A good HVAC technician needs to be more than just technically savvy or understand their way around ductwork, refrigeration equipment, heating systems, and air conditioners. It's important they embody a service mentality that focuses on the homeowner's experience which involves effectively demonstrating strong communication skills and excellent customer service.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), HVAC techs made an average salary of $50,590 as published in the spring of 2020. There is exceptional earning potential for those wanting to be a step above the rest in the HVAC industry. For that to happen, an HVAC tech needs to set themselves apart from the pack to be considered a really good HVAC technician.
1. Understands there's a seasonal aspect to the business
A good HVAC tech realizes that there's a busy season and there's a time of year when jobs are being requested less frequently. This is important to keep in mind because it affects your income stream and how much money you have in your pockets during the winter.
One of the Pros, Cassie Gabler, from Coastal Heating & Cooling says, "If you haven't worked in the industry before, you don't have an understanding of the fact that during winter you're probably not going to be very busy. There's another aspect of it which is conserving your money during summer so you can afford your bills come wintertime. People fresh out of school don't really grasp that."
2. Time management and organization
Management of your time and having an organized system of procedures is important to master as the HVAC tech has multiple jobs to complete throughout the week. If you're showing up late to scheduled jobs, it's likely your customer won't be rating you highly nor will they be inclined to book another appointment with you in the future. Want to stand out from other techs? Choose a system early in your career to manage your customers, notes, schedule, invoices, and more. Housecall Pro offers the perfect solution.
3. Mechanical proficiency
Your technical skills play a huge role in how well you do as an HVAC tech. Possessing extensive knowledge of mechanical and technical data will allow you to work proficiently and eliminate the need to redo jobs that were not done properly. You'll spend less time going back to job sites fixing mistakes and freeing up your schedule to book more appointments. Your mechanical know how can have a direct effect on your reputation as well as your revenue.
4. Knack for troubleshooting
In the field of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration, it's safe to say you're only as good as your tools. The same can be said to your keen problem solving skills. Your equipment will be instrumental in helping you troubleshoot problems your clients may present in their homes. A good technician will be able to perform routine system testing using tools such as humidity recorders, voltmeters, ohmmeters, and airflow meters. When you can detect the cause of why something isn't working properly, you are able to effectively apply the best solution.
5. Willingness to learn
Technology in the field of HVAC is constantly progressing. HVAC systems are becoming more high tech and it's good that technicians feel comfortable working with computers and software programs. A willingness to learn new skills will always serve you well. A good technician recognizes the value in broadening their scope of expertise.
6. Proven record of reliability
Dependability and trust go hand-in-hand. This is no exception in the HVAC industry. By proving to your customers that you are dependable, whether that means showing up as scheduled or following through on what you claim you can deliver, it shows that you're committed to your job. This also shows that you take your work seriously and will distinguish yourself as a professional HVAC tech.
7. Certified and licensed
By getting your HVAC certification and holding a license, it means you meet the knowledge and training requirements in order to practice as a technician. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires technicians to pass an EPA-approved exam to earn Section 608 Technician Certification.
8. Pays attention to detail
Each job you complete leaves your name associated with that project. A good HVAC tech doesn't cut corners in his or her work. That means a good HVAC technician ensures that the job is completed correctly. Not only is the job done right, but you're able to recall important information by maintaining accurate records of your visit, the equipment you used, and what work was performed.
9. Able to work in extreme temperatures or natural settings
Sometimes a job site will require working in a cramped space that may have no regulated temperature. The best HVAC technicians accept this as part of the job and find an uncomfortable temperature as a challenge they're up for. If an air conditioner on top of the roof of a 3 story condominium building goes out, the tech will need to climb on the roof to fix it. Depending on the weather, it may be wet, icy, or it may even be scorching hot from the sun. Either way, a good technician will be able to safely work under those conditions and maintain a positive mindset throughout the job.
10. Physically able to work with heavy objects and machinery
Much of the equipment HVAC technicians work with can be bulky, hefty, and requires a significant amount of physical strength to handle. The best techs have been properly trained how to lift heavy objects and they understand it will affect their physical ability and effectiveness later in their career. By handling heavy objects properly, you are investing in the longevity of your physical ability which affects your financial future.
11. Effectively communicates
A lot of the job includes communicating with customers who have problems with their HVAC system. Usually clients are not well versed in the language of the HVAC industry. A good tech carefully listens to their customer and is able to ask the right questions in order to identify the issue which may be affecting air quality or their cooling system. Customers appreciate techs that use layman terms that they can understand. You don't want your customers to feel as though they needed to attend an HVAC training program to decipher what you're telling them. Don't forget how important people skills are when working as an HVAC tech.
What do the Pros look for in an HVAC tech?
Cassie Gabler of Coastal Heating & Cooling says, “We really look for people who are self motivated - who are excited to work. We've hired people who want to start their own businesses, and we've hired them because that means that you're motivated and that's exciting to us.”
Be sure to read the full interview on our website where Cassie answers questions revolving around her and her husband's challenges hiring HVAC techs and what they look for in potential hires.
Want to learn more about how to become an HVAC tech?
Check out our blog post describing the 4 steps necessary to start your HVAC career. It goes into detail about the necessary credentials to obtain from trade schools in order to become a certified HVAC technician.