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    Salary Survey Dreamstime L 214517257

    2023 Salary Survey: Employers Step Up

    Jan. 11, 2023
    Nearly 100% of respondents provided raises for technicians in 2022.

    We conducted an HVAC technician salary survey during the last quarter of 2022. Our intent was to determine if business owners were giving raises in response to high inflation, as a  regular practice, to keep technicians from going to a competitor, or as a recruiting aid. Between 216 and 256 HVAC business professionals in the various companies responded to those survey questions which applied to their businesses.  

    The Respondents

    • 63.8% are owners of the business.
    • 5% are vice presidents.
    • 12.6% are general managers.
    • 2.6 percent are human resource managers
    • 15.7% hold various titles: service team leader, president, service supervisor, sales manager.

     A majority of respondents (63 percent) employ 10 technicians or fewer.

    • 16% told us they employ between 10 to 19 technicians.
    • 24 respondents   employ 20 to 29 technicians.
    • Nine businesses  employ 30 to 39 technicians.
    • 9% employ 40 or more HVACR technicians.

    The survey solicited responses from all areas of the United States in 260 cities, with18.6% of respondents telling us they maintain multiple offices.

    Work Performed

    A majority of survey respondents (78%) are engaged in residential HVAC service and installation.

    • Residential HVAC service and/or installation: 78%
    • Commercial HVAC service and/or installation: 70%
    • Commercial refrigeration: 29%

    Years in Business

    A solid 79% of businesses responding to the survey have been in business for more than 20 years, a good indicator of responsible management and profitability.

    Five percent of respondents have been in HVACR business for 5 to 10 years. Seven percent have been in the HVACR business for 10 to 15 years.   

    Raises Approach 100% of Respondents

    The best news of the survey is that 93% of respondents reported that they provided raises to technicians in 2022. Just under half of those raises (49%) ranged from 4% to 10%.

    Twenty percent of respondents gave raises between 2% to 3.9%. Another 27% were especially generous, and gave out raises of more than 10%.

    The best news of the survey is that 93% of respondents reported that they provided raises to technicians in 2022. Just under half of those raises (49%) ranged from 4% to 10%.

    Rick True, president of Batchelor’s Service, Mobile, AL, is blessed with a solid core of 13 HVAC technicians who enjoy their work and appreciate the company’s efforts to reward them for it. Batchelor’s Service is in its 56th year.

    Bonuses have been a part of Batchelor Service’s remuneration for many years, in addition to hourly wages of between $25-$30, an IRA match, and flex time for those who take a turn at working nights and weekends.

    Just below half of our respondents (48%) reported they now pay technicians more than $30 per hour. 

    “We give bonuses based on the individual; we don’t base bonuses on metrics. It’s hard to have a metric for installers, and we don’t do performance-based pay. A lot of the bonuses are based on company profitability, employee longevity and attitude. Many have been with us for 15 to 20 years or more. We treat people like family. We’re highly thought of in our area. We demand excellence, and treat them accordingly, the same way we’d want to be treated.”

    True recruits new technicians from the local technical school and puts them through a technician maintenance program. He will not hire from competitors, to avoid the risk of hiring “other peoples’ problems.”

    True speaks at the technical schools about HVAC careers. It’s a terrific career. It’s one that’s not going away. I tell them, if they learn their craft, there will always be a job for them”.

    Some of the respondents were owners or held other executive titles at union shops, where raises are mandated. One of those is Dale van Someren, vice-president, Air-Rite Heating & Cooling, Chicago, a leader in residential and commercial HVAC since 1959. At the moment Air-Rite employs 24 technicians, and he's glad to have them. They now receive $30 or more per hour, and receive spiffs for bringing in new business. 

    Just below half of our respondents (48%) reported they now pay technicians more than $30 per hour. 

    "We have a lot of good, young guys. My class of pre-apprentices and 1-3 year apprentices is probably the best class I've had in 15 years. They're smart and they work hard," van Someren said, and he added that his biggest challenge has been obtaining GMC vehicles. 

     Inflation-based Raises

    HVAC employers are empathetic to the plight many workers have faced due to high inflation throughout most of 2022. And while 73% said they provided raises each year, 62% responded that these raises were provided as a means to help employees cope with inflation. Another 37% said inflation was not the reason for raises.

    Most Experience Levels Included

    Seventy-six percent of respondents made raises an across-the-board event, while 4.7% based raises on years of service, and another 19% based the raises on merit.

    Grapevine Effect

    Seventy-three percent of respondents told us they increase pay scale as a way to attract new technicians, on the assumption that some employees will talk to their peers at other companies. That appears to have been a smart strategy, as 36% told us they have attracted new technicians as a result of those increases.

    Current Hourly Pay Variance

    Just below half of our respondents (48%) reported they now pay technicians more than $30 per hour. Twenty-seven percent pay between $25 to $29.99 per hour. Twenty-one percent pay between $20 to $24.99 per hour.

    Half Provide Extra Perks

    In addition to hourly pay hikes, almost 100% of respondents replied they have increased or added the following benefits:

    401K or other retirement plan: 18% Increased or instituted vacation time: 22% Increased or started bonuses: 25% Increased or instituted flex-time: 10% Increased or started training/tuition support: 19.5%

    Live and Learn

    Almost 30 percent of respondents (28%) replied that salary hikes were in reaction to losing technicians to a competitor.

    Related to that as a reason for losing techs, we asked employers if they had lost technicians due to layoffs or stay-at-home workers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 30% said yes; 70% said no.

    The good news is that 30% reported that those technicians who left or were laid off are now back on the job.