If you’re interested in working in the heating, air conditioning, and ventilation industry, you’ve come to the right place. The need for trade jobs is at an all-time high, which means it’s the ideal time to take on a role as an HVAC contractor.
But you’re probably wondering how easy it is to become an HVAC contractor, what’s the medium HVAC business owner salary, and if it’s a stable market to be in. Keep reading to find out the answers to all that and more.
5 Reasons Why HVAC Is a Great Career Path
Whether you’re looking for your first job out of school or you’re ready for a change in occupation, a trades job such as an HVAC contractor is definitely one you want to consider. Here are five reasons why starting an HVAC business is a great career path to follow.
It’s not a desk job
One of the biggest benefits of a career in HVAC is that you won’t be cooped up behind a desk all day watching the clock. If you dread the idea of staring at the same four walls all day long, becoming an HVAC contractor might be the ideal choice for you.
You’ll never have the same day twice. You’ll be on the road each day, visiting customers’ homes to repair or install heating and air conditioning equipment throughout your service area. No job is the same, from working on the air conditioning condenser out back to maneuvering your way through a customer’s crawl space to climbing up into their attic.
Instead of spending your day sitting idly by at a desk, you spend your time traveling about the city you know and love and call home.
No day is the same
Working on the same process or solving the same problem repeatedly can get quite monotonous. Luckily a career in HVAC provides you with a ton of variety in the types of projects you take on.
One day you might find yourself installing an air conditioner in a new construction residential building, while the next day, you’re troubleshooting a rooftop HVAC system on a commercial property. You’ll be able and ready to handle everything from air conditioning and heating systems to air purification systems and water heaters.
It’s a need-based market
If job stability is extremely important to you, you’re making the right call considering a career in HVAC. Not only does the market for your services continue to grow daily, but it’s also an extremely stable market.
Most of an HVAC company’s services are considered need-based instead of want-based. This is because your customers need their air conditioner working in the heart of the summer, just like they need their furnaces operating at peak efficiency all winter long.
Without these systems performing adequately, they won’t be able to live comfortably and will need to call an HVAC company for service. Because nearly every home or commercial property has an HVAC system, a large market of customers will continually need your services.
Flexibility in where you’re located
As we’ve noted, homeowners and commercial property owners everywhere understand the importance of having a working HVAC system. This means no matter where you go, there will be an HVAC company nearby.
This offers you the freedom to move, should you need or choose to do so, because you can have peace of mind knowing you’ll be able to find an HVAC contractor job wherever you go.
HVAC careers pay well
Because fewer individuals are making their way into the heating and air conditioning field, there are a lot of trades job openings that aren’t being filled.
As a result, there is an extremely high demand for qualified HVAC contractor candidates — and the higher the demand, the higher the income potential.
HVAC Business Owner Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median HVAC business owner’s salary is $48,630.00
This means that half of the contractors in the HVAC industry earned more than $48,730 per year, while the other half earned less annually.
To be a top earner in the HVAC field, you need to be skilled at what you do and have years of experience under your belt. The more experienced, the higher your hourly or annual salary is likely to be, along with holding a higher education degree or specialized certifications in the industry.
Hiring employees to work for you will also increase your earnings compared to being a one-man HVAC business.
What Is the Job Outlook for the HVAC Industry?
Before entering an industry, it’s important to understand the job outlook. Will there still be a need for the role and services in the future? Or will you find yourself looking for a new job or career?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of HVAC contractors is expected to grow by 15% by the year 2026. This is more than twice the expected growth of 7% across all occupations.
Key-Takeaway: When unemployment is relatively high, HVAC has proven to be relatively unphased because your customers will continue needing their HVAC systems serviced. This is why you often see new HVAC companies grow very quickly.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor
If everything we’ve mentioned appeals to you, becoming an HVAC contractor might be the ideal fit for you. Here are the steps to take to start your career as an HVAC contractor.
1. Earn a High School Diploma (or Equivalent)
Most states will require you to hold a high school diploma (or equivalent) to become an HVAC contractor.
If you’re still working towards your degree, it is recommended that you focus your studies on courses that relate to the field of heating, air conditioning, and ventilation.
When possible, enroll yourself in courses such as computer science, physics, mathematics, shop classes, and additional vocational training.
2. Enroll in an HVAC Certificate Program
While there isn’t a federal law requiring HVAC contractors to obtain an HVAC certificate, most states will require this.
Even if your state does not, having an HVAC certificate can help you stand out from other candidates because it demonstrates that you’re an achiever and knowledgeable — which means the company will need to spend less time teaching you the ropes.
Enroll in a year-long HVAC certificate program to help you better understand diagnostic testing, how to use the necessary equipment and tools, and background knowledge of mechanics and electronics.
3. Find an Apprenticeship
Some individuals opt to go into a job following their HVAC certification program, but for those who want to gain all the knowledge they can (thus making you a more valuable candidate for the job), consider applying for an HVAC apprenticeship.
Throughout this apprenticeship, you will receive hands-on training from HVAC technicians, allowing you to gain on-the-job experience that will make you more confident in your future role. In this field, experience often equates to more money — completing an apprenticeship will help you nail down a higher starting salary because of your hands-on training.
4. Look Into Certifications and Specializations
Ultimately, you want to make yourself the most desirable candidate on the market so every HVAC company understands how lucky they would be to have you as part of their team.
Consider certifications, such as NATE Certification, or specializing in a specific type of HVAC systems like commercial furnaces, residential heat pumps, or metal fabrication. The more desirable you are as a candidate, the higher you can expect your salary as an HVAC contractor to be.
4. Learn to Advertise Your Services
To grow your HVAC business, you’ll need to learn some HVAC advertising fundamentals. Fortunately, it’s not hard to advertise HVAC services due to demand.
You can use online strategies such as social media, search engine optimization, and paid ads, as well as offline strategies such as direct mail, networking, and referral systems.
5. Write a Business Plan
An HVAC Business plan will outline your company goals, structure, and more. It helps you grow your HVAC business effectively and is often needed to get loans.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much profit does an HVAC company make?
Most HVAC companies make a profit margin of 6% to 20% of gross revenue. Since the average revenue of an HVAC company is $758,929, that means net profit comes to $45,535.00 to $151,785.00
How can I make a million dollars in HVAC?
Since the average revenue per employee for HVAC companies is $173,824, you will need 6 employees on average to make a million dollars in HVAC revenue.