So you’ve taken the plunge and decided to start your own business in the heating and cooling industry. Congratulations! While there are miles ahead between you and a medium-sized company, good business sense will carry you through to the end. In our latest podcast, Nolen and Jason explain how frugal spending, do-it-yourself willpower, and cautious investments will make it so much easier to successfully launch your startup.
Key Takeaways for HVAC Professionals
- Don’t invest in extra tools before you’ve developed a client base!
- Keep your recurring expenses as low as possible in the beginning.
- As much as possible, do the call handling and scheduling yourself.
- Zealously protect your customer calls.
- Don’t skimp on essentials: tax work, insurance, legal, and marketing.
How to Make a Clean Start
We’re all about common sense at HVAC Webmasters. Yet over the years, we’ve seen so many heating and cooling startups enthusiastically speed out of the gate without an ounce of it. The signs are obvious:
- Buying tools, trucks, and toys before securing steady leads
- Overinvesting in staff without the necessary revenue
- Handing over customer calls to an untrained, rude family member
- Denying the need for proper tax work, insurance, and marketing
That last point is especially difficult to see, because we know just how much heartache and frustration HVAC techs endure because they didn’t bother to invest in support services. Frankly, we’re tired of seeing it happen. That’s why we want to provide a simple guide for getting started in your new HVAC business!
Tip #1: Stay Frugal
So many heating and cooling services end before they even begin. What’s the number one reason? Finances. Just as poor financial compatibility dooms a large percentage of marriages across the United States, dumb spending practices kills thousands of startups every year.
There are several areas HVAC startups struggle in, but let’s take a look at the top 3 ways you can give your finances a fighting chance!
EARN BEFORE YOU BUY
Unmerited optimism can sink a business faster than you can say “Where did our money go?” Many HVAC companies assume that homeowners will line up to use their services as soon as they incorporate, but that doesn’t happen. While it may feel tempting to buy extra tools at the start of your business, perform the following test first.
Ask yourself, “Can I continue working without these tools this month?”
Unless you absolutely cannot do your job without that fancy tool, hold off on buying it. That goes for that fancy new truck or service van too! Homeowners don’t care about your choice of vehicle (in most cases). As long as you dress neatly and keep your vehicle clean, clients will respect your skills enough to hire you in the future.
HIRE OUT OF NECESSITY
While it may be tempting to rent out an office space and feel it with spunky staff members, odds are your startup can function just fine without them. That may require you to occasionally pause during a service visit to take a call, but you’ll save tens of thousands of dollars by scheduling visits yourself.
When you hire someone, hire out of necessity. When you start getting more service requests than you can fulfill by yourself, hire another tech. When you’re too busy to provide quality phone service, hire a customer service professional and train them. As long as you can continue your current level of customer service, skip the new hires.
D.I.Y. AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
Do it yourself. That’s a phrase that excites just as much as it irritates. It’s also a practice that will easily save you thousands of dollars every month during your startup period. For one, it limits the number of people you have to hire to manage “the office” and scheduling. It also allows you to directly control the quality of your service.
What activities qualify for DIY?
- Service scheduling
- Payroll and PTO
- Inventory management
- Calendar management
- Service visits
Tip #2: Zealously Guard Customer Care
When literally dozens of companies provide the exact same services you do, what sets your business apart from the rest? Customer care. As long as you continue to provide courteous and convenient service, your clients will return again and again over the years. If your clients encounter a rude technician or staff member however, they’ll bounce faster than a toddler on a trampoline!
That’s why you need to do all you can to protect your customer experience. We’ve witnessed to many businesses bleed sales because they didn’t realize a staff member’s rude behavior was chasing away clients. From informational calls to final service visit, every aspect of your service should be imbued with friendliness and patience.
Tip #3: Invest in Support Services
When you first purchased your company phone, did customers automatically start calling your business? Of course not! You had to advertise your number and services first before people called. In the same way, you’ll have to invest in quality marketing service before HVAC leads start flowing into your business.
There are several services you can’t afford to skip out on. These include:
- Professional search marketing
- Tax assistance
- Legal advice
- Invoice software
Some of these services help produce and regulate the flow of income, while others protect you from company-killing accidents. Skipping out on these services goes beyond tempting fate; it’s just stupid. Countless HVAC companies have been destroyed by tax violations or legal woes, while others never get off the ground without marketing.
Find support services that work just as hard as you do, and you’ll never have to lose a night’s sleep (at least due to tax problems). As far as digital marketing services go, our team at HVAC Webmasters is here for all your marketing needs. We’ve helped hundreds of startups over the years, and we can’t wait to serve you too! Call (800) 353-3409 to learn more.
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– HVAC Case Study #1: Rocky HVAC (Article)