Monthly Archives: June 2012

In the “HVACR Realities Part One” segment, my discussion was directed toward the student/graduate/entry-level-technician and was focused on the idea of wages and earnings. In this segment, I’ll pick up where I left off with some more realities for the person who is considering HVACR as a profession.

Reality: If you are somebody who thrives on the idea/feeling that you’re not absolutely sure of what’s coming up next and what you’ll have to do to solve that situation/succeed, then the HVACR profession, from the perspective of troubleshooting and repairing equipment, is a fit for you. If the ‘fear’ of this perspective is crippling for you rather than being the juice that motivates you to keep on doing your job, then you may be better off in another craft altogether, or you should look closely at the industry and find an element (maybe even a niche) that is more structured and doesn’t require in-the-field problem solving.

Reality: If you’re not a people person who understands the necessity for effective personal interaction with the people (customers) you are providing a service for, the HVACR field, at least from the perspective of being a service technician, isn’t for you.

Reality: On any given day,  as an HVACR technician, you will meet people who will be absolutely amazed at your level of understanding and skills because they are clueless about what you do, and they won’t hesitate to tell you how much they appreciate you….sometimes to the point where you will feel uneasy about the praise you’re receiving from them until you remember just how good you are at what you do, how much effort and dedication it took to get there, and are again reminded about the “it ain’t bragging if it’s true” philosophy of life, and that you have earned that appreciation.  You will also meet people who, because they are really not happy with who they are (or aren’t), will look down their nose at you and treat you like a Noble in ancient Rome treated serfs and slaves. When you meet someone of the latter, do your job, leave them behind both physically and psychologically, and think about all the people you have met that are of the former.

Reality: Unless and until you wind up in one of the areas of the HVACR industry that is related to design or something similar, you’ll get dirty doing this job.

Reality: Being an HVACR service technician can be dangerous if you’re not adhering to safety procedures and using common sense.

Reality: If you’re not willing to, when necessary, invest your own time (and yes, sometimes even your own money), in your never-ending quest to learn more about the ever-changing and evovling craft you’ve chosen, then I suggest you move on to a different job. The fact of the matter is, if you’re not constantly pursuing excellence and knowledge in the HVACR craft, you’re not going to be happy in it, and that will show in your work.

Reality: There will be times when you have to lift heavy things.

Reality: There will also be times when you will be hot, tired, thirsty, stiff and sore, frightened, second-guessing your decision to get into this business in the first place, and exasperated, as well as excited, grateful, and happy about the kind of work you do. If there comes a time in your career that the excitement, gratitude and happiness isn’t there anymore, then do yourself and everyone else in your personal and professional life a favor and find something else to do.

Learn from yesterday…Live for today…Look forward to tomorrow.






If you are a product of the American education system, you are likely sure that Thomas Edison “invented” the light bulb. The fact is, though, that’s not entirely the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Don’t get me wrong… I’m not trying to take anything away from Edison. He was, no doubt,  a genius in his own right, and he was also a very successful business man. And the reason he accomplished all that was because of his ability to do two things: Think differently, and be persistent….two qualities that are worthy of admiration.

But…”invent” in the strictest sense of the word isn’t what happened regarding Edison and the light bulb.

Most people don’t know about Sir Joseph Swan, a British scientist who demonstrated the operation of the first light bulb in December of 1878. He is actually credited with “inventing” the incandescent light bulb before what is described as Thomas Edison’s “independent invention” of the the same product. The bottom line on Edison is that he contributed immensly to the process of getting the world electrified and ushering in the industrial revolution because he worked tirelessly to improve upon Swan’s original invention… which allowed his home in England to be the first in the world to have light via an electric light bulb, though not as practically as it wound up to be after Edison got involved.

The lesson here is a simple one.  Like the title of this post says: You don’t need to re-invent the wheel. In your everyday dealings in your job or your business there are “inventions” that somebody came up with before you came on the scene, and, the fact of the matter is, these systems, processes, or whatever they are, often remain in place because “…that’s the way it was set up” or “…that’s how it’s always been done, and it seems to work OK”.

Edison didn’t accept that status quo approach that can easily become so common. He had the ability to see things differently, and once he decided on what he needed to do, he stuck with it. And he succeeded. And, if you think you may not posess the ability to do Edison-like things in your career, consider this other little-known fact about him.

Very early in his formal education experience, he was sent home with a note from his teacher. It said, “This child is addled and cannot learn.”

Learn from yesterday….Live for today….Look foward to tomorrow.


“We are not in the HVACR Business. We are in the people business. We happen to deal with comfort issues. And our bottom line and growth is dependent upon how we treat people, and that we always do the right things by, and for them. ”

I ran across the above information within an article in a trade magazine on the subject of growing an HVACR business. I think it’s safe to say that all of us who either are or have been in the position of a “one-man operation” (I know….I know….the correct way to say that would be “one-person operation”, but I’m just using a term that was coined decades ago and is still in common use today) have considered the idea of growing our business beyond a one-truck, one-cell-phone…..or somebody-takes-the-calls-at-home entity. And, there are a lot of nuts and bolts things to deal with if you make that leap.

Growing from one to two technicians is actually a giant leap forward…after all, you’re doubling your service staff…and you may be taking into consideration payroll, OHSHA, etc…issues for the first time with that leap if you are, as we say “living out of the till” rather than having set up payroll etc…for yourself. And, if you find yourself, after growing slowly to a certain point after that initial doubling, then marking your growth with revenue milestones, it brings on a long list of things that you need to deal with in order to continue to grow.

For example, once you reach that milestone of doing $1 million annually, and you decide to go further, you’ll find that with each revenue goal you set and then reach….say, for example approximately every $3 or $4 million….you’ll discover a whole new set of issues you have to manage, a new group of people you must lead, a new set of systems that need to be implemented….etc….etc….etc….., and the list goes on.

But, no matter what issues, groups or systems you encounter, handling these things pales in comparison to remembering:

“We are not in the HVACR business. We are in the people business. We happen to deal with comfort issues. And our bottom line and growth is dependent upon how we treat people (I’ll interject here…when I say “people” I mean both the customers that your company provides a product or service for, and the company associates you bring on board to accomplish the process of providing that product or service) and that we always do the right things by, and for them.”

Learn from yesterday….Live for today….Look forward to tomorrow.




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