The Smart Service Dispatch

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January 24, 2021


Avoid These Common HVAC Mistakes

Many HVAC companies make these common mistakes. Does yours? Check the list to find out!

Running your own HVAC company seems simple—you install heating and cooling systems, then troubleshoot and repair them when something goes wrong. However, running your own business is never quite that straightforward. We find that most HVAC companies make the same mistakes over and over again, and their bottom line suffers as a result. Stop the madness and start taking your HVAC business seriously.

Examining One Section of the House

First, look at the way that you and (your employees) approach your work. If you are troubleshooting a customer’s HVAC system by focusing on a single area or component, you are doing it wrong. Every home is a complex, unique system. You need to treat it as such to truly resolve your customers’ issues. Go through each room and investigate how you can create an HVAC system that works as well as possible.

Focusing on the Box

Also, stop focusing on the box. The ductwork is just as important. Your customers’ basements should not play host to “ductopus” (Get it? “Duct” + “Octopus”) monsters. Always change out the ductwork when you install a new system to make sure that you don’t have any leaks and that the system fits the home well. In general, duct systems tend to be too small. Lay them out so that the heated or the cooled air moves well through each room.

Forgetting Air Flow

Always remember the importance of air flow. Newer homes (and older ones with overly zealous homeowners who caulk everything) have problems with air flow and ventilation. If you pay attention to air pressure, you can help your customers avoid problems (like a damp attic). You can also prevent HVAC systems from running harder than necessary.

Ignoring Home Performance as an Opportunity

Make sure you look at opportunities in improving HVAC performance in the entire home. As part of your work, you or your team have access to places in most houses where homeowners themselves never tread. This puts you in a position to see what the insulation looks like. You see attics that don’t breathe, and you may spot different issues that could help your customers improve the air comfort in their houses (e.g., dirty ducts). Thoroughly examining home performance will help you to upsell services and improve the home’s heating and cooling at the same time.

Installing a Smaller Than Optimal HVAC System

Pay attention to the size of the HVAC system you install. Some companies try to undersell customers in order to get the bid, offload in-stock systems, or upsell a repair to a replacement. Do this, and you only hurt yourself. If you improperly size a heating or cooling solution, those systems will have to work too hard to heat or cool the home, costing your clients more in utilities and maintenance.

Using Rules of Thumb or Estimates to Price Bids

Math may be part of what you do, but many HVAC companies fail to do the work when they calculate a bid. They use rules of thumb to estimate heating and cooling needs and they estimate how much ductwork they will need based on the square footage of the home (as opposed to its internal architecture, age, efficiency, etc.). If you do that, one of two things will happen. Either your customers will end up with a bill that is much larger than your estimate or you will lock yourself in to complete a job at a lower price than you would normally charge, eroding your profits. You don’t want to find yourself in either situation. Always take good measurements and look at what will influence the efficiency of any system you install before you issue a quote.

Working More Than You Run

Many companies start off destined to fail. Why? Too often, the founder of a business only opens his metaphorical doors because he or she wants to do a specific type of work. Big mistake. At the end of the day, you are running a company. To achieve success, you need to focus on the business side of things (e.g., accounting, marketing) just as often as you service heating and cooling systems.


Never forget that your HVAC company is a business, not a hobby. You don’t do your customers any favors by underselling them. That only makes your quotes look good on paper. To survive and reach success as a heating and cooling service provider, you need to put your customers’ needs first. This strategy builds trust and loyalty. Always look at ways that you can help them improve the air quality, humidity, and comfort in their homes and they will keep coming back for more.