For years, the experts have been telling HVAC contractors it is not all about the money when keeping or recruiting good technicians.

And they were correct. Especially with the younger generation of HVAC technicians. They are looking for additional items if they are going to stay at a business for the long haul. Proper training and room for advancement are certainly important. Equally important is the work environment and company culture.

This shows up each year when The ACHR NEWS showcases the Best Contractors to Work For. Smaller perks like company parties, a more flexible schedule (when possible), and employee recognition come up more often than one would think.

So all of those items are important. But let’s not fool ourselves. If the paychecks stopped, nobody would be coming to work. Actually, if competitive pay stopped, most would probably find another job.

With job openings outpacing qualified candidates in the HVAC industry, hiring and retaining employees have become major challenges. The fierce competition has left many HVAC contractors with questions about what qualifies as a fair salary for employees in today's market.

Jobber, a provider of home service management software, announced the launch of comprehensive salary guides based on a breakdown of HVAC salaries by state, years of experience, and position. This information can help contractors hire and retain the right people to grow their HVAC business and scale operations.

According to the survey, the average HVAC service manager makes $72,899 a year, while a technician earns $49,535.

The salary of an HVAC technician can vary greatly based on experience. The average HVAC technician with over 17 years of experience averages a salary of $61,101. Those with 10-16 years of experience average $55,178, while individuals with 6-9 years of experience average $50,037. In addition, 3 to 5 years of experience gets them an average salary of $44,743, and under 3 years comes in at $36,614.

An HVAC technician’s hourly rate is $20.29, on average.

A technician’s income can also be influenced by the state in which they work. Two states have an average of more than $56,000 — Alaska and Washington. The average is over $52,000 in the following states: Oregon, California, Nevada, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

The state with the lowest average HVAC technician salary is South Carolina, which comes in at $40,567. That is 18% under the national average.

"When home service companies expand their teams, they strengthen their communities by providing meaningful local job opportunities and the training and skill development needed to build lifelong careers," said Sam Pillar, CEO and co-founder of Jobber. "Our salary guides are just one of the ways Jobber is helping to equip home service businesses with the resources and tools they need to compete with large organizations and achieve success."

Here is how HVAC compares to other industries in regards to hourly rates:

  • Handyman: $24.30
  • Electrician: $23.00
  • Plumber: $22.64
  • HVAC Technician: $20.29
  • Roofer: $17.95
  • Painter: $17.00
  • Landscaper: $14.62
  • Cleaner: $12.58

When we posted this to The ACHR NEWS Facebook page, a few contractors commented that they thought this was low. So perhaps view this as the low end of what you have to pay. But the fact remains the same: While you need to keep doing all the little things, pay is now more important than ever.

With inflation being close to double digits and almost every industry looking for workers, employees are now in a great position of strength. Make sure you are not losing your best ones to the competition.

Perhaps the best comment we got on social media was from Adrian Castaneda who provided us this hourly pay chart:

  • Newbies: $25
  • Some experience: $30-$40
  • Plenty of knowledge: $50-$60
  • Chiller Tech newbie: $60
  • Chiller Tech pro: $80
  • Owner of an HVAC company: $5