How To Get Promoted – An HVAC Technician’s Guide To Moving Up

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Contrary to popular belief, promotions don’t always go to the best technicians or even to the hardest working technician. Being a supervisor or manager requires a bit of a different skill set than being a good tech. No doubt, you have to be a good tech but usually, the one who gets promoted is the one who is good at the technical and great at everything else.

Two things to keep in mind before we get into it.

  1. You need a plan to get off the tools before you have to. Crawling around in attics and lugging units onto a rooftop is great when you are young but when you enter the golden years of your career those tasks become more and more difficult. Your body can only put up with so much, have an exit plan. Too many techs wait too long and have to live out their retirement with crippling knee and back issues, don’t be that guy.
  2. Management is not for everyone. This article is taking about how to work your way into management but know that it is not for everyone. Your exit from the tools does not have to be management you could look into opportunities such as an instructor/teacher, dispatcher, sales, tech support, etc.

The Keys to getting promoted are:

  • Be a model employee
  • Have a customer focus
  • Stop complaining
  • Put yourself in a good situation
  • Make sure ownership knows what you want

Be a Model Employee

A supervisor or manager is the template of what future techs should be. You want to be the model tech, this includes:

  • Be on time
  • Be ready to work (don’t show up hungover)
  • Take apprentices under your wing – no initiations or pranks
  • Work overtime when needed
  • Pay attention during training sessions
  • Work Safely
  • Do your paperwork properly and on time
  • No slacking – don’t turn a 2-hour job into an 8-hour job
  • Keep the truck clean
  • Don’t drive the company service vehicle like a moron

These are all the obvious things and none have anything to do with your technical knowledge, these are things that everyone can do. Basically, just show up, pay attention and work hard.

Customer Focus

Without customers, HVAC companies don’t exist. There are a lot of choices out there and when it comes to repeat business it is all about how well the tech/installer worked with the customer. The salesperson no longer matters you are the one in their house/on-site you are the face of the company.

You do not have to do anything crazy here, good customer service is pretty easy. Be a good person, like what you do and be happy to be there (or at least pretend to be happy to be there.) Bad customer service sticks out like a sore thumb, good customer service in its simplest form is just not bad.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Be clean/presentable
  • No cursing on customer sites
  • Be friendly but you don’t have to be their best friend, you are there to do a job do the job
  • Clean up after yourself, do not leave garbage behind
  • Explain what you are doing it and why you are doing it but do so in a very basic way, customers do not have HVAC experience and do not need all the ins and outs but a small explanation helps them feel they are not getting ripped off

If you have done a good job the customer will not even remember you but will remember they had a good experience. There is no need to develop any sort of relationship or shared interests, do the job, do it professionally and get out.

If you have customers calling in and complaining about you, you can kiss any sort of promotions goodbye.

Stop Complaining

No one likes a whiner so stop complaining. How you behave impacts everyone and unless you are well-liked there is almost no chance of a promotion. Stop complaining to:

  • Dispatchers
  • Customers
  • Other Co-Workers
  • Management
  • Everyone

Having a beer after work with the guys is great but if you spend the whole time bitching about your employer that will not reflect well and could jeopardize your chances of moving up.

Put Yourself In A Good Position

Being promoted has a lot to do with where you are. If you are working with a small company with 2 employees and an owner your chances of being promoted are almost non-existent, there is not a big enough team for you to be looking after. Similarly, if you are with a company where your supervisor has been working there for 20 years and is only 45 and not likely going anywhere for another 20 years you also have a bad chance of getting promoted.

If you are in a bad situation it may be time to look into a new role. It is very common to make a lateral move to a company where you will be doing the same job for the same money but have more room for career growth. Give us a call at 1-833-947-3546 or check out our job board – www.rockstarhvac.com/jobs to see opportunities available that might be a fit.

When interviewing with new companies make sure to ask about career growth, the chance of promotion, etc. It is not rude and you can save yourself a lot of wasted time and headaches. A company is only a perfect fit for you if it matches what your career goals are.

Make Sure Ownership Knows What You Want

Have a friendly conversation with ownership or Sr. Management to let them know you would like to be on a promotion track. Do this gently and without making demands. You are not at all asking for someone else’s job nor are you threatening to leave. You are offering to take on more responsibility and letting them know you would like to learn more about the business and if there was any training available you would be happy to take it.

At least this way they know you are looking to move up and will start looking at you that way. It is super common for many techs to get overlooked for a promotion simply because ownership thought the tech wanted to stay a tech. Make sure they know you are interested but are not demanding a change.

Take on incremental promotions as they are offered. You are not going to go from Tech To Service Manager, look for lead tech, foreman, supervisory roles and keep progressing from there.


Follow these 5 Things and y are on your way to a career in management. Be patient, if you are 22 with 1 year on the job don’t expect to be promoted right away, you need to spend some time in the trenches before getting the call up. Do your job the best way you can and be ready when the call comes.

If you are ever looking for a new role or need to Hire Technicians, we can help. Rockstar HVAC is your dedicated recruiter focused specifically on opportunities for HVAC Technicians. For more information on how we can help visit www.rockstarhvac.com or give us a call at 1-833-937-3546

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