Do you own a HVAC business and you need ideas to run it efficiently? If YES, here are 25 smart tips on how to run and grow your HVAC business successfully.
HVAC is an acronym for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and businesses relating to this industry basically provide heating and cooling services to buildings, both new and old. HVAC systems have become the required industry standard for building construction. Not only that, building facilities do get old and malfunction, that is where maintenance and repairs now come in, the soul of the HVAC business.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the HVAC industry are expected to grow 15% from 2016 – 2026. This goes to show that businesses in the HVAC industry are on an upward trajectory. But even though the business and industry is growing at an appreciable rate, you still have competition to contend with.
If you really want to stand out from the crowd of competitors, you have to do things a little differently. You cannot just set up your HVAC business and expect it to fly on its own, if not, you risk getting lost in the crowd. If you have an already established HVAC company and you are wondering how to beat the rest to be a shining star in your community, here are a few workable tips for you.
25 Tips on How to Run and Grow your HVAC Business Successfully
- Hire a Competent Workforce
Nothing boosts a business more than employees who are not only competent but are quite passionate about their duties. In the HVAC business, your technicians and office staff have got a lot of tasks to deal with, and you want your employees to be totally competent and comfortable in their many roles.
That’s why you have to hire a workforce that is qualified for this sort of work—and is especially ready to help with some of the pressures of growing your business. You need worker that pay attention to details, are committed to the service and have an awareness of industry best practices.
One tip for hiring that you can apply is, if someone wants to gain a skill and shows it, they’re likely a good fit. Importantly, you should also want to hire people who feel like your business is the right fit for them. Make sure you are transparent during the recruiting and interviewing process so anyone that signs on with you knows exactly what you’re all about.
- Always Deliver Quality Service (Non-negotiable)
Any business that would survive and last long is the business that provides quality service. Your customers want and deserve nothing short of the best service, so it’s up to you to provide it. Without that, your business will not grow. You need to deliver high quality HVAC service to their homes, without compromise.
The customer experience should be optimized for the entire process of their interactions with your business. From the first phone call to the last appointment and even beyond, your customer should feel valued, heard and important.
One way to enhance the experience is to set expectations: make sure they know what time their tech is arriving and who that person is. Make it easy for them to communicate with your team, implement processes that ensure their feedback is taken into account.
- Get Your Organization Hat On
Being organised solves and prevents unforeseen issues that may arise such as employee or customer dissatisfaction in the case of missed appointments or payments. Because of the wide variety of tasks everyone at the company is responsible for, it’s critical that you keep all your office staff on the same page.
Everyone should understand the schedule, and be able to expertly execute invoices. And all of the information you concerning the job needs to be organized and easily accessible. Organization is key—not only to keeping everyone on the same page, but also to solving issues at your company.
- Keep up to date with industry tech
Building a successful HVAC business depends on having the right tools and technology. You can’t just let your technicians walk into a job without their belt or kit. Today, that kit includes more tools than ever, like the technology that lets them work through a sale, submit a signed invoice, and get their customers approved for financing—all while in the field.
Your office management as well needs to be tooled out with the latest tech. One of such tools would be a dispatching board that sends texts and keeps track of everyone. These advancements are the difference between growth and growing stale, between keeping pace with your competitors or falling behind.
- Do the math always
Every business needs to know what they need to charge for their services to survive in the marketplace. In the home services industry, business owners often need to dig even deeper to understand how money is flowing in and out of their company and how to best leverage the resources they have to achieve greater profit.
HVAC businesses also need to do this. When considering field service management software, look for those that will allow you to track incoming and outgoing transactions in real time. Make sure that it easily integrates with your accounting software, as well.
You should also look out for a customizable system that allows you to see the larger picture, such as revenue over a certain period of time, as well as smaller, granular details of your business, like how frequently a certain service is sold or how successful an individual CSR is at converting incoming calls to booked jobs.
- Promote aggressively
All businesses need to market themselves in order to raise their visibility and attract new customers, and that is including HVAC businesses. It’s critical that HVAC businesses are mindful about how they spend their advert dollars, and the success of each ad campaign (both on and offline) must also be tracked.
When marketing your HVAC business, remember the following:
- Make sure that your website is easy-to-read, optimized for search, and mobile-friendly.
- Assign unique phone numbers to every online and offline ad campaign so that, when incoming calls come in, you know which campaign they came from.
- Experiment with different platforms and mediums when launching new campaigns, including social media. You’ll find that some are more successful than others… and are more deserving of your ad money.
- Get your company listed on popular directory sites like Yelp and Angie’s List and make sure that your business’ information is accurate and up-to-date.
- Remember that booked jobs and resulting revenue—and not incoming calls—is the metric you should use to measure a campaign’s ROI.
- Anticipate Seasonal Fluctuations
The seasons always pose a challenge to HVAC businesses. You already know that your busiest times of year are summer and winter (when homeowners are looking to repair and upgrade their AC and heating systems) but the real trick is ensuring your HVAC business is alive through the slower seasons, which include fall and spring.
For a lot of successful HVAC businesses, the key is maintenance agreements/memberships. When you have a significant segment of your customer base that is interested in preventative maintenance and making sure they’re ready for the coming heat (or cold), you can count on recurring, billable services to buoy your bottom line during the quiet times of the year. All this means that your maintenance agreement/membership packages should be attractive, easy-to-understand, and frequently offered by your tech and CSRs.
- Stay on Track
With each passing month you should perform a review of your company finances, including all statements and balance sheets. Determine where your profits and losses are at. Rarely do businesses fail when because they can’t turn a profit. Usually, they fail because they simply run out of cash.
Keep tabs on other important factors too, such as average sales, sales per worker, and losses. Then, carry out comparisons between times of the year, seasons, and years. This will allow you to better understand your market, learn how to improve sales, and plan for the future. Keep tabs with service calls, leads, service contracts, and your cash flow balances.
Ensure your bookkeeper keeps track of all of these records, so that you can easily access them throughout the week. Naturally, not everyone loves analyzing numbers, but it’s an essential aspect of running a business. Set aside a particular time each week to go through everything. Don’t wait until it becomes overwhelming.
- Scout For New Hands
Another fundamental aspect of running a contracting business involves scouting for new workers. Always keep an eye out for potential newcomers into your business. Take note of individuals who you believe may make a great addition to your company. If you aren’t in a position to hire someone immediately, start forming a relationship. That way you know you’ve always got someone trustworthy when you suddenly find yourself in a better position.
Useful qualities that go a long way in this industry include competence with key subjects, including mechanics and a good level of general HVAC knowledge. A co-worker with a credible HVAC technician certification will likely be far more trusted among potential clients than those without.
- Get Involved in Your Community
As the face of your company, it’s important to maintain great communication and trust among your co-workers and local community. You can easily boost your company’s reputation and awareness by participating in local activities and organizations. You might feel these activities take you away from your business, but at the same time they bring potential customers closer to your company.
Inside of your business, your attitude and communication can have a huge impact on things. Maintaining a positive outlook can provide motivation to employees and increase morale. In the end, your business is an expression of yourself, so make sure it’s a good one.
Maintain good, positive communications with your staff and they will feel appreciated and know where they can make improvements. You should offer your staff individualized attention and provide one-on-one meetings on a regular basis. This gives employees the chance to air concerns and provide you with feedback you may find useful.
Each year, most successful companies tend to share all pertinent company stats with their staff so they understand where the business currently stands. This allows them to feel more connected with the actual running of the business and feel more responsible for how it operates day to day.
- Entrust and Assign Resposibilities
As the owner and person who has probably invested far more into the business than anyone else, it can be difficult to let things go. However, you have to share the burden and trust your co-workers.
They may not do everything in the same order or exactly how you would do it, but you will have to let go of this hang up to truly grow your business. Create a team and a set of standard operating procedures that will make your business run smoothly without your involvement, and you’ll achieve growth.
- Exceed Your Customers’ Expectations
When it comes to addressing service requests, it is essential to go above and beyond to make customers happy. This includes solving an HVAC issue in an efficient and effective manner from start to finish. Throughout your interactions with your customers, they should feel valued, heard and important.
Delivering consistent, high-quality service builds long-lasting relationships with your customers. They will trust your expertise and continue turning to you for HVAC solutions in the future.
- Have the Right Toolbox to Succeed
Today’s tool box includes more tools than ever. This includes the technology to help technicians work through a sale, submit an invoice and schedule a task all while in the field. A successful HVAC business depends on having these tools so you don’t fall behind your competitors.
This technology allows technicians to easily access repeat customers’ history to monitor when they need annual product servicing. If you’re not drawing on repeat customers, you are losing out on a profitable market.
- Get your HVAC license and be aware of local laws
HVAC is a highly regulated trade and most professionals need a license to work in the industry. Sometimes refrigeration and cooling requires more certifications that heating and ventilation does because of environmental concerns and regulations.
Before you start a business or begin hiring technicians, make sure you’re up to date on your state’s HVAC license requirements. If you’re not certain, search “[your state] + HVAC license regulations” on Google. If you’re missing trade licenses and certifications you can start a course or program at a local trades college to meet the requirements.
- Work with a technical or administrative partner
Once you’ve brushed up on your trade requirements, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to get your business operating. What will your role be? How much do you want your business to grow? Will you need employees, like techs and administrative assistants? HVAC pros have always stressed the importance of working with a partner. This is the only way you can run and sustain your business.
- Get your HVAC business online
Before you start investing time and money into registering your business and getting insurance, spend a few hours working out the technicalities:
- Your business name. Choose something that sounds professional and describes your services, your name, your values, or your city of operation. Make sure you’re happy with your business name because you’ll use it for your contact information, marketing, and business registration later on.
- Contact information. You’ll need a business phone number and email. Make sure your email contains your company name and your name, if possible.
- Business address. You might not be ready to invest in a separate office space just yet. However, it is advisable that you purchase a P.O. box. You’ll be able to use this address to register your business and separate your business from your home address. This is helpful for those who wish to get an LLC).
- Technical business rules vary between states and provinces, so do your research. Ask your local city hall about how to start a business in your city. Here are some standard best practices:
- Business license and registration. This helps you ensure you’re operating within local laws and regulations. With your business license you can get your business tax number, which helps you keep your business above board and avoid issues if you’re ever audited.
- Trade License. You need your trade license in most states before you can start performing work in the HVAC industry. Without it, you could face serious penalties and fines.
- Business insurance and bonds (LLC). Insurance and bonds helps you protect and separate your personal assets. For example, your personal assets will be protected if you accidentally cause damages to your clients’ property.
It’s important to do everything right the first time, even if it means it’ll cost you a bit more money up front. Spending the money up front could save you thousands of dollars in legal fees and fines down the line. If you’re not sure how to start your business professionally, speak to a consultant or business advisor. There’s no shame in that!
- Be Consistent
Even with a great strategy, a stop-and-go approach is doomed to fail. As an HVAC business, a critical part of your marketing strategy must be consistency so you can stay top-of-mind through the year. Customers won’t need your services every day or even every season, but when they do—for seasonal issues or emergencies, for example—they have to turn to someone.
By maintaining a year-round presence, you increase the likelihood they will remember and choose you. In addition to building credibility and awareness, consistency also helps you avoid drops in sales during months of moderate weather.
- Drive Traffic to Your Website
Using SEO and PPC (AdWords) together can increase the likelihood that customers will find you when they’re searching online for a solution to their problems.
Including relevant keywords in your website content and radio ads can also improve your search ranking and help you get found organically with the words you want. On-air, and in all of your marketing, you’ll want to share your website URL so that you are easily found online. Most of your customers are going to find you from here.
- Aim to always provide help
Don’t just use your marketing and content to sell. You should also aim at providing your customers with useful information such as maintenance advice, seasonal tips, how-tos, and more.
This helps establish your business as an authority and build trust by showing customers you care and want them to avoid emergencies and disasters, be prepared for any time of year, and know they have a trusted expert on their side when they need one. You can do this on any medium, and you can even provide leave-behinds for new customers that help them throughout the year.
- Leverage the Visual Power of Social Media
HVAC companies have stories to tell, and there are countless creative storytelling opportunities with social media. Post quotes or full articles, pictures, and even videos to sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to show your services and employees in action, not to mention satisfied customers and home success stories.
- Encourage Customer Reviews
If you have loads of satisfied customers, ask them to write reviews on quality sites like Yelp, HomeAdvisor, and Angie’s List… just to name a few. You should also ask for testimonials to use on your own website and marketing materials, and encourage referrals when appropriate.
- Show Your Human Side
You can use your website, social media, radio ads, and any marketing you do to put a human face to your brand and build a connection with customers. Do this by demonstrating that you’re not only professionals and experts in the field, but you’re also caring members of your community. Feature your employees and showcase any community projects, fundraisers, or volunteer activities your company or employees are involved with.
Another great way to do this is to participate in or sponsor community events. They give potential customers the chance to meet your team and get to know you as people, and not just a service provider. It can also help associate you with fun events, non-profits, social causes, and more.
- Make the Most of Video
A lot of homeowners don’t know how to change their HVAC filter. What do modern consumers do when they need to do something but don’t know how? They head to YouTube. 86% of U.S. viewers say they regularly turn to YouTube to learn something new. YouTube is also the world’s second-largest search engine.
Not only is video becoming the majority of the population’s preferred way to consume information, but it also increases conversion rates up to 80% when you put videos on your web pages. The key is in creating the right kind of videos and distributing them on platforms your target audience uses (social media, your website, email, etc.).
- Increase your customer focus
One practice that can work into your HVAC business is a customer-focused Business model. Though it may seem like putting customers first is a no-brainer, think how much you’re actually spending to make it happen. As an HVAC contractor, what do you provide a customer that makes doing business with you easier than the rest? After all, customer focus is all about making customer’s lives better.
There are two examples of changes that you can put in place to make your HVAC business stand out when it comes to customer focus: Increase your availability so that customers who work can make appointments after 5pm and on weekends.
Making sure that HVAC contractors maintain a level of technical savvy is important to any business that wants to stay in touch with their industry. Each HVAC contractor on your team should make sure that they aren’t falling behind with the current technical best practice, tools and systems.
Online resources like HVAC School provide HVAC contractors with ample resources like quizzes, podcasts and videos showing important processes. Even quick online refreshers can make a difference in the service that your company provides. Why not take the time to make sure your skill set is up to par?
- Adopt Better Sales Strategy
When you’ve made all of the simple changes you can to grow your HVAC business, it may be time to think about your sales strategy. Many business owners who want to see changes in their business know that numbers improve when they dig into their sales processes and methods.
An easy way to think about how you can develop better sales strategy in your business is to think about the most popular services that you offer and how you can position them in a way that makes your customers happier and brings you bigger profits.
For instance, bundling services that customers often request together and advertising them at a slightly discounted rate is a great way to give customers what they want, and something extra that puts your business in the spotlight when it’s time to choose a HVAC service. Strategic decisions like this, offering payment options and increasing your sales training are strategic moves that will put your business ahead.