According to a 2014 research report from BCC Research, contracting businesses that specialize in HVAC systems are poised for excellent growth: from $75.4 billion in 2014 to $116.6 billion in 2019 — a 9 percent increase a year for the five-year period. If you want to take part in this growth by launching an HVAC business, you will need a clear plan to ensure success. To get started, here are some helpful tips.
Have a Plan for Growth
Your business plan needs to have a clear direction for expansion as your company grows. Consider factors like:
- How many hours will you work or offer service?
- How will you hire new help?
- How will you add service vehicles to your fleet?
- What services or certification will you look to add?
Answering these questions at the beginning will create the groundwork for success. Also, in your business plan, create measurable goals you can strive for along each step in your growth.
Keep in mind, however, that growth is not necessarily automatic — and some stages of growth can create distinct problems for your business that will need to be addressed, according to online publication THE NEWS. For instance, when you are ready to transition from being an owner/contractor to an owner who sits in the office and manages the company, with another contractor filling your in-the-field duties, your salary suddenly has more impact on the overhead costs. You, therefore, must raise your rates to compensate.
Consider Your Vehicles
Your vehicles will be important to your service staff and the products you sell. Without reliable, professional-looking vehicles, you will not be able to get to your customers’ homes or offices to work on their HVAC systems. Before purchasing a vehicle, decide what type will work best for your needs and whether you want vehicles with company logos or not. Be sure to ensure that the vehicles have room for new products and tools, so a cargo van or pickup truck is often the best option.
In addition to the vehicles, consider investing in a fleet management program that will make tracking them easier once a point is reached where you have multiple service vehicles. These programs allow you to see the location of your vehicles and drivers, track maintenance and dispatch service providers more efficiently.
Focus on Delivering Strong Customer Service
HVAC is very much an industry that grows through word of mouth. According to Entrepreneur, word-of-mouth advertising occurs when your business far exceeds the customer’s expectations. In the HVAC service industry, it can also occur when customers who were satisfied with your service are talking to friends who also need service. Both types of word of mouth are valuable, and both rely on solid customer service, every time.
Get Certified and Think About Specializing
Finally, make sure you are properly certified for the type of HVAC service you wish to offer. Certification, such as North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification, gives your company a sense of authority that will help you land more work and cause more people to be willing to hire you — as you build your reputation. In other words, according to Chron.com, it makes you appear competent to potential customers. While NATE certification may be one of the most common options, there are a number of industry-based organizations offering this type of certification in addition to training in the field.
While seeking certification, consider specializing, especially at the beginning of your business. Specializing in a particular type of HVAC work allows you to pour your training and education into the area where you excel, becoming an expert at that and then branching out into other services that compliment your first area of expertise. That said, do not focus too strongly on one area because this could limit potential growth.
HVAC work can be financially rewarding, and the field offers excellent growth potential. With these tips, you can start your HVAC business with a clear understanding of where you see it going, and that will be a blueprint for greater success.
Robert J. Hall is president of Track Your Truck, a leader in GPS vehicle tracking systems and software for small and mid-sized companies.