Owning an HVAC Business: It’s Not That Easy!
The myth of the megalomaniac business owner is old as time itself, but perceptions have spun so far out of control that they mirror Saturday morning cartoon fare than anything grounded in reality. The most over-the-top imagining of this figure usually goes something like this: a callous, heartless boss sitting with their feet propped up and hands behind their head, cackling amidst the piles of cash stacked atop their desk as their employees work feverishly and painstakingly to further the success of the business. The boss then, presumably, goes on to fight James Bond in their plan for world domination.
We’ve seen this type of character presented in countless books, movies, television shows, and even political debates. Even though it goes without saying—or at least we hope!—it couldn’t be any farther from the truth. Real business owners need to dig deep and work hard, which is especially true if they own an HVAC business. Contrary to the service they provide, owning an HVAC business is anything but a breeze, but that has never stopped misconceptions about this line of work from fostering.
Many people just think as the technicians are hard at work going from service area to service area to provide homeowners with heating and cooling, the owner really is sitting behind a desk and counting the money. But don’t let that misinformation fool you; like owning any small business, the HVAC field presents its own unique set of challenges. We’re not just talking about dealing with some customer grouching over their air conditioning! The average small HVAC business owner deals with all sorts of trouble, including:
The Costs of Ownership
Firstly, let’s put an end to the idea of an HVAC business owner drowning in cash. Mostly because it’s wildly inaccurate, but also due to the fact that real HVAC business owners are practically putting their finances on the line in a game of high-stakes poker. For starters, the initial investment of the business is costly, which includes investing in specialized equipment, service trucks, and software for diagnostic testing. There is also the part where the HVAC technicians need to, you know, get paid. The average wage of an HVAC technician currently sits at $19.87 per hour, a fairly high wage compared to other professions. That is also not including the additional elements of payroll taxes, medical insurance, liability insurance, and worker’s compensation. Adding onto the pressure, it may take the business years after the initial investment to start making a profit. If the business goes too long without turning a profit, an HVAC business owner may just have to call their own bluff and fold.
Perhaps more than any other home services field, HVAC business owners see their success reliant on circumstances beyond their control. Most HVAC business see their peak activity when weather conditions are either scorching hot or blisteringly cold. An otherwise intense heatwave or blizzard is a sign of good business for people in the HVAC field. While this may result in cash flowing to the business, it can also mean dealing with more calls than any other time of the year, putting stress on both equipment and technicians. And what happens once that peak business period is over? Unless an HVAC business has some magical weather-controlling abilities, the owner will have to think strategically in terms of how finances are managed when the calls aren’t coming.
Varying Customer Base
While we’ve gone in-depth of about the myth of the cold, greedy business owner, the myth of the grouchy, angry customer is just as prevalent in any service job. Again, this isn’t exactly rooted in truth. Considering the average HVAC business operates in several service areas, the customer base tends to be a cross section of different backgrounds, HVAC needs, and of course, temperaments. While a diverse customer base can only make the business grow in both scope and knowledge, trying to meet the unique needs of each and every customer isn’t just a stroll down an easy street. Providing high-quality work on heating and cooling systems isn’t enough. Customer service must be on point as well. If a customer doesn’t feel like they’re getting the right treatment or the right price, the reputation of an HVAC business may take a tumble.
Just because you’re the proud owner of a small HVAC business doesn’t mean you’re the only HVAC business owner in the area. Competition abounds, and it’s a never-ending game to see who can stand tall among the rest. It influences every decision the business owner makes, from setting prices to how the business presents itself. Heating and cooling are an essential need in order for people to live comfortably on their residential or commercial property. While customers want their needs met soon as possible, they want an HVAC business who can provide who can provide exceptional, one-of-a-kind service not found anywhere else. Many HVAC business owners will first need to focus on advertising and marketing to make them truly stand out and for many, it’s an ongoing identity crisis.
If you want to learn more on the ins and outs of an HVAC business, you should call Custom Climate Heating and Air Conditioning today. We’re South Carolina’s number-one service for heating, cooling, and indoor air quality. Owning an HVAC business may not be easy, but our team always guarantees quick, high-quality service!