Is there a need for good HVAC service men in rural areas?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cfabe, Aug 4, 2006.

  1. cfabe

    cfabe Well-Known Member

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    Currently I have a good paying job in engineering, but one that will likely require me to always work in a big city. Something that I've always been interested in in Heating/Air Conditioning. Do you all who live in rural areas feel there is a need for reliable, competent service people in those areas? I know in the city it's often difficult to get someone to come out, espicially on hot/cold days. I'm thinking about getting training in this, then moonlighting while I gain experience with the intention of hopefully being able to rely on it as a source of income enabling me to move out of the city. Are people in rural areas more likely to be able to just make the repairs themselves, or call in uncle joe's friend to fix it for them? Would you say rural areas are under-served by HVAC service people?
     
  2. almostthere

    almostthere Well-Known Member

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    We live semi rural and my dh is an HVAC Journeyman. He works for a company that sends him everywhere, right now a power plant. Were you thinking of opening a business? HVAC isnt that hard to learn, my dh went thru a union and they paid for his training. He now teaches for them at night as well as his hvac day job.
    What you will probably do best in is small towns where service would have to come from the next largest city, at a higher expense and probably a waiting list. We live in a town of less than 3k people and in order to get a repairman here we'd have to call in the next town, and wait for them to get around to it. That is, unless you know how to do it yourself. Many years before my time my uncle started doing mechanic work on the side, they live in a farming community. Eventually, he was requested often enough that he was able to quit his day job and do this full time. It takes some time to build clients, and your work will go up and down with the seasons.
     

  3. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    We live in a rural county of about 45,000 people in about 945 sq. miles. The county seat has about 9,000 people. There are at least a dozen small HVAC guys and a couple of large contractors in our area, and they all stay as busy as they want to be. Moreso in the summer here; winter's a little slower, but not that much. If you get the training and some exerience, and people find out you do good work at a fair price, you'll have a good business.
     
  4. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    It'll depend on the area. Just about every HVAC guy here dropped oil heatign and wnet with the gas ticket alone, so i got my oil heating license and that's where I'll start. Where there's a shortage. Havn't even set up the biz yet and I'm already stocking up on clients!
     
  5. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    move farther south into the heatpump use area and you will have more yeararound work than you can do. An exchange of the compressor/condenser unit on a split heatpump takes about 2 hours and the net income is above $1000.
     
  6. hunter63

    hunter63 Well-Known Member

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    I chose this career after the plant closed that I had worked at.
    My reasoning was the same:

    What can I do the rest of my life , as much, or as little as I want, make good money (or at least enough to get by on) and be in demand.
    People need their heat, like their A/C and their beer cold!

    When to school, got hired in a union shop, got my card and never looked back.
    I do work for some one in the city at this time, but do turn down "side jobs"most of the time. (everybody is your friend when the A/c quits).

    Have been offered several jobs from the local contractors where the retirement cabin is. At least in that area HVAC-R, plumbers, fitters electricians are in short supply.

    P.S. been busting my asset lately, been hot.
     
  7. Shepherd

    Shepherd Well-Known Member

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    Cfabe - welcome to the forum.

    I've been trying to get an electrician, a plumber and a carpenter out here to give me estimates of various jobs I need done. I've called several over the course of months; some come out and never call back with estimates. It's so frustrating! Someone with these kind of skills could make a good living servicing the rural communities, if they were just available.

    I finally resorted to calling a contractor to come out. He brought out a plumber Saturday and will be bringing out the electrician tomorrow. I like the guy and so far, I like who he's brought out here. I just pray the estimates aren't sky high! I know one thing - you'll get a lot of good or bad advertising, depending on how decent and reliable you are. If you leave people with more problems than they had before, they will pass the word around. If you do a good job and are reliable, they'll give you glowing recommendations!

    Good luck.
     
  8. gypsymama

    gypsymama Well-Known Member

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    Around here a lot of HVAC people have stopped servicing oil heaters, but will do gas. On top of this, they want $80 just to come in the door, more for the first fifteen minutes, more for parts.....by the time your done you could easily have a bill over $100.

    We found a couple of brothers, hillbilly type and not much to look at, but they know their stuff, are really reliable and charge reasonable rates and they don't mind driving 20 miles to get here. I've been spreading the word about them.
     
  9. cfabe

    cfabe Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the advice. It looks like if I want to get into this I should try to get a job with a local guy here in the city before I would start out on my own to gain experience. I am also somewhat interested in electrical, but I think it has a much longer training period, so I probably wouldn't be able to pick that up in my spare time.

    Those of you in this field, how would you go about getting into this. I have a full time job that I can't quit, I want to learn this skill set while still working. Am I dreaming? Should I look into attending a trade school and getting licensced or try to find someone to apprentice under?
     
  10. Jack in VA

    Jack in VA Well-Known Member

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    Do you have a trade school/college nearby that you can go to at night? Expect to spend a year there. When you're almost done with that, ideally you would find a Journeyman to ride along with , maybe on Saturdays. Then you should be able to get an entry leval job, at around minimum wage, where your main job will be doing all the dirty work. After 3 or 4 years you MAY have learned enough to go out on your own. Then youll also need business skills.
    Mediocre techs are a dime a dozen, good ones can demand top pay. Maybe 80% of the work is routine and semi-skilled. It's the other 20% makes or breaks you. Trouble-shooting is the most important skill. Misdiagnosis' can be very expensive.
    Be prepared to work long hours when it's the hottest, and short hours when it's nice out. When people are roasting/freezing, they want you yesterday. If you get a call back, you have to get them back in your schedule today.
    Just a few things to think about...........
     
  11. RedTartan

    RedTartan Icelandic Sheep Supporter

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    I need someone! Who are they? How do I reach them? What parts of Ohio will they service?

    Thanks,

    :) RedTartan - desperately needs some work done before winter...
     
  12. sewsilly

    sewsilly Well-Known Member

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    ok, down here, in SC, rural SC even, we live or die by our HVAC guys and gals!

    For 25 years, I've used a little independantly operating guy, cranky as all get out, but good at what he does. YOu call, and say, arrghh, AC is on the fritz, and he grumbles and hangs up. Two hours later, he appears, takes care of it, charges you #$#$%^ which you are glad to pay because you live in SC, where you MUST have AC about 9 months of the year. When he retired, we are fortunate that he 'gave' his business to his nephew, who is much, much easier to get along with, also very knowledgeable and also charges $#%^#$&. So, my answer is yes, and the further south you move, (where we all have two or three heat pumps, to pump the heat OUT of the house) the happier people will be to see ya!

    Good luck!
    dawn
     
  13. hesmith

    hesmith Active Member

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    Here is North Mississippi there is constant HVAC work. Summer and winter everyone stays busy because of the number of Heatpumps here. Even us country folk love to be cool. If you do solar you could keep busy if you go a little closer to the coast. I have never heard of a good HVAC technician out of work here.
     
  14. Jack in VA

    Jack in VA Well-Known Member

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    " I have never heard of a good HVAC technician out of work here.?
    [Reply With Quote] [Quick reply to this message]
    Key word is "good"........... there are a lot out there that are trained more in sales than proper service. If ya find a good one, keep him and reccomend him,
     
  15. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    a friend of ours and his dad is in that buss.they turn a lot of work down more then they can handle
     
  16. almostthere

    almostthere Well-Known Member

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    If you are looking at the union, do some research. Ours is a good one but it really depends on where you are at. If you get accepted in the apprenticeship, they will work you full time with benies under a journeyman while they pay for your schooling at the local college. And that degree is a real degree, my dh's is an "Assoc in Construction Technology". The way the apprentice's contract worked was that as long as there was work to be had, they could not be laid off. Then when you get your card you have more flexibility in working for an employer that you get along with. There are good and bad parts, you will have to do your research.
     
  17. Reptyle

    Reptyle Well-Known Member

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    Listen to this man. There are a lot of "parts changers" out there. If you find a good one, stay with them. They may charge more, but they will be less expensive in the long run.

    .
     
  18. caballoviejo

    caballoviejo Well-Known Member

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    Here in N. Mississippi also. Just like mechanics, there ARE a lot of parts changers out there, probably because that's how money is made - its cheaper to change parts, replace units, add more freon, than to diagnose and fix most things.

    I just wish there was more technical know-how among the HVAC people. If you ask about a split mini-duct system forget it. Your'e going to get whatever the guy is used to doing.
     
  19. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    Another thing you might consider is plumbing. We've been trying to find a plumber who can/will plumb our gas line for months now. Yes, months.
     
  20. Thoughthound

    Thoughthound Well-Known Member

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    Three words: Broken Grain Dryers.

    They're everywhere in the grain belt, and they need to be checked all the time. There's definately not enough people.

    Not exactly heating and cooling per se, but would provide plenty of supplemental income.