Home and business owners depend on HVAC systems to deal with extremes in temperature. This helps keep their living and working spaces temperate and comfortable. Sooner or later, even the most durable HVAC system will need maintenance and repair. These systems may need replacing. Consider opening your own company to install and maintain heating and cooling systems. This can be a smart way to provide an in-demand service.
But what should entrepreneurs know before they launch their own HVAC company? How much money can they expect to spend, and then to make? And what are the best ways to advertise, market, and grow a startup heating and cooling company? Some suggestions follow.
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How Much Does it Cost to Start an HVAC Company?
We’ll begin with the issue of startup expense. There’s an old saying that you need to have money to make money, and that’s true in the service trades. You’ll need advertising capital, tools and equipment, and insurance. Unless you’re a true solopreneur, you will need money to make payroll.
So how much startup capital do you need? Conservative estimates put the cost somewhere between $2,000 and $10,000. This assumes you’re getting good deals on your equipment, and that you buy a used van or truck for a low price. Don’t experience surprise if it costs a lot to get your business up and running.
How Much Will an HVAC Business Make?
The flip side is the amount of money you can expect to make. There’s no hard and fast rule here. The median annual salary for an HVAC business owner is somewhere around $76,000. This number may go up or down depending on the market you’re in and on the level of competition you have. Another factor is the effectiveness with which you’re able to market your business.
And that brings us to our next question. What are some of the best strategies for spreading the word about your company? And, for building it into a robust and profitable enterprise?
Tips to Grow Your HVAC Business
As you look to set up your business for long-term success, here are a few important pointers to keep in mind.
1) Don't assume an "if I build it, they will come" mentality
Some trade entrepreneurs think they can slap a decal or magnet on their truck and the rest will all fall into place. Word-of-mouth buzz is important, but it’s something you’ve got to work for.
To bring in new customers this way, you’ll need to be diligent in providing customer service. Consider asking your satisfied customers to please recommend you to their friends. You’ll also want to ensure that your business is easy to find via all the key local and online directories. That brings us to our next point.
2) Get listed
Make sure your business shows up in the right places. Start by signing up for a Google My Business profile. This is free, and it helps your company show up on Google Maps and in local searches. Take the time to enter an appropriate description of your business. This must include your contact information and hours of operation.
One more thing you can do is submit your business to the local Chamber of Commerce. You may also submit to directories that are specific to your area or industry. Marketing is all about building visibility. These directories provide a smart, effective way to do exactly that.
3) Make sure you have a good website
Marketing hinges on you having a robust online presence. These days, there are plenty of platforms and services that allow you to make a website on the cheap. These do not require any technical knowledge. (You can also seek help from a local Web design firm. This will take some time and be expensive.)
As you build a website, make sure you have an easy-to-follow layout. Allow customers to find all the information they desire. This includes information about your services, expertise, and pricing. Don’t forget to include your NAP (name, address, and phone number) on every page of the website. A simple, easy-to-remember domain name is also recommended. And be sure to note that the content on your website is all rights reserved.
4) Focus on providing help to your customers
This may sound like a no-brainer. HVAC professionals can get caught up in expanding their business. They forget to put the customer’s needs first. Be attentive to the needs of your customers and your community. Design all your sales and marketing initiatives to help people.
Say you find that you get jobs repairing busted air conditioning systems in local homes. You might put together an affordable maintenance program. This can be useful for helping homeowners avoid repeat service calls.
5) Keep your skills finely honed
You’re not going to be able to help anybody if you don’t have up-to-date skills.
There are many ways to get and stay informed about what’s going on in the industry. And, there are many ways to maintain a sharp set of HVAC skills. Find some trade shows and HVAC industry conferences you can attend. Read up on the latest products, technologies, and innovations. Keep an open dialogue with your team about new ways of doing things. And if you can, carve out time to take some continuing education classes. That will help get your HVAC skills in tip-top shape.
6) Ask for reviews
Here’s one more way to grow your HVAC business. Having a lot of Google reviews can help boost your search engine visibility. A review is worth far more than a like or even a share on Facebook. But what are some ways to get more reviews for your company?
One suggestion is to request a review from your customer base. And, another approach is to include a review reminder and link on invoices and receipts. Make it easy for your customers to give feedback. Offer them a way to tell you what they like or don’t like about their experience with your company. Even one positive review can make a real difference for your SEO traction.