I’ve been an HVAC technician for a long time and have had a fairly successful career, but that got me thinking about what it takes to succeed in this field. How do you succeed as an HVAC Technician?
How to Be a Successful HVAC Technician
One of the most frequently asked questions I receive from new technicians is: What can I do or concentrate on to increase my chances of success in my HVAC Career? That question prompted me to reflect on my entry into the trade. At the time, I recall asking the same question to my Journeyman. I recall his response and believe it is still true today. Leave your personal life outside of work, stretch your comfort zone, ask questions, and constantly learn something new. If you can do these things, you can succeed in anything you set your mind to, not just as an HVAC technician. Let’s dig a little deeper into how this advice can help you succeed.
Keep Your Personal Life Separate from Work….
Additionally, for younger generations entering the workforce, this means putting away your phone!
This is simply sound advice for anyone seeking a prosperous career. When you report to work each day, your primary focus should be on the job.
We all have interests outside of work, both positive and negative, but bringing them into the workplace can easily become a distraction.
Both for your benefit and that of your coworkers. Distractions cause people to lose track of important details and develop poor time management skills. Both of these characteristics are critical in the HVAC career field.
A lack of time management skills prevents you from effectively managing your schedule and remaining organized.
Each day, many technicians handle multiple calls and/or repairs. It is critical to maintain an organized schedule, invoicing, and a clean and organized vehicle.
Your service vehicle serves as a mobile office for HVAC technicians. When your workspace becomes disorganized, daily job tasks become significantly more difficult.
Losing focus and skipping details can result in poor workmanship and even injury. Working in the mechanical trades exposes you to a variety of situations that can easily put you in danger if you are not vigilant.
This is why it is critical to maintain vigilance and avoid complacency. Concentrate on the task at hand and do not skimp on the details. Keep your personal belongings in the truck.
Experiment with Leaving Your Comfort Zone
Nothing in this world is effortless. Once you’re out in the field, it’s natural to become overwhelmed by the amount of information you don’t know.
Nobody expects you to know everything, even less so as a helper or apprentice. This is the time to challenge yourself and make those errors.
How will you learn if you are constantly hiding behind what you know and are comfortable with? It is best to accept that you will make mistakes, but that all that is required of you is to learn from them and improve your performance the next time. Now, I am not saying to be careless; you must always do your best.
HVAC technicians’ job descriptions include extensive troubleshooting. Daily, as you continue to learn and push yourself, you will develop the confidence you require. It can be quite intimidating to receive the first few service calls indicating that a unit has failed. Y
ou have no idea what it could be, and your nervousness is caused by your fear of the unknown. You begin mentally rehearsing all the “could be scenarios” as you drive to that call. As you progress and expand your comfort zone, you will encounter more difficulties.
Soon, you’ll begin to see repeats of previous calls. Before you know it, you’ll be confident enough to examine anything.
You will never see or know everything, but the willingness to persevere and find the problem/solution is what distinguishes true technicians from parts changers.
Certain technicians are unafraid of the unknown when it comes to mechanical issues. They appear to have an aptitude for troubleshooting and superior mechanical abilities, but may be lacking in customer service abilities.
Customer service plays a significant role in the HVAC industry, both commercial and residential. Make an effort to learn about your customers and develop relationships. If you find yourself trapped in a shop that prioritizes sales over all else, seek out a new location.
Developing customer relationships can last the duration of your career and contribute to your success. It’s a small world, and reputation trumps all else.
While interpersonal communication requires practice, the ability to adapt to a variety of personalities and people types is a priceless skill that any great technician will strive to possess.
Pose Questions and Demonstrate an Ability to Teach. This is a necessary skill for success. If you are unteachable, no one will attempt to teach you.
Accept the fact that you do not possess all of the answers. Avoid being the know-it-all who just graduated from trade school.
You may have learned something in one way in school, but keep in mind that there may be multiple ways to accomplish the same task, and if you are teachable, you may just learn a superior method.
Maintain a humble demeanor and admit your errors; others are much more likely to appreciate this attitude and be willing to assist you.
Inquire. Your greatest resources are the other technicians in your vicinity who have been doing this work for an extended period of time.
Generally, these gentlemen want you to ask them questions. It demonstrates a genuine interest in learning and self-improvement.
People, in my experience, want to assist those who are actively attempting, but if you are not actively attempting to improve yourself, why would I spend my time and energy attempting to assist you?
Uncertainty about your performance can be one of the most stressful aspects of starting a new career.
Rather than waiting to hear negative or constructive feedback, solicit it and embrace it. By inquiring, you will demonstrate that you take your career seriously and will have the opportunity to learn things about yourself that you might not have known otherwise. Consider this feedback as a chance to improve and grow.
This frame of mind and attitude will undoubtedly put you on the path to success.
HVAC is a field that changes at a breakneck pace. To be successful for a long period of time, you must be willing to invest in yourself and continue learning.
I frequently run into guys who have been in the trade for 25 – 30 years or more, and you know what they all say? You will never know everything there is to know about HVAC, Refrigeration, and other related technologies.
It appears as though every few months, you come across new equipment, utilizing new technology with which no one else is familiar. 25 years ago, the majority of equipment consisted entirely of relays and contactors.
Now you’ve got equipment that runs entirely on microprocessor boards and requires a laptop to properly troubleshoot and diagnose.
Maintain your education. Attend manufacturer-sponsored training sessions, conduct online research, and participate in online forums. Every day, if you are willing to put in the effort, you can always learn something new.
If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’re a motivated individual seeking to improve yourself and advance in your career.
I hope you took something useful with you, and I’d like to conclude with this list of ten things that require no talent and will help you stand out.
TEN THINGS THAT REQUIRE ABSOLUTELY NO TALENT
- Be Punctual
- Ethical Work Practices
- The Language of the Body
- Ready to learn