Can an HVAC company succeed as a one man show?By My Service Depot on Friday, December 14, 2018
Want to start an HVAC company all by your lonesome? Here's some free advice.
You’ve worked as an HVAC technician for a while, and the business-savvy part of you can’t help but think, “You know what? If I ran my own company, I would do things differently.”
Well, good news! You can certainly quit your position and branch off on your own. Many new HVAC companies start out this way. But before you take the leap, make sure you weigh all the pros and cons of starting out as a one man show.
Customer service means responsive communication.
When something goes wrong with their HVAC system, homeowners appreciate talking to a professional right away. Unless they have already established a relationship with you and feel you’re worth the wait, they tend to hang up when they hear a voicemail greeting. They’ll keep calling around until they find a real person to talk to. Easy communication establishes peace of mind for your customers.
To make a great first impression with new clients, make sure you can pick up your phone whenever it rings. Also, consider this; as your business takes off, you might find yourself in the middle of a job while your cellphone rings repeatedly. Do you pause what you’re doing to answer the phone? If you do, your current customer might not appreciate you caring for other clients on their time.
You need to strike a balance. Eventually you should consider hiring an assistant or secretary to answer the phones, schedule appointments, and handle customer concerns. This allows your company to give personal attention to clients both in person and over the phone.
Record Keeping and Accounting
Not everyone loves paperwork. As someone who enjoys working with their hands and solving problems, you probably don’t get excited about sitting at your desk doing paperwork. In this case, you probably need to have an organized, paper-loving person on your team, because bookkeeping can seriously affect your customer service and ability to retain and attract customers.
For example, you need to keep a list of all of your clients and your history with them. When did you last service their HVAC system? This information could help you with future marketing campaigns, such as mailing a yearly service reminder along with a special discount.
What happens if a customer calls you and questions how you billed their last service? You should have an itemized receipt within easy reach, not buried somewhere in your truck or scribbled on a scrap of paper. And let’s not forget about the joys of tax season. Even if you pay someone else to do your taxes, they need accurate records. Good HVAC software gives you the ability to organize customers and keep up-to-the-minute records.
Often, the person who answers the phone for you also takes on the role of an Administrative Assistant by keeping track of records, keeping the accounts up-to-date, making follow-up phone calls, ordering new supplies as needed, and even spearheading marketing campaigns.
Do you need another HVAC technician?
Office work is one thing, but what about adding another HVAC technician to tackle more jobs? If you’ve ever worked a complicated job that could’ve used a second pair of hands, you’ll appreciate having a field assistant. Even just sending someone back to the truck for tools while you continue to evaluate the situation can save you time and energy. Customers appreciate efficient work since they know they pay you hourly for your labor.
As word spreads throughout the community about your extraordinary customer service, technical skills, and price, you’ll generate more calls. Keep in mind that many people need to schedule service appointments around the same time: after work when they can meet you at their home. With their comfort on the line, most people demand quick results for their malfunctioning HVAC system.
If you find yourself delaying house calls because of a full schedule, you may need to hire another HVAC technician to keep customer satisfaction high.
Benefits of Running a One Man Show
- You can enjoy a higher profit margin. Because you don’t need to pay employees, you get to keep more of the profits. Some HVAC company owners employ their spouses as administrative assistants, which at least means the money gets to stay in the family.
- You can possibly keep prices lower, which attracts more customers. Let’s say you did have to pay employees. In order to avoid taking a pay cut yourself, you’d need to include the employee’s salaries into your hourly or flat service rates. As a one-man operation, you can choose to keep your prices more affordable. Customers tend to choose the lower estimate when all other factors remain equal.
- You always know what’s going on. You’ll never be surprised to find out you’ve run out of sheet screws or that your favorite wrench bit the dust. You’ll know each customer and their HVAC system without needing a brief. You’ll know exactly how much money comes in and goes out.
Knowing how to run the business side of your HVAC company will save you some growing pains. Hire help when you need it.