There are over 30 million small businesses in the United States, which means that, if you want to start your own small business, it’s very much possible to do so.
That said, not all businesses can be created using the same roadmap. This means that knowing how to start a HVAC business, should that be your goal, is the key to having success early.
In this article, we’ll give you the guidance that you need to launch an HVAC business from the ground up. We’ll also help you plan your startup, and tell you what you can do to prevent yourself from making any catastrophic mistakes along the way.
Write Out a Business Plan
If you’re looking to start an HVAC business, and you don’t know where to begin, look no further than creating an HVAC business plan. A lot goes into launching something as large as an HVAC business from the ground up.
So, if you don’t have a strong plan in place, finding success is going to be next to impossible, especially early on in the process.
Remember, about 20% of startups fail within their first year. To prevent yourself from being apart of that statistic, you need to make sure that you have a strong blueprint in place before going forward.
What goes into making an HVAC business plan? There are a few notable things that you need to keep in mind, all of which we’ve broken down throughout this article.
Know Your Area Well
Before you can launch any business that thrives off of the local community, you need to first have a good understanding of the local area. With an HVAC company, things like the climate, as well as how many other HVAC companies are nearby, are key details to consider.
For example, if you live in a climate where the winters are mild, but the summers are not, planning for the inevitable slow season during the fall and winter is important. And if there are tons of HVAC companies already in your area, but not lots of potential customers, picking a different area to set up shop is also a good idea.
Get Licensed and Insured First
We get it. A startup of this size can be quite expensive to launch. That means that finding areas to cut costs is important, especially early on, when your budget is stretched so thin.
With that in mind, not obtaining all the required licenses and insurance that you need to run your business legally is a great way to find failure fast. The fines for doing this can get up into the six figures, which isn’t a risk you can afford to take.
Over Estimate on Your Budget
When you sit down to create a budget, you’re going to realize that launching an HVAC company, even a small one, is going to cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Because that number is high, it can be tempting to go low on estimated prices for things on your budget to give you some much-needed breathing room.
Not only do we not recommend that you do this, our advice is to go the opposite route. Round up on all of your estimates so that you can have some room for error in your budget.
If you don’t end up needing it, that’s totally fine. But if you do, you’ll be glad that you planned ahead, as it’ll make sure you don’t end up going over budget on your startup costs.
Take Your Time Obtaining Your Startup Costs
We touched on this briefly a second ago, but the startup costs for an HVAC company will add up quickly. This is because you’ll need to get everything from licenses and insurance to a vehicle to tons of tools and gear.
The prices for those items add up fast, meaning you’re going to need to make sure you can afford everything before moving forward.
Our advice? Make a checklist of everything that you need to get started and don’t proceed until you can afford everything upfront. Once you have your funding, and you’ve been approved for a business loan, then you can start moving forward with the process.
Sharpen Your HVAC Skills
If you’re looking to launch an HVAC business, odds are you or someone on your team knows a great deal about HVAC. Having someone who can diagnose issues, make repairs, and install new equipment is an absolute must, to say the least.
Because of this, we suggest that you budget for HVAC classes for yourself, or whoever on your team will be handling service calls for you. Sharpening your HVAC skills before you launch your business is a great way to set yourself up for success.
While you’re considering taking classes, look at a few other areas of running a business that you could use some help in as well. Thinks like basic business skills, as well as marketing, are all things you need to know to run an HVAC business.
If you think you could use some help in those areas, go ahead and sign up for a class or two to help you improve your skills. That way you can learn something new and contribute even more to your HVAC company than you already plan to.
Start Marketing Your HVAC Business ASAP
Once you have all of the behind-the-scenes planning done, it’s time to start working on your marketing plan. From the moment you sit down and start brainstorming ideas for a name, or a logo, you’ve started working on marketing and branding for your business.
With that in mind, picking a name is extremely important. So, make sure you pick something that makes it clear to new customers that you’re an HVAC company servicing your area. Also, try to be different than other companies in your area, and check for potential trademarking issues to ensure that you’re not setting yourself up for a future legal issue.
Once you have a name, it’s time to move on to a logo. There are seven types of logos, all of which have their pros and cons. Our advice is to pick two or three logotypes and have some concepts drawn up for your business.
If you or someone on your team can’t do this yourself, outsourcing the process to a professional graphic designer is an absolute must. After all, you can’t afford to look amateurish or cheap, especially as a new company. So, keep this in mind when creating your budget, especially if you’re going to need to outsource your logo.
Pick Affordable and Effective Marketing Strategies
As a new small business owner, you can’t afford to waste both time and money on marketing strategies that won’t work for you. Because of this, we recommend that you only invest in marketing strategies that are both affordable and effective to reduce risks.
What kind of marketing strategies check both of those boxes and are strong ways to promote HVAC businesses? Below we’ve listed a few different ideas, broken down into two categories, for you to consider.
Pick two or three of these strategies and pursue them. Don’t try to do all of them, as you’ll be stretching yourself too thin, and reducing your chances for success, which isn’t what you want.
Online Marketing Strategies
No matter what kind of business you own, it’s next to impossible to run it successfully without marketing online. There are a few different online marketing strategies that we recommend, as they’re affordable and can be done in-house.
Social media marketing is especially effective when done right. Just make sure you pick the right platform, as investing too much time into the wrong one can lead you down a path to nowhere.
A pro tip? Look at what other HVAC companies in your area are doing social media-wise. Odds are there are one or two platforms where they have the most success. Spend your time on those platforms only to ensure that you’re using the platform where your audience is the most active.
Besides social media marketing, email marketing can also be quite effective. In fact, once you have your website setup, we recommend that you install an email marketing plugin right away so you can start building up your list of emails.
Speaking of your website, like your logo, you need to make sure that everything looks professional and legit. So, if web design isn’t your forte, investing in the help of a professional web designer is something that you’ll need to include in your startup budget.
Once you have a website, consider starting up a blog. People are always looking for information about their HVAC systems, which means you can drive tons of traffic to your site by being the source of that information online.
Traditional Marketing Strategies
Of course, the internet isn’t the only way to promote a business. You can still find tons of success using traditional marketing methods, especially when promoting local businesses.
Things like fliers are not only effective, but they won’t cost you a fortune to have made. Investing in quality signage for your building and vehicles is also a good idea, especially if you’re located in an area where tons of people will see that signage.
Radio and TV advertisements can work well, although they’re a bit more pricey than everything else on this list. Pairing up with a site like Angie’s List can be helpful, too, although it can be tough if there are other HVAC companies in your area already using this strategy.
Take Your Time Hiring Employees
It takes a lot to run an HVAC company. Think about it, you’ll need two completely separate teams to find success. One to answer the phones and handle all of the paperwork and office tasks, and another to run service calls and make the money.
Trying to do all of this yourself is next to impossible, which means hiring help is something you’ll have to do almost immediately. If you’re going into business with another person, you should be able to put this off for a while.
But, if things go well, you’ll have to hire help eventually, which is something you need to start planning for right away.
Our advice? Do plenty of background checks and perform multiple interviews before making a hire. Also, don’t be afraid to grow slowly. Trying to expand too fast can backfire and lead to you going out of business, instead of growing, which isn’t what you want.
Listen to All Kinds of Feedback
Once your doors are open, it won’t take long for you to start getting valuable feedback. You’ll be able to tell what you’re doing right, and what you’re doing wrong, rather fast.
With that being said, sometimes you’ll have to do a bit of digging to get the kind of feedback you need to be successful. Tracking your numbers closely, especially when it comes to how you’re getting HVAC leads, is something you’ll have to do yourself.
If you have team members, don’t be afraid to listen to what they have to say. After all, you never know where your company’s next big idea could come from.
Still Not Sure How to Start a HVAC Business?
If you want to know how to start a HVAC business, you need to be prepared to spend both a lot of time and money doing so. Planning to launch a business of this size can take months. And you could end up spending 6 figures just to get things off the ground.
But, if that doesn’t bother you, and you have tons of passion, you can make your dreams of owning an HVAC company a reality.
Looking for more entrepreneur tips and tricks? Check back with our blog often!