2019 Tech Compensation Survey Comments

—I think techs rarely leave for money. They may say that is the driving factor, but I feel they are out looking because they are unhappy about something else. I've had people leave to have less on call time, less pressure, more stable hours but not money. Some have said it was money but once I fixed the money problem they still left and the real reason(s) come out.
—It's not just the wage making them feel as they have input and respect goes a long way
—It is a war out there to convince people that your organization is the best for their long-term security
—Techs talk, also they know labor is short. Keep the good, and potential to be good, others have to move on, there are many out there that think they are better than they are. Also, hard to attract younger people, don’t like to get dirty and don’t like on-call. Especially on-call, more and more complaints. I pay 75.00 per week to be on call. Plus 1.5 times wages, last year techs earned 60-65k plus fringe, still complaining about on-call.
—Performance pay vs hourly is the elephant in the room. Still hourly +incentives.
—A couple technicians have left partially due to higher wages but they also went on to fields outside of residential HVAC so we haven't necessarily lost them to direct competitors offering more money, but companies outside of our industry.
—Average for demand service techs (Not PM) Avg wage $79,370 Avg Hours 2,168 Average for lead installers Avg wage $45,695 Avg Hours 2,012
—Past few years we are now hiring people without HVAC experience and training from within company. No experienced techs available
—In my area, Cen. California, tech's are taking full advantage of the shortage. In my almost 30 years experience, I never thought I would put up with what I do today. There is a very real sense of entitlement, and NO sense of responsibility with many of the younger techs. It is frustrating! Don't get me wrong, we have some good ones too, but it seems like we have to filter through 10-15 or so to find one good one.
—We have started a $2500 sign on bonus after 90 days. Our techs are paid a base wage + commissions. They average $60-$80k per year.
—Wages aren't everything, but important. I think the market is changing where we can pay more for good techs, and charge more to the customer for good service. Companies with poor techs aren't going to survive
—It's out of control.
—We are performance pay. We have not changed in the last few years. Out install earns very good wage, thinking how we can alter the service side and if it's needed.
—Used to be able to find inexperienced helpers for $10-$12/hour to start. Now they won’t talk to you for less than $14. Also now offer increased benefits as well.
—We put out a $5000 sign bonus to attract an experienced technician also ran ad 3 times for a month each on Indeed and Facebook and got 0 responses.... very discouraging!
—They have a way to earn additional dollars for job performance and sales.
—We are/have been paying our techs above this rate for a while. Demand in our market is pretty tough. No skill: $14-$16. skilled but no license: $17-$22. Licensed: $23-$28. All of that being said, our lowest skilled earns more than $47,000 and our average is into the 50's easily. Our guys get a good amount of overtime annually.
—Top notch technical training for staff helps tremendously with recruitment and retention! If you are not willing to train your people you deserve to have them leave to a company that will! It is worth several dollars an hour to good techs!
—We don’t raise their baseline wages. They have to earn increase in pay by selling more. They are capped at $20 per hour. The rest of their wages are based on a % of their sales. We have one guy making about $160K and others in the $50K area (and at several spots in between).
—I've owned an HVACR & plumbing service company for more than 30 years. Techs move around too much nowadays. And they want top pay, while expecting us to train them. I've had guys leave me for an extra dollar. Seems as though the more in benefits & higher wages we give them, the less they appreciate all that we are providing for them!
—Cannot find new techs. My best techs told me today they need more vacation time, when THEY want it or they leave. Next week as well as the previous week I have multiple techs on vacation. I am working my douche Lobster ass off with no vacation in the last two years to speak of. I am leaving next week for a week. I don't want to hear from anyone.
—I have given up on trying to hire new techs. investing in better tools and processes to increase productivity instead. saying no to work on a daily basis.
—My area is unlike many other markets. We have 3 technical colleges in a fair distance offering HVAC diploma and associate degree programs. We have an influx of techs as well as installers. Very good ones at that. My company sees a minimum of 3 techs or installers looking for employment each week. In our area as for HVAC businesses, there is more supply than demand. We are basically overrun with new companies and techs looking for jobs because the local tech schools are pumping them out as fast as they can into the industry and our market. 80% will not stay in our area. Because there is no demand for techs. Those techs will relocate to other areas and other states.
—Our payroll is expanding faster than our pricing structure. This is concerning -- we want to be sure to pay everyone well, but need to control this somehow. We've been looking for some market-based pay data. Any information is appreciated! Thank you.
—We have had a number of techs leave in last few years to go to a municipal positions. Not because they are making more per hour, but due to receiving better health insurance then we can afford to offer.
—Tech's are given bonus based on departmental and overall company performance.
—Union groups have hired 3 of my techs over the last 2 years.
—Here in Ontario we had issues against an large international company (Reliance) owned by a chinese family. They are stealing qualified people with a heating and cooling certificate by offering them a signing bonus of $25,000 ($10,000 on startup and $5,000 quarterly for the rest of the yr) the tech needs to sign a 2 yr. agreement and repayable if he leaves. Also they offer their techs a finders fee if they recruit. The finder’s fee is $ 5,000 if the tech is good and stays on. We are staying ahead by training more new-in-the-trade people.
—From my perspective, it troubles me that many guys are looking to pay 10-12 dollars an hour for a guy who just got out of school. However, I was tempered after learning that at the hospital where my wife works, medical techs that prepare and assist c-section surgeries in Labor and Delivery are paid less than $18/hour. Nurses were extremely low also, but varies greatly based upon their different certifications. My wife who works as a medical secretary admitting patients and documenting insurance etc actually makes more than some of these “medical professionals" and is only part-time (she does it to get away from me). However, walking in with her MBA and HR experience she asked for more and got it.

IMHO I think employers make every effort to pay the least, never based upon merit or performance, and pony up only when they are extorted in a time of need. This makes a ripe environment for a union to come in or another company to steal your talent, or, worse yet, start their own business, especially the quiet ones festering in the background doing the real work.

One last thing, the last recession scared the hell out of many people and they are choosing to dance with the Devil they know vs. the one they don’t. Makes it difficult for someone to make a change.

The talent pond is over-fished and there is nothing there. Time to train our own and also look to immigrants (legal ones) to fill these roles. Next time you see a new custom home being built, check out the United Nations of people working there, Russians, Polish, Hispanic, Asians, etc. In the past 3 years had 3 new homes built near me and most were 1st or 2nd generation citizens or Green Card holders. Our world is a changing.
—Had a high turnover of qualified techs leave not over wage but wanted set hours and no on call. All were recruited by commercial companies. The ones who stayed did so due to huge pay increases.
—This is a blanket statement for us saying we are paying more, but this year we hired very experienced techs at higher rates. Entry level has not changed a lot.
—We are looking for technicians and the pool of qualified technicians is very small and getting smaller
—We are fortunate in that we haven't had anyone leave. However, within the past 2 years, we have extended job offers to experienced techs that currently had jobs (but were unhappy). When they went to put in their 2-week notice, the other company offered them a substantial raise, so they stayed. It is a constant concern.
—If we let the techs drive up the prices, then it's our own fault. that means we are not worthy enough to keep good techs. I've hired 4 techs in the last 2 years that all took a pay cut per hour, but they are now making more money than where they worked. It's our procedures and modified performance pay that allows us to keep them but, more importantly, it's the way we treat them that makes them not want to leave. Learned a long time ago that you can never let your employees hold you hostage for any reason. If you take care of them, they will never want to leave no matter the offer.
—Since we've changed to scheduling a 2-hour window for each call our techs have been much happier. Our old model is what we call "break-Fix", which means run pinpoint the failure, fix it, get out as fast as possible and move to the next "break-fix". this model would have them doing 8-12 calls each day. Now our typical day is 4 and in busy time 5-6 calls each day.
—I have had more success hiring young guys just getting out of school. We also pay 5% of sales on service and have trained some of our techs to sell replacement equipment jobs.
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