DirecTV, with more than 18 million subscribers and an increase of 184,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2011, is America's largest satellite dish television provider. Known for a variety of movie and entertainment options and its contractual arrangement with the National Football League to broadcast hundreds of games on its Sunday Ticket package, the satellite provider continues to grow in the face of competition from cable and cellular providers.
According to the 2010 Bureau of Labor Occupational Employment Statistics Bulletin, telecommunications line installers and repairers, including DirecTV satellite installers, had a mean income of $26.57 per hour, which translates to $58,070 a year. Independent contractors who sell and install satellite equipment can exceed these averages due to sales commissions and residual income associated with selling subscription services. Factors such as weather, professional sports work stoppages, natural disasters and new innovation or marketing efforts can make substantial differences in yearly income in this field.
An installer can work for DirecTV in two ways. If you work for one of DirecTV's existing network of installers, you will typically be paid an hourly, if lower flat wage with some potential for overtime during peak months. If you own an installation company and apply to become an independent installer, you can not only receive a standard reimbursement from DirecTV for every "free" installation you perform, you can be paid by the customer for specialized installations such as extremely long cable runs, special dish mounts and integrating the satellite receiver into a home stereo system or home network. You can also sell and charge for installation off-air antennas to receive local channels. Although nearly all markets satellite packages include local channels, many consumers like having an off-air antenna as an option in case the satellite fails or for extra televisions not installed with satellite service.
The work environment of a DirecTV installer can affect his income. An installer might have to crawl into a tight crawlspace under a house to route a cable. You can't have a fear of heights because most dishes will be installed at least 10 feet off the ground. Weather concerns will also directly affect installations and income. You can't install a dish safely in snow, ice, lightning or high winds. These events, however, will cause an increase in service calls to repair or replace equipment, which will increase income.
With new technologies making inroads in the entertainment industry, demand for satellite dish installation is expected to decline. Job opportunities should continue to be strong for the next decade as installers retire and equipment is gradually replaced. Installers with high-tech skills will have a competitive advantage over those without these skills as replacements for satellite will likely be integrated into home computing and entertainment networks.