An air duct cleaner's earnings depend on many factors and can vary greatly. At the lower end is a noncertified technician who only cleans ducts and makes barely more than minimum wage. On the other hand, if you are also a certified heating and cooling technician and happen to have a union job, the pay could easily exceed $20 per hour. Another possibility of the career and pay is to earn a salary and benefits while working for a company.
At the high end of the private air duct cleaner pay scale is a certified heating/cooling technician who is a union member. Since the union collectively bargains for pay and benefits, you can expect to make more than if you working as a freelancer, especially once holiday time, sick leave, pension and insurance are added in. As of 2008, the median wage reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was $19.08 per hour. Jobs like these include air duct cleaning as a single component of their total service package.
Most air duct cleaners and technicians are paid by the hour. The best paying jobs are with local government, at about $22 per hour. The lowest pay comes in at $18 paid to building equipment contractors. Apprentices and those who are not yet certified to perform all parts of the job earn about half of what a certified air duct cleaner does. As a freelance air duct cleaner, you can set whatever rate you want, but you should set your fees within reasonable local standards.
Gross earnings by air duct cleaners average about $26,000 annually, according to Simply Hired. This number was deduced by averaging the listed pay for all job ads that listed "air duct cleaner" either in the title or job description. Even though you might be hired by a company to perform this task and paid a salary for your services, you should expect that the job could entail more than simple air duct cleaning. Your employer might even strongly suggest you get certified as a heating/cooling technician.
As with most jobs, the earnings of an air duct cleaner vary greatly depending upon geographical location, job skills and experience. An experienced freelance air duct cleaner has a large amount of control over how much money he makes. If he does good work, has a decent reputation and charges near the top of the going hourly rate, he can increase his pay by working late hours and weekends. From this perspective, the only limitations are how much he chooses to work.
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