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Making $80K a year as an HVAC Technician in California
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Making $80K a year as an HVAC Technician in California

Roger Cuadra, 40, is an heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technician in Anaheim, CA. Born in Nicaragua and raised in Whittier, CA, Cuadra's career started at a Food For Less where he worked as a bag boy making $7.25 an hour. This year, he aims to cross the $100,000 mark working for Nexgen Air and Heat.
08:33
Sat, Aug 28 20218:55 AM EDT

Roger Cuadra, Nexgen Heat and Air Technician


Roger Cuadra: Everybody's always going to want and need air conditioning, depending on the climate, whether it's air conditioning or heating, I mean that job is pretty stable and it's always going to be there.

With all this experience I have now I do consider myself an experienced tech. I take pride in having an excellent reputation online. My Yelp reviews are through the roof, I actually get a lot of referrals through customers.

Everybody's always going to want and need air conditioning, depending on the climate, whether it's air conditioning or heating, I mean that job is pretty stable and it's always going to be there.

My name is Roger Cuadra. I live in Corona, California. I'm an HVAC technician at NexGen heating and air conditioning. I make anywhere from $80 to $120,000 a year.

Emma Fierberg, CNBC Make It producer: Roger installs and repairs air conditioning, heating and air purification systems in homes.

From diagnosing unusual problems, to fixing older systems that need repairs, to long hours in 110º attics, the job can be tough. 

Roger Cuadra: The majority of the time I work six days a week.

Emma Fierberg, CNBC Make It producer: On a typical day, Roger makes about $336 in commission.

Roger Cuadra: The most difficult day, customer had no power to their unit. And they're pretty frustrated that I couldn't turn it on.

Check the whole system. And you just can't find the problem. And so you start questioning, you know, like, Oh my gosh, start questioning your life. It's like, what am I doing here? Oh, my gosh, I'm on hour number four at this point. 

Had to go through all the low voltage wiring that connect to the outside unit and found some rodents there. Alive, nesting, they chewed through all the wiring. 

And it wasn't until my seventh hour till I found it. I went home and I couldn't get it off my mind for like the following week.

It was my mistake that day for not starting there in the first place because it is a fairly common problem where rodents you know, chew away up those wires and ruin systems.

That's one of the biggest things customers do not understand in this industry. It's skilled labor; skilled labor is not cheap. You're not necessarily paying for the part, you're paying for my knowledge and my service.