How to Run an HVAC Business: Top 7 Actionable Tips You Can Try

Startupsby Mashum Mollah04 December 2020

HVAC Business

HVAC repair and maintenance services are essential for both residential homes and businesses, making the HVAC service a lucrative business opportunity. Here, we will discuss the essential things you’ll need to know in starting and running an HVAC business, starting with number one.

1. Skills and Certifications Requirement

Depending on your location, you might be legally required to get an appropriate certification/license before you can start your HVAC business.

However, even if it’s not a legal requirement, getting a certification will certainly provide a lot of unique benefits like getting insurance, but most importantly you’ll have some legal claims of credibility and trustworthiness towards your clients. Apart from this, you will need a license to start your business. Check out the licensing requirements for hvac techs by state here.

If you are in the US, you’ll need to be a certified HVAC technician or partner up with one to start your HVAC business. There are different types of HVAC certifications available:
  • EPA Type I certification (for small appliances only)
  • EPA Type II certification (for high-pressure HVAC systems)
  • EPA Type III certification (for low-pressure HVAC systems)
  • Universal EPA certificate for all of the above.
Additionally, North American Technician Excellence (NATE) offers certifications for professionals in the following field: 
  • Air Conditioning
  • Air Distribution (AD)
  • Gas Heating (GS)
  • Hydronics Gas (HG) (service only)
  • Hydronics Oil (HO) (service only)
  • Heat Pumps (Air-to-Air) (HP)
  • Commercial Refrigeration (RC) (service only)
  • HVAC Efficiency Analyst (Senior Level) (EA)

Make sure you get the right certifications according to your service and your location’s regulation.

2.  Start With a Business Plan

Business Plan

Just like any other business, you should start by creating a comprehensive business plan. Your business plan should define your target market, business structure, financial obligations, local competitors, marketing plan, and so on.

There are several key factors to consider when developing your business plan:

  • Market research

Make sure to perform proper market research to determine the potential market within your area. Remember that there is a wide range of available customers that might hire HVAC servicing and maintenance services from residential households, offices, hotels, restaurants, and any other facilities that use HVAC equipment. Consider your potential market in your area, and define your target audience.

  • Pick a niche

The HVAC industry is a pretty broad one with a lot of niches within it, so if you are planning to start your own business, it’s best to pick a niche area and focus on it rather than offering a broad range of services. Some of the niches you can focus on include:

  1. HVAC installations (for new constructions or replacing existing ones)
  2. HVAC servicing and maintenance
  3. Refrigeration system specialization
  4. Air conditioning (AC) specialization
  5. Air vent installation and maintenance
  6. HVAC independent contractor
  7. Furnace humidifier specialization
  8. Natural gas fireplace installation and maintenance
  9. HVAC ducting installation
  • Economic and competitive analysis

Obviously, you should expect to meet stiff competition no matter what niche you choose to focus on. Make sure to perform a thorough analysis to ensure you can maximize your profits while lowering your costs while considering you can remain competitive in your niche.

3. Insurance Requirements

In the US and a lot of other countries, you can’t operate an HVAC business without having at least basic insurance coverage.

So, it is important to set aside a budget for insurance, and if necessary get professional help from an insurance broker so you can get the best and most cost-effective insurance policies for your HVAC business.

In the US, you should consider purchasing the following basic insurance covers if you want to start your own HVAC business:
  • General insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Workers compensation
  • Business owner’s policy group insurance
  • Payment protection insurance
  • Overhead expense disability insurance

4. Determine Startup Costs and Operational Expenses

The HVAC industry has a relatively high average startup cost, and you’ll need at least between $2,000 and upwards of $10,000 to start your business, depending on the niche you pick as discussed above. You’ll need at least the following items: 
  • A vehicle durable and large enough to carry all the equipment and tools
  • Insurance costs, as discussed above
  • General tools like drills, multimeters and other electrical testers, tape measures, and so on
  • HVAC-specific tools and equipment
  • Safety equipment
  • Branding (technician’s uniform, vehicle signage, etc.)
  • Website
  • Marketing budget

Make sure to properly calculate the needed budget and analyze the economic feasibility of the business so you can start the business with confidence.

5. Choosing a Suitable Location

Location

“Location, location, location” is the old adage for any local businesses.

Your HVAC business will serve a local customer base, so it’s very important to choose the right location according to the following factors:
  • The location’s demography and psychography
  • Demand for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning services in the location
  • The purchasing power in the location, for residential households and also businesses/organizations who own HVAC systems
  • Accessibility of the location
  • Local regulations and laws
  • Security in the area
  • Traffic and parking conditions
  • The competition in the area (the number of HVAC services)

6. Prepare a Marketing Plan

Just because you have an HVAC business up and running doesn’t automatically mean you’ll automatically have clients and customers flocking your door. Promoting your business is obviously important, especially if you are located in a competitive area.

Although marketing can be a pretty broad subject, here are some ideas and strategies you can experiment with:

  • The classic approach of sending brochures to commercial and residential HVAC still works. You might also want to send introductory letters about your business
  • Social media marketing, and advertise on relevant websites (i.e. via Google Ads)
  • Create a website, this is very important nowadays, and have a proper social media presence
  • Engage in local business events and conferences to target businesses and organizations in your area
  • Join local HVAC business owners’ association, you might get subcontracting opportunities and information for industry trends and tips
  • Join local chambers of commerce
  • Advertise in local newspaper, TV, and radio stations, still work for a local business
  • Improve your Google Maps listing ranking and local SEO
  • Maintain relationships with existing customers to leverage word of mouth marketing

7. Invest In a Smart Scheduling Solution

As your business scale with more clients and technicians, managing your schedules for all the different clients can grow to be much more complex. This is where having HVAC scheduling and dispatch software can significantly help.

Even in the early days of your business, investing in a proper scheduling system is very important in ensuring quality and timely service to help build your reputation in the long run. Field’s features like a built-in internal rating and feedback system can also help improve the accountability of each technician in your HVAC business’s workforce, which in turn can help improve your productivity and efficiency.

In short, invest in the right solution to help manage your workforce and improve your service quality and efficiency.

Conclusion

While starting an HVAC business can be a very lucrative opportunity, we’ll need proper planning and execution, or else we won’t be able to stay ahead of the competition in winning the saturated market.

It’s very important to develop the mindset that you and your team will focus on delivering a quality customer experience so your clients and customers can refer your business to their family, friends, and peers – this is the best way to market your business in the long-run.

Using tools like automated scheduling software, online review sites, and social media can also help your business in providing high-quality service.

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Mashum Mollah

Mashum Mollah is the man behind TheDailyNotes. He loves sharing his experiences on popular sites- Mashum Mollah, Blogstellar.com etc.

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