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Are HVAC Marketing Postcards Still Effective? Here’s What the Data Says

March 19, 2019 • We live in an increasingly digital world. You’re more connected to your customers (and future customers) than ever, but it can still be tricky to cut through the noise to ensure your business stands out. That’s why it’s important to consider a range of marketing strategies, including more traditional methods like sending postcards out in the mail. Direct mail marketing like HVAC postcards delivered to your customers’ door might seem a bit old school – and it is – but there’s a reason this method has stuck around for so long. Sending postcards via old-fashioned snail mail can help your business stand out and build brand awareness over time. (Picture a postcard with your coupon stuck to a customer’s fridge vs. a promotional email that goes straight to junk mail). However, direct mail is only a good investment if you do it right. So, today we’ll compare the pros and cons of direct mail marketing and look at the potential impact of HVAC postcards. Plus, we’ll discuss tips to make your HVAC postcards as effective as possible. We created digital postcards like the one above available to anyone. Download the Free Template Now If you're a Housecall Pro customer, these postcards are already available in your account and can be delivered automatically to your customers' doorsteps. Not a customer? Try Free for 14-days and start managing your home service business in one-place , including direct mail marketing. The Pros and Cons of Direct Marketing As with any form of advertising, there are pros and cons to using direct mail to market your business. It’s important to have a solid understanding of both before diving in to create your own HVAC postcard marketing campaign. The Benefits of Sending HVAC Postcards Sending HVAC marketing postcards allows you to: Get Noticed: A recent Canada Post study found that more people notice and read direct mail (53%) than email messages (26%). A promotional email might end up in someone’s junk folder or get deleted before they even open it. Alternatively, with physical mail, the recipient must collect and sort each item by hand. Build Brand Awareness: How many times have you received a coupon or promo code in the mail and stuck it on your fridge? When potential customers get your postcard in the mail, there’s a good chance they’ll hang on to it for future reference – especially if it includes an attractive promotion. So, even if they don’t end up calling you right away, you’ve still made a lasting impression. Drum Up Repeat Business: HVAC postcards aren’t just something you should send to potential customers. By sending postcards directly to your existing customer base, you can encourage them to call you for seasonal maintenance. Building Stronger Customer Relationship: Postcard marketing can also help businesses build a stronger customer relationship. Even if the postcard is not promotional, it would still be helpful to send your customer a thank you note or to remind them for another service in the future. The Drawbacks of Using HVAC Postcards OK, we’ve seen that direct mail can be a powerful method for marketing your HVAC business. Now let’s take a look at the other side of the coin, so you can make an informed decision about whether HVAC postcards are a worthwhile investment for you. The drawbacks of marketing postcards include: Higher Cost than Email Marketing: Cost is probably the biggest reason business owners hesitate to experiment with direct mail marketing. You don’t need to spend a ton to run an HVAC postcard campaign, but there are a few extra costs involved. Namely, you need to design and print your cards – and pay for postage. Tracking Results Can Be Tricky: You need to get creative about how you track the impact of your HVAC postcards. Whereas email marketing allows you to see how many people receive, open, and click on links within your message, tracking with direct mail is a bit more complicated. However, you can combat this by including unique promotional codes that are associated with a specific postcard campaign. So, when someone calls and says they received a discount code in the mail, you’ll know exactly which postcard they’re talking about – which means you’ll know which pieces generate the most leads. Want Better Bang for Your Buck? Make Your HVAC Postcards as Effective as Possible On average, direct mail campaigns have a return rate between .5% to 2% . So, if you send out 100 postcards to local homeowners, you should get a response from up to two people. To maximize your potential ROI, follow these tips for creating impactful HVAC postcards. 1. Know Your Target Market Done right, direct mail allows you to decide exactly who sees your marketing (unlike many digital ads that are more loosely targeted). So, when building your mailing list, it’s important to only include people who are potential customers. For instance, you wouldn’t want to send postcards to people outside of your service area or renters without the power or need to hire you. You should also consider creating more than one list, so you can target different homeowners with different offers. As an example, an HVAC business might create separate lists for existing customers, new local housing developments, and homeowners in older neighborhoods who might need more in-depth services now or in the near future. 2. Keep Your Design Simple and Easy-to-Read Don’t try to squeeze too many visual elements onto a single postcard. After all, the point is to communicate value and build brand awareness at a glance. So, unless the recipient can look at your postcard and instantly know who you are and what you’re offering, your ad won’t be very effective. You should use color and font size to draw attention to key elements. This creates an information hierarchy that tells people what they should look at first. In most cases, you want to make sure your headline and call-to-action are larger than the details of your offering. 3. Include a Clear Call-to-Action To avoid information overload, focus on one promotion per postcard. Whether your goal is to drive people to visit your website, generate referrals, or simply build brand awareness, include a clear call-to-action to make it happen. For instance, if you want future customers to have your number handy when they need an HVAC pro, try out CTAs that encourage them to hang on to your postcard. Something as simple as “Save this card!” or “Keep this code to get 10% off in April” can help get your postcard pinned to the fridge. 4. Get the Timing Right Not sure when should you send out your HVAC postcards? The ideal timing for your campaign depends on your strategy. For targeting existing customers, for example, you could send out bi-annual postcards reminding them of the importance of seasonal maintenance. If they receive your postcard every spring and fall, it’ll become second nature for them to call you to help winterize their home. On the other hand, for targeting potential customers who have never hired you before, you can try sending postcards more frequently. Use different CTAs and deals for first-time customers until you find something that hooks them. 5. Remove Addresses from Your Mailing List If any of your postcards fail to deliver and are returned to you, that’s a sign you should clean up your mailing list. Remove old contacts from your list to avoid wasting future postcards (and postage) on outdated addresses. 6. Track Your Results Add a unique tracking number or promotional code to each run of postcards. This helps you determine which postcards are most effective at bringing in new customers. You can use this knowledge to make improvements and test different designs and messaging until you find the perfect formula. Receive free digital postcard templates to use for your own marketing. Download the Free Template Now If you're a Housecall Pro customer, these postcards are already available in your account and can be delivered automatically to your customers' doorsteps. Not a customer? Try Free for 14-days and start managing your home service business in one-place , including direct mail marketing.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

CATEGORY: Article

How to Get HVAC Leads: Strategies to Grow Your HVAC Business

March 18, 2019 • Everyone needs HVAC services, whether it's to warm up their homes or cool down their refrigerators. Finding customers should be easy, so why does it feel so hard? Unfortunately, the reality of owning an HVAC business means that you’ll always need more customers in order to grow. Sure, you can install an air conditioning unit and service it regularly, but that’s not enough to keep you floating above your bottom line. Maybe when summer hits, you get dozens of phone calls with the need for cold air ASAP but when that rush dies, the crickets start to chirp. Constant customer acquisition has to be the name of your game. You can’t wait around patiently for people to pick up the phone and give you a dial; you need to take action. Even if you’ve been in the HVAC business servicing your local area for decades, in the famous words, “if you’re not growing, you’re dying”. Finding new customers can be tricky, but it’s all about strategizing new ways to land hot leads to increase your revenue. We’ll give you the rundown on our best tips and tricks to boost your business by generating leads that convert to customers. Best ways to get HVAC leads Boost your online presence Build your social media platforms Strategize your SEO Run paid advertisements Build your online review portfolio Offer referral incentivization Outsource the heavy lifting Create and plan for realistic goals Best Ways to Get HVAC Leads There are plenty of strategies you can use to increase the number of HVAC leads you receive. Check out our top seven tactics and get ready to start answering a lot of phone calls. Boost your online presence It’s no secret that the digital age has made us pretty dependent on the internet for finding information lightning fast. Keep this in mind, when it comes to accessing a larger market of HVAC customer leads. Building a stronger and more intentional online presence will benefit both you and your potential customers. Put yourself into their shoes: if you were on the hunt for specific information because you need to schedule service as soon as possible, you would probably do a quick Google search to see who’s available in the area. Become an online resource Being an online resource for immediate answers and service solutions will attract HVAC leads and enrich customer experience from the get-go. To make your business stand out, incorporate a blog section on your website and grab HVAC content marketing by the horns. Writing informative blog posts about common home HVAC issues and fixes will solve the needs of your readers, draw potential leads to your website, and boost the probability that they will contact your business for a consultation or repair. You’ll establish yourself as an expert in your industry and your clients will be far more trusting of your HVAC brand. Next time they need to get a job done, you’ll be the first one they call. Build your social media platforms An online presence is essential for generating HVAC leads, but go one step further by creating a presence on social media , too! Younger generations in particular (we’re looking at you, first-time home buyer) use social media platforms to get a feel for companies—whether they know it or not. A lot of it is actually subconscious with endless and mindless scrolling until users come across a post that catches their eye. And that’s why so many businesses use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to share digestible content such as photos, statistics, and industry news with potential clients. Create profiles for free in just minutes Creating social media profiles are usually free of charge, plus you can get access to data that allows you to track who’s visiting your profile and the impact their traffic is having. If you shake your head at social media, think again. Research shows that 50% of business owners reported that they were able to grow sales through social media marketing. If you’re wondering how to get HVAC leads and aren’t already on social media, you’re not doing it right. Facebook is home to over 2 billion users, so it’s almost guaranteed that locals in your town and neighboring cities leverage this tool to find people, locate services, and read reviews. We recommend maintaining an active status on Facebook to interact with customers and answer questions. Setting up a free business page on Facebook can be done within minutes and the payoff can be pretty big. With this tool in your toolkit, you’ll be able to use Facebook’s analytical insights, reach your targeted audiences, and capture the desired HVAC lead sources you’re searching for. Strategize your SEO Search engine optimization (SEO) is probably a term you’ve heard thrown around in the business world. SEO is an essential piece to drawing in online traffic and nailing down how to get HVAC leads. When people search for information about a heating repair or a local HVAC servicer in their area, you want your site and company name to be one of the first results they see on Google. In order to capture one of those coveted top spots, you’ll need to optimize your website to strengthen your online authority. This means incorporating relevant keywords pertaining to your services, location, and various HVAC solutions. Some keywords related to your business that you might want to target include: “HVAC near me” “A/C repair” “How to fix thermostat” If you’re not sure which keywords to go after, there are plenty of free, online tools that can help you. Optimized content copy shows higher up in those search results, gives you greater visibility and draws more potential HVAC leads to your website. Run paid advertisements Adding paid advertisements to your HVAC content marketing strategy is another trick to boost online traffic to generate more leads. Whether you’re a new or a long-established business, running online ads is one of the best ways to get HVAC leads. Paid ads grab users attention quickly and give you the exposure and traffic needed to boost your business. Google and Facebook both offer paid search and paid social services that will ultimately maximize your business visibility and increase overall leads and sales. Build your online review portfolio There’s no doubt that many small businesses have love/hate relationships with online reviews. However, building a portfolio of glowing, happy testimonials can create a ton of HVAC leads. Ultimately, customers want a professional they know they can trust in their home who can get the job done quickly and without errors. Feedback from happy customers is your ticket to convincing them you’re the one who’s right for the job. How to improve your online reviews and get more jobs for your HVAC business? Housecall Pro has a solution . Make sure you ask for reviews After servicing a client, ask them if they wouldn’t mind leaving a review on Facebook, Google, or Yelp (these three sites are some of the most frequented for business reviews). The more positive reviews, the better. But hey, you can’t please everyone. If you don’t get a 5-Star rating, it’s not the end of the world. You just have to learn how to respond to negative reviews to retain those leads. Get more 5-star reviews for your HVAC business with Housecall Pro. Learn more . Offer referral incentivization In addition to asking clients to leave reviews, you could also ask them to refer a friend . Referrals are one of the easiest methods of gaining new HVAC leads! People tend to trust their friends and family when it comes to business recommendations, so when you service one home, you could gain a whole community of loyal customers through word of mouth. Creating an incentivized program encourages clients to spread your company brand name. You can extend your network by offering discounted service rates to those who successfully refer a family member or friend. It’s a win-win for all parties. Outsource the heavy lifting Strategizing how to get HVAC leads and pinning down reliable HVAC lead sources takes a lot of planning, organizing, writing, and financing. If you and your small business would rather leave it in the hands of experts to boost your visibility and smooth out those painstaking kinks, outsourcing to a marketing team is an easy fix. Search for marketing companies online that specialize in your industry and look for successful case studies of businesses they’ve helped grow. You might have to pay anywhere between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars, but you’ll be able to work with a team of experts who can make your marketing vision a reality. Meanwhile, you’ll be able to kick back and let the marketers do their thing while you take care of the rest of your business. Smart marketing companies might suggest utilizing HVAC software to better organize your business. From online booking to follow up email marketing, this specialized software presents a number of simplified advantages. Housecall Pro is the all-in-one software to run your HVAC business. From online booking, custom text, schedule & dispatch, invoicing, payment processing to follow up marketing, this service can help you grow revenue by 30% in your 1st year. Start your free 14 day trial with Housecall Pro today . Create and plan for realistic goals Running an HVAC business requires plenty of hard work, planning, and problem-solving. Running a successful HVAC business takes all of the same attention, but with a keener sense of target goals and a thorough understanding of your company’s position within the market Before tackling how to get HVAC leads, you should have a firm grasp on what your business is capable of and what your financial goals are. Consider the following: How many service calls will be needed to fulfill revenue goals? How many technicians will you employ? How many installers will you employ? How many salespeople will you employ? What adjustments must be made for the holiday season? Which months are your busiest? Which are your slowest? If at all, how will you modify your service price list? Planning with these questions in mind will give you a sharpened understanding of your labor requirements and expectations—making future planning less abstract and more rooted in bottom line costs. Once you have a sure grip on labor as well as your company blueprint expectations and expenses, you can launch your plan of action. The HVAC market is full of hungry entrepreneurs like yourself, but in order to nab new HVAC leads, research will go a long way when figuring out how to grow your HVAC business . Customers who have exceptional experiences with you, your technicians, or your company are far more likely to dial you up again the next time they're in need. Giving them a reason to believe in your company and have faith in your services is a marketing strategy within itself. A company that looks, feels, and performs as well as it promises is already on a clear pathway to success.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

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6 Steps to a Memorable HVAC Customer Service Experience

March 15, 2019 • Life is very much about experiences. From an incredible meal at a much-loved restaurant to a perfect vacation spot nestled in the rugged mountains or along a sandy coastline, we strive for moments that stand out. It should come as no surprise those seeking help with their heating and cooling needs would want the same thing from their HVAC company. Okay, maybe a condensing unit repair isn't exactly sipping an umbrellaed drink somewhere on a beach. The experience for the client, however, can mean just as much. After all, you are addressing issues that directly affect a vital everyday concern of theirs - how comfortable they are in their home. Resolving the problems quickly and professionally will make you a hero. It can also create a long term client and plenty of future referrals. What does an amazing customer experience look like? More importantly, how do you provide that experience to your customers consistently? From the first call for service to the final follow-up and beyond, these are the six critical steps to make your customer's journey a rewarding one, even if it doesn't end at the base of a snow covered mountain. 1. Make Every Call Count The first impression is one that lasts. That very first call, email or other inquiry you receive from a prospect sets the tone for the relationship the customer has with your company. So make it count. You rarely get an opportunity to correct a poor first impression. The best way to avoid a bad initial encounter is to make sure you have a great one. Pro Tip: Don’t immediately place new callers on hold, even in the midst of a chaotic part of the day. Make the time to speak with and understand a caller's concerns; don’t rush them off the phone. If you or your team are overwhelmed, that demand might be justification for more help (with the costs more than covered by all of the new business). Answer emails within 12 business hours. If that proves a struggle, common responses to common inquiries are okay as long as the reply is personalized. Sometimes, the most straightforward need of the customer is just to be acknowledged. Monitor social channels: if you utilize online chat or social media as a means for consumers to interact with your company, monitor those channels regularly. Pro Tip: Regardless of how you structure your first line of contact, the key to growing your business is the ability to respond to it. 2. Customers Value Their Time - You Should Too Few if any individuals enjoy waiting around for nothing to happen. You don’t like it. Your team doesn’t like it. Most of all your customers don’t like it. Internally, a well-run operation dedicates itself to managing a tight and efficient schedule. You have your service area mapped, your techs accounted for, assigned and en route, and an understanding of the day's workload. Wonder how you can manage your HVAC business schedule and dispatch more efficiently? Housecall Pro has a solution . Take it further and make certain that all of the appointments during that day understand all of the information as well. When scheduling a call-up front, give the customer an accurate window of when a tech will arrive. If you want to rise above all other providers, make the window as small as possible - two hours, instead of four or, if you're ambitious, try for one hour, instead of two. On your way? Let the individual know when you're coming. If a job takes longer than anticipated, let the next appointment know. A lot of overheated clients can be cooled off if someone keeps them aware of their place in line. Even better is that many individuals are satisfied with a text. When you get there, don’t waste time at the job either. At that moment, the customer is the focus - not a personal phone call, not a break for a snack, not a back and forth with dispatch on non-related concerns. Yes, your company's time is valuable. The client's time, however, is even more so. Don’t take that for granted at any point in the relationship. 3. Don’t Undervalue the Many Forms of Communication If making repairs to heating and air conditioning systems were easy, everyone would do it, right? For many homeowners, the ins and outs of HVAC are indeed a foreign language. They understand the basics - hot, cold, and some of what’s in between - but that knowledge is lacking should a minor concern become a major repair. Employ appointment schedulers to help clients get to the heart of their concern. Train techs to aptly explain to homeowners the steps being taken to resolve their problem. Pro Tip: Never let a tech leave a job without walking through the final repairs with the customer. Communication isn’t limited only to the service call, repair job, or follow-up (which we cover below). Engaging with customers - both current and future - means developing an ongoing relationship. Your website is the perfect medium for this. With informative blog posts about all things HVAC and videos that present heating and cooling how-tos or product demonstrations, you can extend your brand beyond its primary service function. Not only will this shine a spotlight on your company’s expertise, but it will also inform consumers that you’re more than just basic service. Yours is a base of knowledge, dedicated to educating owners about one of the most vital systems in their home.   4. Would You Do Business With Your Business? It's a good question that many companies do not ask enough. If you were someone in need of a system tune-up or replacement of a major component, would you hire you? Is your office and sales team friendly and informative, and quick to respond to clients? Are your service technicians professional and courteous with clean, crisp uniforms and trucks that are kept equally immaculate? Do you ensure that all information and promotional materials - website, brochures, newsletters, mailers - are polished, error-free and convey positive messaging? When thinking about how your HVAC company presents itself to clients, understand the positive message you want to convey is a collective one. To achieve that cohesive image, everyone must be on the same page. Make sure your office team (and your field team, too) are friendly and informative and know where to get answers for customers when issues come up. Your techs often have to work outdoors or in hot, dirty attics or crawl spaces. Have them keep extra shirts handy, so they can show up to each job as if it were their first of the day. Of course, along with the uniforms, the tools your company use should also be kept clean and are in working order ready for any job. Your equipment may not be new, but there’s no reason for it not to look and perform that way. Customers notice that kind of thing. More importantly, those are the companies they want to do business with. 5. Make Doing Business Easy So when people do decide to use your heating or cooling services, do you make that engagement easy for them? Technology has simplified our lives beyond measure. How we do business is perhaps one of the most profound areas of innovation. Everything is designed to make life easier. If you hope to generate and convert leads or keep customers coming back, you must offer tools that uncomplicate how they engage your company. Appeal to mobile users by allowing them to set appointments from their phone. Streamline your estimating and invoicing processes by going paperless. Enable field techs to accept payments via tablet or smartphone. All of the above functions can be achieved faster and easier with Housecall Pro. Try Free for 14-days . Yes, there will be a segment of client angling for old school methods. More and more though, if your company isn’t looking towards the future and employing new and more advanced efficiencies, it will be left behind. 6. Follow-Up When you finish a job, it's easy to forget it and move on to the next one. Don’t. Happy, satisfied clients are your greatest resource, so stay connected to them. Whether it be a call or an email, touch base with the client between 24 and 48 hours after service (never let it linger more than that). Housecall Pro helps facilitate this with automated postcards and emails. If a client had a great experience with your HVAC team, a timely follow-up would put them further over the top. Aside from checking in on them, it’s also a good idea to mention referral rewards, should they know anyone else requiring service. More than just an immediate after service check-in, keep touch with your clients throughout the year. Information-packed newsletters and promotional mailers (with discounts for valued clients) keep your company and the homeowner’s needs front and center. Final Thoughts It doesn’t take as much as you’d think to separate yourself from other HVAC competitors. Much like those vacations we mentioned in the opening, customers are looking for reasons to love your service. They don’t just want their heating or cooling problems solved, they want to be wowed and impressed, and tell others about their remarkable experience. Being good at what you do no doubt helps. However, being great with those you do help is what will make your business shine above all others. It will also provide your valued clients with more than just a service, but an experience.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

HVAC Customer Service Cover Image

HVAC Books: The Best Books for HVAC Beginners & Experts

March 11, 2019 • Regardless of industry, maintaining and growing a business means keeping up with the latest technologies, research, and product innovation. How does one do that? It’s as simple as opening a book. As an HVAC professional, you know the importance of staying on top of what’s happening in your field. The heating and cooling industry seems to change every year, thanks to a constant stream of new technologies and shifting HVAC business trends. This all boils down to one truth: the moment you stop learning, your business will stop growing. Reading HVAC-focused books can help you keep tabs on the latest strategies, tools, and research in order to keep up with (and beat out) the competition. Luckily, you won’t be hard-pressed to find great HVAC books. There are somewhere between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books published every year in the United States alone, with plenty of HVAC–focused options among them. Unfortunately, even with so many books available, many of us fail to take advantage of this amazing resource. According to SmithsonianMag 27% of U.S. adults didn't read a single book within the last 12 months. Run an HVAC business? Learn how Housecall Pro can be a game changer for you and your team. Don’t become a part of this statistic—make a commitment to reading several HVAC books this year, and you’ll see rewards sooner than you think. The more you know about HVAC services, specialties, and advancements, the more successful your HVAC business will be. With these HVAC books in your arsenal, you can stay up to date with the industry, optimize your services, and grow your business—all with the turn of a page. Click on a section to jump to a particular category, or check out the post in full to read up (no pun intended) on the books you need in your business library. Best HVAC Training Books Best HVAC Technician Books Best HVAC Certification Books Best HVAC Troubleshooting Books Best HVAC Business Books More Resources to Continue Your Learning Best HVAC Training Books If you’re at the beginning of your HVAC career, or want to learn more about what this job requires, these HVAC training books are a great starting point: Modern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Best For : “HVAC Fundamentals” This is a classic and a must-have for any tech’s HVAC book collection. Currently, this HVAC book has 20 editions under its belt and contains information about business fundamentals, service techniques, and tips for diagnosing HVAC problems. Learn important skills and gain more insight into the theory behind some of the HVAC industry’s guiding principles. Consider this to be your essential foundation book—great for HVAC newbies, but also a fantastic resource for seasoned professionals that want to brush up on HVAC fundamentals. Each chapter contains specific modules to help you zone in on particular topics, with clear and concise explanations. You’ll start with basic principles and slowly advance into more complex theories, all laid out in an easy-to-read format. Check out the latest information and guidelines put forth by the EPA, and browse the most recent methods of sizing, installing, and maintaining refrigeration systems and air conditioning units. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology Best For : “HVAC troubleshooting & diagnosing” With over 1,600 pages designed to help HVAC professionals troubleshoot, diagnose, and maintain heating and cooling systems, you’ll find Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology a valuable resource. This HVAC book contains hands-on guidance, practical applications, and a comprehensive look at some of the most common issues HVAC technicians face. Not sold? This HVAC book has been helping industry professionals for over 25 years. Now in its 8th edition, you can read about all the latest industry advances, plus dive into the soft skills and customer service problems that can affect your business’s success. Gain insight into common issues with industry examples, detailed photos, and Service Call features you won’t find in other HVAC reads. 101 Ways to Suck as an HVAC Technician Best For : “A laugh & what NOT to do as an HVAC technician” Think HVAC books are boring? Think again. 101 Ways to Suck as an HVAC Technician is guaranteed to make you laugh—and make you think about your future service calls a bit differently. Bring some fun into your HVAC library. In this HVAC book, you can read stories about hilarious technicians mishaps and mistakes. While meant to entertain, these anecdotes can actually teach you a thing or two about what to do and what NOT to do in the field. Building Environments: HVAC Systems Best For : “An inside look into the mechanical workings of an HVAC system” As an HVAC technician, you’ll be tasked with creating a healthy indoor environment—not always as easy as it sounds. This text can help you understand the basics of HVAC systems and their controls. With 270 illustrations, you’ll read and see exactly what goes into these complex systems—and learn without being overwhelmed. Study easy-to-read explanations that show how mechanical and control systems work together to create high-quality building environments. Best HVAC Technician Books Perhaps you’re already deep into your HVAC career. If you’re a practicing technician, you know first-hand the challenges that different jobs can present. Make sure you’re ready for anything that comes your way in the field by brushing up on the following HVAC tech books: HVAC Equations, Data, and Rules of Thumb Best For : “Keeping up with HVAC codes, standards & equations” This handbook is an industry standard, and for good reason. In its 600 pages, you can read up on a wide array of HVAC design information. As its title suggests, this book is filled to the brim with field-tested equations, rules of thumb that have saved many techs from embarrassing mistakes, and up-to-date data on the latest building materials and components. Learn how to read and interpret all codes and standards used in the HVAC industry, including NFPA, ICC, NEC, and ASHRAE. Go over definitions and find in-depth teachings about: HVAC System Selection Criteria Design Conditions Energy Conservation Cooling and Heating Load Factors Air Distribution Systems Piping Systems, Including Plastic Piping Central Plant Equipment Automatic Temperature Controls/Building Automation Systems Noise and Vibration Control Architectural, Structural, and Electrical Considerations Properties of Air and Water Auxiliary Equipment Sustainability Guidelines HVAC Controls Manual Best For : “Understanding fundamental HVAC concepts” A quick but helpful read, this reference manual breaks down pneumatic controls and goes into fundamental HVAC concepts, including auxiliary devices, master and submaster theory, as well as the basic components of a control system. Use the exam at the back of the book to test your knowledge and spot any areas you need to brush up on. ACCA Technical Manuals Best For : “An in-depth understanding of HVAC” The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) is a great resource that can help you gain a better understanding of HVAC systems. The ACCA offers several technical manuals that cover a wide variety of design, install, and repair topics, including: Residential Load Calculation Residential Duct Design Residential Equipment Selection Commercial Load Calculation Commercial Duct Design Commercial Systems Overview Balancing & Testing Air & Hydronics Systems Residential Zoning Systems Residential Systems Overview Air Distribution Basics Heat Pump Systems Swimming Pools & Spas Psychrometrics Most ACCA technical manuals follow ANSI standards and come with training spreadsheets. These HVAC books are a benchmark in the industry; many of ACCA’s technical manuals are actually used as references in building codes across the United States—talk about a mark of approval. Best HVAC Certification Books Looking to get your next HVAC certification? Before signing up for your exam, make sure you study from the following prep books: The Guide to the NATE-ICE Certification Exams Best For : “HVAC/R NATE and ICE preparation” If you want to pass the HVAC/R NATE and ICE certification examinations, this review tool is a must-have. This HVAC book features two sections: the first is a comprehensive study guide that reviews a wide array of procedures and concepts. Move onto the second part and test yourself with 2,400 questions, covering topics such as electrical theory, indoor air quality and safety, EPA certification, system components, tool requirements, duct fabrication, and plenty more. Take practice tests, and use the answer key to check your work. With a few quizzes, you can determine how ready you are for the actual exam. ESCO Institute Section 608 Certification Exam Preparatory Manual for Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technicians Best For : “EPA exam preparation” If you want to prep for an upcoming Certification exam, this manual is a great resource. The ESCO Institute Section 608 EPA Preparatory Manual (what a mouthful) includes all of the questions found within the EPA exam and has been a staple exam prep tool for many HVAC students. Step by Step to Passing the EPA 608 Certification Exam Best For : “Questions previously used on the EPA exam” Need an EPA prep book that takes you through all your paces? Study the Core, Type I, Type II, Type III, and universal exams for a well-rounded study experience. You’ll also see practice questions that have been previously included on the test. HVAC Licensing Study Guide, Third Edition Best For : “Preparing for all major HVAC licensing exams” Don’t pass up the HVAC Licensing Study Guide, because this third edition prep book won’t leave you wanting. Study more than 800 practice questions and answers and increase your chances of passing all major HVAC licensing exams—on your first attempt. This comprehensive resource features troubleshooting tips, detailed illustrations, and updated codes and standards you’ll need to comply with in the field. Best HVAC Troubleshooting Books HVAC Troubleshooting Guide Best For : “In-depth HVAC troubleshooting tips” Whether you’re working industrial, residential, or commercial jobs, this HVAC Troubleshooting Guide is a must-have. Containing information about how to read and prepare electrical schematics and mechanical plans, you can use this guide to brush up on important HVAC facts and figures. With detailed illustrations, informative charts, and in-depth troubleshooting tips, you’ll be better prepared to tackle any job if you’ve got this guide in your back pocket. With the HVAC Troubleshooting Guide, you can learn more about: Identifying and safely using new and old equipment/tools Using heat pumps and hot air furnaces Calculating ventilation requirements Working with refrigeration equipment Operating and repairing electric motors Programming thermostats Insulating System Diagnostics and Troubleshooting Procedures Best For : “Troubleshooting a variety of HVAC problems” You can never have too many troubleshooting resources—after all, you want to prove to customers there’s no HVAC problem you or your team can’t fix. This HVAC book provides essential information today’s techs need to diagnose (and solve) many of the major air conditioning and refrigeration system issues. In this guide’s pages, you can read up on troubleshooting a variety of problems, including: Airflow problems Refrigerant cycle malfunctions Suction and liquid line restrictions Oil logged evaporators Undercharge and overcharge issues Compressor inefficiencies Restricted metering devices ….and plenty more. If there’s a problem, this book will help you solve it. Best HVAC Business Books Improving your HVAC services is about more than brushing up on the latest technical reads. If you own an HVAC company, you need to consider books that cover pricing models, business best practices, and much more. Make sure you put these HVAC business books on your reading list: HVAC Spells Wealth Best For : “A comprehensive guide to running your HVAC business Every self-respecting HVAC business owner should put this book on their reading list. Pegged as the most comprehensive and best-selling “how to” HVAC book available, this book has made its way into the hands of HVAC contractors, vendors, associations, and manufacturers across the world. Learn how to build, manage, and maintain residential retail HVAC businesses, and decimate the competition with important education, tools, and anecdotes. In “THE” book of the HVAC industry, you’ll find tips and strategies about: Basic business fundamentals How to handle customers Best practices for dealing with coworkers and employees Marketing and sales Processes and systems Industry commentary The Power of Positive Pricing Best For : “Pricing your HVAC services” Pricing can be one of the most challenging aspects of running a successful service business. Are you charging enough? Too little? What’s the sweet spot? Learn the answers to these questions and more in The Power of Positive Pricing. This book was written for all service company owners, and designed to help you strategically price your offerings. Learn how to price your HVAC installations and project work, create service agreement prices, and properly present prices to customers—plus a whole lot more. With details on discounts, margin pricing, and overhead costs, you can help position your business to be more profitable with the tips contained in these pages. HVAC Business: A Detailed Business and Marketing Plan Best For : “Developing a plan for your HVAC business” Learn how to get new clients—and keep them. This ebook provides details on writing an HVAC business plan and includes pro tips and examples. Whether you’re thinking about starting your own HVAC business or you’re already the proud owner of an established HVAC company, “HVAC Business: A Detailed Business and Marketing Plan” contains important insights you can use to make more money and keep business coming back. Resources to Continue your HVAC Learning Already read your way through our list of the best HVAC books for today’s HVAC students, techs, and business owners? The learning doesn’t have to stop there. There are plenty of resources you can use to continue your learning, from online publications to podcasts. Run an HVAC business? Learn how Housecall Pro can be a game changer for you and your team. Use online resources There’s no limit to the number of online resources that you can use to continue your HVAC education. Service industries must evolve to meet the modern consumer’s needs, and using online resources is one way to accomplish that. From HVAC software to Youtube tutorials, there are plenty of ways to use the world wide web to your business advantage - and reach new clients in the process. Analyze case studies Looking at large-scale case studies from some of the world’s most successful HVAC manufacturers and service groups is a great way to continue your learning. Here are just a few samples of case studies you can read up on: Lakos Case Studies Johnson Controls Case Studies Piedmont Service Group Case Studies Krueger Case Studies Star Service, Inc. Case Studies Take a look at what the major players are doing, and translate their success into your own. Subscribe to HVAC-specific publications Taking the time to read industry publications is one of the best ways to learn more about the HVAC field as a whole. Turn your email inbox into a treasure trove of new HVAC information. Subscribe to HVAC publications and keep up with their content. Digital editions make it easy to access the latest HVAC information, and tracking these types of publications can help you learn about upcoming webinars, conferences, new products, and even job openings in your area. These publications also give you the opportunity to network - and maybe somewhere down the line publish your own thoughts on industry challenges and strategies. Check out the following HVAC publications as a starting point: HVAC Insider : This digital trade publication can keep you updated on conferences, competitions, and expositions. Check out news articles, keep tabs on market trends, and browse product showcases to see the latest and greatest to hit the field. The ACHR News : This publication offers helpful articles, educational webinars, and comes out weekly in both print and digital editions. HVACR Business : Want to learn more about business best practices? This publication should be your go-to. Check out their “Business Advice” section and read about legal issues, HVAC training, strategy, and plenty more. Contractor Magazine : While not solely focused on heating and cooling, Contractor Magazine still offers plenty of helpful articles for the HVAC technician. Read about technology, tools, and green energy efforts happening in and out of the HVAC industry. Grow your network Speaking of networking, are you putting effort into meeting other service professionals in your industry? Growing your network is a stepping stone to expanding your business, and can actually be a lot of fun, too! Meet Business Owners, Technicians & Students There’s a huge community of HVAC business owners, technicians, and students out there that can help you expand your own professional horizons—you’ve just got to find them. Beyond checking into online forums and reaching out to local professionals near you, you can utilize Housecall Pro’s network of 20,000+ home service professionals. Take advantage of https://www.facebook.com/groups/HousecallPros/">exclusive Facebook groups and https://www.housecallpro.com/mastermind">mastermind events to learn what you might be missing in your service business. Like-minded business owners and techs can help you learn more about your own trade, and teach you how to bring in even more customers. Home service professionals across industries face many of the same challenges. Gaining insight from people who’ve been through it before can provide the support and knowledge you need to overcome any obstacles you encounter. Attend HVAC events The daily hustle and bustle of HVAC service work can make it hard to focus on anything other than what’s happening in the now. However, it’s important to step back and take a look at the bigger picture every now and again. Keep up with current HVAC trends Attending training events, conferences, seminars, and trade shows can help you gain a wider view of industry happenings. Checking in at these events can help you learn the latest on technology and HVAC trends, and help you build connections in your industry. Additionally, if you live in a state that requires continuing education (CE) hours for certification, some of these events may count towards your required quota. Listen to podcasts It’s 2019 and it’s high time to join the podcast bandwagon if you haven’t already. This popular form of media has taken the digital world by storm the past few years, and there are plenty of HVAC resources you can listen to. Check out some of these titles on your favorite streaming service, and tune in during your next drive to a job: HVAC 360 HVAC School HVAC Expert! David’s HVAC CHILLCAST HVAC Control Talk Final Thoughts If you want to grow your business, challenge yourself to keep learning. Read about what’s trending in the industry, take notes on new strategies for technical jobs, and gain insight into the business acumen needed to increase your bottom line. If you fill your reference library with the above HVAC book titles, you can’t go wrong. With these books in your arsenal, you’ll be well prepared to take your business to new heights.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Best HVAC Books for Beginners and Experts

Housecall Pro announces February 2019 Superpros

March 8, 2019 • SAN DIEGO, March 8, 2019 - Housecall Pro, the #1 rated app for home service companies, has announced the February cohort of Superpros.  This program is dedicated to defining excellence and identifying the highest quality local home service companies. The Superpro community includes the best Pros in each industry across the country, allowing for a unique opportunity to connect with equal caliber service professionals. Every month, we award this status to Housecall Pros dedicated to providing their customers with a transparent, modern, and online experience from day one, establishing a strong relationship for years to come. At this time, only 5% of Housecall Pro users are awarded with Superpro status. The Superpro Program was relaunched in the beginning of this year with a new application and stricter eligibility requirements. These requirements include offering a seamless online booking experience for customers on both website and Facebook pages, detailed and personable pictures and descriptions for all services to further facilitate an easy and customer-friendly booking experience, an average of 4.5 star reviews across all platforms, and high-account usage. We do a detailed audit of the Pro’s account to ensure they have met all requirements. Once they have been approved for Superpro status, we require the Pro to sign the Superpro Code of Ethics. This Superpro Codes of Ethics is signed by the company promising elite professionalism, quick response times to both customers and other Pros, and overall responsibilities as a Superpro in the home service community. Together, Superpros are dedicated to bringing trust and value back into the trades. Service professionals who have earned this award will have unique badges displayed on their websites and company profiles to distinguish them as 2019 Superpros. This award is earned every year and the status is valid for a year after acceptance. At that time, the Superpro will be reevaluated to ensure that they still meet all of the eligibility requirements. To apply to be a 2019 Superpro click here. Our February Superpros: Kings of Steam Prime Electric 1st Choice Phlebotomy Service Curb Appeal Solutions LLC AirPro Carolina, LLC Dirty2Dreamy Detail Services Antioch Heating & Cooling Best Impressions Mobile Detail Clean Air Columbia McCall Enterprises, Inc. Bee-Kleen Professional Carpet Cleaning & More AZ’s Best Pipe Doctor Plumbing, LLC Certified Restoration Quality Heating & Cooling MasterPro Service Inc Spotless Tile & Grout LLC ROX Heating & Air M&M Services Noble Carpet Cleaners Electrician On Call Titus Electrical Services Clark's Heating and Air Rug'it Cleaning Unstoppable Home Services E.W. Tompkins Plumbing Heating Cooling Doc's of Denver Eco Heating and Cooling, LLC Dr The Signal, LLC The Heat and Air Guy Go Squeaky Clean Fuse HVAC & Appliance Repair Diamondback Mechanical Group Revolution Air Browns Heating and Air Crew Home Services Five Star Service Company DRI Ready, LLC. Hardwood Your Home HYPER Purity Cleaning Systems Majestic Painting Company Inc. Clemenets Electric Action Steam Cleaning Reliable Pool Enclosures & Screens Glaze Heating & Air, LLC Resendez Bros. Carpet & Tile Cleaning Chapin Piano Service 1st Response Pest Control Green USA Cleaning LLC Tidewater Pro Air Hunter Electrical Service Precision Mold Testing Great American Cleaning Services Hawkeye Carpet Care Cajun Overhead Door & Repair Service Inc. Kern Floor Care Mr. Maid Enviro Plumbing Inc. Organize It SWFL OxyPro Cleaners, Inc. The Village Chimney Sweep Inc. Making Air Right 5 DIAMOND Manax Plumbing Bigger Better Movers Black Mountain Plumbing Inc. ELECTRIC CITY Tailored Mechanical LLC Rio Rancho Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning LLC Hickory Heating and Cooling LLC T.G. Electrical Services Integrity Home Comfort Solutions, LLC Integrity cleaning Honey Bee Plumbing Pristine Tile & Carpet Cleaning Superior Plumbing and Drains Evolution Deep Clean Good Guy Plumbing Provost Electric, LLC Colorado Virginia Company Big Air Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. Safari Plumbing Arise Plumbing Service LLC On the spot carpet cleaning Anthony James Air Conditioning & Heating LLC 101 Lint Buasters Carpet Care Cleaning & Restortion JunkMD+ Citrus Fresh Carpet Cleaning AltaVista Services Home Advantage Plumbing Services, LLC Steel City Appliance Service Detectives Team Carpet and Flooring Advanced Wildlife Removal May's Heating and Air Conditioning LLC Clean Air Columbia Absolute Best Appliance Shamrock Overhead Door, Inc. Freedom Green Clean Landmark Electric Inc. Stemar Restoration AirCo - Heating and Air Conditioning Services, LLC Best Plumbing Inc. EZ PLUMBING Awnings And More Inc. Rem Carpet And Tile Cleaning Services AIR MED HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING, INC. The Shine Brite Company Facino Heating And Air Dry-N-Clean Carpet Cleaning Mold Bros 518 Floor Care 561 Carpet and Tile C&S Cleaning Services,LLC The Paint Doctor Grateful Plumber Premier Mechanical Avant-Garde LLC AC Man Heating and Air Rardon Home Performance, LLC Kamstra Piano Tuning, LLC Absolute Duct and Chimney Cleaning, Inc. Quikdry Carpet and Tile Cleaning John's Carpet And Upholstery Care Good Guys Heating and Air Conditioning D's Auto Spa And Mobile Detailing The Steam Police, LLC Electric Medics Mega Dry Carpet Cleaning All About Temperature Nick McElroy Electrician Gordon's Appliance Service Air Now Heating & Air Conditioning LLC Mr. Steamers, LLC. Propertifix LLC Verikill Pest Control, Inc. Pioneer Professional Carpet Care Dave Hartzells Heat & Air Vanguard Plumbing & Drains, Inc. Dust Busters of Lake County Severyn Cool Services Airtegrity Comfort Solutions The HVAC Guys South Shore Heating, Air Conditioning and Hydronic Inc. Senergy Plumbing heating & Air Top Notch Appliance Repair & Service, LLC Flow Pro Plumbing A-1 Cleaning Service, LLC Direct AC Aido Climate Solutions Inc. Home Design and Repair Preferred Air Ronnie Jones AC & Heating Safe and Sound Integrations Helpful Badger JennyClean Smart Green Clean Warsh My Windows 24 Hour Air Conditioning & Heating Clean and Green Solutions RepairButlers Core Plumbing Allegence Heating and Air Daniella's Cleaning, LLC

Alexa Greenberg

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Must Have HVAC Tools For Every Professional

March 5, 2019 • If you’re in the heating and cooling service industry, you understand the importance of creating an HVAC toolkit that has everything you could possibly need out on a job. Thermal heating and cooling systems demand a huge spread of equipment to regulate temperature and maintain environments, so it’s easy to understand why technicians need to come equipped with an impressive toolkit in hand. When diagnosing a problem with an HVAC system, there are a number of possible scenarios you could encounter, so it’s important to be stocked with the best HVAC tools for quick and expedited repairs. Who wants to waste time going back to retrieve a tool you forgot? Not profit-driven business owners, that’s for sure! You’re not alone in your search for advanced HVAC tools. Demand for HVAC equipment increase by 6.8% annually through 2019. Don’t know what you should include within your HVAC tools list? We can help! Here, we go over the essential HVAC service tools—from training to specialized jobs—so you’ll never need to scratch your head wondering, “What am I missing?” Whether you’re just getting started with your HVAC service or want to outfit your team with the tools they need to perform each job to standard, this HVAC tool checklist may prove integral to your HVAC business growth . Click on a section below to get straight to the answers you need, or read our checklist end-to-end to make sure your HVAC toolkit is complete. HVAC Technician Tool List HVAC Training Tools HVAC Hand Tools HVAC Sheet Metal Tools HVAC Ductwork Tools HVAC Specialty Tools HVAC Repair Tools HVAC Safety Tools HVAC Business Tools HVAC Technician Tool List As an HVAC technician, you’ll need a collection of HVAC service tools in order to tackle your repair, installation, and maintenance projects. Use this list of HVAC tech tools to find the essentials you’re missing. 1. HVAC Training Tools Before becoming a master of the trade, HVAC students need to invest in must-have HVAC tools. The HVAC industry is rapidly expanding; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for HVAC technicians is anticipated to grow 15% from 2016 through 2026. To ensure success in the field, it’s important to outfit yourself with all the basics. There’s a wide variety of equipment that may be necessary for apprentices to practice their lab exercises and diagnose/repair air conditioning or refrigeration units. If you’re just getting started with your HVAC trade, put these at the top of your HVAC technician tool list—they’ll be absolutely essential in school (and beyond): Working gloves and safety glasses: Start with safety standards and make sure your hands and eyes are protected while on the job. Snips to cut sheet metal: There are three types of tin snips: straight cut, left cut, and right cut.  HVAC installers and sheet metal workers will use these tools the most to cut sheet metal and insulation sheets, but service techs also may find them essential for a job. Flathead and Phillips screwdriver: A versatile screwdriver is an important tool when you’re starting out; as you take on more HVAC jobs, you’ll likely find you need to expand your collection. Combination wrench set: You’ll also want a pipe wrench on-hand, as these are crucial when installing and replacing gas lines. Pliers: You’ll need an array of pliers, but for starters, line your arsenal with lineman’s, needle nose, and tongue-and-groove varieties. These items should be at the top of your HVAC tool list—especially if you’re just beginning a career in this trade. You’ll see them come up again in their relevant sections below, along with a more in-depth description of what they are, how they work, and why they’re needed by HVAC technicians. 2. HVAC Hand Tools Your HVAC duties will call for an array of hand tools. The following can be used in a variety of capacities. Outfit your toolkit with: Thermometer: Seeing as though the entire HVAC industry revolves around hot and cold temperatures, a digital thermometer will become your best friend at any job site. In fact, you probably want to stock up on several of these, as it’s all too common to mistakenly leave one in a return or supply vent. Dependable, digital thermometers make for the best HVAC tools, but infrared digital thermometers can take recordable readings, identify overheated breakers/compressors/motors, and point out vents to customers. There are an array of digital thermometers available,  including pocket-knife and folding-pocket styles, dual temperature thermometers, and solar-powered options. Drill: Unless you want to be tethered to an electrical outlet, a cordless drill with batteries is the move to make. Boasting power, portability, and versatility, a drill with a diverse set of bits—including hex, Philips, hole saws, and arbors—will become the hero of any job site. Wrenches: Crescent wrenches and Allen wrenches are non-negotiable items on the HVAC tool list. You’ll want a variety of sizes (small to large) on deck to help you tighten and loosen a wide array of fixtures you could encounter. Hammer: You never know when you’ll need a hammer - the short answer: often. Opt for a carpenter style hammer with a straight claw. Electric Testers: HVAC technicians consistently work around and with live electrical power, so it’s important to take some type of electrical tester with you. Some testers can perform multiple functions, while others are more simplistic and designed to tell you only where electricity is present in your work space. Pliers: Like screwdrivers, you should have a collection of pliers on-hand, including needle-nose, wire-stripping, linesman, and open-face varieties. Leveler: When installing thermostats, air conditioners, or furnaces, you’ll need to ensure the product is level. Screwdrivers: Not all screwdrivers were created equal; outfit your HVAC toolkit with an array of sizes and types, and opt for brands with insulated handles (essential when working around live electricity). Heavy-duty screwdrivers are crucial, as you can often use them to pry apart venting and handle more strenuous tasks. Tape Measure: An HVAC technician will constantly be reaching for a tape measure. Opt for longer tape measures, at least 25 feet in length for bigger jobs. Note: it’s a good idea to pair your tape measure with a permanent marker, so you can mark measurements as you work. 3. HVAC Sheet Metal Tools HVAC technicians are frequently tasked with cutting, repairing, and handling sheet metal. Nearly all HVAC systems rely on sheet metal to carry cold and hot air to and from their driving unit, so it’s wise to have these materials on-hand at all times. Shears: When it comes to cutting sheet metal, shears are one of the most common HVAC service tools. They’re ideal for executing long and straight cuts, and since they’ll probably receive plenty of use, try to look for a durable, steel construction with an insulated handle for added comfort. Aviation snips: Sometimes known as compound snips, these are the best HVAC tools for cutting aluminum and sheet metal. Aviators are designed to make specific cuts much easier and they’re color-coded for a reason… Rights (or “Offsets”)—Usually colored green, these snips help cut sheet metal in the right direction. They’re sometimes called “offsets” because the angle of the blade is slightly offset, allowing the blade to pass more smoothly over the end. They can be a bit awkward to use at first, but you don’t need to pull upwards as much on the metal, leading to fewer sharp, dangerous “fish hooks” hanging off the edge of a cut. Lefts (or “Offsets”)—Red-colored snips assist with cuts made in the left direction. Straights (or “Bulldogs”)—Straight snips are usually colored orange and reserve for small, straight cuts. They get the bulldog nickname for their impressive strength and ability to pierce and cut through multiple layers of thick sheet metal. Crimpers: This versatile, must-have HVAC tool should be in every technician’s kit. It can be used to cut sheet metal and wires, as well as crimp connectors by squeezing on the teeth to create a wrinkled male fitting. Hand seamers (or “Fairmonts” or “Tongs”): They go by many names, but the purpose is all the same—to bend smaller pieces of metal. Some may be spring loaded, depending on your preference, but all should be marked with ¼” intervals to make easy measurements while bending. Awl: This must-have tool can be used for a variety of purposes; score sheet metal to ensure straight cuts, or punch holes in sheet metal, wood, and sheetrock when required. 4. HVAC Ductwork Tools HVAC technicians that install and repair ductwork need specialty tools, including the following: Staple Gun: A heavy-duty staple gun will be a staple of your HVAC toolkit - no pun intended. This tool can be used for a variety of tasks, including stapling insulation or sheet metal into place. Scratch Awl: A scratch awl is a point-making tool that can be used to scribe a line, which you can then follow with a handsaw or chisel. These can be purchased both individually or in kits. Caulking Gun: You’ll want this tool on-hand when a job calls for ductwork sealant. Look for a caulking gun that features an easy load front cap, effective seal puncturing tool, spout cutter, and ladder hook. Tubing Cutter: Metal or plastic tubes that are 1/8th” to 1-1/8th” thicker can be cut with this HVAC service tool. They allow you to make a clean cut thanks to the cut-off grove and, comparatively, they’re not very expensive—meaning they’re well worth your investment. 5. HVAC Specialty Tools While 28% of the HVAC industry services single family homes, you may find yourself faced with bigger jobs that call for a different set of tools. Depending on the parameters of your next job, you may need the following HVAC specialty tools with you: Core Removal Tool: These tools are designed to remove and replace valve cores without sacrificing refrigerant charge. Voltmeter (or “Multi-Meter”): This should be high up on your HVAC technician tool list, no exceptions. Knowledge of voltage present isn’t just a job requirement, it’s a safety precaution. Because HVAC systems are connected to electrical systems, it’s crucial that you or your techs are outfitted with testers that can indicate the presence of live wires, measure the amount of voltage, indicate resistance level, and complete an array of other electrical tasks while in the field. Psychrometer: These might not see much day-to-day use on your average job sites, but they’re incredibly helpful when you’re trying to nail your target superheat. PVC Cutters: If you’re tackling a PVC project, you’ll need more than a handsaw. PVC cutters can help you cut clean lines with ease, and these tools are relatively inexpensive.   Saw: You may have heard your HVAC friends swear by the amazing SAWZALL® mainly because it really can saw almost everything. If you don’t go with this company, find a similar saw with reciprocating blades, meaning the cutting is achieved through a push-and-pull motion. They might only be used for specialty projects, but if you’ve ever tried to cut material with a dull blade, you know how valuable this tool will be when it comes time to shine. Dead Blow Hammer: This specialized mallet features an abrasion-resistant, non-marring face that delivers a dead blow effect when struck. 6. HVAC Repair Tools If you specialize in HVAC repair, the world of tools opens up that much wider. Consider outfitting your own tool bag and your tech team with the following items: Step ladder: Simple, but essential. You’ll encounter many jobs that require some height, and a lightweight, 4-foot step ladder will typically suffice. Wet/Dry Shop Vac: If you need to vacuum out clogged drain lines, you’ll be happy you brought a wet/dry shop vac along. Refrigerant Scale: If you’re ever tasked with charging an air conditioning system with refrigerant, a specified scale is a must-have in order to effectively maintain the temperature of a system’s assigned space. A refrigerant scale measures the weight of refrigerant as it’s added to or removed from the unit’s compressor, so that you can ensure the system has just the right amount to run efficiently. Refrigeration Gauges: As you work with cooling systems, you’ll need a set of trusted gauges that can read and hold pressures, as they pertain to varied types of refrigerants. These HVAC gauges help you determine if a cooling unit has a leak or if you need to complete an evacuation and recharge. Micron Gauge: These can be used to determine if an air conditioning system has an appropriate level of vacuum, prior to charging with refrigerant. Coil Fin Straightener: These HVAC service tools are cheap and useful. Bent coil fins restrict air flow through the condensing unit, which can cause the unit to run harder, decrease efficiency, increase electricity use, and in some cases, cause the entire unit to fail. A coil fin straightener, also known as a fin comb or coil fin tool, can be used to straighten the bent fins of a condensing unit. Vacuum Pump: Vacuum pumps are used to suck and remove moisture and air from air conditioning lines. They’re helpful when it comes to making repairs, as lines must be pulled into a vacuum and tested for leaks before the system can be charged with refrigerant. Recovery Unit: Refrigerant recovery from a HVAC system has been mandatory since 1995, so make sure you or your techs have a trustworthy recovery unit in their arsenal. A recovery unit must always be used to make sure the refrigerant is recovered from a cooling system, before you can begin the vacuum process. Megger: As an HVAC technician, you’ll likely need access to a Megger, a measuring instrument used to measure an electrical system’s insulation resistance. This is important for HVAC quality control, as an electrical system degrades the quality of insulation resistance over time; this timeline may be shorter depending on the environmental conditions the unit goes up against every day, especially in areas with extreme temperatures, humidity, and the presence dust or dirt. 7. HVAC Safety Tools When you or your employees are on the job, safety is the number one priority. The following must-haves are designed to safeguard you and your team, no matter the task at hand. Work Gloves: Protect hands when dealing with live electrical systems. Heavy-duty work gloves (and a spare or two) should always be available, and you can find gloves designed specifically for HVAC jobs, featuring wet/dry grip technology, protective coatings, and more. Safety Glasses: Don’t opt for the cheapest set of safety glasses available. There are plenty of considerations to take into account when shopping for this HVAC tool. Anti-fog coating helps prevent fog from building up when you’re working in humid conditions, while glasses with anti-static coating can help keep particulates and dust from sticking to your lenses. Durable Shoes: Carrying heavy equipment, climbing up and down ladders, and working both indoors and outdoors means your feet take a beating. Be sure your team has durable, steel toe work boots. Ear Plugs: It can get loud on the job in any service capacity, especially for an HVAC professional. Using power tools in small spaces can strain your ears more than you might expect. Opt for industrial-strength ear plugs or muff to protect your hearing. Flashlight: When crawling in dark spaces, you’ll want to see exactly what’s in front of you. Keep a small flashlight attached to your toolbelt, and a larger one in your HVAC toolkit within arms’ reach. 8. HVAC Business Tools HVAC tools aren’t just for field service. There are essential business tools every HVAC business owner should have in his or her professional arsenal, including: Communication capabilities: When your techs are out on the job, you’ll want to keep an open line of communication to ensure everything goes smoothly, and that your customers are getting a 5-star experience each and every time. Work phones can be an important aspect of communication, but it’s important to use a field service program that incorporate in-app chat capabilities, so that you can keep your team aware of any changes. Mobile HVAC Software: A mobile HVAC software solution can play into your business success just as much as practical field tools. Housecall Pro field service software is designed with your needs in mind, giving you the ability to: Schedule your team Provide logistical information your technicians need to get the job done Optimize service routes Communicate with customers Create estimates, and avoid common HVAC invoicing mistakes Process payments Investing in HVAC service management software can help you streamline your day-to-day operations, so that your time is freed up to do what matters most—build your business. Some Final Notes HVAC professionals are tasked with a variety of work, and you and your team will need a great deal of equipment to ensure they can tackle any project that may come up. Outfit yourself and your technicians with the tools required to provide quality service each and every time. HVAC technicians have a variety of tools at their disposal, and the above must-haves are an essential part of running a successful HVAC business. If you’re building your own dream HVAC tool kit, use the above checklist to guide your selection.  

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Pile of HVAC tools

Calculating Your Break Even Point In 4 Easy Steps

March 2, 2019 • Starting a new business isn’t for the faint of heart… or for the impatient. In fact, most new businesses aren’t profitable for about three years. But just because you’re not raking in piles of cash doesn’t mean you have to be bleeding it. The first goal toward turning a profit is breaking even. It may not sound as exciting as a free trip to Hawaii, but the moment you break even is actually a big milestone for your business. What is a break even point? Put plainly, your breaking even point (BEP) is when your sales are exactly covering your expenses. But calculating the BEP isn’t as simple as it sounds. You must take into account all of your expenditures, both fixed and variable, and do some calculations about profit per unit. Here is a 4-step plan for how to calculate the break even point for your business. Add Up Fixed Costs Track the Price of Your Services and Products Identify Variable Costs Run The Formula For Your Break Even Point Step 1: Add Up Fixed Costs The fixed costs are the easiest part of your break even point calculation. These are the expenses that remain predictable each month/period. That being said, it’s easy to leave something out of your calculations if you’re not careful. Here is a list of common expenses that will comprise your fixed costs: Rent. The costs associated with leasing your office, warehouse, and/or retail spaces makes up a huge percentage of your fixed costs. Salaries. Executive salaries are likely to remain fixed for the first few years of operation. Property taxes. If you own any property associated with your business, don’t forget to factor in these annual taxes. Depreciation of assets. The depreciation of an asset, from a vehicle to a building, is also considered a fixed cost. Insurance. Regular insurance payments are unlikely to fluctuate significantly from month to month, so put them in the fixed cost category. Step 2: Track the Price of Your Services and Products The next step is to itemize the retail price of each product or service your business offers. This may change as you determine your target profit formula, but you need to get a baseline. For instance, maybe you run a business selling sunglasses and hats. The current sales price of a pair of sunglasses is $5 and the price of a hat is $10. This information is crucial to calculating your break even point. Step 3: Identify Variable Costs On to the variable costs. These are the costs associated with actually producing your sunglasses and hats. Variable costs change in proportion to your production volume. If you produce fewer sunglasses this month than last, your variable costs will also decrease. Variable costs are typically calculated on a per unit basis. Some examples of variable costs include: Labor costs. As you produce more sunglasses and hats, your factory labor costs will increase. If you have a retail location, you may also need more employees to handle the increased sales. Raw materials. Let’s say your sunglasses are made of plastic and metal. As you produce more sunglasses, you’ll need to buy plastic and metal in larger quantities. Sales commissions. If you have employees on a commission schedule for selling your sunglasses and hats, you must also consider the average commission per unit. Packaging. Just as your raw material costs fluctuate depending on production needs, your packaging costs will also go up and down based on the number of units you sell. Step 4: Run the Formula for Your Break Even Point Now you have all of the necessary elements on hand to calculate a break even point. The basic formula is: Fixed Costs / (Price - Variable Costs). The second part of the equation is also called the contribution margin because it represents the dollar amount each unit contributes toward fixed costs. When you’re considering multiple products in your evaluation, you’ll also want to weight the selling price and variable costs accordingly. For instance, maybe your annual sales break down to 40% sunglasses and 60% hats. Let’s use these numbers in a break even point example to show you how this formula is done. Say your fixed costs (rent, salaries, insurance, etc.) are $100,000 per year. The price of your units, as we referenced earlier, is $5 for sunglasses and $10 for hats. Now let’s say your variable costs (materials, factory labor, etc.) break down to $2/unit for sunglasses and $4/unit for hats. Remember we’re assuming your sales are 40% sunglasses and 60% hats. To figure out the weighted selling price, you will multiple the sales price of each product with its contribution to overall sales: = ($5 x 40%) + ($10 x 60%) = ($2) + ($6) = $8 Now let’s calculate the variable costs using a similar weighted formula: = ($2 x 40%) + ($4 x 60%) = ($0.8) + ($2.4) = $3.20 Now you’re ready to run your break even point calculations Fixed Costs / (Weighted Price - Weighted Variable Costs). $100,000 / ($8 - $3.20) = 20,833 units Your company needs to sell 20,833 units per year to break even, but let’s see how that breaks down among different types of product given that you sell more hats than sunglasses. 20,833 x 40% = 8,333 sunglasses sold 20,833 x 60% = 12,500 hats sold You need to sell 8,333 sunglasses and 12,500 hats this year to break even. Or, if you’re offering services, you need to book 8,333 sunglasses jobs this year and 12,500 hats services. Once you have a break even point based on sales, you can start to outline how long it may take you to actually reach that goal. For instance, if you know it will take 18 months to sell that many sunglasses and hats, you can make the BEP a second year goal. In Conclusion Figuring out the break even point for your business is a crucial step toward profitability. It’s near impossible to meet financial goals without detailed accounting practices, as any new business owner will soon discover. To that end, your business should be taking advantage of Housecall Pro’s QuickBooks integration and invoicing software whenever possible. Are you ready to take control of your business finances and break even? Contact Housecall Pro to learn more about streamlined scheduling and payments for your home services.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Calculator and paper calculating a break even point

Clover vs. Square - Choosing The Best Payment Platform

February 28, 2019 • Working in the field service industry used to present payment issues. Since most home service providers don’t carry a full cash register in their truck (and by that we mean no one does), cash or check used to be the only options. While you might welcome cash, keeping a stash of bills in your truck isn’t the most secure way to run your business. Luckily we’re now in the age of payment processing software . Benefits of a mobile payment platform Thanks to mobile card readers and point of sale (POS) processors that fit in your pocket, you can collect all manner of payments in the field. Whether you work in plumbing, electrical, carpet cleaning, pest control, or another service industry - mobile payment apps are a lifesaver. Some of the most popular features of mobile payment platforms include: Accepting payments on the spot from anywhere, even if you’re offline. Receiving money in your bank account right away with instant transfer. Setting up automatic billing to streamline your cash flow. Putting an end to checking the mailbox for payments. Two of the most used payment platforms are Square and Clover. Which is better for you? Let’s take a look. Payment Platforms 101 First things first: there are some features that most payment platforms consider essential. Before you ask yourself “Is Square better than Clover?”, ask yourself what you need from a POS system. Here are some of the general features of any payment processing software, including Square and Clover. Mobile Readers: Card readers let you swipe client credit cards in the field using an attachment on your iPhone or a mobile terminal. Perhaps the most essential part of a payment platform, the mobile reader securely processes the payment and sends your customer a receipt. Add-On Services: You can customize your POS service by adding on additional services. Square allows you to add on things like appointment booking, payroll, and instant deposit. Clover has features including time clock and tip pooling. Easy-to-Use Hardware: In addition to the efficiency and accuracy of your software, your system should have user-friendly hardware. This includes handheld terminals and phone attachments. Comparing Fees Between Square and Clover Fees are important, there’s no way around it. Lower transaction costs keep your overhead within budget. Square and Clover arrange their fee structure somewhat differently. Here is an overview of what fees look like with each service: Square: Square processing fees include a 2.75% rate for for swiped, tapped, or dipped card payments on a reader or stand. For cards tapped, dipped, or swiped on a Square Terminal, the fees are just 2.6% plus 10 cents per transaction. From a Square register, the fee is 2.5% plus 10 cents per transaction. There is no monthly fee to use terminals or registers. Clover: Clover processing fees include a flat fee and per transaction fees. Your rate will depend on the plan you use, and they may also vary if you use a processor other than Clover. If you get your services from Clover, the fees are as low as 2.3% plus 10 cents per transaction (with a $29/month fee) for a “Register” plan. This is recommended for businesses that do more than $50,000/year of transaction. The “Register Lite” plan costs $14/month plus 2.7% and 10 cents per transaction. An Overview Of Square Square has seven different payment terminal types, and you can use as many or as few of them as you need. Use the Square register inside your office and take the Square terminal (handheld) and Square reader for magstripe with you on the road. Square tracks all customer transactions, and you can sign in from any device to see your dashboard. It’s pretty convenient. Square offers a real-time sales report, which allows you to filter by item or tender type. This makes finding out how many of your jobs are paid for in cash is easy. Square customer service is a bit non-traditional. They don’t offer a public customer service number; once you sign up for their service, you can use your dashboard to receive a customer code that enables you to reach a representative. They also have chat support via the web. What is the Clover Experience? Clover’s pricing plans are somewhat inconsistent due to multiple processors involved with Clover payments. In other words, you may not be dealing with Clover directly. While this gives you some freedom of choice for fees and other features, it could also mean your customer service experience will vary between processing providers. If you want to choose Clover, you likely have some extra research on your hands. Clover has six hardware systems, which allows for a lot of flexibility. This includes their popular Flex handheld terminal and Clover Go for smartphone payment processing. The customer Mini is great for in-store payments. Clover also syncs with hundreds of apps, so you can really customize your POS station.   Choosing a Payment Platform Asking yourself “Should I use Clover or Square?” is a loaded question. If you want easy access to customer service, Clover may be the answer. If you care more about dealing directly with the creator of your hardware and software, Square could meet your needs. Square has more mobile phone POS hardware, which draws in users who want to turn their smartphone into a payment station, while Clover boasts the ability to set up a loyalty program so you can grow your leads. Pros & Cons Of Using Square: Summed up, here are our Pros & Cons of using Square as your payment platform for your small business: .tg {border-collapse:collapse;border-spacing:0;}.tg td{font-family:Open Sans;font-size:14px;padding:10px 5px;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;overflow:hidden;word-break:normal;border-color:black;}.tg th{font-family:Open Sans;font-size:14px;font-weight:normal;padding:10px 5px;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;overflow:hidden;word-break:normal;border-color:black;}.tg .tg-oe15{background-color:#ffffff;border-color:#ffffff;text-align:left;vertical-align:top}.tg .tg-4eds{font-size:24px;background-color:#ffffff;border-color:#ffffff;text-align:center;vertical-align:top}.tg .tg-5crt{font-size:28px;border-color:#ffffff;text-align:center;vertical-align:top} Pros And Cons Of Using Square Pros Cons - Several different payment terminal types - Real-time sales reports - 2.75% transaction rate - Non-traditional support - must receive a customer code before getting in contact        Check out Housecall Pro vs. Square Pros & Cons Of Using Clover: Here is one last look at the benefits and setbacks of using Clover as your processing software: .tg {border-collapse:collapse;border-spacing:0;}.tg td{font-family:Open Sans;font-size:14px;padding:10px 5px;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;overflow:hidden;word-break:normal;border-color:black;}.tg th{font-family:Open Sans;font-size:14px;font-weight:normal;padding:10px 5px;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;overflow:hidden;word-break:normal;border-color:black;}.tg .tg-oe15{background-color:#ffffff;border-color:#ffffff;text-align:left;vertical-align:top}.tg .tg-4eds{font-size:24px;background-color:#ffffff;border-color:#ffffff;text-align:center;vertical-align:top}.tg .tg-5crt{font-size:28px;border-color:#ffffff;text-align:center;vertical-align:top} Pros And Cons Of Using Clover Pros Cons - Freedom of choice with fees and features - Very customizable - Fees as low as 2.3% per-transaction plus .10 - Multiple processors means you might not be dealing with Clover directly Consider Housecall Pro as your payment solution You can also look outside these popular options to other payment platforms. Companies like Housecall Pro are developing payment processing systems designed just for home services businesses. Our features allow you to get paid in minutes with Instapay, keep customer cards on file, and process payments via card reader, built in processor, or ACH. All with some of the lowest fees possible. Bottom line: If you haven’t entered the 21st century with your accounts receivable, it’s about time, and you have lots of options.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Clover vs. Square logos