From the outside, HVAC jobs can all look the same, especially when you are looking at cookie-cutter job descriptions. An HVAC Technician is basically the same duties regardless of where you are working and you already know what the job entails. Going beyond the required duties there are 10 main things that you need to consider.
There is no right or wrong answer for any of these, most of these are more of a personal preference, you need to pick the job that fits best with what you need. The perfect job for you and your style might be terrible for someone else; so give some thought about some of the common factors outline below to figure out what is important for you.
1. Manager Style
Your manager, supervisor, or boss makes a huge difference in how satisfied you are going to be with work. For this you need to be honest with yourself, what do you like and what do you need? I was speaking to a tech recently who acknowledged that for the first 10 years, he worked for a manager that was a real hard-ass, he pushed him hard and always thought his manager was asking too much from him. He later took on a new role with a much more laid back manager. What I found interesting was that he said the first manager is who made him the tech that he is today. He said that if it were the opposite way and had started with a laid back manager, he may not have pushed himself as much and would not be as good a tech as he is now. Be honest with what your strengths are and pick a manager that will help you grow.
If you can, ask to meet some of the team you will be working with during the interview. Your co-workers do not have to be your best friends, but you need to be able to get along with them. If the entire team is made up of 25-year-old Hockey Bros (there is nothing wrong with this) and you are a 45-year-old Family Man, are you going to have a good time working with them?
If possible try to meet the dispatcher as well or at least ask what their style is. A good dispatcher can make all the difference.
Where the shop is located is obvious but the territory is significantly more important along with how service calls are dispatched to maximize your time – and your earning potential. If you are covering 200 miles there are going to be a lot of late nights, if you are covering a metro area, you are going to spend a lot of your life in traffic. Be aware of this.
Big considerations, do you take the Service Truck home every night with you or do you have to return to the shop at the end of your shift and report to the shop each morning? Working for 2 shops that are the same distance from you but have different service truck policies can make a huge difference.
When it comes to benefits or medical insurance, keep in mind what do you need and what is the cost? I have been very fortunate with good health and have not required a lot from a benefits package and thus, it has never been a big consideration for me. On the other hand, a colleague of mine needs regular chiropractor visits, has kids with health issues, and a wife on prescription medication; for him a strong benefits plan is super important. You need a package that you can afford and covers what you need. If it doesn’t cover what you need, what is the cost of independent coverage? Can you afford that?
5. Products Carried
For some, this means a lot and for others, it doesn’t matter at all. I have spoken to many techs that love working on Lennox but hate Carrier or vice versa and for them to be happy at work they want to work on the product line that they like. For others, this doesn’t matter at all, be honest with yourself. You want to be proud of your job and the work that you do so if you have a strong preference then make sure you choose a company that carries that, after all, you are going to be driving around with that brand plastered on the side of your truck.
What is the working arrangement, will you be hired through the union, hired as a contractor or as an employee? There are pros and cons to each of these, if there is one that works best for you then you need a company that can accommodate that.
7. Size of Company
There are many that love working for a small independent shop where they know the owner and they feel like they are really part of something. There are others that have a preference for working for one of the huge companies. Again, there are pros and cons to both, pick what works for you and I recommend giving both a try at some point in your career. You may be surprised that some of the common beliefs about both can be completely off base. A large company is not always more stable and a small company does not necessarily treat you better.
8. Advancement Opportunities
If you are looking for an opportunity to grow/advance in your career, you need to put yourself in a position where this is possible. For a full read on how to advance in your career check out our recent article – https://rockstarhvac.com/how-to-get-promoted-an-hvac-technicians-guide-to-moving-up/
Does the shop have a plan for the slow season or do they lay off techs? Are you comfortable with annual or even semi-annual layoffs? Some guys love this as they take a vacation during the slow times and make bank during the busy times; however, most techs are more comfortable with steady year-round work.
10. Wage Range
Money is the reason we all go to work – but it is at the bottom of this list for a reason. It is the least important of all of them, especially as there is such a good chance that the differences could end up being negligible when Overtime, Benefits Costs, Travel Times etc. are factored in. Base pay is a consideration and if everything else is equal, then go with whoever is paying the most, otherwise go with the best overall fit.
There is a lot to consider when looking at a new job, keep this all in mind when going on an interview, ask questions pertaining to these. It is important to decide what is important to you and pick the job that fits you.
One bonus thing to look at:
11. Online Reviews
Have a look at a company’s Indeed and/or Glassdoor reviews. These are usually super biased so keep that in mind, but they can give you a bit of insight into what a company is like. If they have bad reviews, don’t write them off (these were likely written by a former employee who were terminated), but do ask about them during the interview.
Techs are in high demand, you have choices, you do not have to pick the first job that comes available, pick the one that is best for you. If you need help finding a job that ticks all the boxes, give us a call at 1-833-937-3546 or check out our openings at www.rockstarhvac.com/jobs