Starting an HVAC business can be an exciting step for an experienced technician. However, you’ll quickly learn that running the marketing and business side of things requires a lot of work and a steep learning curve. It’s important to do your research and plan everything out carefully before you get started.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps necessary to start a successful HVAC business. We’ll cover everything from calculating startup costs to marketing your business effectively. So whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in the industry for a while, this guide will help you take your business to the next level!
Calculate Startup Costs
The first step in how to start an HVAC business is calculating how much money you’ll need. This will depend on your situation and how big of a company you want to run, but there are some basic expenses that every new HVAC business has:
- Truck or van
- Office space/warehouse
- Legal costs
- Salaries (including your own) for the first several months until you are profitable
- Expenses for the first few months (office space,credit card processing, marketing, etc)
Begin with your own rough estimate of what your startup costs will be. Later you can ask an accountant to help you refine those numbers.
Visit an Attorney
An attorney will help you choose and set up the legal structure for your new business — they can advise you on whether to choose sole proprietor, limited liability company (LLC) or corporation.
You should also get a lawyer to look over any contracts or agreements that you’ll be using with employees, contractors, partners, vendors, and customers. It is important that these documents protect your interests as well as those of anyone else who may be involved in the company’s operations.
Visit an Accountant
Your accountant can help you verify your startup costs and project how much profit and loss your business will have in the first few years. They can also give you advice on how to manage your finances once your business is up and running.
You’ll need a bookkeeping system that tracks your profit and loss, both for taxes and for tracking which jobs and activities are covering their share of monthly expenses.
Create Your Brand Identity
How many HVAC businesses serve your area? Unless you’ll be the only one, you’ll do well to carve out a niche for yourself.
For example, maybe you’ll only specialize in maintenance calls, new construction, or commercial work. Or perhaps your specialty is high-end homes and you charge top prices for their custom HVAC needs.
Once you’ve decided how to position yourself in the market, put together a brand identity that will appeal to your target market. Choose colors, fonts, a logo, and a handful of stock images that set you apart from competitors.
Create a Marketing Plan
With your brand identity and target market at the front of your mind, you can figure out how to reach your audience with a compelling message. This may involve a mix of online and offline marketing tactics:
- Facebook ads
- Google My Business (a free business listing)
- Yelp, Angi, Thumbtack, and other home improvement listing sites
- Newspaper or magazine ads
- Google or Facebook advertising
- Radio or TV commercials
- Door hangers
- Yard Signs
- Social media
- Home shows and other local events
Think about the people you want to reach, whether you’re aiming for the consumer market or other construction professionals. What problems can your company solve for them? Choose a medium and a message that will resonate with your target audience.
One of the biggest challenges for any new business is finding enough money to begin. Many entrepreneurs start with their own savings or ask friends and family members for loans.
If you’re looking for more substantial funding, talk to your banker about small business loans. They may be able to offer you a loan or line of credit that can help get your business off the ground.
Set Up Your Systems
HVAC is a service business, which means how you manage the customer experience will make or break how much profit you earn each year. Customers expect timely communication, quick response times, and quality work performed safely and efficiently by qualified professionals.
Are you equipped to deliver on these promises? Make sure you’ve got systems that can keep your business running smoothly and efficiently.
For example, how will you manage scheduling calls, sending technicians out to job sites, collecting payments from customers, ordering parts or supplies for jobs in progress, dispatching services when emergencies arise?
You can either hire office staff to perform all these functions or sign up for ServiceWorks, an app that helps field service businesses deliver exceptional customer service. ServiceWorks manages the back end of your business so you can focus on the technical side. It’s affordable enough for a startup with just one truck, but can grow with your business as well — and you can sign up for a free two-week trial without a credit card.
Putting It All Together
There are many things to consider when starting a new HVAC business. By following the steps above, you’ll be well on your way to success. Take the first step by sharpening your pencil and calculating how much money you’ll need. Then work your way through the list of steps above, and you’ll be ready to sign your first customer.