I started out in a machine shop assembling sensors and controls for drill collars and other expensive but really boring things for the oil field. We were always having mechanical trouble with the shop A/Cs, which were a requirement for handling a lot of the components, but for some reason the company was too cheap to hire a service tech and get the problem sorted out. So, between orders to fill, I started dicking with it, and after many failures and precious few successes, I developed an interest in refrigeration and air conditioning.

    After that I spent a few years in the apartment maintenance field learning how not to do things (mostly, I had a few leads who I now realize were honestly excellent techs) and from there moved on to an "apprenticeship" with what may have been the world's fattest A/C contractor. Between bouts of heat exhaustion, I learned a hell of a lot from that man. Mostly I learned that the books I'd been reading weren't enough to really prepare me for the job, and that Doolin's doesn't say anything about brown recluse bites.
    "Every mathematician knows it is impossible to understand an elementary course in thermodynamics."

    -V.I. Arnold

  4. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Tenn
    Posts
    139
    Critterhunter, this isn't going to help, but I got started in the Navy. When I was attending EN A school the instructor asked each of us what we were looking to do as Enginemen. Every student, but me, said they wanted to get the AC&R school and work A Gang. I said I wanted to work on heavy diesel engines. They sent me to the AC&R shop on the USS Ponce. From there it was almost impossible to get a main prop. billet. Unitl the day I retired from the USCG, 21 years later, I never did get my main prop duty. They sent me to a variety of schools, but, this is what I found myself doing. It wasn't til I retired last fall that I started liking this kind of work. I find that I have much to learn, as the systems in the real world are not exactly the same as the ships. The Navy and Coast Guard use water cooled condensors for a lot of things that I don't see used in the real world, and I did have to work on low pressure systems, but, I seem to fit in, I guess. If you already went to the HVAC school, I would suggest calling a local AC&R supplier in your area and asking who they know is looking for someone. I found my current job that way. I just went to where the companies buy their refrigerant and asked who was looking for a refrigeration tech. They said (insert name of company that we aren't suppose to mention) was looking, and this was their number. I called them. They asked questions, mostly about troubleshooting. Even though their company doesn't use jumper wires for trouble shooting and they brase the peircing valves in with the system charged as opposed to using the peircing valve to reclaim then sweating in permenant service valves, they felt that we would make a good match. I had to drive with a senior tech for a month, but then things were good. They issued truck and my own tickets etc. If I might be so honest, I had my basic hand tools and a multimeter(not a clamp meter that does temp, either). I got my gages etc after I started. The torch, for instance wouldn't have helpped to get before hand, as the company provides the tank which is an MC. Had I gotten one before, I would have grabbed a B tank torch anyway. Oh, yeah, when I first started out R12 was the primary refrigerant and the EPA didn't require 608 certification.

  5. #31
    Went to tech school for a year and got hired right out of school. Thought I knew a lot more about the field than I actually did. Way in over my head at times. Ran maintenance for about a year and got laid off during the slow times. Got hired on at my current company running service over 2 years ago and haven't looked back. Studied hard, attended many training classes on personal time and learn from my own mistakes. As well as picking the brains of the senior tech at the company. Still learning as I go, but there is never a time that I don't have confidence in myself that I can fix any issue I come across.

  6. #32
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Springfield, Missouri
    Posts
    18

    Just decided to do it on my own.

    Thank god for my family most of them are master electricians but others are master of mechanical systems as I hold both of those titles. For the most part I'm consitered the quiet one. So I had money in the bank and three GMC Yukon XL's a 2001 and 2004 and a 2010 and took two of them and put graphics on the 04 and 2010 and told the wife guess what your in the 2010 and I'm in the 04 it's got all the equipment in it and here is your list for the day LOL it went over really well the first two days but 2 years later we are so busy that we talk over the two way radio more than we see each other. She has her own group of commercial buisness that she takes care of as so do I but we mix in residential work as it comes in. The next nightmare was the trailers and the equipment on them the welders and sheet metal tools along with odds and ends stuff for the really big jobs. But both of us had been raised in family's of HVAC and electrical, plumbing, industrial maintance, and many many other trades and learned all we could and we both worked for companies for 10-12 years before we did it on our own. She still works at the local hospital to keep health insurance on both of us and she works in the HVAC shop there. Now as for what keeps us really busy and frustrated is the ones getting out of these HVAC schools and trying to do it on thier own. They don't have any on the job exp. and can screw up a 10 ton unit faster than anything I've ever seen and please guys wait until you find a opening in a real company with licensed techs and actually pull permits like they should and has a master of mechanical systems that oversees all jobs. It's the only way to learn. So what if you spend a few years bending sheet metal at least you'll be damn good at it. But don't go out there on your own and think that what you learned in class has you in any way ready to handle service calls on your own. You got the book learning done now learn how not to screw up and have to call someone to get you out of a mess. I've gotten calls from people I barely know asking air flow questions on 410 units and you can tell they are in over thier heads. It's a good field to be in and once you really work your ass off for a customer and they notice you always go the extra mile and you don't charge them a arm and a leg they will always keep you busy.

  7. #33
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Springfield, Missouri
    Posts
    18
    So many things to add but I'm sure this depends on what part of the country you are in but one of the first restraunts I ever started working for is a mexican restraunt. So if you ever think reading these kind of post as a new tech. Seeing how the older or current service techs got their start and where they are today. One thing I can tell you that really helped me and the wife get as busy as we are (and I mean so busy that our day usually starts for her at 3:45am she has to get her extremely long hair fixed up in the morning and get dressed lol she is worse than I am about looking good walking out of the door and I never thought anyone would beat me lmao and I'm up at 4am but we both walk out the door and in the trucks getting the laptops logged into the system and checking all fo the radios out and making sure that we have the inventory on the truck and trailer that our computers say that we do or what we know we need so after all of that and the welders and generators are checked and fueled and we change out any close to empty gas cylinders that we need to and we just changed to buying chemicals by the cases in gallon jugs to having 55 gallon drums that we refill 5 gallon jugs with valves on them to refill our sprayers for coil cleaning etc. then we fuel the trucks last thing in the morning butnim sure I can go on and on about this in another post ) but if you are bilingual or multi lingual it's a huge help both of us are multi lingual but the only language we share in common is English and American sign language it's not used often nor is our TTY keyboards in the trucks it's mainly went to emails to those customers but learn a second language it will help you in the long run and for sure will put you ahead of someone else looking for a job. And the language used most by me is Spanish by her is Arabic don't ask me what style she talks because it all sounds the same to me but she says that she had to learn 3 dialects to service the amount of customers she has. like I said before we never seen it coming. How busy we got blows me away and I have no clue how we get done in a day what we do. Especially with her still working a full time job that she gets jobs done after she has been at it all day. And the money keeps coming in and we keep putting a good sized part of it back into the trucks and inventory. But get somewhere and turn into a sponge and yes you get the krap work for awhile but it pays off in the end.

  8. #34
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    3,069
    Like someone else said; "Fake it 'til you make it".

    I started out doing commercial sheet metal installs. Company sponsored me in an apprenticeship. Then I learned to help out on the piping and wiring side of said commercial installs. Then I learned to run the sheet metal side of an install, as well as do pipe and duct insulation. Then I started doing startup on new equipment and helping the T&B contractor. I took a lot of pride in my work and I was always focused more on the end result than I was on the bottom line.

    I tried to aim myself towards service more with everything I did. I got my Journeyman's card, and got my first job doing 100% service work by using my experience in installation and the fundamentals I learned in the apprenticeship classes.
    "There is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals."

    -Thomas Jefferson

  9. #35
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    14
    I just got thrown into it. In residential. I grabbed my manhood and did it. Yet in 2012, if you have not done hvac for at least a decade in the field, going to school, thinking it will teach you how to do service is LOL.. The way these company's are are doing buisness now, with things not making sense, your in deep crap... The 1st time you see flash gas on a furnace I will LOL..

    the trade is in need of real SERVICE techs right now...


    due to the crazy ass crap contractors are doing to make $$$

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