Many hvacr techs complain that they are in dead-end jobs. Well, here are 13 things you can do to further your own career.

1. Did you know that your income is directly related to your vocabulary? It is. So it’s always a good idea to work on building your vocabulary.

2. There is hardly a soul alive that couldn’t be doing their job better than they’re doing it now, including me. Becoming more organized is a good step toward improving your future, and you can start with your company vehicle. People judge you by your vehicle, so you can improve your self-image, your public image, job performance, and job satisfaction by keeping your vehicle neater.

3. Show up. The most important ability you can have is reliability. Show up every single day for a year, aside from your normal vacation, and it will get noticed.

4. Shave every day. It never ceases to amaze me how some people can have a job in which they’re dealing with the buying public and not come to work looking clean and shaved. These same people complain because, like Rodney Dangerfield, they “don’t get no respect.” Shave. Get a haircut. Clean your shoes and organize your tool belt, then see if you’re treated the same way.

5. Make sure your paperwork is neat. Everyone, from your customers to your coworkers in the office, to your boss, judges you by the neatness of your paperwork. Your paperwork sends a very loud and accurate message to your co-workers in the office and to your boss about you and your attitude toward the job and to them.

The thing is, they have to read it, and if your paperwork is illegible or you don’t press hard enough to transfer to the bottom copy, they assume that you don’t care much. And I’d say that is probably a pretty accurate assumption.

6. Complain less and avoid gossip.

7. Learn all you can. Don’t limit your learning to the technical aspects of the job, which is what most techs do. There are a number of nontechnical subjects you should familiarize yourself with to further your career.

Learn all you can about the company you work for — its customers, suppliers, employees, boss, strong points, and weak points. That should get you started on learning more about the business aspects of the job, which is also a good idea.

8. Increase your personal sales volume. Look for add-ons and present more options to your customers. In other words, sell more. No one wants you to sell anything that won’t benefit the customer.

Contractors can only pay so much for technical expertise and technical work. Once you reach top pay, any increase in compensation has to come from increased profits generated by you. Increasing your personal volume is the best — if not the only — way to get the most out of your career.

9. Live below your means. Spend less money than you make, which is probably difficult for most of you reading this article. But regardless of how little money you make and regardless of how many mouths you have to feed and bills you have to pay, spend less money than you make.

Don’t take out any more loans, not even to buy a car. There is no better way to mortgage your future than to bury yourself in debt. If you think you can pay off a loan for new furniture over a three-year period, then open a savings account and make payments to yourself. Same thing with a car. If you think you can afford a $20,000 car and can afford the five years’ worth of payments, start saving your money by making the payments to yourself and pay cash for it.

Remember, no material possessions are going to make you happy.

10. If you have children, start planning for their higher education. Call a college or university and ask to speak to their “financial assistance” office and inquire about their “prepaid” plan. You can enroll a child in a prepaid tuition plan where you sign a contract that guarantees their tuition rate, no matter how far in advance their college years are. Then you make monthly payments until they enter college.

By the time they enter college, it’s all paid off and at a guaranteed tuition rate. Next to a full scholarship, it’s the easiest and most affordable way to pay for your child’s education.

11. Start planning for your retirement. You are working now in preparation for your retirement. Your retirement years may well be as long a period of time as your working years. How a person retires, whether they are able to do it in comfort or if they will have to work bagging groceries or flipping burgers, doesn’t depend so much on how much money they make while they’re working as to how well they prepare for retirement.

The next time you want to spend $2,500 on new furniture, remember that that same amount of money, invested in a retirement account, earning about 10% in compounded interest per year, over a 20-year period, will become more than $25,000.

12. Find out what your boss’ problems are and solve them. Most employees like to find out what their own problems are and stick them on the boss’ back. But if you really want to get ahead in your job, help the boss solve his/her problems.

13. Set goals. That suggestion requires an article all its own.

Greer travels the country running calls with hvacr service technicians, demonstrating his methods in the field. He’s the instructor for the “HVAC Closers Academy” held in Ft. Myers, FL. For more information, call HVAC Profit Boosters, Inc., at 800-963-4822 or visit (website).

Publication date: 06/11/2001