As an HVAC business owner, you have a lot on your plate. It’s no picnic running a successful business. With payroll, hiring, employee retention, cashflow, late customer payments and a million other to-dos, trying to keep your head above water can be overwhelming. But it may be easier than you think to avoid HVAC owner mistakes.
We have a few suggestions that could save you some frustration. With more than 40 years working with successful HVAC companies, we have seen a lot of problems and helped clients solve common issues.
Here are just a few things that we recommend NOT to do:
- Doing everything yourself
- Misallocating resources
- Not investing in the correct tools
- And more!
1. Trying to do everything.
Many times, HVAC owners make the mistake of trying to do too much. It’s better to focus on the things you are good at and leave the other tasks to your employees. After all, that’s why you hired them!
What daily tasks can you delegate to your employees? As an HVAC owner, maybe you still process payroll, but maybe designate a staff member to handle dispatching. Or, perhaps you hire a part-time accountant to do your payroll so you can focus on business growth and HVAC sales.
Outsourcing certain tasks or hiring new employees is also an option. It all depends on where your business pain points lie and how you are spending your time every day.
Start by writing down all of your daily and weekly responsibilities. What can you delegate to others? Can you hire part-time help for any of your administrative tasks?
2. Your pricing model isn’t profitable.
You are in business to make money. Everyone loses when you are the low bidder or if your pricing model isn’t profitable. When profits slip, HVAC shops may be forced to cut costs, have poorly trained technicians and use low end materials.
Sticking with the same model that isn’t profitable is another common HVAC owner mistake.
Consider a flat rate pricing model which allows for an upfront quote before work is done. Customers often prefer it and HVAC contractors may earn more profit.
Make sure you do your market research to see what others are charging. You want to be the contractor who is on the middle to top end of your competition. You’ll make more money, and customers will see you as reputable.
3. Failing to have a business plan.
Many new business owners jump into a new business without a business plan. A business plan is a structured document that defines a company’s objectives and the steps to achieve them. It takes some time and effort to create, but is critical for a business’ success.
A business plan benefits the company by keeping you on course. It’s also a go-to for staff to keep up with company goals.
Business plans are also needed to gain funding or add outside investors. We recommend revisiting your business plan once or twice a year to make updates and ensure it’s ready to present to investors, if needed,
4. Not investing in HVAC software.
In today’s world of technology, HVAC software is critical to running your business. If your company is still using paper invoices or using old software, it’s time to upgrade to a new software solution.
What can HVAC software do for you?
- A mobile app can connect the office, field staff and customers right on a phone or tablet.
- Save time and money with scheduling and dispatching features. Change a technician from one job to another as they become available.
- Quoting and invoicing tools can improve your processes AND help you recognize revenue even faster.
A robust HVAC software will streamline most of your processes into one easy-to-use tool making your technicians and office staff happy!
For what to look for in HVAC software, check out 5 Must-Have Plumbing and Heating Software Features.
5. Not realizing how important your website is to your bottom line.
93% of purchase decisions start with an internet search. So that means if you don’t have a website, you are only selling to 7% of your market, and probably losing the rest.
Websites often shape the first impression a prospect has of your business. So your site should be clean, professional and branded.
Some essential information to include on your website:
- Service location
- Summary of services
- An overview of your company
Other website nice-to-haves:
- Marketing blog: This will attract more visitors to your site through the keywords you use in blog posts.
- Testimonials: Ask your best customers to write you a quick testimonial, or even better, ask your most loyal customers to film one! Testimonials are a great way to show that customers trust you.
6. Not paying your employees enough, or not having enough employees.
The old saying “you get what you pay for” applies here. It can be hard to find quality technicians and office staff. If you already have good employees, reward them with a pay and benefits package that’s better than the other guys.
You may also struggle with hiring – the market is tight! If you are trying to hire quality techs, be sure to get the word out with hiring ads, trade school partnerships, and networking. Do your research to make sure your compensation and benefits package are competitive.
Hiring is another reason why your website can be so important – candidates are going to look at your website to find out whether you are a reputable employer!
7. Investing little (or no) time and effort in online reviews.
It’s common knowledge that most consumers are looking at online reviews. In fact, 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.
A successful business has to not only actively gain positive reviews, but also responds to reviews, both positive and especially negative. By thanking the customer or acknowledging a concern or issue, your reputation will stay intact.
By “making it right” many customers will either change their negative review or visit your business again.
To step up your review game, check out our guide for Responding to Reviews Online.
8. Not focusing enough resources on marketing.
Marketing usually takes a back seat to all the other challenges your HVAC business faces on a day-to-day basis. But that shouldn’t be the case – marketing gets your name out to new customers AND can keep your business top of mind for existing customers.
In addition to your website and blog, here are a two marketing essentials your HVAC business should be leveraging:
- Social Media is a great way to connect with customers and strengthen your company’s brand. Sharing meaningful content with your business followers may also increase website traffic, and give a human aspect to your company.
- Email marketing is still a great way to keep your current customers engaged and gain new customers. It also offers the best return on investment (ROI) for your marketing dollars. Email marketing’s ROI is $36 for every dollar spent.
Marketing is very important to the overall health and growth of your HVAC business.
9. Not offering or promoting service agreements.
Service contracts, also called maintenance agreements, can have a huge affect on your bottom line. Setting up a customer with seasonal and annual checks ensures you will have steady money flow all year round.
The customer also benefits with the peace of mind knowing their equipment is in peak condition. Your technicians have steady work, and you’ll get recurring revenue.
10. Not keeping up with training or technology opportunities.
HVAC and similar industries are always changing and improving. Ensure your staff are given time and opportunities to learn and keep up with technology.
Encourage your employees to go to industry meetings and events. Trade shows are a great place to network, learn about the latest technology and attend workshops. Also, help pay for any certificates your techs need to grow and succeed.
Erase Those HVAC Owner Mistakes!
Well, there you have it: 10 common mistakes some HVAC business owners make and how to correct them. Use these tips to avoid HVAC owner mistakes and to grow your business even more.
FieldEdge software can alleviate a lot of these issues and help your staff become more efficient and customers become happier! Book your FREE personalized demo today!