HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) is a great service business that can easily provide a steady income. Refrigeration services are also sometimes offered by HVAC companies. Besides new installations, there are plenty of opportunities for repairs. HVAC/R work is available for existing homes, new construction, and renovations. Both commercial and residential markets can be targeted.
Knowing how to install an AC unit or troubleshoot an oil furnace will necessarily mean you will be able to run a profitable HVAC business. Starting and running a successful HVAC business will require organization, knowledge, patience, perseverance, people-skills, and a number of other traits. Many business owners fail, not because they weren’t skilled in the technical aspects of their trade, but because they were not skilled in running a business.
The larger you want your HVAC company to be, the better you will need to be as a business owner, as the responsibility will be greater. If you are a new business owner, it may best to start small and take the time to grow your company.
3 STEPS TO STARTING AN HVAC BUSINESS
There are three basic steps to starting an HVAC business from scratch. First is planning. Second is registering your company with proper government institutions. Lastly, you will need to promote your new HVAC business in some way to attract customers.
1. Plan Your HVAC Company
Develop a Business plan
Before diving into your business, you should develop a business plan. If you want to start an HVAC business, you definitely need to start with some sort of a business plan! Proper training, licenses, equipment, along with vehicles can cost a lot of money. You may need to consider the time it will take to be properly trained (if you don’t have any experience) and receive any certifications you may need. Don’t forget about insurance costs, not only for you, but for any employees. Your business plan doesn’t have to be anything complicated, but is something that will help organize your goals and priorities and help you make wise decisions.
Planning properly will help you decide if you are going to specialize in a specific area such as commercial refrigeration installation and repairs, or if you will offer a variety of services.
Set short and long-term goals – Plan your business ahead of time before you spend any money.
- Decide what HVAC-related services you will offer – Determine the scope of your business.
- Find a niche – What will be your specialty? What will set you apart from the competition?
- Choose a business name – Put some thought into deciding a name for your HVAC company. HVAC Business Name Ideas
- Decide what you will charge for your HVAC services
- Financing – You may need to get a business loan to get started
As soon as you start your HVAC business, you will need some sort of organizational structure so you can keep your customer communications and HVAC business-related paperwork in order. You won’t necessarily need a full office when starting out. An office desk dedicated to your business paperwork would be helpful.
Get a daily planner, or use your smartphone to schedule estimates, jobs, and other work-related appointments. An easy way to lose customers is to arrive late or even forget a scheduled appointment. HVAC repairs and service is often a 24-hour, on-call job. You will need to be prepared to work at an unpredictable schedule.
- Set up an office
- Business phone
- Estimate forms
- Bill Forms
Purchasing Equipment when starting your HVAC company
Equipment will probably account for the largest portion of your startup costs. Starting out, you don’t necessarily need all brand-new tools and equipment. You will save thousands of dollars in startup costs by purchasing a used truck, tools, and any other misc. equipment you may need. If you are already experienced in HVAC work, you most likely have at least a basic set of tools to get you started. Many tools you may want can be purchased on an as-needed basis, rather than buying everything all at once.
2. Register Your New HVAC Business
Make it legal
Make sure you are following proper protocol in your region. This means having necessary insurance, following tax codes, getting proper licenses and permits, etc. This applies even to a part-time business.
Some steps to starting your HVAC company legally:
- Select your business structure (sole-proprietor, LLC, Corporation, etc.)
- Register your business name
- Register your business entity
- Register as a home improvement contractor with your state (US)
- Open a business bank account
- Taxes- either get an accountant, or do research on filing yourself
- Liability Insurance
- Worker’s Compensation
- Any Necessary Certifications
- City Licenses and Permits
3. Grow Your New HVAC Business
In order to grow your HVAC company, you will need to work hard, have people skills, and be patient. You will also need to market your business effectively. Success and profit won’t happen right away. There is often a lot of competition to secure contracts and build a clientele. If your main goal is to have a commercial HVAC company, you may need to start out with residential customers if you are having trouble signing up commercial contracts.
Beside employees, dealing with customers can cause a great amount of stress. Learning how to communicate well with customers can help boost sales and increase word-of-mouth leads.
- Learn how to sell an HVAC residential or commercial job/contract to a potential customer
- Estimate a job properly
- Communicate regularly and clearly with the customer
- Be fair and honest- take responsibility for your mistakes
Paid marketing, along with word-of-mouth referrals, will be critical in getting your business off the ground along with bringing in a steady stream of work. Some low-cost advertising to get started can include a basic 1 or 2 page website, setting up a free business listing for your HVAC company on Google and other online directories, social media accounts, business cards and a few yard signs.
Click on a state to find out how to register and start a new business in that state.