Could it be that HVACR techs are discouraging people from joining the industry?

They may not be chasing people away from the industry deliberately, but many techs are doing it by default - and you just may be their unwitting accomplice.

Anyone in the job market, who personally knows a service tech, also knows that this is a dangerous and physically demanding field that, some could argue, consistently overworks, underpays, and underappreciates its primary breadwinners. Why would anyone want to voluntarily subject themselves to that?

It's a known fact that this industry needs more techs. At the same time, in my humble opinion, techs need more money, more status, more respect, and more time off in order for them to start recommending this field to their children, friends, and others.

You can blame the service technician shortage on today's kids who may not be so willing to work long, hard hours for relatively little pay, compared to other professions available in today's job market. And, you can get mad at me for saying something about it. However, neither of those tactics will do one bit of good in resolving the situation.

What Not To Do

Let's face it: Success is a result of your thought processes. (Then again, so is failure.) The following are some suggestions to help correct thought processes I believe are hazardous to your financial health.

  • Stop thinking there is something "wrong" with techs learning sales skills. Ever thought, "We know we need to pay more to attract more techs to our industry, but we can't afford it because we can't sell our work at higher prices"? That's where those sales skills come in handy.

    And here's a news flash: A service technician is a sales position.

    Yes, sales skills can be used for evil purposes; but remember, so can science, the military, the media, and just about everything else.

  • Stop thinking it is wrong to have any self-interest in mind when running calls. You're in business, and the purpose of a business is to make money. On the bright side, we're in a "helping profession." Do you realize that every time a contractor or service tech makes a sale, they've done something to help others?

    Do you think doctors, dentists, police offers, teachers, and even ministers are devoid of self-interest? They're all trying to make a living helping others (as you are), and are "selling" in every interaction they have with us.

    What's wrong with that? My answer is: nothing.

  • Stop thinking it is "wrong" to make good money. Of course, this means making money legally, as well as honestly. I'm a firm believer in "an honest day's pay for an honest day's work." And, this work is hard.

    Wanting to make money is not unethical. Of course, you're going to earn in ethically, right?

  • Stop thinking that high prices are not virtuous. There is no virtue in low prices. Every time one of these so-called "high-priced rip-off companies" charges a decent rate for decent work (and don't forget that last essential component), they've done something that benefited the entire industry. They got a customer to pay fairly for what techs do, and they paid their techs well so they may help to recruit much-needed talent to our dwindling labor pool.

    In essence, they made enough money to stay in business and continue to set a higher standard for the rest of the industry.

    Guest columnist Charlie Greer is the creator of "Tec Daddy's Service Technician Survival School on DVD" and can be reached at 800-963-4822 or

    Publication date: 02/09/2004