Cathie Anderson

Insights into the people who shape Sacramento’s business landscape

Cathie Anderson: Sacramento’s Beutler has jobs for those who want to get started in HVAC field

07/07/2014 5:11 PM

07/07/2014 5:17 PM

If you need a job, want to learn and will show up for work on time each day, Beutler Air Conditioning & Plumbing service manager Neil Chapman suggests you go to the company’s website and fill out an online application to work with him.

The number of schools offering certificates in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning has dwindled, so Beutler and other companies have struggled for some time to find trained applicants. Since many companies offer the training, you would think they would have no problem finding enough HVAC service and/or installation technicians.

That hasn’t been the case, despite starting salaries of $30,000 to $45,000 annually. Let’s be clear, Sacramento-based Beutler pays people with little or no experience to spend a year or two learning the HVAC trade. The company also provides medical, dental, vision and prescription plans; paid vacation; and a 401K. A company vehicle and cell phone come with certain positions.

“If you stay here,” Chapman said, “you can make significantly north of $100,000 as a journeyman.”

Yet, Chapman says, he still has to scour the region for applicants who can pass drug tests, criminal background checks or driving record inquiries. And then, there are the occasional hires whose lack of so-called “soft skills” – reliability, communication skills, leadership, sense of optimism – end up costing Beutler lots of cold-hard cash. The company invests in training, Chapman said, but some trainees show up late or they don’t apply themselves to learning how to do the job right.

About This Blog

Cathie Anderson connects you to local businesses, entrepreneurs and nonprofits by gathering insights and strategies from business leaders of large companies as well as small startups. She's been preparing for this assignment for years, with positions that include assistant business editor at The Detroit News and The Dallas Morning News, and business editor and features editor at The Sacramento Bee. Contact her at or 916-321-1193. Twitter: @CathieA_SacBee.


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