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So You’re Starting An HVAC Company | The HVAC Marketing Plan Podcast

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!

Equipment

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.

Hiring

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.

DIY

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.

An Example of a Smart Accounting Service
Never Skimp Out on Tax Support, Including Payroll!

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:

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.

  • plumbing heating and air alliance member
  • contractors of america best digital agency
  • expertise.com best seo agencies in fort worth

14 Helpful HVAC Contractor Marketing Ideas for 2024


HVAC Contractor Marketing Ideas (Blog Cover)


When brainstorming HVAC marketing ideas, it’s important to consider the differences between traditional advertising and modern promotion.

After all, marketing can be a loaded phrase. For a newer generation of contractors, it brings to mind digital marketing methods like SEO and Facebook Ads, while for traditionalists, it sparks images of billboards and newspaper ads.

Each of these things falls under the marketing umbrella, but which ideas are best suited for your company depends on variables like size, location, budget, and goals.


I’m Nolen Walker, founder and CEO of HVAC Webmasters, a digital marketing agency for HVAC professionals. I’ve been doing this for 10+ years, and the marketing landscape continues to change.


When I first launched this agency in 2013, marketing an HVAC company online was like the Wild West. Marketing gurus used black-hat tactics to make their clients appear first on Google search results and gain more customers through various marketing channels.

As consumers grew more aware of scams and misleading promotional techniques, Google and other platforms altered their algorithms to protect users against fraudulent marketing practices. Today, the marketing landscape better reflects the needs and preferences of consumers.


I’ve written this post to help HVAC companies hone in on proven marketing techniques that drive consistent results today. My insights are based on 10+ years of first-hand experience designing and executing marketing plans for local HVAC businesses across the United States.


The Purpose of HVAC Marketing

My experience working with thousands of business owners over the past decade has proven that most companies invest in marketing to generate HVAC leads and acquire new customers. While marketing has ancillary benefits, like building consumer trust, its true motivation is lead generation.



The Cost of HVAC Marketing

A standard marketing budget is 9.5% of your company’s revenue, which means the cost varies depending on how much you can afford to spend. Additionally, marketing costs vary depending on the type of channel you invest in, from Facebook Ads to a local radio spot.


  • SEO Services: $500-$3,000 per month
  • Website Hosting: $20-$100 per month
  • Facebook Ads: $150-$300 per month
  • Google Ads: $1,000-$10,000 per month
  • Billboards: $250-$4,000 per month
  • Print Ads: $250-$5,000 per month
  • Radio Ads: $800-$20,000 per month


Free Marketing Alternatives

Startup heating and cooling businesses can’t afford to invest 9.5% of nothing into paid marketing campaigns. While noticeable results will ultimately require financial investment, there are free alternatives you can use to lay a solid promotional foundation.


  • Google Business Profile
  • Social Media
  • NAP Citations
  • Word-of-Mouth



Top Marketing Ideas for HVAC Contractors in 2024


1) Search Engine Optimization

One of the most popular digital marketing techniques is HVAC SEO or search engine optimization. The strategy consists of refining web content, URLs, links, and user experience to rank more effectively on Google, naturally driving more traffic and business to your company.

SEO is a massive industry, and most local companies now invest in some form of SEO. There are right and wrong ways to execute search optimization, and HVAC contractors should invest in the right services to help them achieve their goals.


Importance of SEO (Infographic)


2) Pay Per Click Advertising

Advertising is a form of marketing, and pay-per-click (PPC) ads are the most popular digital advertising method. Most novice HVAC companies gravitate towards pay-per-click ads because they produce quick results without much effort.

While short-term lead generation is appealing, a long-term PPC investment can yield negative ROI without careful planning. In most cases, PPC works best as part of a broader digital marketing strategy that includes SEO, reputation management, and remarketing or pixel tracking.


Screenshot of Google PPC Results


3) Social Media Advertising

In addition to paying for Google ad clicks, contractors can invest in Facebook Ads, YouTube Ads, and even NextDoor Ads. Every social platform has an advertising platform for local businesses.

For HVAC companies, in particular, Facebook Ads have grown in popularity.

With Facebook advertising, companies can target consumers with discounts, offers, and seasonal specials. HVACR professionals can even invest in lead-gen ads that capture the user’s contact information on the spot.


Social Media Users (US Adults)


4) Remarketing / Pixel Tracking

As traditional marketers know, consumers rarely buy a service or product at first glance. The levers required to boost conversions often occur gradually after repeated exposure to a brand.

In digital marketing, remarketing or pixel tracking helps companies achieve these goals. Users visit your website as their browser stores cookies that tag them to see your ads as they browse the internet.

Your target customers spend a lot of time on Facebook and other social media platforms, targeting them after leaving your website.


Retargeting Ad Process Chart


5) Billboards

Research shows that billboards continue to produce substantial ROI in 2024. As a form of out-of-the-home advertising, billboards place your HVAC brand front and center for potential customers.

Like other forms of advertising, billboards work best in unison with different online and in-person marketing techniques.

The downside of billboards is the cost. After all, placing your company on a highway or main road will never be cheap.


Graphic Showcasing an Example of a Billboard Opportunity


6) Print Advertising

Newspapers and magazines have grown virtually obsolete in the past decade, and investing in advertising on these platforms might seem like a waste. However, those who continue to read newspapers trust them more than ever.

Research indicates that 82% of people trust print ads. If you can target local newspapers with HVACR advertisements, the ROI could prove surprisingly favorable.


HVAC Print Magazine


7) Radio Ads

While music streaming services seem to have replaced the radio, a surprising number of consumers still listen. A study shows that the average American still consumes 13+ hours of radio weekly.

Some of HVAC contractors’ most reliable clients have not entirely transitioned online and may need some coaxing to connect digitally.

Tracking radio ROI is simple and one of the reasons companies still invest in advertising.



8) TV Commercials

Let’s be clear: YouTube is now the top platform for video consumption worldwide. In 2018, digital ad spending officially overtook television ad spending. However, television ad sales increased by 5% in the same year.

The trend indicates that as the competition diminishes, the ROI increases. HVAC contractors looking to make a name for themselves in their local community may still benefit from a television spot.



More Ideas for a Succesful HVAC Marketing Plan

I am passionate about helping HVAC companies develop a marketing plan that leads to sustainable success. With this in mind, I started my own podcast called the HVAC Marketing Plan Podcast.

While I encourage contractors to check out those episodes, I also want to outline my ideas for a successful marketing plan by outlining strategic measures you can take for your business.


You can see my ideas below:


9) Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Defining how you measure the success of your marketing campaigns starts with KPIs or key performance indicators. Establishing KPIs before investing in promotional channels lets you objectively measure success or failure.


Examples of KPIs include:


  • Website Traffic
  • Leads Per Month
  • Conversion Rate
  • Reviews Per Month


10) Brand Clarity

I advise companies to clearly define the main elements of their brand, like their business name and areas of focus. Differentiating yourself in the marketplace is one key to success and allows you to implement strategies that align with your brand.


Examples of brand clarity include:


  • Company Name
  • Business Address / Service Area(s)
  • Domain Name
  • Expertise or Specialty Services


11) Defined Target Market

One mistake companies make is failing to define their target market, especially regarding location. One client left our agency because they wanted to expand to a state on the other side of the country, which tanked their company.


Here are some examples of target markets:


  • Geographic Location
  • Pain Points
  • Seasonal Needs
  • Age and Living Status


12) Foundational Channels

No business can invest in every channel initially, so I recommend selecting a few “foundational” channels as part of your initial plan. There is plenty of room for flexibility moving forward, but certain channels are ideal for setting a long-term path to success.


Examples of foundational channels include:


  • Google Organic
  • Google Business Profile
  • Referral Program


13) Realistic Budgeting

Defining your current budget is different than projecting what you want your budget to be in the future. I recommend focusing on your budget today to determine which investments are realistic for your company.


Elements of a budget include:


  • Allocation
  • Cost Per Acquisition
  • Return on Investment


14) Adjustments and Flexibility

Think of your marketing plan as an evolving document with room for flexibility and adjustments. As you achieve wins and experience losses, you must adapt various aspects of your plan for sustainable success.


Examples of adjustment within a marketing plan include:


  • Analysis
  • Success Alterations
  • Failure Alterations



Ongoing HVAC Marketing Success

For newer companies, entering the marketing landscape can be overwhelming. My agency, HVAC Webmasters, will assist you with your needs. For those not ready to invest in professional services, I recommend starting by claiming your free Google Business Profile and building citations.

As your company grows, you’ll build a budget robust enough to invest in professional marketing services. Whether you target digital marketing channels like SEO or Facebook Ads or choose traditional forums like billboards and print ads, your company’s long-term success will involve strategic promotion.

I hope my HVAC marketing ideas prove useful for your ongoing success. While it’s a lot to digest all at once, remember to consult it whenever you need guidance on your next promotional venture.