HVAC Contractors: How to Select a Focus or Specialization

12 February 2015
 Categories: , Blog


Heating and cooling services have a very broad career field. Besides working with furnaces and air conditioners, HVAC contractors install and prepare equipment related to these environmental control units. As an HVAC contractor, there are many different directions you can take your career, and many different specializations.

Commercial vs. Residential HVAC Services

Providing commercial HVAC services means that you will provide service on a much larger scale and to many businesses in your area. You will have more competition with companies like A Avis Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning, because the big money comes from large contracts that you land with these businesses. Many of the heating and cooling machines are not just furnaces and central air conditioners, but boilers, hot water pressure tanks, and large-scale refrigeration units in industrial and manufacturing plants.

On the other hand, residential services include:

  • repairing refrigerators
  • installing, repairing and testing thermostats
  • installing and repairing central air conditioners
  • installing and repairing furnaces, including geothermal, gas and oil furnaces

When you choose to focus on residential services, you are working with individuals and the appliances that make their lives comfortable and convenient. Most of your residential customers you may only see once, and then never again, while your commercial customers are repeat business.

Beyond the Residential/Commercial Choice

Once you select a side of the business you want to focus on, your next step is to decide if anything is off-limits. Will you only fix or replace furnaces and air conditioners? Are you comfortable with fixing refrigerators and freezers? These are questions to consider if you choose to provide residential services.

When you choose the commercial side of this career, you may not have as much of a choice, since your customers will expect service for all of their heating and cooling needs. However, if you lack knowledge on how to fix a boiler or you are not comfortable with repairing cryogenic life preservation tubes, you can refuse the work, but you may lose a contract instead.

Choosing a Career Focus on HVAC Accessories

Maybe what you really want to do is just focus on accessories. Many technicians in your chosen field make a career out of selling and installing thermostats, humidity controls, humidifiers and dehumidifiers. Most of these devices have gone ultra-high-tech, allowing homeowners to control the temperature and humidity levels in their homes with an app on their smartphones and tablets. It could be just as lucrative for you as fixing a boiler or a refrigerator.