I recently returned from a statewide convention of HVAC contractors and suppliers. The conversations were all about the shortage of techs and how if they lose one or two more their business would be in serious trouble. I heard complaints about the bad HVAC technicians and how they can’t be fired for fear of not having any replacements.

The HVAC industry is in the middle of a manpower crisis.

There is one fact and three reasons we are where we are:

FACT: Statistics show the for every 4 skilled tradesman leaving the trade only 1 is entering the trade. This includes HVAC technicians.

Here are the reasons why:

REASON 1: When there were more HVAC techs than HVAC customers, we became complacent. We just put an ad on Cragslist or recruited (stole) techs from our competitors never thinking about developing our technicians from the ground up. We always searched for the technician with 5 years experience, never thinking how a technician got from entry level to 5 years of HVAC experience.

REASON 2: For the past 2 1/2 decades, the media, schools, and parents pushed college degrees. The perception was, and is, that if you don’t go to college you’re dumb or poor. A career in the skilled trades was for the ‘dumb kids’. What young man or woman, that you know, wants to become an HVAC tech?

REASON 3: We, as an industry, do not recruit, invest the time, or even have an interest in developing our workforce. We continue to fool ourselves by putting up ads looking for techs with 5 years of HVAC experience… hoping to find the Holy Grail.

Aren’t you sick and tired of not being able to enforce company policies and having to give pay increases for fear of losing one of your HVAC techs. We all complain, but NEVER do anything about it.

There are some things you can do, but they take time and effort. We didn’t lose all of our techs overnight nor will we rebuild the workforce overnight. What are you doing about it?

More to come…..