If you’ve completed years of professional training and acquired numerous certifications for the HVAC industry, you’re probably a very skilled HVAC technician with ample experience and expertise. You’ve probably already spent some time working for an HVAC company, honing your skills and acquiring invaluable contacts. However, if you don’t want to be an employee forever, there’s no other way around it – it’s high time you started your own HVAC business.
How can I start an HVAC business?
There’s one first thing you have to know – running an HVAC business is a lot of hard work. At times, setting up your new business can feel like a wild rollercoaster ride you can’t get off. In all honesty, there will probably be some mistakes in the beginning. However, it does get a lot easier if you know where and how to begin and point you in the right direction, and that’s what we’re here to help you with.
Creating a business plan
First things first – start by creating the business plan for your company. This tends to be the most difficult part for most business owners, especially if they have no previous experience running their own company. However, this is a vital portion of your business startup as it sets the basis and the outline of your operations.
It’s best to observe your plan as a detailed blueprint for your contracting company. Taking the time to create a detail-oriented plan will help you clearly describe your vision, set company goals, as well as the strategies you intend to implement to reach those goals. Also, it will assist you define your marketing and financing strategies, as well as predict potential problems.
Resolving your finances
Now that you put your vision to paper, it’s time to think about building your initial capital necessary for setting your business up. The costs vary depending on the structure of your company, so keep in mind that you need to carefully list all the potential expenses before outlining the financial aspect. Once that’s done, it’s time to work out other aspects of your financial plan.
What you’re charging
It’s not easy to determine the price you’re going to charge for your services, but it’s a crucial step you need to get right. Overcharging means losing out on potential business opportunities, while undercharging can make your business unprofitable. When determining the pricing for your services, take these three factors into account:
Variable costs, such as the cost of materials and work hours.
Fixed costs, such as insurance, vehicle payments, and tools and equipment.
Other factors, such as the quality of materials you use, your target customers, as well as your qualifications and experience.
When you outline your pricing range, it’s time to find the money to actually start your venture. If you’ve saved the necessary funds up, that’s great and it saves you from having to look into other solutions. However, if you require additional funding, consider the following options:
The current state of your finances will likely determine the type of financing you choose to pursue. It’s also important to support your submission for financing with a sound business plan, as well as additional documents that would strengthen your claim, such as:
A sales forecast to estimate your future revenue.
A cash flow projection to estimate the amount of money coming in and moving out of your company.
A break-even analysis to show that your business can break even, at least.
Purchasing tools and equipment
Once your financing is secure, it’s time to outfit your business with all the tools and equipment you’ll need to run an efficient and successful operation. A great place to start would be to determine where you can save some money, and where you absolutely shouldn’t.
For example, you can usually go without spending too much money on the latest and greatest truck with too much horsepower, but you do want to purchase high-quality tools that will allow your staff to be more efficient at their jobs. Some of the must-haves for an HVAC business include:
Thinking about insurance
Finally, you have to think about insuring your equipment and tools to protect them, as they are a very valuable asset. Insurance will protect your investment in case it gets stolen or misplaced. Also, you need general liability insurance, and possibly income protection.
Being aware of your responsibilities
Being an owner of an HVAC business carries many responsibilities and constant multitasking. You need to pay attention to managing your staff, being on top of your responsibilities, and doing the actual contracting work. Finally, you have to pay close attention to all the current industry and government regulations that mainly focus on:
The environmental impact of your business.
The local employment and business management laws.
Regulations regarding the health and safety of you and your employees.
Marketing your new business
Although there is always a high demand for HVAC professionals, there’s also plenty of competition in this industry. You’ll have to fare against the more established contracting companies in your area, so you really have to carefully develop a sound marketing plan. The key point is to offer something different from your competition, as this will help you stand apart from the rest of the pack. Also, there are other considerations:
Realizing who your target customers are
You should always begin by identifying your target market and establishing your own niche. This is the only way to first acquire, and then grow your client base. Successfully marketing yourself to a certain audience will get you quality leads that fit your business. Here’s some advice on how to determine your niche:
Decide the specific areas of the HVAC industry you want to cover, such as residential or commercial.
Research your competition and see if there are any gaps in services offered you could fill.
See which market opportunities align with your own interests and skills.
Narrow your scope of services based on the abovementioned criteria.
Nnvisioning a clear marketing plan
Once you’ve identified your target customer base, it’s time to work out a marketing plan that will help you reach your audience. Focus on creating marketing strategies that focus on your client base, and then promote those strategies using your website, social media, and local business listings.
Learning from industry leaders
One last thing – always learn from industry greats. Of course, your business needs to be unique and with your own personal flavor, but you should also inspect the leading local forces in the HVAC business and see what they’re doing well. Also, learn from the mistakes of others and perform constant professional research to make sure you keep up with the trends and the demand.
The Larson Company can provide advice for a successful launch
Starting an HVAC business is a multi-step process that requires plenty of dedication and planning during the initial stages. You should also learn more about the upcoming innovations in the commercial HVAC space, see what the emerging market trends in the HVAC industry are, and be prepared to answer the many questions your customers will have.
But the first thing you should do is contact the Larson Company and get our help with anything you need. We’re here to help new HVAC professionals adequately train their employees
, incorporate modern software solutions into their daily operations
, and provide any additional advice you may need in order to improve your business. Reach out to us today!