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What is a HVAC Contractor?

Est. Reading: 3 minutes
What is a HVAC Contractor?

A contractor is an individual or business that provides services to clients for a fee. Contractors are typically hired for one-time jobs or ongoing, scheduled engagements.

HVAC contractors provide heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) services. The acronym "HVAC" means the same thing as "heating, ventilation, and air conditioning."

HVAC contractors work on residential and commercial properties. Their responsibilities are far-reaching, as they contribute to a building's infrastructure and many of the comfort systems within the property.

HVAC contractors have a wide range of professions under their umbrella. Still, each contractor is skilled in some part of HVAC system design, installation, service, or repair. 

Some contractors might specialize in commercial HVAC services and not residential services; others might provide only design but not installation, service, and repair; some contractors work on both new construction projects and existing properties.

Depending on the scope of work for a project, many different contractors are involved in an HVAC job. For instance, if the work includes new construction, a contractor is needed to provide the design; electrical or plumbing contractors may be needed to assist with other aspects of the project. 

On existing properties, HVAC contractors might be responsible for providing service and repair on heating or cooling units that are already installed in place when they begin working at a job site.

HVAC contractors can work in a variety of locations, including residential homes and commercial buildings. They might also work outdoors or in confined spaces. 

A contractor specializing in large-scale commercial HVAC systems likely works at a wide range of job sites throughout the year. In contrast, other HVAC contractors may have more regular hours and spend more time working out of their own regular office.

HVAC contractors interact with a wide range of people throughout the course of their work. 

They might meet with clients and give estimates for projects; schedule appointments and provide ongoing service for existing systems in place; collaborate with engineers, architects, co-workers or other contractors who are working on the same project or job; interact with building managers to identify concerns, offer solutions and schedule inspections.

Some HVAC contractors work for companies in a managerial role or as an employee. In contrast, others might run their own company or partner who owns part of the business. 

There are pros and cons to each set-up. As a contractor who works for a company, you may enjoy the stability of working for an established business and having colleagues with whom to collaborate. As your own boss, you may have more freedom in terms of work hours or the ability to offer discounts on services; but at the same time, there's no one else to help shoulder the workload if you have a hectic time at work.

Many factors contribute to the cost of HVAC services, including electrical and plumbing expenses, additional construction required for installation or existing-home renovations, the geographic location of the job site, equipment fees, and more. 

The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) both provide Q&As about HVAC contractor pricing.

HVAC contractors are often licensed, as required in most states. Licensing requirements vary by location and may include tests or exams that must be passed before a contractor is eligible for license renewal. In some cases, a state may require that contractors be bonded or insured as well.

The BLS provides information about what to expect from HVAC contractor exams.

HVAC contractor salaries vary widely based on experience and location. According to the BLS, entry-level HVAC technicians earned an average of $27,550 throughout, with experienced workers bringing in a salary of $48,560. 

Those working in the oil and gas industry had the highest compensation for HVAC technicians at about $74,310 on average.

HVAC contractors are:

  • An essential part of any construction or renovation project, providing design and other consultation services.
  • Installation, service, and repair.
  • A combination of those services.

Many factors contribute to their fees, including the geographic location of the job site and equipment used or required for installation.

HVAC Contractor Wages And License Requirements HVAC training and certification might be required before a contractor is eligible for licensure in various cities, states, or provinces throughout North America. A local HVAC contractor might also be able to offer advice about what training or certification is required in your area.

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