Starting an HVAC business is the natural path many skilled technicians take. It’s hardly a surprise, given the worldwide HVAC industry is expected to reach $309.62 Billion by 2028. However, starting a business can be challenging and you will need to develop many other skills to run it effectively.
This quick guide will help you to navigate starting an HVAC business, getting setup efficiently and provides an overview of some of the legal matters you may need to consider.
Register, License, and Insure Your HVAC Business:
You can spend a lot of time on your brand, but once you’ve got a company name you need to register with your local authorities. Your business structure will typically fall into categories such as a sole proprietor, partnership, or a limited liability company (LLC), choose the one that’s right for you.
You must also get a business license, to ensure you comply with local laws. A business license is a legal requirement and should be renewed annually. Don’t wait to find insurance that protects your HVAC business from potential risks including general liability, commercial vehicle, and professional liability insurance. Insure your business right away so you can move forward with confidence.
Define Your Start-up Cost
When starting out, figuring out your accurate startup costs is crucial. Startup costs can vary depending on the quantity and quality of the equipment you plan to buy to get started. Try to plan for as much as possible because surprise purchases, like a truck, can ramp-up costs quickly.
There are several key elements to consider when budgeting your start-up costs. These include:
- A reliable vehicle for transporting equipment
- Essential HVAC tools
- Air conditioning and refrigeration equipment
- Personal protective gear (PPE)
- Business insurance
- Basic marketing services
Get the Right HVAC Certification and License
A valid HVAC certification from an accredited school or program is non-negotiable. Every HVAC technician servicing AC and refrigeration equipment must hold Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification as mandated by the Clean Air Act.
“A valid HVAC certification from an accredited school or program is non-negotiable.”
On top of HVAC certification, an HVAC contractor license is often required to legally service HVAC systems. The process to secure a license varies depending on location, with each region having its own set of rules and requirements.
Build Your HVAC Services List
Understanding what HVAC services you’ll offer is something you should do before you even register your business. Consider what you are best at, what you enjoy, and what services there’s a market for. Specializing in certain services can be a good way to capture a part of the market, but remember not to go too niche. You want to have room to grow and that might mean adding additional services over time. The services you choose will determine the tools you need and how much you charge for your services.
Invest In HVAC Tools and Equipment
With your service list in hand, you can now figure out what equipment is necessary to run your HVAC business. Basic hand tools like screwdrivers, wrenches, and pliers are essential, as is PPE like gloves, masks, and goggles.
Depending on the services you offer, you might need more advanced HVAC tools. That could include everything from core removal tools to thermal imaging cameras, leak detectors, and refrigerant scales.
Price Your HVAC Services
Pricing is crucial to ensuring your HVAC business is both profitable and competitive. Begin by researching the prices of your competitors to gauge the market rate for HVAC services in your area. You might already have knowledge of pricing from your work as a technician or from friends who are. More information on competitor pricing will help you to set rates that help you win business.
“More info on competitor pricing will help you set rates that help you win business.”
There are some common pricing strategies you could adopt, such as hourly rate, flat rate, or labor and materials pricing. Having a clear and consistent pricing structure is so important in creating estimates for your clients and profitable.
Promote Your HVAC Business
To win your first customers and grow a successful business, effective marketing is crucial. Start by creating a strong brand identity for your business, including a logo and color scheme that helps you stand out.
Having a strong online presence can do a lot for your early growth. This means setting up a professional website, managing social media profiles, and using online directories and local service ads. Traditional marketing methods, such as door-knocking or flyer drops, can also work really well, especially when starting out.
Hire HVAC Technicians
As your HVAC business grows, you’ll need extra pairs of hands if you want to keep up. Hiring qualified technicians can help your business grow by increasing your service capacity. You’ll need to consider their qualifications, certification, experience, and customer skills. Remember, your technicians represent your brand when they’re out in the field, so they need to be the right fit for your business.
When hiring, also consider whether you’ll need full-time employees, part-time workers, or subcontractors. Full-time employees provide consistency but come with additional costs such as benefits and taxes. Part-time workers or subcontractors may offer more flexibility but less control.
Getting started is the hardest part. As you can see from this list, there is a lot to cover. But if you take your time and find people who can give you extra advice, you can make it a reality. Starting an HVAC business isn’t easy but it can be the perfect path for some. If you’re that person, don’t hesitate – go after what you want.
Let AnswerForce handle your calls while you focus on growing your business. Our 24/7 professional call answering service means you’ll never miss a client call again.