How To Be a Good HVAC Technician

by Team Tradify, August 27, 2021

A career as an HVAC technician is full of opportunities. Day-to-day, you’ll work with clients to advise on different heating, refrigeration, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. You’ll be in charge of installing, testing, adjusting and balancing them to ensure they work optimally. 

If you’ve chosen to work in HVAC, you’ll probably already have the essential skills needed – you’re hardworking, motivated and a natural problem-solver. You’ll need a basic understanding of chemistry and physics, mechanical and electrical systems, different HVAC systems and technical drawings and building plans.

So what else do you need to be successful in this field? How can you stand out from the pack? Below are our top tips for becoming a really good HVAC technician.

Want to get better at business as well as your craft? Check out our free HVAC marketing plan:

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Jump ahead:

  1. Getting started as an HVAC technician
  2. Build your fitness
  3. Monitor overheads
  4. Manage your time
  5. Get used to all working conditions
  6. Build your knowledge by upskilling
  7. Perfect your customer service
  8. Understand health & safety
  9. Become an ultra-efficient HVAC technician
  10. Find success as an HVAC technician

Keen to hear from a successful HVAC business owner? Check out episode #003 of our Behind the Tools podcast. Join Rob Francis from Air Exchange and our host Michael as they talk about going out on your own, hiring your first employee, and growing a trade business from the ground up.


1. Getting started as an HVAC technician

If you haven’t started in the trade yet, it’s a great time to get started. There’s a global shortage of HVAC technicians, so there’s never been a better time to train and secure a job in the field. Job opportunities are increasing by the day, with attractive salaries to match. 

The average annual salary for an HVAC technician is:

  • 🇺🇸 $18 p/h in the USA
  • 🇬🇧 £37,500 in the UK
  • 🇦🇺 $75,000 in Australia
  • 🇳🇿 Between $50,000 and $95,000 in New Zealand.

Learn more about average salaries in the trades.

Here’s what you need to know about getting qualified in each country:

🇺🇸 Becoming a good HVAC tech in the USA

Depending on your state, you’ll probably need to be 18 years old to start an apprenticeship. Make sure you work hard at school to gain your high school diploma. As well as math and English, electronics and other sciences are ideal subjects to focus on to support your future in the trades. You can find available apprenticeships via the Federal Government’s Apprenticeship Job Finder.

🇬🇧 Becoming a good HVAC tech in the UK

In the UK, you can get into the trade through a college course or an apprenticeship. You’ll need some GSCEs behind you and a driver’s license will come in handy.

🇦🇺 Becoming a good HVAC tech in Australia

To qualify in Australia, you need to do an apprenticeship and complete formal tertiary training to obtain a Certificate III in Air-conditioning and Refrigeration (UEE32211). You’ll also need a Refrigerant Handling License.

🇳🇿 Becoming a good HVAC tech in New Zealand

There are no specific requirements to become an HVAC technician in New Zealand, although most employers will expect you to have or be working towards a qualification. To get fully qualified, you need to do an apprenticeship and complete a Certificate in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning – Trade (Level 4). You’ll likely also need a driver’s license.

Getting a qualification will give you the best start in your HVAC career, but you’ll need other skills to take your career to the highest heights. On top of that, you’ll only be able to unlock your true potential as an HVAC technician by starting your own HVAC business.

2. Build your fitness 

Life as an HVAC technician can be physically demanding. To make sure you’re working to the best of your ability, keep up your fitness so you’re strong enough to lift and install systems all day long. Staying fit and strong will also help prevent injury from putting a hold on your work. 

blog_bodyimage_airexchange assessing risks next to equipment

3. Monitor overheads

It’s a mistake that thousands of tradespeople make: if you don’t keep track of your extra outgoings, you’ll forget to charge for them – and ultimately miss out on a lot of profit. Tradify makes it easy to input extra hours and materials used while on the go, so you never forget to invoice for them. 

4. Manage your time 

Having good time management is very important – it’ll build you a glowing reputation and help you secure more jobs. Turn up late to jobs or take too long to finish and people will stop booking you – and it won’t be long before the phone stops ringing altogether.

5. Get used to all working conditions

HVAC systems aren’t always stored in open spaces on the ground level of a building. You’ll have to get used to working at heights – even if that’s in the corner of a tiny basement with no daylight, or on the roof of a three-storey building when it’s raining.

Learn about managing health and safety risks.

6. Build your knowledge by upskilling

There’s a lot to learn as an HVAC technician. You’ll need to know all about air conditioning, water cooling and heating, among other appliances. Even if you think you’ve mastered the trade, there’s always more to learn. Expanding your knowledge will highlight your skills and secure you more work.  

With hard work and dedication, HVAC technicians can open lots of doors. They are always going to be in demand – and with the advancement in heating and cooling technologies, the industry is only projected to grow. Because of that, the future of HVAC could see more demand for such services – with the opportunity for you to start your own HVAC business

With experience, there could also be an opportunity to move off-site and into more managerial positions, or become an automotive HVAC technician, HVAC design engineer, solar technician or indoor air quality inspector. Opportunities are endless – and with a bit of hard work, the world’s your oyster. 

blog_bodyimage_airexchange workers looking at a cellphone smiling

7. Perfect your customer service

Your clients will appreciate you explaining things and patiently answering any questions they have. It shows that you care about the job, giving you a much higher chance of getting booked for further jobs. Plus, people talk – and if you’ve got a reputation for great customer service, you’re bound to get more work in the future. 

8. Understand health and safety 

As with any job in the trade industry, keeping in the loop with updated health and safety obligations is key. You could be working in dangerous conditions or around hazardous equipment, so you need to know how to avoid risks, and manage them when they happen. 

9. Become an ultra-efficient HVAC technician

It doesn’t matter how good you are at your job, you need efficient systems to keep things running smoothly. It’s easy to forget to charge for materials, lose track of timesheets or accidentally miss a job booking. Without an efficient system, you could be losing a huge amount of time, money and energy.

Don’t believe us? Take it from Air Exchange owner Rob Francis – who found out the hard way. Previously, he’d spend time sifting through emails and compiling job information, but since using Tradify, he’s got back 20% of his working week. Now, all that admin is done automatically, giving him more time to focus on the important things – like working on-site and building his company’s reputation. 

“From job to invoice no documentation is lost – all I have to do is attach it to the job. Then when the job’s complete and I’m ready to invoice, everything’s there ready to go,” Rob says.

10. Find success as an HVAC technician

To be successful in any trade job, it pays to have a few key attributes – like being positive, motivated and hard-working. As an HVAC technician, it’s also handy to have excellent customer service and time-management skills, as well as industry knowledge and health and safety protocols. But the most important thing is to have an efficient job management system in place to help you run your business smoothly, so you can enjoy your job without the admin hassle.

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