Contracting Business/Kelly Faloon
Contracting Business/Kelly Faloon
Endeavor Business Media
Contracting Business/Kelly FAloon
Kelly L. Falloon
Kelly L Faloon/Contracting Business
Ahr Day 1 Techs 5e38f313e27ed

Recruiting and Retaining HVACR Techs: Would You Work for You?

Feb. 4, 2020

Caption: Rob Falke, president of the National Comfort Institute, talks about tech recruiting at the 2020 AHR Expo in Orlando, Fla.

According to government resources, there are 260,000 HVAC technicians in the workforce today. Yet HVACR contractors have 80,000 unfilled jobs. What can they do to get techs to come work for them?

“It’s about your company and what you are,” noted Rob Falke, president of the National Comfort Institute.

He told 2020 AHR Expo attendees Feb. 3 that contractors in the HVACR industry have net tech losses of 8 percent each year. By 2025, the industry will see a 53 percent loss of techs. There are many reasons techs may leave their employers, including:

  • They start their own contracting firm.
  • Change companies for better working conditions.
  • Move to a better or easier profession.

The general age range of potential technicians is 25 to 35 years old. Today, that age group makes up 50 percent of the workforce. In 10 years, they will make up 75 percent of the workforce.

If you want to hire good techs — and retain the great ones you have — Falke explained that you need to understand what they want. “Understand them, or you won’t be in business,” he added. Techs definitely want a clearly defined career path, complete with ongoing training and agreed-upon milestones to help them see their progress. Training and certification builds a “culture of excellence” at your company and helps you build up your techs.

They also want work that is meaningful and purposeful, where they feel they are making a contribution to the success of the company. Work flexibility also is important, especially those technicians with young children.

Falke said many of these young people grew up without a dad, so, as their boss, you become a surrogate father. Take an interest in them, in their families, and develop a relationship with them. It taps into their need of belonging, being a valued member of your team.

You also need to understand what your business mission or value statement is. “If you can’t articulate your company’s mission to techs, they won’t want to be part of your company,” Falke noted.

About the Author

Kelly L. Faloon | Freelance Writer/Editor

Kelly L. Faloon is a contributing editor and writer to Contracting Business magazine, Contractor and HPAC Engineering. The former editor of Plumbing & Mechanical magazine, Faloon has more than 20 years experience in the plumbing and heating industry. She started a freelance writing and editing business in 2017, where she has a varied clientele.

Faloon spent 3 1/2 years at Supply House Times before joining the Plumbing & Mechanical staff in 2001. Previously, she spent nearly 10 years at CCH/Wolters Kluwer, a publishing firm specializing in business and tax law, where she wore many hats — proofreader, writer/editor for a daily tax publication, and Internal Revenue Code editor.

A native of Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula, Faloon is a journalism graduate of Michigan State University. You can reach her at [email protected].