Tag Archives: Industry

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.

Resources From HVAC Webmasters

Related Articles and Podcasts
True Client Stories: Almost Great HVAC Marketing (Podcast)
Understanding Your HVAC Brand Online (Podcast)
Should You Halt SEO During Slow Seasons? (Podcast)
HVAC Case Study #1: Rocky HVAC (Article)

Helpful Webmasters Services
HVAC Internet Marketing
HVAC Brand Development

True Client Stories: The $5000 Screw Job

Does it feel like your digital marketing company is trying to get away with something shady? Perhaps your marketing expenses seem to steadily climb without generating consistent leads. Hundreds, if not thousands of heating and cooling professionals are going through the exact same story. The only question is:

How will your story end?

In today’s HVAC Webmasters podcast, Jason and Nolen share some red flags that could shed some light on your marketing company’s sketchy practices. If you spot any of these tactics, it might be time to start shopping for a new marketing agency. Look for these following signs…

SEO for HVAC Pros: Red Flags

  • Blackbox pricing covering up where your ad money goes
  • Sudden bumps in results immediately after you call to complain
  • No visible evidence that your website has changed
  • 3rd party expense reporting not directly from Google

3 Signs You’re Getting Cheated

Marketing money is an amazing thing. On one hand, you can invest it into the perfectly tuned advertising campaign and earn a double return on your money! On the other hand, you can trust it to an enthusiastic management team, only to see it slowly disappear with little reward.

Sadly, the latter story is one we hear all the time from HVAC professionals around the country. Unless you have the time, energy, and experience needed to execute your own marketing plan however, you’ll probably have to find a dependable company to handle it for you. You may have already chosen a team, and find yourself wondering if they really have your interests at heart.

The easiest way to spot a shady firm is to look for these three red flags:

  • Blackbox pricing structure
  • Inconsistent payoffs
  • Lack of visible change in your website

A Google Analytics Report
Does Your Reporting Come Directly From Google, or a Source Recommended By Your Marketer?

Red Flag #1: Blackbox Pricing

Money is the ultimate test of character. You can tell a lot about a company by how willing they are to share their spending habits! In the same way, you can quickly get a feel for a marketing firm through their pricing structure.

If we could have our way, every digital marketing firm would have to bill month to month. That’s because monthly billing gives HVAC contractors the ability to examine results and judge whether their investment is paying off. It’s a challenging code to operate by (for a marketing business), but it motivates us to continually produce results!

Bundle Beware

Annual Bundle Deals

On the other side lies annual contracts. Annual billing (or even longer term contracts) takes away that flexibility from the client contractor and gives it to the marketing professional. Blackbox pricing further complicates the picture by preventing heating and cooling professions from seeing how their money is spent.

Say you purchase an annual service package with website design, SEO, GMB, and PPC. The company quickly puts up a basic website, PPC campaigns start up, and results start coming in. Can you actually tell how much of your package budget was spent on each segment? That brings us to our next concern: reporting.

Reporting

3rd Party Reporting

When you invest money in Google Ads, your reporting should only come from one source. Can you guess where? Google Ads. Handing the crucial task of reporting over to anyone besides Google, you’re asking for trouble.

Time and time again, we’ve heard of marketing firms (especially PPC-only companies) bumping click price above the actual cost, then pocketing the difference. That’s in addition to the money you’ve already paid them to manage your campaigns. If a client complains, the firm can easily manipulate the results.

Red Flag #2: Inconsistent Results

Have you ever called into your marketing firm and complained about lack of results, only to see a sudden uptick in leads? As consumers, we like to believe that our phone call is the driving force behind the change. It also makes it feel like we have a voice in the management of our investment.

In reality, it means that your marketing company had the power the entire time to affect those results, but didn’t until you called.

Inconsistent results in your lead generation can indicate shady practices in ad spending. If your leads started slowing down a couple months after your phone call, it’s very likely your PPC management team has reduced the amount of budget going into the campaigns. You could know this for certain, if you had access to the Google Ads account or the direct expense reports. But your marketer’s third party reporting company (if there is a third party at all) makes sure that you can’t know for certain.

A Snippet From an HVAC Blog Post
Regular Blogging is Extremely Helpful For SEO. Does Your Marketing Team Provide It?

Red Flag #3: No Visible Change

Blackbox pricing, shady reporting, and inconsistent results are all frustrating practices. What’s even more alarming is a complete lack of action in non-PPC related activities. There’s a reason why bundled marketing packages show mixed, but ultimately short-term results.

Time and time again, budget for website optimization gets sacrificed so that more money goes to PPC, which means more money can get siphoned out.

If you’ve seen very little or no change in your website design over the past few months (assuming you’ve paid for it), ask why. There’s no reason why a marketing firm couldn’t produce some timely website progress unless they simply didn’t care about it. We’ve seen a business left struggling to survive because their marketing firm never took the time to complete and verify their Google My Business account. That’s something that anyone can do.

Moving Forward

At HVAC Webmasters, we know the frustration and anger that comes with getting ripped off by a shady marketing firm. That’s why we started our business in the first place, to provide dependable (results-driven) service that earns your investment every month. And yes, we bill month to month.

If you’d like to see the difference we can make for your HVAC company, give us a call at (800) 353-3409!

Other Resources From HVAC Webmasters

Related Articles and Podcasts
Streamlined SEO for HVAC Contractors: Tips and Traps (Article)
Should You Halt SEO During Slow Seasons? | Search Trends (Podcast)
You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Win at HVAC SEO (Podcast)

Helpful Services From Our Team
HVAC Website Design
HVAC Local Search Marketing
PPC Advertising for HVAC Companies

14 Cool HVAC Marketing Ideas for 2021

HVAC Marketing is essential to growing your HVACR business in 2021. But which methods produce the highest ROI? Additionally, which techniques can companies implement in-house, and which should they outsource to 3rd party specialists? These are questions that every heating and cooling contractor should ask themselves in the new year, and questions HVAC SEO Webmasters can answer. Be sure to bookmark this list of 14 cool HVAC marketing ideas for 2021.

HVAC Webmasters Marketing Promo

Digital Marketing

In 2021, most HVAC marketing is digital. From local websites to business listing submissions, the majority of leads originate from online sources. HVAC companies can take steps to enhance their online presence with various digital marketing strategies. Each technique produces ROI in the right circumstances, but contractors should stay aware of pitfalls associated with specific online marketing ventures. Let’s take a look at some of the top digital marketing techniques for HVACR companies in 2021:

1) Search Engine Optimization

One of the most popular digital marketing techniques is HVAC SEO, otherwise known as search engine optimization. The strategy consists of refining web content, URLs, links, and user experience to rank more effectively on Google, which naturally drives more traffic and business to your company. SEO is a massive industry, and most local companies now invest in some form of SEO. There is a right way and wrong way to execute search optimization, and HVAC contractors should invest in the right services to help them achieve their goals in 2021.

SEO Statistics

2) Pay Per Click Advertising

Advertising is a form of marketing, and PPC is 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 larger digital marketing strategy that includes SEO, reputation management, and remarketing or pixel tracking.

HVAC Advertising Through PPC

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 as of 2021. 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.

Adult Social Media Users in the U.S.

4) Reputation Management

For local contractors, reputation management is critical to converting traffic. Search engines also favor companies with strong reputations and often rank them higher on Google Maps. Generating more reviews is a prominent component of reputation, but managing your online perception goes beyond testimonials. Managing your HVAC company’s reputation includes Google My Business optimization, NAP citation building, and ensuring positive search results for your brand name. 

Review Management Tool on an HVAC Website

5) 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 and 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

Traditional Marketing

While digital marketing ascends to the mainstream, aspects of traditional marketing remain effective. Although investments like print advertising, radio spots, and television commercials no longer hold the same prestige, they still have a place in modern marketing. These methods can provide substantial value for HVAC companies across the United States when used along with digital strategies. Check out some of the top traditional marketing methods:

6) Business Cards

In 2021, business cards remain relevant to HVAC companies. Part of the business card’s intrigue is their ability to take your customers online. Every modern business card should list a company website and various social media handles, along with the legal name, address, and phone number. For older customers, business cards can often serve as the transition from traditional to digital marketing. For example, a client may read your card and then navigate your website URL and leave a review.

HVAC Business Card

7) Billboards

Research shows that billboards continue to produce substantial ROI in 2021. 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 marketing techniques, both online and in-person. The downside of billboards is the cost. After all, placing your company on a highway or main road is not ever going to be cheap.

HVAC Billboard Opportunity

8) 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 that 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 in 2021.

HVAC Print Magazine

9) Radio Ads

While music streaming services seem to have taken the radio’s place, a surprising amount of consumers still listen to the radio. A study shows that the average American still consumes 13+ hours of radio per week. Some of the most reliable clients have not entirely transitioned online for HVAC contractors and may need a bit of coaxing to start connecting digitally. Tracking radio ROI is simple and one of the reasons companies still invest in advertising in 2021.

10) TV Commercials

Let’s be clear; YouTube is now the top platform for video consumption across the world. Back in 2018, digital ad spend officially overtook television ad spend. However, in the same year, television ad sales increased by 5%. The trend indicates that as the competition diminishes, the ROI increases. HVAC contractors looking to make a name in their local community may still be able to benefit from a television spot in 2021.

HVAC Marketing Essentials for 2021

Most companies aren’t going to invest in every single marketing venture. So which concepts should HVAC contractors prioritize in 2021? Digital marketing is undoubtedly the foundation for any local business and makes up most of HVAC Webmasters’ recommended pursuits. It’s helpful to pay attention to the latest marketing trends for HVAC companies:

11) Custom Website

Your website will serve as the central hub of your HVAC marketing strategy in 2021. Whether you invest in SEO, PPC, business cards, or print advertising, a branded, custom website is critical. In 2021, most consumers associate professionalism and brand recall with your company website. That’s why skimping on your design and user experience can have dire consequences. The best course of action is to invest in high-quality HVAC website design.

Metro Air and Heat Website

12) Google My Business Listing

If you do nothing else for your business online, make sure you claim your Google My Business listing. A GMB listing is cost-free and can allow your business to rank on Google’s Local Map 3-Pack. Ensure you optimize your listing for accuracy with the proper name, address, and phone number. You can further enhance your listing by generating reviews and uploading high-quality images of your staff, trucks, and equipment. 

Picture of HVAC GMB

13) Reputation Management Software

We cannot stress enough how important reputation is to HVACR companies in 2021. But managing your reputation manually is both time-consuming and challenging. The best course of action is to invest in software like DataPins, which sends automated review requests to your clients. DataPins also features job-site check-ins to help showcase your work across various service areas. Best of all, the software uses reviews and map pins to boost your local rankings without any effort from you as the contractor.

DataPins Square Logo

14) Service Pages

One-page websites might help your brand, but they limit your SEO reach. Investing in service pages is the best way to achieve sustainable business growth in 2021. SEO works best with specific service pages like AC Repair or Furnace Repair. When users search for a particular job, they find your business on Google Search and Google Maps. In conjunction with an enhanced reputation, local service pages can grow your HVAC company faster than any other marketing technique.

A Commercial Service Page