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Can HVAC Techs Make 100k?

I recently had an HVAC tech come to my house to fix an AC unit that I was having issues with, and I was wondering to myself, how much do HVAC techs make? As someone who chose to go to university instead of a trade school, I always wonder how much money people can actually make by learning certain trades.

Believe it or not, HVAC techs can actually make upwards of 100,000 per year, although it is pretty difficult to achieve this number. To make this amount of money as an HVAC tech, you would have to work excessive overtime and would likely wear yourself out.

Even if you can achieve crazy years where you make this kind of money, it isn’t sustainable. You would be better off starting your own HVAC business as opposed to working for someone else to make that kind of money consistently.

Let’s take a look at some of the different salaries that HVAC techs can find themselves making, as well as different factors that affect how much money you can make as an HVAC tech.

Starting Salary For HVAC Techs

When you are just getting started as an HVAC technician and you don’t have a lot of Industry experience, you can expect to make about $15 an hour. The pay rate for HVAC technicians is heavily dependent on the amount of experience that the worker has as an HVAC.

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The good news is, in most situations, you can earn a pay raise pretty quickly after getting started. Research shows that HVAC technicians with a range of 1 to 4 years of experience can expect to earn a little over $17 per hour.

So while the starting salary isn’t anything to get super excited about, you can expect that if you stay in the HVAC industry, you will most likely make a respectable salary when you are older.

Average Salary For HVAC Techs

There are a lot of factors that go into the salary that an HVAC tech will earn so keep that in mind when reviewing the average salary numbers. Some of these factors include the amount of experience within the field, personal characteristics and abilities, location, and base salary pay versus commission-based pay.

The average salary range for HVAC technicians varies greatly due to the different factors that play in. The state with the highest paying average salary for HVAC technicians is New York, with an average salary of $54,000, at about $26 per hour. The state with the lowest paying average salary for HVAC technicians is North Carolina, with an average salary of $39,600, or about $19 per hour.

HVAC Technicians average salary in New York and North Carolina
Average salary
Highest New York$54,000 ($26 per hour)
Lowest North Carolina$ 39,600 ($19 per hour)

If you are seeking employment as an HVAC technician and are willing to move, you should look through the average salaries per state and try to find a good balance between salary pay and living expenses, so that you can put yourself in the best situation possible.

Personal Factors That Affect Employment

The personal factors may not be the first thing that you think about when you start to think about stuff that affects your salary. They are the little things such as the way you interact with customers, your sales pitch, what time you get up in the morning, and many other things that may seem little but add up to make a big difference.

These factors directly influence how likely you are to get new customers as well as how likely you are to close a sale when interacting with a customer, especially if you are paid by commissions or have your own HVAC business. So make an effort! Wake up earlier, dress more respectably, and practice your sales techniques. If you want to be successful, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to reach your maximum potential.

The little personal factors aren’t going to make you a $100,000 salary overnight, but if you can practice them with consistency, then you are most likely going to be more successful in your field. It doesn’t matter if you are an HVAC tech or a college professor.

Depends On Your Location

How much you can make as an HVAC tech heavily depends on the location that you are working. Unfortunately, in areas that you get paid more, the living expenses are likely to be higher as well. So while you may get paid more money it won’t actually feel like you’re much better off.

The wide ranges in salary based on location are due to a difference in the regional labor market as well as compensation for differences in living expenses within the area.

So if you are an HVAC tech working in a small rural area you can expect that you are going to make less money than someone who is working in a crowded city area. Different locations will have their own advantages and disadvantages so don’t pick the area that you’re going to work solely because it offers you a higher salary.

Base Salary Pay vs Commission Based Pay

Base salary pay is when you are an HVAC tech working under a company and they pay you a rate per hour that doesn’t change based on how much work you do. Commission-based pay is when you get paid a certain commission based on the work that you do for a customer.

Commission-based pay is when you get paid a certain commission based on the work that you do for a customer.

Each pay model has its own pros and cons that you need to consider. For example, a base salary pay model provides you with a more stable source of income because even if you have a slow month the company is still paying you an hourly rate to be there working for them. This is in contrast to a commission-based model where if you have a slow month you are going to make less money in commission payments.

Commission-based pay models have the potential to lead to higher salaries for HVAC techs. If you are a good salesman you can often convince customers that they need to spend more money on HVAC services. While some may question the morality of this, the simple reality is that it leads to more commissions.

A lot of HVAC techs will argue that commission-based pay breeds dishonesty in the way that you deal with customers. While there is some merit to this, and there are going to be dishonest salespeople out there, it is definitely possible to find some kind of middle-ground. If you know your trade well and make accurate recommendations, you will be able to increase your commission profits while being honest with customers.

Some Companies Pay More For HVAC Techs

Heavy manufacturing Industries don’t hire a large amount of HVAC techs, but, if you are lucky enough to get a position in one of these industries, you will likely make more money. For example, electrical companies pay an average salary for HVAC techs of about $70,000.

Two technicians checking an air conditioning unit outside a building

So while these positions are a little bit harder to come by, if you can secure one then you are going to be better off. These salaries are possible, they just aren’t possible for every HVAC Tech out there.

It’s Going to Be Difficult Without Starting Your Own Company

The harsh reality is that making a $100,000 salary as an HVAC Tech is going to be difficult unless you start your own HVAC company. While you can have successful years where you make that salary, and even above it, that won’t be sustainable for a long period of time. You will have to work an intense amount of hours to reach that salary level. So if you can do it while you are young, go for it. Just remember that it won’t be feasible when you get older.

The harsh reality is that making a $100,000 salary as an HVAC Tech is going to be difficult unless you start your own HVAC company.

Salaries Could Increase in the Future

Something that is promising for people entering the HVAC field is that we could see a potential increase in salaries in the future. The use of HVAC services is expected to continuously increase through the year 2026, and employment in the industry has been increasing since 2010.

In fact, the employment growth rate for HVAC techs grew from 2010 to 2020 at more than twice the average rate of all occupations. Combine that with the fact that our labor force has a shortage of HVAC techs and what you get is a position that becomes more valuable over time.

Something similar happened in the trucking industry. While the demand for truckers remained high as shipments are continuously sent around the country in large volumes, there was a big shortage of truckers to fill that demand. This made existing truckers more valuable and immediately caused companies to have to offer more money.

Trucker talking on phone inside a truck

So the bottom line is that salaries for HVAC techs vary greatly. Starting out you should only be expecting about $15 per hour, and I’m sure in some circumstances you will make less than this. If you stick with being an HVAC tech, you will make more money over time. While it is possible for you to make over $100,000 a year at some point, that won’t come without a large amount of overtime and busyness, and furthermore it won’t be sustainable.

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