how to start an hvac business in 11 steps

How to Start an HVAC Business in 11 Steps

Knowing how to start an HVAC business is one of the best ways to ensure you’re taking the proper steps in building something successful.

Let’s be honest, starting a new business can be overwhelming. You may feel uncertain and intimidated by everything that goes into launching a new venture. That’s why we’re giving you all the secrets you need for long-lasting success!

There are many keys to building a great HVAC business from the start: 

  • Utilizing the best marketing strategies
  • Choosing the right insurance for your business
  • Properly pricing your HVAC services for the most profit
  • Consistently meeting with a financial advisor to stay on target
  • Creating a detailed business plan to evaluate your strategy as a whole
  • Hiring the best HVAC technicians to help you grow and succeed 
  • Choosing the right HVAC software to help you streamline your everyday operations

All of these things (and MORE) will help to scale your HVAC business and generate consistent growth.

In this article, you’ll get all of the insider tools and tips you’ll need to mitigate risk and ease your doubts.

1. Decide What HVAC Services You’ll Offer

Before you can start thinking about the bigger picture, you have to decide your target market and what HVAC services you’re going to offer. Before you start a licensed HVAC business, you will need several years of experience. Use your prior experience to think through your business model.

In order to pinpoint your services, ask yourself these questions:

  • “Which accounts will I serve – commercial, residential, or both?”
  • “What services do clients in my area NEED?”
  • “What services can I do BEST?”

Most businesses start small with a few select services they’re great at, and then they gradually add services as they grow .Typically, you’ll want to start your business offering 3-5 basic specialty services.

Pro Tip! Depending on the services you offer, you may not want to pursue both commercial and residential accounts at first. Commercial accounts often require different equipment and licenses than residential jobs (more on that below!).

2. Get Licensed and Certified Before You Start

Before you can begin anything, you’ll need to be licensed and certified.

Typically, you’ll get certified by going to an accredited program or school. Depending on your state, you may also need to get licensed by passing exams related to different HVAC career paths.

Take a look at the different types of HVAC certifications:

  • EPA Type I Certification—Servicing Small Appliances
  • EPA Type II Certification—Servicing or Disposing High-Pressure Systems
  • EPA Type III Certification—Servicing or Disposing Low-Pressure Systems
  • Universal EPA Certificate—Servicing All Types of Equipment
  • North American Technician Excellence, provides professional level certifications:
    • Air Conditioning
    • Air Distribution
    • Commercial Refrigeration (service only)
    • Heat Pumps (Air-to-Air)
    • Gas Heating
    • Hydronics Gas (service only)
    • Hydronics Oil (service only)
    • Light Commercial Refrigeration (service only)
    • Oil Heating
    • Senior Level Efficiency Analyst

While you don’t need a bachelor’s degree to have an HVAC career, there are programs available for earning higher credentials as you gain years of experience.

In order to keep your HVAC business legal, make sure you check with your local state laws to ensure you and your team have the proper credentials before working.

3. Choose the Perfect Name for Your HVAC Business

Before you register your business, you’ll need to choose the perfect name for your HVAC business.

While your business’ name is important, try not to overthink it. Here are a few simple rules to help you generate some ideas:

  • Keep it simple
  • Pick 2-3 words related to your services
  • Check online to see if a company and domain name exist for those words and your city (dallashvacservices.com)

And remember, you don’t have to include:

  • Too many details 
  • “[Your Name’s] HVAC Services”
  • Make it cute or create a clever pun

As your HVAC business grows, you’ll have to begin focusing more on SEO optimization strategies to help you become more easily discoverable and rank higher on Google.

As a result, it’s a lot easier to get your website to rank when it’s related to your industry and city.

Pro Tip! While you don’t need a website to start your HVAC business, it can help you grow much faster and build your professional appearance. As soon as your budget allows, consider hiring a web developer to build your website. In the meantime, you can create your own site using a third-party website like WordPress or Squarespace!

4. Meet With a Financial Advisor

When thinking through how to start an HVAC business, consider meeting with a financial advisor.

Speaking with a financial advisor is one of the best ways to help ensure long-term, profitable success in your new HVAC business.

Before you can begin to create things like… 

  • Goals
  • Pricing
  • Branding
  • Budgeting
  • Business plan
  • Bank Accounts

… you need to talk with a financial advisor to figure out the next best steps for you.

Your financial advisor can take a look at your assets and evaluate your case to help you determine the best course of action to launch your business.

They can help you decide whether you need to get a loan (and how much), start part time (maintaining your current day job), go full-time (quitting your current day job), and so much more.

Plus, your financial advisor can help to discuss things like startup costs with you. Many times, they’ll even point out financial obligations you haven’t even thought about.

By hiring a financial advisor, you’re helping to mitigate financial risk and create a clear path to success.

It’s also important to consult your financial advisor when you are ready to register your business.

5. Register Your HVAC Business

Once you’ve spoken with your financial advisor, you’re ready to register your business!

Good news – it’s typically inexpensive to register your business. In fact, depending on your state, you might only need to fill out some paperwork to get registered.

From the start, you want to build a legitimate business that’s legal. dWhen you operate as a person, rather than a business, you open yourself up to potential legal implications that can ruin your personal assets.

When you register your business as an S Corp or LLC, you can protect your personal assets if you get sued or a client disputes your services. Plus, it will help you when handling and filing your taxes.

Don’t wait to register your HVAC business. It’s not worth it.

S Corp or LLC?

If you’re wondering whether to register your HVAC business as S Corp or LLC, here’s the gist: 

The IRS classifies businesses as sole proprietorships, partnerships, C corporations, or S corporations for tax reasons. However, since LLC doesn’t have a classification, it’s taxed as another business type.

If you register your business as a sole proprietorship LLC, you’ll have to pay self-employment taxes (social security and Medicaid). In other words, your business’ entire profit is taxed for a particular year.

In order to save money on taxes, it’s a good idea to register your business as an S Corp. When you’re registered as an LLC with an S Corp, you (the business owner) will get a salary. As a result, your salary will get taxed for self-employment taxes (as opposed to your total profit paying for it).

When in doubt, ALWAYS consult with a financial advisor before making any big decisions like this.

6. Create an HVAC Business Plan

Once you’ve met with a financial advisor and registered your business, you should have all the financial information you need to begin creating your HVAC business plan.

Business plans are essential in any business (new or established).

Whether you decide to apply for a loan or grant, or you need an investor, you’ll need a business plan ready.In general, almost anyone that provides money is going to ask you for your business plan.

Additionally, business plans help you to stay focused on your goals and overall vision, prepare for the unexpected, and stay organized.

Here’s a basic outline of what your HVAC business plan should look like:

  1. Cover Page
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Business Overview
  4. HVAC Services
  5. Market Analysis Summary
  6. Business Strategy
  7. Implementation Summary
  8. Management Summary
  9. Financial Plan

Your HVAC business plan is one of the most important things you’ll do in your business.

The more detailed you are, the easier it’ll be to grow your business, become successful, and help eliminate stress.

As a result, your business plan WILL take some time to create, and that’s ok! Once it’s done, you’ll be glad you did it.

Keep in mind, your HVAC business plan is NOT a one-and-done thing.

You should consistently keep your business plan updated.As a rule of thumb, you should do monthly financial revisions and annual complete revisions.

Once your business plan is complete, it’s a good idea to meet with your financial advisor again to go over the numbers and ensure everything makes sense.

7. Create a Business Banking Account

A common mistake among new start-ups is that they use their personal banking account for their business… Don’t make this mistake.

By creating a separate business banking account, you’re separating your money from your business’ money.Especially when you’re working with an accountant, mixing your personal and business money into the same account becomes confusing.

It’s a good idea to go ahead and start operating under a separate banking account for your business. In the long run, it can save you a lot of trouble. Have questions about the best way to set up a business account? Your financial advisor or bank of choice can likely help! 

8. Get Bonded and Insured BEFORE You Start On Job Sites

As you explore how to start an HVAC business, look into finding a business insurance provider.

Before you can start working with customers, you need to get bonded and insured.

Never cut corners on your insurance! From day one, it’s important that you’re protected from any potential liabilities.

Even though insurance is going to cost you money upfront, it protects you from financial repercussions if something goes wrong on a job site. This way, your business won’t go bankrupt if someone tries to sue you for damages or liabilities.

Depending on your business’ needs, you’ll need to choose an insurance policy that’s right for you.

9. The 7 Essential Marketing Strategies for Your HVAC Business

In order to win your first clients, you’ll need to start marketing your HVAC business ASAP. By marketing your business from the start, you’ll be able gain more clients at a faster rate. Plus, it’ll help you to build a reputation as a professional, reputable HVAC business.

Take a look at the 7 essential marketing strategies for your HVAC business that you should get started on NOW:

  1. Build your HVAC business website
  2. Start a business email account (i.e. name@dallashvacservices.com)
  3. Create or assign a business phone number and create a professional voicemail
  4. Start taking advantage of social media (organic and ads)
  5. Order professional uniforms for your employees (with your name and logo)
  6. Install truck wraps or magnets on your work vehicles
  7. Buy magnetic HVAC business cards (don’t forget to include a referral offer)

When you start utilizing these core marketing tactics, you’ll be on the right track to building the foundation for scalable growth.

As you’re starting your HVAC business, always remember that the earlier you get started, the easier it’ll be later.

Automatically get HVAC customers by downloading your FREE HVAC business cards templates today!

10. Hiring Your First HVAC Technicians

Now that you’ve verified your business plan with your financial advisor, you should already know how many (if any) HVAC technicians you need and can support financially. Download our FREE HVAC hiring guide to find our more!

As you think through how to start an HVAC business, let’s talk about the biggest steps you’ll need to take in hiring new HVAC technicians.

Double-Check ALL of Your HVAC Technicians Before Hiring

While hiring new employees can be an exciting leap in your HVAC business, it also comes with its own set of considerations.

It’s important that you double-check ALL of your HVAC technicians before you hire them.

Once your ideal candidate has passed their phone screening and first in-person interview, make sure to do a background check on them. Look for anything that could cause liability for you.

For instance, if a candidate has been caught stealing, it’s probably not a good idea to hire them. After all, they’ll be working in people’s homes or offices as well as operating expensive equipment.

Your clients need to be able to trust your HVAC technicians. If a candidate has a red flag on their record, then it’s probably best to avoid hiring them in order to avoid future liabilities.

Additionally, it’s important to take the time to call 3-5 references your candidate gives you. This way, you can verify any information they’ve shared

Also, don’t forget to make sure your candidate is legally ready to work. This includes obtaining any certifications or visas they might have. Ensure your candidates are willing to put in the time and work to obtain any licenses or certifications necessary to work in the field.

Get an EIN for Your HVAC Technicians

An important step in making sure your new business is legal is by getting an EIN (employee identification number) for your HVAC technicians.

If you’re in the United States, this is as simple as going to IRS.gov and filling out an online application. However, if you’re in Canada, the hiring process is a little different. You’ll need to get a SIN (social insurance number).

11. Use the Best HVAC Software to Grow Your Business

By far, the best way to grow a new business is by using the best HVAC software from the start.

Your new HVAC field service software will help you to:

  • Get paid faster for completed jobs
  • Create mobile estimates from anywhere
  • Create efficient routes and easily dispatch techs
  • Bulk invoice your clients with the touch of a button
  • Get access to job history and customer information from anywhere

And so much MORE!

FieldEdge has helped thousands of service businesses like yours to become more successful.

Launch your HVAC business with the best HVAC software to help you streamline your everyday business operations. You’ll save time, money and grow your business faster! 

Request a FREE demo of FieldEdge to start growing your HVAC business today!

Start a Successful HVAC Business that LASTS

The keys to starting a scalable HVAC business are building out a strategic plan and consulting with financial advisors and other specialists as-needed. These experts will help guide you in launching your new business! And if you’re looking to quickly become a profitable HVAC business, then you’ll need the best HVAC software to get you there.

Starting a long-lasting, successful HVAC business can seem overwhelming, but following these steps can help you get started today! 

Related: 13 HVAC Marketing Ideas to Grow Your Business

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