How to Hire, Train, and Mentor HVAC Service Technicians for Success

HVAC companies install and fix heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units, but are primarily service companies. That means it’s critical to hire, mentor, and retain excellent HVAC service technicians. 

You want to make sure your team is friendly and trained on the latest equipment. Your employees should also be able to help your customers understand the services they are providing your customers. They may create new revenue opportunities by selling products and services when they’re at a customer’s site. Skilled, certified, well trained, personable HVAC technicians can help you grow your business.  

Want more information about managing your HVAC business? We have blog post about how to grow your HVAC business

In the blog below, we’ll discuss how to recruit, train, and mentor employees who can be the best ambassadors for your company.  

Hvac technician working on an air conditioning unit with lots of open space

What is an HVAC Technician? 

HVAC service technicians install, maintain, repair, and replace air conditioners, climate control systems, heating equipment, ventilation units, refrigeration equipment and more. Responsibilities for HVAC technicians include: 

  • Assembling and installing HVAC units in residential or commercial buildings. 
  • Installing solar panels, thermostats, humidistats, and timers to regulate HVAC systems. 
  • Connecting HVAC systems to electrical, water, and fuel sources. 
  • Testing HVAC components and systems to ensure they meet the manufacturer’s specifications. 
  • Troubleshooting common problems with HVAC systems. 
  • Cleaning and replacing air filters and other broken or outdated parts. 
  • Selling service contracts for HVAC equipment maintenance or services. 

How to Recruit the Best HVAC Service Technicians  

To recruit the best technicians, you want to put your best foot forward. You want to make sure you’re running a company with a great reputation so you can attract excellent technicians. Some elements you might want to assess:  

  1. How often do your employees log overtime?  
  2. What is the company culture like? Is it supportive of growth, or a grind that leads to turnover?  
  3. Do you use tools that help make your employees’ jobs easier?  

Write a convincing job ad to persuade top technicians to join your company. Here are some tips that can help you write an enticing job ad. 

  • Make sure you ask for the minimum qualifications for the job type because you can train your techs on the job (include examples as illustrations). Clearly state any industry licenses that are required.   
  • Communicate the job compensation and benefits, like salary, insurance, vacation and bonuses or commissions, if any. Include opportunities for training and mentoring provided by you as well as other perks like a company car or gas card.   
  • Show what it’s like to work at your company. For example, you might have one of your employees give a testimonial. Mention any regular events and activities for staff. Here’s where you can highlight your inclusive culture.  
  • Post your company ad to online job boards like GlassdoorIndeedZipRecruiter.  
Male Plumber Working On Central Heating Boiler

Keep it simple and optimize for mobile since many job applicants will be viewing your ad on their phones. If you ask for a resume, make sure it’s easy for applicants to upload their documents. And only ask for the minimum information to ensure your future employees complete the application process. For example, you won’t need social security numbers or references until you meet in person.  

Ask your employees to help. Recruiting one good technician can lead to another one if you provide incentives for your staff to recommend new service technicians. If your employees enjoy their work, they’ll be able to serve as excellent ambassadors for your company. Providing them a cash incentive for successful hires will make them even happier.  

Connect with training institutions in your area You could speak with high school students on career day to tell them about service technician jobs. Visit community colleges and technical schools as an advisor or guest speaker in an HVAC class so your company is top of mind for new graduates.  

The Interview Process: Assess your candidates thoroughly.  

It goes without saying that you place a lot of trust in your service technicians. They help you keep your customers happy so you can build your business. You can tell a lot about how they’ll perform on the job when you bring in potential HVAC service technicians for an interview.   

Start with a general screening via phone call before inviting your candidates to an in person interview. Ask a few general questions as well as some screening questions: 

  1. Why do you want to work in the HVAC industry?  
  2. What licenses, training, or experience makes you a good fit for this opportunity with our company?  
  3. What do you know about us and what makes you a good fit for our company?  
  4. Why did you leave your previous job?  
  5. Can you provide personal and professional references?  

HVAC software is made for service companies, which means it’s designed to manage and automate specialized needs better than off the shelf accounting and CRM software.

At the in person interview, you’ll be able to see if the applicant is punctual, if they’re clean and appropriately dressed, and how their attitude toward work stacks up. Make sure your interview questions cover foundational topics like how heating and air conditioning systems work, as well as situational questions to see what traits they have, how they solve problems, the way they communicate, and how they handle unexpected hiccups that are bound to happen on the job. Don’t forget to ask about the applicant’s wage expectations, benefits, and bonuses! 

Here are some questions to assess qualified techs who are reliable problem solvers and good communicators.   

Situational Questions: 

  1. What kinds of safety violations have you seen? What should you do to prevent them?  
  2. If a customer is upset about the amount of a bill, how do you respond?  
  3. Tell us about a time when you helped make an unhappy customer into a happy customer. 
  4. How would you upsell an HVAC job?   

Technical Questions:  

  1. What is a heating/cooling load? How do you calculate it?  
  2. What is the difference between heat pump, heating, and refrigeration?  
  3. Define some common acronyms such as BTU, CAV?  

Working Habits Questions: 

  1. Have you ever used Mobile technology in your previous HVAC positions?  
  2. After you assess a problem, what kinds of tools have you used to explain the options for a customer?  

How HVAC Software Can Make Your Employees’ Jobs More Efficient 

Using service management software can make it easier for your employees to check on parts, learn customer histories before they arrive on site, and track warranties, or even help with service estimates. Other benefits of software include:  

  • Track efficiency stats like time on the job or revists so you can calculate your support costs for a particular technician. 
  • Connect your techs to dispatch and customer data with mobile tools so they don’t have to call or email the office.  
  • Schedule the right tech for the right job so you don’t waste money on fuel and you can ensure the techs with the right training arrive prepared to get the job done right.  
  • Be certain your timesheets and bonuses for great work are accurate and timely.   

HVAC Technician Training  

HVAC Service Technicians are people who enjoy fixing things and working with their hands. The responsibilities for the job include: reading blueprints, using various tools for repairing HVAC systems, assessing all components of the HVAC system to ensure they are properly working, connecting wires and testing circuits, perhaps welding pipes, checking for leaks in tubing and pipes and more. This level of skill requires training.  

The usual training and education progression for HVAC service technicians: 

  1. High school graduation. 
  2. HVAC Training Program. Study HVAC controls like voltage, air quality, and resistance and learn to use tools like calibration instruments. At the end of the training, the student will earn an HVAC certificate.  
  3. HVAC apprenticeship and experience. Apprenticeships can last 3 to 5 years and provide valuable on the job experience. Apprenticeships are mandatory for unionized HVAC technicians.  
  4. Become a Certified HVAC technician. Depending on the jurisdiction, there are different certifications for HVAC service technicians. You can review some of the requirements at this national technician certification organization
Confident bald mature foreman in workwear holding laptop while making presentation of new materials to young female subordinate

Mentorship for HVAC Service Technicians  

You can help your HVAC technicians become more successful by helping them build and maintain relationships with teachers and mentors. A mentor is an industry professional who is willing to share their knowledge and experience. Although mentoring relationships may begin when your tech is starting out, they can last many years longer than it takes to teach someone the basics.   

Good mentors are lifelong learners. The beauty of a mentoring relationship is that a senior HVAC technician can teach skills that are impossible to learn outside of the work environment like how to tell a customer that their expensive system is not worth what they paid for it and may not work properly for the uses they intended for it.  

Here’s how you can encourage mentorship within your company by example:  

  • Make time to go on a ridealong once every week or two when you are integrating new HVAC technicians. You are leading by example.  
  • Notice when there’s more than one callback for a job and make yourself available to go along with your tech so they can get it right.   
  • Build trust. Please don’t start telling stories about mistakes your mentee made, because those stories get back to them.   
  • Let your apprentice technicians make mistakes. It’s much more difficult for someone to learn by watching over your shoulder even if it is faster and requires fewer callbacks.   

All union and many non-union HVAC jobs work on an apprenticeship or mentoring model.  

  • Here are some ways you can support your employees to find a mentor.  
  • Ask a colleague.  
  • Reach out to a school to see if they connect techs and teachers.   
  • Connect with an organization of HVAC professionals. For example: the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)  has a mentoring program for HVAC technicians. Fill out their simple survey to make the most beneficial match based on factors like areas of experience and work interests and goals.   

When Should you Fire a Poor HVAC Service Technician? 

Sometimes an employee who seemed promising just doesn’t work out. But before you let them go, ask yourself if you have done everything possible to turn their performance around. Have you invested in sufficient training? Did you create an atmosphere where they were able to learn on the job? Did your expectations for the person outweigh their potential? Review your notes from the interview to find out what you expected.  

If you see that a particular HVAC technician is costing you customers or money speak to the employee to find out what’s behind the difficulties at work. Maybe there’s a factor in their personal life that’s affecting their work. Maybe you can retrain them to make it right. You’ve already invested time and belief in the employee. You can attempt to provide clear goals and expectations to encourage them to turn around poor work habits or improve processes.  

However, if there is still no change, you’ll have to let the employee go. Be firm and direct. Show documentation of the issues that led to the dismissal.  


Service technicians are the heart of your business.  Providing your technicians with opportunities for career growth helps you maintain good relationships with customers and will help you keep your business successful. Software helps you attract and retain good HVAC techs. One of the ways to ensure you can attract top quality HVAC service technicians is using all in one service software to automate many repetitive processes, provide up to date customer and parts information, deliver digital invoices on the job, compile data that helps you see where you can be more efficient, and deliver powerful financial features to keep your company on track. 

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