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What is a Mechanical Contractor? Definition, Duties & Job Outlook


Posted on April 4th, 2023

What is a mechanical contractor?.

Mechanical contractors ensure a building’s overall functionality and usability.

Learn more about mechanical contractors, their daily responsibilities, average salaries, and the tools they use each day on the jobsite.

What is a mechanical contractor?

Mechanical contractors plan, install, and maintain mechanical systems on construction projects. This includes—but is not limited to— heating and cooling (HVAC), plumbing, ventilation, and refrigeration systems.

A mechanical contracting business may provide multiple types of mechanical service, or they may focus on a specialty area.

What does a mechanical contractor do?

Mechanical contractors responsibilities.

The day-to-day responsibilities of mechanical contractors vary depending on the project specifications and the type of work they do.

In general, mechanical contractors:

  • Plan mechanical systems and draft blueprints

  • Install parts and equipment

  • Perform inspections, repairs, and maintenance

  • Troubleshoot issues

  • Perform quality control

On large-scale construction projects, they’ll typically coordinate with the general contractor who is managing the construction process. 

Becoming a mechanical contractor

To become a mechanical contractor, you’ll need the right combination of skills and training. 


Mechanical contractors should have:

  • Good attention to detail

  • Awareness

  • Basic to intermediate math skills

  • Good time management

  • Physical capabilities

  • Clear communication

Attention to detail

Design plans and blueprints are intricate documents that mechanical contractors must follow exactly. Good attention to detail will help you avoid construction errors and quality concerns that could lead to costly rework.


Construction sites can be dangerous places, especially when you’re working with complex equipment in a small or high space, like when installing piping or air ducts. Staying alert and aware on the jobsite keeps you and your coworkers safer.

Basic to intermediate math

You may need to recalculate measurements or material quantities on the fly. Mechanical contractors need at least a basic understanding of math to keep project tasks moving.

Time management

Project delays typically mean disputes and lost revenue in construction. Mechanical contractors can use good time management skills to stay on schedule. 

Physical capabilities 

Mechanical contracting is physical labor. You need to be able to meet the physical demands of the job and operate tools and equipment like drills, pliers, cutters, and seamers.

Clear communication

Good communication skills help mechanical contractors better serve their customers and collaborate with partners like GCs and other subcontractors.  

Training & Education

As long as you have the necessary basic skill set, you typically don’t need any specialized education to get started working as a mechanical contractor. Many mechanical contracting businesses provide paid training as a part of an apprenticeship program. 

For example, applicants are often hired as entry-level plumbing or HVAC technicians with no prior training. They are then paired with experienced professionals who teach them technical skills on the job. Eventually the new worker will become certified. 

However, there are also colleges, universities, and technical schools that offer certification programs. These programs give applicants a head start, or can help existing mechanical contractors further develop their careers, learn new skills, and potentially start their own businesses. 

Licensing Requirements

Each state sets its own license requirements for mechanical contractors, and the exact requirements can vary based on what type of mechanical contractor you are. 

Contact your state’s licensing authority to determine whether or not you need a license to operate. See HomeAdvisor’s list of contact information by state.

If you do need a license, you may need to submit documentation, take a test, and/or pay a processing or application fee. 


Like any career, mechanical contractor salaries will vary depending on their level of experience and their location.

As of October 2023, lists the yearly median salary of mechanical contractors in the United States as $83,886.

ZipRecruiter reports the average salary of mechanical contractors is $99,494, while Glassdoor reports an average pay range of $74,000-$108,000 per year.

Job Outlook

There is currently a shortage of skilled laborers in the construction job market, leaving many opportunities for new professionals to enter the mechanical contracting field.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these opportunities are expected to continue growing over the next decade. 

In particular, the Bureau predicts that  heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration employment will grow 6% from 2022 to 2032, which is greater than the average for all occupations.

Employment for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters, is expected to grow only 2%, in line with the total average.

Between both fields, the Bureau reports that more than 80,000 new job openings will be created each year over the next decade.

Benefits of mechanical contractor software

Raken construction management software for mechanical contractors.

One of the most time consuming tasks for mechanical contractors is managing project progress—From tracking labor and material use to keeping GCs and customers aware of what’s happening in the field, it’s easy to get off track. But, with the right tools, capturing and sharing field data is much faster and easier. 

Raken’s mechanical contractor software streamlines the daily reporting process. Using our mobile app, you can quickly collect field data and share instant progress updates with stakeholders without added time or hassle at the end of a busy workday.

We offer:

  • Daily progress reporting - Use mobile tools to consistently meet daily reporting requirements, complete with automated PDFs

  • Time tracking - Track work hours with our 3 flexible time entry options and process payroll faster

  • Production tracking  - Log material and equipment use and compare progress against estimates

  • Safety and quality tools - Make field observations and schedule standardized safety and quality checklists

  • Photo and video capture - Snap photos and videos, add markup, and share in real time

Keep your crew focused on project-related tasks by making data collection easy. They can collect all the info they need from the jobsite with a tap. And, it’s all shared with stakeholders automatically.

We make field management easy

Schedule a personalized demo to see why mechanical contractors love Raken.

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