By - jasdeep13
My take on this.
I don’t have a college education. I spent 5 years going through an apprenticeship and 22 years in the field. If I could find a job matching my $90k with minimal overtime a year with the pension, retirement and healthcare I have, I wouldn’t even think twice about turning it down. Is this trade my dream job? Hell no but I make more than a lot of college educated people and I’m proud of what I do.
I’m in my mid 30s been doing this since I was 20. Most of my friends went to college and when they find out I make more than they do, the look on their face says it all haha. It’s hard work but it pays and I can’t complain about that.
People cry inside when they see what we can earn. Lol.
I’ve worked for 4 contractors since I got into the trade. I’ve learned different things working for each of them. I’ve found my home with with my current boss/owner, I will retire in 10’years here. I’m not owed anything. I want my boss to make money and grow.
I have over 10years in the field have been working for my company for a year and make about 52k a year. Am I gettin fukt?
Are you service or install, either way that seems very low, but that could just be the area you live in. I’ve got 7 years experience, 5 with this company and 1 year school and make about 10k more, which is pretty average for my area with the Certs I have, although some Hvac buddies would claim even what I make is low but I’m sure they are just trying to get me worked up since they left the company I work at.
I am service. Tbh I feel Ive never truly known the value of my work. When I got into this I was making $8/hr as a helper, few years later 15 as installer, 19 as a 1st year service tech. Ive been servicing for over 6-7 years now. I mean I dont complain about the money I make, just wonder if its actually fair.
I’d say if your hours are decent and they treat you right, it seems pretty nice. I always feel a bit overworked and always seem to get the nightmare jobs. I’m kinda stuck tho cause I really do like the pay and I don’t want the pay cut to do something else, but I’m not exactly happy… this meme hits hard lol.
Yes exactly. Ive worked for so many assholes and slavedrivers before that im use to it. The new company say they are really impressed with my proficiency and Ive never had someone say that lol. They've done me well and are really nice people so I just like the environment, regardless if im gettin fukt in the pay I guess.
Ugh culture and everything is seriously important... But you can find a good culture and better pay too...
Where are you located? Have you asked for a raise?
He gave me two raises already and a bonus for all my hard work. I started at 19 and now make 24/hr. Im in AR
damn im union nj dont know shit still aprentice my package is $45+ 30+ take home hourly
Do you know what union work in Upstate NY is like?
im sorry i dont. i know local 9 in central nj is looking for guys though
I think he meant Union the city
no steam fitters union.
Yeah, ima go cry now :(
You can’t compare wages in the trades from NJ to wages in AR. Big city union wages are much higher than in rural areas
This is true. Idk i shouldn't complain I like my situation now more than I did back then.
still cant do shit with it in this state
I have no idea. But I can say in my area you won’t make what I make unless you go union.
Also your results may very. We don’t have an on call. We don’t have to work much overtime because most of our customers are closed after 5 pm and the weekends.
I’m sure there are SOME non union workers that make more hourly than union workers in any given area. But once you factor in the benefits package that number dwindles quite a bit.
For sure. I’m not saying joining a union is the best thing since pizza either. Unions have their place in the world. In my area we make at least 1/3rd more than the non union people plus the benefits and healthcare are very good.
I would but I prefer residential work over commercial.
Somebody has to do it
I prefer a more personal experience with the customer. I get a lot more appreciation and reward out of fixing a system for a home owner vs home depot. Plus its easier to me. Dont have to deal with checkin/checkout, automation controls, coporate required documentation, heavy 10ton parts/ equipment, wiring headaches, etc. I know everyone prefers commercial, the guys at my shop think probably think im crazy, Just built different.
I make the same working for a resi union shop in PDX. Sucks ass tbh for the area, but more than I made at a non-union shop. And it’s still more than people in other fields here make. West coast is shit for housing and economy tho imo. I’m moving east soon where housing is way cheaper, and to maintain my standard of living I’d be making 32k/year, but wages are honestly looking about the same. Personally I’m just tired of resi work and HVAC work, I’m hoping my partner will be able to start their union job again, I can hopefully get on with a school or hospital for maintenance, maybe take a pay cut but also have time to further my education and get into controls or facility management.
Essentially.... Depends on your market and abilities.... But yea
I hope that doesnt include any benifits or overtime
No benefits or overtime included, and I usually do 20+ hrs overtime (nolife)
if you work 60 hours a week and you're only getting 52 my shot from the hip says you're getting fucked
Tbh I probably am.. I like to believe there are honest people out there but ive been lowballed so much in my life I litterally think Idk what good really is.
It wouldn’t hurt to see what else is out there for you. you can leverage any offers you receive from elsewhere with your current outfit. Good work ethic and experience is hard to find, and I’m certain there are employers out there who will recognize your value and be willing to pay you more.
i was loyal to a company cause i thought i made decent money made the switch making 60% more and work less hours. my boss actually cares about us also ask how we are if anything he can do to make life better for me cause he knows we make him his money if we are happy he will be cause our customers are.
is ur company hiring lol im making 23$ an hour
Yes I’m looking for a good service mechanic that is well rounded in boilers, chillers, VRF controls.
Can you train me on Chillers, Boilers, and VRF controls? I got 6 years in Residential but nothing with Boilers or Chillers.
I make $14, 4 months experience. I just started my apprenticeship from helper at 90 days. I look forward to making journeyman, my boss wants to hire a couple new journeymen at $30+.
I make $22 and been in the game for 3 1/2 years. Feel like I’m getting shafted
At 3-1/2 years you’re still wet behind the ears
So I am trying to take some classes to move out of the field. I recently was laid off from my company. (I know only a fuckwit would lay a guy off now).. I am trying to find something interesting that fits the bill. But to make over 100k I am pulled right back to HVAC.
Yes. If you can find a job working for the county/state thats the way to go.
I would get so bored working for the government. Having all those different rules to work by. My customers call and ask for me and let me do what I need to do (with in reason) to get the job done. I feel I’m very good with service and have a very broad knowledge of how a lot of different systems work from resi type stuff to big chillers and boiler systems to controls. I feel like my talents would be waisted working for the the government.
My father was a union plumber who transitioned to working for the county. The only problem was finding enough things to do. They would literally sleep in the break room on the job!
I work to make my boss money, I don’t want to work to waste money.
Mr. high and mighty over here. Gotta take your chill time when you can. Mr. macho over here breaks his back by choice and wants everyone to know it. Round of applause.
I’ll take my chill time when I retire. It’s not all about me. If you work for a small business you you treat them right, you will be rewarded for your efforts.
I feel the same and this is true. People dont believe in honest work and honest employers anymore.
Jesus Christ you guys are dense. He didn’t steal time. He was sleeping in his companies break room which I’m sure they were obviously aware of during a time he had no calls. Sounds to me like his employer was willing to pay him during his down time in order not to lose him when it came time they needed him. Exactly like my company does for me. He’s not stealing time. You are no better than him in any way. He does honest work just like you two who obviously don’t get enough attention. Shut the fuck up.
Jesus who hurt you? I never said shit about stealing time I don't care what other people do on the clock thats their business. Some people prefer working hard and being the best at their craft vs a job thats laid back. Nothing wrong with either imo but getting defensive af about the subject on the internet probably is
I hope he compensates well..
He compensates with a lifted truck
I did get a brand new truck Monday but it’s not lifted. 🤷♂️
Hey, anything to show others how well off ya are helps!
It’s a work truck. It will have my bosses name on it. How does that make me look well off?
He stated in his first comment that he makes $90k a year. I’d say he’s doing fine.
If you do install and get fat you're a hack.
OK I'll give you that, I'm the lone apprentice for a very popular local HVAC/R, just me and the boss and I've gained 15 lb in straight muscle doing a broad mix of residential, commercial, and off-book work in just 4 months.
True. When I worked install every single day for 11+ hours I was jacked as fuck. Now I work in office operations and am fat
I’m far from a top tier mechanic, there is always room for improvement.
Pension? Where do you live?
Thanks there isn't a union in Florida that I am aware of
Scroll down to Florida.
What job is this ????
Like what job do I do? I’m. Refrigeration fitter so I do mostly mechanical equipment service work.
Like fitting lines for commercial / industrial ?
Mechanical equipment service commercial and industrial. Boilers, chillers, VRF, BAS etc.
Sometimes we have to do something we are not crazy about to enjoy the things we love. Work can sometimes be a means to accomplish the things we really want to do in life.
That being said, HVAC industry really makes folks think that 12-16hrs a day is normal. But at the same time our income is the size it is because of the overtime and such. There is such a weird balancing act here because if more employees are hired then your pay may go down with it as you will have a normal schedule.
I like your take though having pride in our work is the best perk of what we do.
Sucks to think that if I want to do something different I’m gonna have to start from scratch again
I felt that
Same. This job feels like a drag, but it’s all I got that pays anything decent. And my resume at this point would over qualify me for other work in a lot of ways. I’m thinking I want to transition to controls or facility Managment
That's the natural transition. If you can use Google, read the manual, and troubleshoot things, you can be a successful controls guy
Pretty much favorite part of diagnosing things right there.
What about transitioning to facility maintenance. Would they pay close to technician rates since they would have a licenced HVAC tech on staff?
That's my plan. I'm drooling just thinking about a pension.
I work for a park district and the HVAC guy on our staff did exactly that. He was a unionized service tech for almost 30 years and was tired of driving all over the place, crawling on someone's roof, in someone's basement. It's a good change of pace if you need it.
Not currently, but sometime in the future it may be worth it. I have a lot to learn still and am enjoying the progress.
Make close to $90k as senior plant mechanic in the facility I work at. Plenty of overtime, pension, and benefits
What all does your position entail if I may ask?
Mostly mechanical, changing pumps seawater and fresh, pump seals, changing filters, and general plumbing and boiler work
Yes. 70-80k long as you don't mind changing ceiling tiles and plunging toilets.
Do you have any reference for this? Ive worked with maintenance personnel in various facilities and none of them make close to that.
I just started a new job about 4 months ago. Maintenance Supervisor at an apartment complex with a 168 apartments. While I don't make 70-80 grand I won't be super far off this year. This is my first supervisor position and I was very grateful to get it. The nice thing is I don't get salary, I get paid by the hour. Overtime is such a great help.
I know a couple guys that make that or more transitioning to a maintenance position but I’d say that is not the norm. Most guys will take the pay cut for the sake of their bodies at some point. That being said just because I know how to do something doesn’t mean I’m gonna do it if I took that position. Guys don’t take the pay cut to do the same shit, call a contractor lol.
My dad did Facilities MANAGMENT and made $70k/yr.
I’ve looked at maintenance jobs and it’s not even close
Entry Level position and nearly $40/hr
$28/hr ain’t no fucking 70k per year, man
You replied to someone asking about where a facilities maintenance gets you $70-80k. Also ymmv, I look forward to being basically laid off in spring and fall. $36/hr net me $52k last year
Congrats on the 214 hours of overtime, happy for you, pal
Hey me actually. In my mid 20s and I’m on pace to be in the mid to high 60s this year with a little OT. Can’t say that’s the norm I think I may have just lucked out and got in with the right company. I also don’t have to do much actual work, we sub 99% of our work out unless it’s something quick or I’ve got some free time on my hands and want to blow the dust off my tools.
I hope that keeps working out for you. It’s a nice set up of you can get it.
I have a good friend who had a maintenance job like that in a production facility. He basically read the newspaper every morning, drank coffee, browsed Reddit and tried to act like he was busy all day. They used contractors to come in and do 99% of the work. Then new management took over and realized they didn’t need a maintenance staff if they can hire out almost all the work. 21 guys out of 24 were let go in one day. Some had been there 20+ years. A cushy job can disappear in a heartbeat all because some accountant says they can save money by doing this.
Oof that’s brutal. To be fair for me I’m the one subbing the work out, it’s pretty much just me and my boss overseeing ~30 commercial properties. Definitely have our lulls but we stay pretty busy for the most part, it’s a good little balance. It’s nice being able to dabble into a lot more trades, I get to have my hands in a little bit of everything. I will say I believe HVAC has to be one of the most versatile trades to take else where. If well trained you get to learn at the very least some basics on electrical, plumbing, and I was doing a lot of new build work so I got to observe some framing, drywall, other finishes, etc so it was useful to see the building process. Oh and plus the whole heating and cooling thing is pretty darn important lol
$32 an hour with 5-10 hours avg per week overtime puts you in that range. It's above average pay for the field but not excessively so. If you're focused, know what you're looking for, and have the skills employers want, you can land a maintenance job if that's your goal. Just don't get stuck there like a lot of guys do, always be looking to grow and expand your skill set.
Yeah where I’m at close to Pittsburgh it can be anywhere from 26-38$ for hvac or engineer position. At least for hospital maintenance. Most of the places all the other trades work m-f daylight. Engineers usually work shifts and during the off shift you are all the trades. Not a bad gig.
In 30 years when I'm pushing 70 that doesn't sound so bad. Right now I have things to learn and money to make.
For 70-80k 9-5 I’ll plunge all the toilets you want.
maybe if you're lucky. ive done facility maintenance for 5+ years to get to $26/hr. And that's as the Maintenance Director. I see a lot of jobs on indeed offer less pay asking for epa and hvac licenses and certs.
I think location is playing a huge part. I hear residential people making $100k meanwhile I’m hearing guys out here max out at like $36-$38/hr doing commercial service.
definitely highly location based. Im in northern utah and my wages are very fair for the market I live in.
I'm in Portland doing commercial service and have a year left to get my state HVAC certification. I'm already at $26.50/hr. Most guys with their licenses and 10 or more years experience are making $85k+ before OT and on call rotations. I'll be at 4 years experience when I get my state cert and LEB license. I already have my EPA and brazing certs.
Well it’s Reddit so of course everyone is making 6 figures… Only way you are making that in residential is an absurd amount of overtime or you are selling new systems when all is needed is a run capacitor.
It was the opposite for me , I went to school and got a HVAC-R degree then took an 8k a yr pay cut getting In the field, I'm 4 months in waiting for the hvac monies. 😂
It took me 16 years to hit $120k/yr. I spent a lot of time sub-$30/hr, and even more at sub-$40
You gotta play the long game in hvac
I'm quitting to go back to electrical. Alot of the same skills in HVAC plumbing and electrical. Get the wire, tubbing, ductwork from one place to the other .
You thought about getting into HVAC controls?
How about sales at HVAC supplier. That is where I went when I had enough!
Fellow sales rep going on 1.5 years now, now a BDR for Carrier. I was on the field for 3.5 years ha
Retired now. 12 years light commercial service, plus some install. 9 years sales. Those 21 years were very good for me financially!
What was the pay difference going from service to sales if you don't mind me asking?
I was making about $55K a year, remember this was ten years ago. When I started in sales I was making about 80K with some awesome bonuses and profit sharing,plus a nice Ford Lariat for a work truck that I used as a personal vehicle, insurance, 3 weeks vaca, company smart phone with unlimited use. Figuring everything I over doubled my pay going to sales. I also went from 40 hours a week to 50-60 hours a week. But, no on call! I had been on call for 25 years! I could forget about my phone on the weekends! Also come and go as I wanted. It was great in some ways and sucked in others, just like any job.
Pay really depends on the company. Some are pretty tight and you will not get paid much. Some will pay you all you want, but you work your butt off for it.
Big facts. The only way I’m gonna make it out is if I get a test technician job at a plant
I had this fear until I got into HVAC. I used to work Retail last 12 years and that’s the real shit pit. It’s only July and I’ve made more now than I did an entire Year at my last job. I’m thankful with where I’m at and glad I took the leap into this field
Hah. I’m 6 years in and can’t wait to pay off a house and start working retail again. Fuck this job. Feels like solitary confinement. No coworkers to bullshit with. No microwave to reheat leftovers in. Irregular access to bathrooms. You hit the nail on the head though, money’s good, an offer you can’t refuse.
Get into commercial, all of those things are present when you work the same job for a few months
I'd be out of here if I had anywhere to go. It isn't even the pay cut. Don't know what else I'd do. I have 0 love for the job. Just do it for the money. Got a job where the hours don't kill me. Wish the benefits were better but the hours are agreeable for me so whatever.
As long as you’re alright with the pay cut, there’s a lot you can do. Also keep in mind that quitting doesn’t mean you can’t do any HVAC anymore. I quit earlier this spring, and in the few months before I landed a job fighting fire, I just did a few installs for people I knew. As long as you’re good, you can make 1-2 weeks pay in 1-2 days. I was probably averaging 10 hours a week, and I was bringing in more than I used to make full time.
Granted, that’s a super uncertain way to make a living, and there’s no benefits and no insurance. I know that doesn’t work for everyone. But you could pretty easily work an entry level job in a field you actually care about, and just do the occasional side job whenever you feel like putting an extra grand or two in your pocket.
I left residential hvac to do commercial plumbing and it was about a $15k pay cut I took for the year. I got into commercial hvac and well worth it.
Just got a job with our cities power utility, I was making good money with a private contractor but they couldn't touch what the city is paying me, and it's easier and slower work. No rushing to get to the next job because they don't make money off me.
It’s work. Not office work. Not comfortable 9-5 work. This is WORK work. This is sunburns every summer, cooking your knees to well done on aluminum roofs, 150 degree attic temperatures, fiberglass on your neck, hands cut from god knows what, smelling dead animals, claustrophobic inducing crawl spaces, running on red bulls and truck full of piss jugs work.
What sucks the most is the irony of the job. You fight the elements to supply comfortable temperatures to your clients but you almost never get to enjoy the AC yourself.
It’s an amazing job because people will pay top dollar to be comfortable and that guarantees you to earn at least 85-100k a year. (Depending)
The 85-100k figure is very region dependant. I moved from the field to the office and actually make more than I did in the field, so it's not impossible.
It’s extremely region dependent
Yeah I live in an expensive region and the money isn’t there unless you’re in a specialized field of HVAC
Truth, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Same here brother
Its brutal work. Hot, humid, cramped, dirty, insect infested work spaces.
And that's just residential work.
And for work orders, having to wait to get approval. That's the most annoying and frustrating part of those jobs.
We usually just quoted them on it and left because we knew it wasn't gonna get approved that day. Even if it's like a 9 am call.
Can Mike Rowe even hang?
I got out 33 yrs just had enough. Great trade, it's just changed so much and my body hurts. Lol
I’m trying to figure out how to get out of controls without going into anything industrial. I just want a desk man, remote would be incredible. Literally cannot find advice other than “trust me you don’t want that” from people who like controls. I think 2023 I’m going to take a coding bootcamp or even go back for a cs degree. I wish I could find a way that doesn’t just make the education and experience I have a waste. But I realize I fucking hate tools and metal/dirty shit
Look for a controls sys administration job. I work primarily remote and oversee controls integrations for contractors, got this gig after field work for 8 years.
I was a lucky one to get away
*laughs in IT*
Shew this one cut deep.
I used to think that I loved working on computers. After years of IT turns out I love to work on MY computers but fucking hate working on anybody elses.
Turns out that when I design a system from the hardware to the software the way I want it makes sense for me to work on. I pick good parts and install things in a way that makes sense.
Somebody that decides to build a machine I never would have built, that is setup and run in a way I never would have done is a total pain in the ass for me to work on, and unless you get lucky as hell is a whole lot of the IT world. You are always beholden to the decisions of people that don't' know what they are doing but want you to fix their problems.
Cut to years later me working for less money in an environment that doesn't make me wanna commit arson.
I get ya, but that's a computer technician job you describe and nobody likes it for those reasons. Thing is IT is way more than that!
How could you make more now than then?? I hold the same position in a small financial firm and no way would I even consider HVAC more profitable unless I own a very large HVAC company.
I switched from IT to HVAC, started making more after less than a year
did the opposite and making twice the money OP mentioned.
For sure you'll make more if you go from IT helpdesk to having your own HVAC company. Depends what in IT you do as some are indeed shit.
Me: “Now that a have decades of field experience, I’m going to get my degree in engineering or project management!”
Me: researches schools, find out schooling is about $80k, learns staring salary is 1/3 my current wages.
Me: “Tradesman for life!”
I left light commercial service to get into Johnson controls. I told them what I made and that I was getting a $1.50 raise every 6 months. He laughed and said that wasn't gonna happen. I took the pay cut, but my work/life balance is priceless! I can do this shit from home or the field and I can go play disc golf in the middle of the day!
Any industry really. I keep getting offers from various trades when they come to my property. but every one of them wants me to start at the bottom with a $5-10/hr pay cut.
Fuck, I'm heading towards 6 mo.
Love hvac but shit Man U know how hard we work fuckers making thousands playing the market sitting at computers why I’m on Reddit. I just happen to stumble on this hvac chat but been in this grind for 20years with 17 owner/operator. Whatever money u make invest all u can because cant do this shit much past 60.
Not always true, I know a service tech that works still… picks and chooses when he works… and he’s almost 70. He doesn’t even have to do it anymore, basically says he just does it for beer money and to get away from his wife sometimes lol.
What about refrigeration service?
Well try climb the Ladder inside the Company you work for? After a fews years a techicians, i became head of a Team of Technicians. 50% of my job became a officejob . 10 years ago i became head of the Department wich has constructioncrews and Technicians. Havent touched a screwdriver since.
I own the Company now with my Brother. We have 42 Employees, and every single Crewleader and Projectleader has started in the field with us and worked hus way up. We never hire outsider for management Positions. People need to know the field and the Company.
a Constructioncrewleader has around 4 people with him (Trainees and techicians)
A Projectleader has around 3 or 4Crews he manages.
The Departmentleader manages has around 2 or 3 Projectleader. He alles does all the Bills and offers.
I thought I would be trapped forever. Missing kids games, school activities and getting to the cabin at midnight. I spent 9 years in the national guard, went active in state and the pay is comparable, buy all the benefits and tax breaks make it so I come out ahead. I also no longer miss my kids events, and have double the vacation time. Getting laid off during covid was the best thing that ever happened to me!
I got out of HVAC before I really got into it. Still not sure how I feel about that. Joined the union, after the first year I decided that HVAC was the job for me (first year all the apprentices are in a generic class, second year they choose their specialty, pipefitting/welding, plumbing, HVAC).
It took me till almost another year before I actually got to work HVAC, good company too. Lasted there about a year, then COVID hit, got laid off, and now I am doing pipefitting.
So going in my fifth and final year of my HVAC apprentice I have approximately one year of HVAC experience. I would be scared if they tried to send me to an HVAC company again because I don't have shit for OJT time.
Trying to get into HVAC for this reason in NYC. Already got my universal certification, just got to get some more certificates from the FDNY before becoming an apprentice engineer
Take your skills learned in the field and build on them. Become a service manager, move into sales, transition into engineering, take training to work on higher tonnage or more specialized equipment (chillers, controls, boilers). The field technician is only one rung on the ladder of the HVAC industry, theres many more above it
Midwest - best year so far has been $156,000
Or you can become a licensed engineer and start a small one person company to run side jobs for easy money