Do You Tip an HVAC Repairman – and How Much?

Written by Jim Belt in How Much To Tip

It always seems that when you need an HVAC professional, it’s either during a heatwave or the coldest weekend of the winter. Once the HVAC technician arrives, they’ll spend some quality time working in that heat or cold until—with great relief—your HVAC unit is fixed and working! Given how glad you are to have heat or AC, should you tip them for their effort? And if so, how much?

It is unnecessary to tip HVAC technicians as they are paid by the hour by their employer. However, if customers make it clear they are offering a tip as thanks for excellent work, most technicians will appreciate the gesture and accept the tip. On average, people tip between $20-25, or $5 for assistants.

This article will help you decide when it’s appropriate to tip and how much you might consider tipping an HVAC technician. We’ll also discuss when you shouldn’t tip and why. Along the way, we’ll share information about hourly rates for HVAC technicians and suggest alternatives to monetary tipping, such as offering lunch or having water available. Let’s get started by discussing if you should tip.

Tipping Customs

Tipping not customary $ 20 - $ 25

In this article:

  1. Should You Tip the HVAC Repairman?
  2. When Not to Tip HVAC Repairmen
  3. What HVAC Repairmen Think About Tips
  4. General Tips on Tipping Repairmen
  5. Final Thoughts

Should You Tip the HVAC Repairman?

The majority of HVAC employers pay their technicians reasonably, so tips are welcome but not expected. And if you decide to tip, it will depend on if you’re pleased with the service provided, working conditions, and type of service.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

Did the HVAC Service Exceed Your Expectations?

If the HVAC technician went above and beyond your expectations, let them know that and offer a tip as an extra thanks. Company owners recognize that a good tip means not only are you pleased with the service, but you’re likely to recommend the HVAC company to your friends and neighbors.

HVAC Repair Working Conditions

Installing AC and heating is hard work even under good conditions—there are long hours with unexpected issues often adding even more time to a service call. It can be quite challenging to diagnose and troubleshoot problems, replace defective equipment, tackle wiring, or even do maintenance. Add in winter cold and summer heat (with snow and rain), and HVAC work becomes even more intense.

With all of that in mind, if any of the following are true, consider tipping:

  • You need HVAC service late at night or on the weekend.
  • The HVAC technician works under adverse climate conditions (extreme heat or cold).
  • The technician completes the installation or service more quickly than expected.
  • The HVAC technician is considerate inside your home—wearing shoe covers (and a mask if needed).
  • The worksite is clean, and any old equipment is removed after service is completed.

Type of HVAC Service

HVAC service can range from something major, like a new HVAC installation, to simple adjustments and repairs. Often repairs like the following require work up-front to determine and confirm what’s going on with your HVAC unit:

  • The HVAC system isn’t heating or cooling efficiently. In this case, the remedy might range from replacing dirty air filters to cleaning and servicing major HVAC components.
  • There is refrigerant or water leaking. If not obvious, then extra time may be needed to track down the leak and make adjustments in the unit.
  • There is noise. It can take time to figure out what’s causing the noise (Blower motor? Loose component?).

If your HVAC technician does a thorough job, including inspection and testing, then offering a tip shows you appreciate the extra effort and care.

When Not to Tip HVAC Repairmen

There are situations when you don’t need to tip—even if the service is superb. And then there are reasons not to tip because unfortunately, the service was poor.

Here are some guidelines on when not to tip:

  • The HVAC technician is the business owner or manager.
  • You already pay a fee to the company for an HVAC service plan.
  • Poor service:
    • The problem isn’t fixed, or something works improperly.
    • The worksite isn’t properly cleaned (old parts left behind, dirt tracked in, etc.).
    • The technician is impolite or not responsive to your questions.
    • A higher-level technician is called in to complete the work (adding time and cost).

What HVAC Repairmen Think About Tips

The vast majority of HVAC professionals are appreciative of tips. To them, it’s a sign that you appreciate the quality of their work and the effort they make to properly install or fix HVAC components.

An HVAC-Talk forum survey found that only 12% of members were insulted by a tip offer, while 88% appreciated it. Here’s a key observation—many of those who responded noted that there are other ways you can show appreciation than tipping—for example, offering water or sodas, snack food (cookies too), making a guest bathroom available, and more.

Some HVAC company owners discourage tipping, pointing out successful service is a function of the entire team: staff supporting the service technician include the dispatcher, sales engineer, warehouse parts staff, and more. But, for the most part, owners are fine with tipping technicians.

What Do HVAC Repairmen Actually Make?

Knowing that HVAC work is difficult and the hours are long, it’s fair to say that this trade can pay quite well. According to the most recent PayScale.com data, HVAC service technicians earn anywhere from $14.89-$32.95 hourly, with an average of $22.13 per hour.

  • An hourly rate can vary by geographic location. For example, according to Indeed.com, an HVAC technician in Maine averages $27.33, while a technician in Alabama averages $20.66.
  • In addition, depending on the job context, a technician may be eligible for overtime pay. (Again, according to Indeed.com, this can be as much as $6562.00 if you’re in Maine.)

General Tips on Tipping Repairmen

If you decide to offer your HVAC technician a tip, the average amount is between $20.00 and $25.00. If there is an assistant, the usual tip rate is $5.00.

When you offer the tip, let them know it’s in appreciation of great work. If the HVAC technician refuses the tip (noting it’s not necessary, or it’s company policy not to accept), don’t push it; just thank them again.

Alternatives to Tipping Your HVAC Technician

Whether you tip or not, friendly conversation and a genuine interest in what they’re doing are always appreciated.

If you’re not comfortable tipping your service provider but feel they deserve thanks for going that extra mile, any of the following are acceptable:

  • Ensure that the job site is clean and easily accessible (i.e., know where circuit breakers are and ensure the crawl space can be reached).
  • Provide a heater, hand warmers, or a fan if exceptionally cold or hot.
  • Offer the HVAC technician or team water and food if work is extensive and time-consuming.
  • Be available early morning if work is being done in the summer.
  • Send an email or thank you note to their HVAC management, noting that they did a great job, and copy them on the email.
  • If you have an HVAC service plan, thank the company with an end-of-year holiday card and gift. (It does take an entire team of people to support an HVAC call at the end of the day.)

Final Thoughts

If you feel like your HVAC technician has provided excellent service, your HVAC system is back to performing as it should, and you’d like to thank them with a tip, then it’s perfectly fine to do that. Remember that your technician does not expect tips, but the gesture is—and will certainly be—appreciated.

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