How 1 HVAC Tech Doubled His Income in His First Year!

Intro: Are you a technician who wants to set yourself apart? Then the Trusted Technician Podcast is for you. I'm your host, Dr. Krista Fabrick, with SBE, and on this podcast, we will have top-performing technicians and experienced HVAC coaches and trainers sharing their tips and strategies to help you be more successful.

Krista Fabrick (Coach): Thanks so much for taking a few minutes to come to talk to me today. John, why don't you go ahead and just introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about your experience in the industry and who you're with.

Jon Orr (Tech): My name's John Orr. I'm from Richmond, Virginia. I work for Blazer Heating and Air Conditioning.

I started in 2007. Straight out of high school. My uncle worked there at a time,and I got into the trade. We did mainly new construction, big custom homes, a lot of work, all new duck work. You know, I started doing new construction houses. Did that for about seven or eight years. Then we transferred over to retrofits, change outs, where you go up and pull them all out.

I did that for about seven years, and then we started doing SBE at Blazer. I saw all of the changes it was making with the other technicians in the service field, and I got out of installs and came over to service, and I've been doing service for a year and a half.

Krista Fabrick: That's awesome. Obviously, you've been in a lot of different parts of the HVAC industry. What's your favorite part of being a service tech?

Jon Orr: Being an installer, those guys work way harder than we techs do. I did that for so long that it's like, man, I kinda almost feel a little silly for not switching sooner.

It's easier on the body, and you can think a lot more. It's just not the physical exertion, it's figuring out a problem. So that's fun too. You know, you can figure things out and fix them. It's nice to fix things when they need to be fixed.

Krista Fabrick: Yeah. You have to uncover the issues, right?

Jon Orr: Mm-hmm.

Krista Fabrick: So you are fairly new to being a true residential HVAC service tech?

Jon Orr: Yes.

Krista Fabrick: And fairly new to the SBE process. Did you learn the SBE process right away when you became a service tech?

Jon Orr: So, yeah. I rode around with Jeff for a while. Me and Jeff did ride-alongs. I saw how he did all the stuff and the presentation, and then I did a boot camp after about three weeks of riding with Jeff. We did the 3-day boot camp online. And then that was the first year I did SBE. I had six months in it, and this is my first full year.

Krista Fabrick: Yeah. So let's talk about that. So in your first six months, what was your revenue? Do you remember?

Jon Orr: It was somewhere around $400K. I don't know the exact number.

The manager set us down, and we set goals for each month for what we needed to hit to accomplish my end-of-the-year goal. And we set it for $800,000. I had $797,000. I was short. You know, because you're striving to hit a goal. You're always checking the numbers, and I really didn't care if I was silver or bronze or whatever, but I wanted to hit my goals within my company and compete with Jeff. We're both competitive.

We both grew up playing sports. Competing is also a cool thing about SBE. We high-five all the time. I'll get mad because he beat me and was in the 12th spot this year, but it was fun competing.

Krista Fabrick: Yeah. For sure. It helps build a little extra motivation. Comradery, you know.

Jon Orr: Yeah.

Krista Fabrick: What part of the process has been the most helpful for you, having been in the industry a while? You know, the technical side.

Jon Orr: The upfront contract is really important. Calling and having that conversation with the person before you get to their house. Especially if you've never been there. If you don't have a rapport with the customer from, you know, past, past trips.

So that's really important just to stick, to stick to your guns on the routine. You know, it gets repetitive at times, but it works, so you have to, you have to keep it going even if you. I'm not gonna say burnout out, but you, you do. You know, it's a lot. It's a lot. So consistency matters, right? It does. It does.

You know, it's a whole process. It's work. You have got to get used to it, and you have to change habits. Got to change a lot of habits, you know, but it's part of the struggle. As they say, the struggle is real.

Krista Fabrick: Yeah. No, that's awesome. So you were saying obviously before, as an installer in different parts of the industry, it's really hard on your body, but other than being easier in your body, what has this change of becoming a service tech, having more income, what has that done for you in your body?

Jon Orr: So, SBE has almost doubled my income. Almost doubled it. In Virginia, I'm making top hourly pay as an HVAC technician.

I make good money hourly. There's nothing wrong with hourly pay, but I don't care how much overtime you work. It's commission sales. At the end of the day, it makes a huge difference. The process, I mean, really has made a huge difference.

Krista Fabrick: What has the additional income done for your personal life? How has it impacted your life?

Jon Orr: Awesome. I mean, I haven't wanted or needed anything. I went from barely making mortgage payments and having money to do what I wanted to do. It was always tight. Like, I gotta save $206 this week. Now, I paid a couple of months in advance for my truck payment. It really helped. It's really made a huge difference in my life with the SBE program.

Krista Fabrick: Revenue generation is great. Money's great, but what does that money do for you? Right? How does that make your life better?

Jon Orr: We're getting ready to build an addition to the house.

Krista Fabrick: That's awesome.

Jon Orr: We're talking to contractors and getting prices. There's no way I would be able to afford that without sticking with the process.

Krista Fabrick: What's that addition for that? Just more room?

Jon Orr: Yep. We've got a newborn, and my daughter just turned a year old right before we got here.

Krista Fabrick: Oh, that's right! So you needed a little more space, one bedroom? That's awesome.

Jon Orr: We just had an Alice in Wonderland party for her. I just rented a big building and invited a pile of people and had a really expensive birthday party.

That's what I think is over the top, you know, my wife kinda went over, but we wouldn't have been able to afford to do that without the SBE process.

Krista Fabrick: It was the first birthday party for the family, right?

Jon Orr: Yeah. I asked my mom, "Does it get better?" haha.

Krista Fabrick: Haha, right? It does, mine are under ten, and it gets better, haha.

Jon Orr: Alright, cool.

Krista Fabrick: Very good. That's what we love to hear. We love to hear the stories. We're about changing lives, right?

Jon Orr: Yeah.

Krista Fabrick: We wanna make your lives better. You guys make your customers' lives better too.

Jon Orr: Yeah. And I mean, as far as the process and everything with the SBE program goes, you know, the picture is huge.

I didn't even say I had a phone call, and I'm hard on the phone. We're hard on the phone in the industry, and I do a lot of outdoor stuff too, but the camera was messed up on my phone. And so it was like one-month last year where I didn't hit my goals, and it was literally because my camera was broken on the phone, and I was like, wow, I can see the money it costs me.

Krista Fabrick: Yeah.

Jon Orr: And I was like, "I gotta go get a new phone," you know? But yeah, the pictures and the videos are huge. They really are.

Krista Fabrick: That's awesome. So let's get back to the goal. What did you set your goal for 2022?

Jon Orr: We set it for a million.

Krista Fabrick: All right.

Jon Orr: The months that I didn't hit it, we left the same number. The months I did hit, we set to a higher number and equal out right to be a million. Most months, I went over the set goals I had for myself. So hopefully, I'll get one of those cool "Double Comma Club" T-shirts next year. Haha.

Krista Fabrick: Haha. There you go. I think a million is when he hit gold, too, isn't it?

Jon Orr: Yep.

Krista Fabrick: There you go.

Jon Orr: So yeah, I finished the year at like 56th or 57th or something, but it's pretty cool seeing your name out there on the screen. This whole thing that SBE does is cool. It's pretty awesome.

Krista Fabrick: Yeah. For competitive guys like you, it matters.

Jon Orr: Yeah. It does. It makes you proud. It makes you think, "Damn. I did work hard, and I did a good job. I don't care what my manager said," hahaha.

Krista Fabrick: Hahaha. That's awesome. All right, so you're pretty new to the industry as far as the service tech side of things goes.

Jon Orr: Yeah.

Krista Fabrick: So think about those guys out there that whether they've been in this forever and they're killing themselves, working a lot of hours or whatever, or they're, you know, in trade school, they're new. What's one piece of advice you would share from what you've learned to a new person coming into the trade?

Jon Orr: Don't give up. It gets better.

Krista Fabrick: There you go.

Jon Orr: Because it's hard when you first get into it. When I heard I was making $10 an hour. It was 2007. I was making $10 an hour, and my buddy was making like $800 bucks a week at carpool cause of the tips. And he was like the little manager dude at the car wash place.

He's standing there all day, and I'm getting in the trenches just crawling, you know, miserable in these addicts, but it gets better. So just stick it out. It'll never be outsourced. You'll never lose your job. And with the way the people and the world's going, there are a lot of people who don't even own a hammer in their house anymore, so the money's just gonna go up for us.

Krista Fabrick: There's a lot of opportunity in the industry. Best if you get into the right company with the right training. Right?

Jon Orr: Yes, absolutely. It's awesome that Blazer does this for us and provides training for us.

Krista Fabrick: Awesome. Well, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to you today.

Jon Orr: Not a problem.

Krista Fabrick: Congrats on your silver. I look forward to seeing you here next year with the gold award. Get to like that $1,000,010, right?

Jon Orr: Yeah! Right at that bubble. I appreciate y'all having me.

Krista Fabrick: All right. Thanks, Jon.

Jon Orr: Not a problem.

Outro: Thank you for tuning in to the Trusted Technician brought to you by SBE. To learn more about SBE, visit us at If you enjoyed today's episode, be sure to share it with your friends and leave us a rating wherever you're listening. Don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss the next episode. Have a great day.