How to Grow Your HVAC Business

Text saying How To Grow Your HVAC Buisness with a contractor in the background

If your bottom line isn’t where you would like it to be, it may be time to change how you run your business. Considering that over the last couple of years, the residential housing market has blown up with relatively low real estate inventory, the opportunity to make new homeowners your customers is endless. If you are in the commercial sector, you also have the market on your side as businesses are changing and moving. Odds are, there is room for you to have more customers that require inspecting, repairing, maintaining, rebuilding, replacing, and installing HVAC systems.

HVAC service is considered an essential service. No matter what season it is, if a natural disaster occurs, or if a global pandemic arises, HVAC businesses are vital to keep systems working properly. Your company’s HVAC service techs show up when customers need them – whether it is to repair a broken air conditioner in the middle of a heatwave or they come to the rescue on a cold, frigid night in a home without an operable heat source.

How Do I Start to Grow My HVAC Business?

Whether your business is considered big or small, keeping the needle moving up should always be your goal. Yet, before you try a new strategy or offer a different service, it is a good idea to do some evaluation and reflection on what is working and what is not. Some questions to answer that may help you improve your business strategy are:

  • Is your business able to keep your team in front of customers all year?
  • Are you getting the financial return you deserve from your business?
  • Is your cash spread growing or shrinking?
  • Is your business surpassing break-even by the third week of every month?
  • Are your employees happy enough to count on them for long-term employment?
  • Do you offer training and development to retain your sales, installers, and customer service personnel?
  • How are your marketing efforts helping to drive your business?
 
Improve Customer Service
 

Starting with the incoming service call, ensuring the individual(s) answering the phone or calling a potential customer following an online lead can determine whether you get a shot at that sales opportunity or not. Improving your customer service team can help you book more business and increase your revenue.

Besides scheduling your appointments, your customer service personnel are, in essence, salespeople. By knowing how to ask certain questions or offer other services, these people can often determine if or how much that customer will bring in revenue for you. When customers have a great experience and feel like whomever they are speaking with is trustworthy and listened to their needs, chances are they will want an ongoing relationship with your company. For example, Misty at ABC Heating & Air answers the phone in an upbeat voice, always introducing herself and asking, “How may I help you?” The first impression is great. Simply learning best practices for speaking with customers and calling them back for updates on service calls or parts delays help build customer loyalty.

Have you ever had to speak with a lot of different people who end up wasting your time and never giving the right messages to those who need them? We’ve all experienced that with doctors’ offices and other service companies. Endless repeating of your problems to different people answering the phone is not a good customer experience. Get your customer service under control to set your business up for success from the get-go.

Invest in Technical and Business Training 

It is no secret that finding good HVAC technicians is difficult. If your business is big enough, a good salesperson may also not be so easy to find in our competitive landscape. So, what should you do? Make sure that you invest in continuing education by sending your employees to business and technical training classes. Many classes are now virtual, so no matter where you are, having your employees participate in training can be done off a phone, computer or tablet. Set a schedule to include training as part of their ongoing development. Many manufacturers and distributors host classes year-round. This is a win-win for you, the business owner. It will keep your employees on the cutting edge of new technology or products in the HVAC industry and will likely motivate them for better work performance with their newly gained knowledge. It shows them that you want to develop them for a long-term career. The more they know, the more valuable they can be and lead to more profitability. Move your team forward in order to move your company forward.

Market Your Business 

Are you using traditional radio, TV, direct mail or truck wraps to market your company? What used to work, may no longer be the best and only solution. Just as yellow pages are no longer the way people find a contractor, today, if you don’t have any web presence then most likely you are not positioning your business to grow using lead generation. Sure, word of mouth still works, but online reviews have surpassed relying on recommendations from your customers.

Are you using digital advertising including a company website or social media? Having a digital footprint on the web allows small businesses to compete with industry giants.

Depending on what your growth plan and strategy is, marketing should be a combination of several tools to get your name out in your local community. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) both are forms of internet marketing that involve the promotion of your website by increasing its visibility and getting your ads in front of these future customers. Hiring a consultant who knows how to do this will pay for itself, as much of the success is driven by analytics that most people don’t have the time or knowledge to do effectively.

There are numerous companies that specialize in digital marketing for service-type companies. You can start by talking with your distributor for recommendations on preferred vendors. Many HVAC business training workshops offer in-depth classes on what path to take to meet your business goals. Seek those out first.

Offer Higher-efficiency Products With Financing 

Don’t leave money on the table. Contractors who offer customers financing options consistently tend to close more jobs and sell more high-efficiency systems. Talk with your customers and explain that the cheaper option may not be what they want. Whether your customer is looking at a long-term solution to pay for their HVAC system or simply have sticker shock, contractors can easily navigate the financial challenges of their customer’s budget by breaking down the cost of a more expensive system to feasible monthly payments. Who doesn’t want to invest in a higher-efficiency system for a few dollars more monthly? When you offer it as if you were selling a home or car, your customer understands that a mortgage or car payment can be digested better in smaller chunks over a period of time.

HVAC manufacturers and third-party financing partners can help you provide your customers with the best products and services while helping to establish a path to your financial success.

Understanding your customer is an important part of the HVAC sales process. Your customer may not want to separate from their cash for this emergency. If you can offer customers a way to make an HVAC replacement system more affordable, a customer may be more likely to accept and appreciate your winning bid.

Pay Attention to the Replacement Cycle

Grow your business by expanding your offering with new parts and other services. Look for something else you can sell. Do you offer your customers a quarterly maintenance service? Have you discussed indoor air quality (IAQ) products? Do you keep a log of all your customer’s equipment ages? Older units could spark a conversation with your customer to replace them with something more energy-efficient. What about helping your customers with Smart Home products to control their indoor comfort system? Stay connected to your customers and show them how their devices can alert you if a problem arises. There are many great solutions depending on how sophisticated customers’ needs may be. What you need to know is that each time you set your foot in a customer’s home or business, you have a better chance of finding potential problems, or at minimum, being paid for a service call fee while getting a boost in customer satisfaction resulting in customer loyalty.

Growth From New and Existing Markets

Another way to grow is to expand geographically. Increase your service territory with satellite operations in nearby towns or suburbs. Has a new community been built? Has the population density increased in local areas that you could service? Look at those opportunities. What about HVAC companies closing in an area you service? Many company owners are retiring leaving a hole in a market you may want to enter. Know your competition and be ready to pick up the slack of business left behind.

Jobs, Not Leads

Look for service companies that can put your technicians to work in times when your company isn’t busy. Some national companies service large, national property owners by providing HVAC and other maintenance services for single and multi-family homes or commercial properties. They need skilled contractors they can depend on. And you choose which jobs you wish to accept, no bidding or negotiating with the customer. Your technicians will consistently have work, which means you aren’t paying anyone to sit around and wait for the next service call.

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Send us just a little info and we will get back to you to walk you through the demo.