Running an HVAC business is quite similar to managing construction projects: it requires planning, monitoring, and balancing. With a skilled crew and the right construction tools, you can successfully build a durable and safe building.
The same goes for managing a company. You can’t just rely on your skills and knowledge to get your company up and running as an HVAC worker. You’re going to need to understand the business side of it all if you want to be successful.
Starting An HVAC Business
HVAC is one of the most fulfilling and lucrative industries to start a business in, especially during the peak seasons when business is booming and customers calling left and right. On top of being highly profitable, an HVAC business only requires a relatively small investment in time and resources. Then, you’re free to grow your company at your own pace. It’s no wonder why more and more people are setting up in the trade.
The construction industry is considered one of the slowest to adapt to technological advancements, but that isn’t the case for HVAC. It steadily strides with the forward growth of technology. The demand for master HVAC contractors increases as HVAC design and function improve. That’s why HVAC businesses are seldom in jeopardy of lagging behind the times.
How To Run An HVAC Business
But, of course, starting and running a business is never really easy. There are several factors you need to take into account before committing. If you’re looking to make your HVAC business grow, read our tips on how to run an HVAC business successfully.
1. Come up with a business plan.
Every successful business, whether big or small, starts with an effective business plan. It might seem daunting to undertake but think of this as the foundation on which you build your business. A good plan can turn your small company into a profitable one, while a bad one( or the lack of one) can run your business to the ground.
Also, a business plan lets you leave less up to chance. Having one keeps you organized and focused, as well as reduces risk within the company.
If you’re having trouble coming up with one, there are countless templates available online. But remember that not all businesses are the same. If you do use a template, customize it to fit your business’s goals.
2. Market your company
Marketing is crucial in growing your business. It’s what reaches out to the audience to get potential clients. That’s why it’s vital to deploy the right marketing strategies and attract the right audience. After making your business plan, you can correctly identify your target audience with specific demographics and what strategies to use.
One tactic you can add to your strategies is upselling. This is a sales technique used to urge customers to buy upgrades or higher versions or a service or product, thus generating more revenue.
This form of marketing is crucial in the HVAC industry as it showcases other free services. Plus, it doesn’t cost traditional methods and lets you make more money from existing customers.
3. Have a skilled and qualified workforce
The employees are the backbone of any company. Without them, there won’t even be a company, to begin with. That’s why it’s essential to have a highly qualified workforce to support you.
However, you won’t immediately or always have skilled people on board. You will have to spend some time and energy training them. While it may not be easy, think of their training as an investment. When you do this, you can teach, shape, and mold them to how you deem fit, as they represent the company.
Moreover, having a trained dream is one effective way to generate more leads and gain more clients.
4. Build a healthy company culture
One of the biggest fears employers have is their employees leaving them and bringing company secrets elsewhere. And that’s after time and money were spent on training them. The answer to this? A strong and healthy company foundation and culture.
Be a company people want to apply to and want to stay in. Make them feel that they have the opportunity to learn from you and grow with you. Offering benefits and incentives (e.g. health insurance and performance pay) would also help in making them want to stay.
Communication is key here. Good communication and a positive attitude have a significant impact on your relationship with your workers. It will make them feel appreciated and they will want to continue growing their career with you. They will feel motivated to do better.
Furthermore, open communication has a few underlying effects. When employees feel safe and comfortable, they’re more likely to air out concerns and create a dialogue that can improve their performance. Holding regular meetings where everyone is open to speaking up is one way of creating dialogue.
5. Trust your staff
It can be challenging for most business owners to let go of control, primarily when you’ve invested so much in your business. But taking on everything can be damaging to your company. You can, however, share the burden and responsibilities with your co-workers.
You may have different strategies and not like them, but trusting your staff will genuinely help your business grow. When you delegate tasks, you’ll have free time to take on other responsibilities. The company will grow steadier and will have a wider reach with excellent team effort.
6. Be familiar with OSHA regulations.
Nothing ruins a trade company’s reputation like an accident or legal issue. That’s why HVAC business owners and workers must know and understand OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations.
This is not only for the sake of the company’s image but the safety of all employees and clients. Construction is an already dangerous industry and HVAC presents its hazards. So, you should not only know these rules but also strictly implement safety measures.
7. Get involved with the local community.
It’s important to not only maintain a connection, communication, and trust with your co-workers but with your local community, as well. By participating in community activities, you’ll be able to boost your company’s awareness and reputation. Although it will seem like you’re stepping away from business matters, you’re bringing potential clients to your company.
8. Collect deposits
Deposits are beneficial to HVAC companies that need supplies and equipment or regularly complete big projects. Collecting deposits will help in improving the speed of cash flow.
But it’s important to note that not every job needs a deposit. So, carefully decide which ones are genuinely in need of one. To help determine this, you can create a system with specific internal rules. This way, you won’t unnecessarily request a deposit, nor will you miss an opportunity.
Next, decide on the amount of the deposit you will charge the customer. This will depend on the job, business needs, and state laws. Some states allow a 10% charge or $1,000, whichever has the lesser value. To be sure, check with your local business bureau.
9. Improve invoicing strategy
A simple yet efficient way to quickly make more money is with a concrete HVAC invoice strategy. A disorganized process will let invoices slip and you’ll lose the opportunity to get paid right.
Sometimes, clients can be demanding when it comes to paying. While getting them to pay on time is seldom in your control, you can encourage them to deliver faster with a few techniques: being organized, sending invoices when onsite, and regularly following up with reminders.
10. Conduct regular reviews
Getting the company started is one thing, but staying on track is another. Regularly, you should review the company’s finances, which includes all statements and balance sheets. This way, you can determine where your losses and profits are.
There are other essential factors you should monitor, as well. These include sales per worker, average sales, calls, leads, service contracts, and cash flow balances. Then, compare findings between years and seasons. You will better understand your market, find ways to improve sales and plan for the future.
In addition to finances, you must also monitor employee performances. Regularly checking up on them will give you an idea of who’s working correctly and who’s not. With that, you can take steps to improve their performances, such as additional training and counseling.
11. Never stop learning
The HVAC trade is a dynamic once. This means things are always changing– new technology, updated devices, and creative techniques– and you need to adapt. Forcing your company to stay traditional will just hurt your chances of growing. Instead, welcome innovations and technological developments. Use these to your advantage and watch your company grow.
Use project management software and subcontractor scheduling software to improve efficiency and productivity.
Scheduling inefficiencies can put a damper on productivity and progress. They can cause massive delays, wasted resources, and a dent in the budget. A small mistake in scheduling can cause enormous disorganization. You don’t want several crews or technicians in the same place at the same time.
Here’s where management and scheduling software come in. With just one tool, contractors can significantly improve their work efficiency and productivity.
Pro Crew Schedule has several software explicitly designed for trade contractors. One of which is for HVAC. HVAC contractor software allows contractors to efficiently schedule jobs, dispatch crews, and track employee times. You can even remotely collaborate with on-field technicians by instantly sending documents and instructions. Plus, you can make accurate estimates, getting more points on customer satisfaction.
If you’re an HVAC contractor in need of effective management and scheduling software, click here to request a demo.