Everything you need to succeed as a Home Services company in a digital world.
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
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
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
March 13, 2019 • For HVAC service professionals, it is important to keep sharpening your knowledge and building connections in the industry. There are numerous HVAC trade shows across the country where you can pick up the best tools, technology and supplies to make your HVAC business shine. No matter your schedule, there’s likely an event that will fit into it. With 35 trade shows to choose from, you have plenty of options in 2019. 1. Mastermind - a Housecall Pro Event Where: Nashville, TN + Other Cities When: April 6, 2019 What: A transformative full-day conference to learn the art of business mastery across marketing, operations, leadership, and customer experience. Hundreds of service professionals meet to learn from experts, network, and receive one-on-one coaching on using the Housecall Pro software to run their business. 2. AHR Expo 2019 Where: Atlanta, GA When: Jan 14-16, 2019 What: Billed as “the world’s largest HVACR event,” this is a show where you’re sure to meet some of the foremost industry professionals. Image via http://www.iaqa.org/annual-meeting/ 3. Indoor Air Quality Association Annual Meeting Where: Atlanta, GA When: Jan 14-16, 2019 What: A combination of essential education sessions, networking with professionals across the industry and from all corners of the world, obtaining continuing education credits and a free visit to the AHR expo, this annual meeting has something to offer all HVAC professionals. 4. MCAA Advanced Institute for Project Management Class 15 Where: Austin, TX When: Jan 20-25, 2019 What: Five days of intensive, advanced study to take HVAC professionals to the next career level. 5. MCAA Technical Conference Where: Tampa, FL When: Jan 28-Feb. 1, 2019 What: Focusing on tech information that’s truly useful to MCAA members in construction, plumbing and service, the MCAA technical conference promises a wealth of important education for attendees. 6. CTI Annual Conference Where: New Orleans, LA When: Feb 10 – 14, 2019 What: CTI’s Annual Conference allows HVAC professionals to participate in ongoing work on industry standards and codes, and provides the education and information to ensure those standards and codes truly benefit the industry. 7. 2019 National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show Where: Las Vegas, NV When: Feb 19-21, 2019 What: The 2019 Builders' Show will bring together more than 1,500 top manufacturers and suppliers from around the globe in 600,000 net square feet of exhibit space, showcasing the latest and most in-demand products and services. 8. CampusEnergy2019: 32nd Annual Campus Energy Conference & Thermal Distribution Workshop Where: New Orleans, LA When: Feb 26 - Mar. 1, 2019 What: IDEA members are invited, alongside professionals in energy, CHP and microgrid industries, to work together, find new solutions to industry problems, and educate each other. 9. National HVACR Educators and Trainers Conference Where: Las Vegas, NV When: Mar 3-5, 2019 What: With a heavy focus on education, the National HVACR Educators and Trainers Conference helps professionals learn physics and theories they need to become better instructors in the industry. They will network with their peers to swap tips and approaches, learn about how to incorporate the newest technologies in their classrooms, use the latest educational methodologies, keep up with regulatory changes and more, all to improve student outcomes. 10. International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration Natural Refrigeration Conference & Expo Where: Phoenix, AZ When: Mar 3-6, 2019 What: What are the ideas and trends most likely to impact the natural refrigeration industry’s future? Attendees will learn about them here, as well as encounter a wide range of points of view about how to address them and adapt to what the future holds. 11. Mechanical Contractors Association of America Annual Convention Where: Phoenix, AZ When: Mar 3-7, 2019 What: 2019’s Mechanical Contractors Association of America Annual Convention promises world-class speakers (and some great entertainment), alongside educational industry seminars and workshops led by premiere professions. 12. Air Conditioning Contractors of America IE3 Show: Indoor Environment and Energy Expo Where: San Antonio, TX When: Mar 4-6, 2019 What: Next year’s event theme is “optimize” — optimizing the HVAC industry by focusing on what matters to professionals in their careers. 13. Association of Energy Engineers Globalcon Where: Boston, MA When: Mar 20-21, 2018 What: With sessions led by leading industry experts and packed with useful, up-to-the-minute information, HVAC professionals will leave Globalcon inspired, renewed and ready to deliver excellent service. 14. Associated Builders and Contractors 2019 Convention Where: Long Beach, CA When: Mar 24-28, 2019 What: The ABC Convention relaunched in 2018, and is ready to come back in 2019 even bigger and better. This is an opportunity for HVAC professionals to attend a growing convention, where educational opportunities, workshops and more are smaller and more hands-on while still delivering an exceptional experience. 15. 2019 HPC National Home Performance Conference & Trade Show Where: Chicago, IL When: Apr 1-4, 2019 What: 2018’s HPC National Home Performance Conference & Trade Show attracted more than 1,400 attendees, 60 exhibitors, 200 presenters and more than a dozen tracks, providing learning opportunities for HVAC professionals from all over the world. 16. Associated General Contractors Annual Convention Where: Denver, CO When: Apr 1-4, 2019 What: For more than 100 years, the AGC Annual Convention has been educating HVAC professionals in business decisions, operations and more. This year’s conference will build on that history, offering one of the premier educational and networking experience for professionals in the contracting and home services industry. 17. Mechanical Contractors Association of America Institute for Project Management Class 73, Week 1 Where: Austin, TX When: Apr 7-11, 2019 What: If you’re a project manager (or an industry professional who works closely with project managers), this class will offer the intensive, in-depth training you need to master the fundamentals of your field. 18. Mechanical Contractors Association of America Institute for Project Management Class 74, Week 1 Where: Austin, TX When: Apr 8-12, 2019 What: If you’re a project manager (or an industry professional who works closely with project managers), this class will offer the intensive, in-depth training you need to master the fundamentals of your field. 19. International Facility Management Association Facility Fusion U.S. 2019 Conference and Expo Where: Atlanta, GA When: Apr 8-12, 2019 What: A premier leadership event featuring concentrated learning and networking for home services professionals. 20. 2019 Design-Build for Water/Wastewater Where: Cincinnati, OH When: Apr 10-12, 2019 What: Brings professionals together for three days of speakers, networking events and the latest industry trends about design-build in the water/wastewater sector. 21. Cx Energy Conference & Expo Where: Orlando, FL When: Apr 15-18, 2019 What: For professionals in building commissioning, energy management and test and balance, this conference is a must-see. It includes educational sessions on topics related to the industry, an exhibition hall featuring new technology and certification opportunities in ACG’s Certified Commissioning Authority (CxA) and EMA’s Energy Management Professional (EMP). Image via https://www.mcaa.org/events/calendar/ncpwb-spring-technical-committee-meeting-4/ 22. National Certified Pipe Welding Bureau Technical Conference Where: Longboat Key, FL When: Apr 28-30, 2019 What: Highlights the latest in welding education and technology, including changes to codes and other technical information. 23. Mechanical Contractors Association of America Fabrication Conference Where: Los Angeles, CA When: May 1-3, 2019 What: Program focusing on cutting-edge fabrication applications and tours of MCAA member fabrication facilities. 24. Air-Conditioning, Heating, & Refrigeration Institute Spring Meeting Where: Baltimore, MD When: May 6-8, 2019 What: For industry leaders seeking a meeting opportunity in the spring, ACHRI offers another opportunity to gather to work together on industry-wide issues. 25. Eastern Energy Expo Where: Hershey, PA When: May 19-22, 2019 What: A premiere show for business and technical education, including sessions for women in energy. 26. Lightfair International Where: Philadelphia, PA When: May 21-23, 2019 What: LIGHTFAIR offers attendees tracks in light, technology, knowledge and design connect in a convergence of global introductions, innovations and thought leadership at its annual conference, the world’s largest yearly meeting for architectural and commercial lighting professionals. 27. American Institute of Architects 2019 Conference on Architecture Where: Las Vegas, NV When: Jun 6-8, 2019 What: Three immersive days of what’s new and now in architecture and design. 28. 2019 American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Annual Conference Where: Kansas City, MO When: Jun 22-26, 2019 What: ASHRAE is one of the leading trade show organizations for HVAC professionals, and the annual conference is not to be missed. From the fundamentals of the industry to changes driven by environmental sustainability, there’s always something new to learn, and it can be learned here. Image via https://www.districtenergy.org/idea2019/home 29. International District Energy Association National Conference and Trade Show Where: Pittsburgh, PA When: Jun 24-27, 2019 What: IDEA members and professionals in the district energy, CHP and microgrid industries come together to share experiences, explore new solutions, and learn from each other. 30. The 25th IIR International Congress of Refrigeration Where: Montreal, Quebec When: Aug 24-30, 2019 What: 2019’s theme will be “Refrigeration for Human Health and Future Prosperity,” and attendees will focus on major issues relating to refrigeration and sustainability, like energy saving, efficiency, food supply, climate change reduction and more. 31. Building Simulation 2019 Where: Rome, Italy When: Sept 2-4, 2019 What: In the field of building performance simulation, this is the premiere event. The 2019 gathering provides an opportunity to trade information about simulation tools and apps, learn about the latest achievements in the field, explore new research, discuss case studies and share best practices, all while networking with professionals, students and practitioners. 32. ACEEE National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource Where: Minneapolis, MN When: Oct 15-17, 2019 What: Since 2001, the EER Conference has attracted major stakeholders in utilities, regulatory commissions, state governments, consulting, manufacturing, environmental and research fields, allowing experts and consumers to work together and network. 33. 2019 SMACNA Annual Convention Where: Austin, TX When: Oct 20-23, 2019 What: SMACNA’s premiere annual even blends educational opportunities with top-notch networking for an event no HVAC professional wants to miss. 34. American Society of Plumbing Engineers Technical Symposium Where: Pittsburgh, PA When: Oct 24-27, 2019 What: A unique chance for attendees to get one-on-one face time with the manufacturers who make the products they specify. 35. HARDI Focus Conference Where: Fort Worth, TX When: Sept 11-13, 2019 What: Structured around sessions developed with and through HARDI’s Councils. Their format features a wide range of subject matter areas, to both deliver hard-hitting content specifically curated by members as well as provide an expansive networking opportunity at this event. Conference tracks will include: Marketing, Sales, Supply Chain, HR, Analytics & Business Intelligence.
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
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
February 27, 2019 • It can be hard to stand out in a field like HVAC. As most home service business owners know, competition is fierce. Unfortunately, making a sale isn’t as simple as pitching a prospective customer and scheduling an appointment (trust us, we wish it was, too). In the crazy world of selling, studies show that up to 80% of all sales require at least five follow-ups to close. That means it can take five interactions with a customer—which may include five refusals—until a customer may be ready to close the deal. Annoying? Yes. Essential? Also yes. If you’re looking to stand out in the digital world but aren’t sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for HVAC marketing strategies that deliver results , to help you get a leg up on the competition and drive HVAC leads who will turn into lifelong customers. Our 9 HVAC Marketing Strategies Build a Website Make Sure Your Website is SEO-Friendly Start a Blog Build an Optimized Google My Business Page Build Credibility With Customer Reviews Create Useful Video Content Build Brand Awareness and Foster Relationships On Social Media Expand Your Social Media Reach Even Further Through Facebook Advertising Drive Repeat Customers With Automated Marketing #1: Build a Website In today’s digital age, there’s one truth: if you don’t have a website, you don’t exist. Today’s digitally-savvy customer looks to company’s website for legitimacy. The proof is in the facts: 85% of consumers use the internet to find a local business—which leaves you in the dust if you’re not online. Teach your customers about your business Think of your company’s website as the digital HQ for your HVAC marketing. It’s your centralized place in the digital world where prospective customers can come and learn about your business. That means it’s your opportunity to speak directly to potential clients and show them why you’re the best choice for their HVAC needs. A well-designed website educates prospective leads, but also provides them a contact phone number and online contact form on each page of the site, so that an appointment with you is right at their fingertips. Do it yourself While building a website once required the help of a professional web developer, these days anyone can do it using all-in-one website builders. It’s as simple as choosing your domain name (URL), selecting a site template, and filling it with content about your HVAC business. However, it’s also important to optimize your website for mobile users. If your site won’t load on a potential customer’s smartphone, guaranteed they’re going to head elsewhere and book someone else’s services. It’s also important to make sure your site loads quickly; 53% of mobile website visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load. #2: Make Sure Your Website is SEO-Friendly Google is the new Yellow Pages. Those in need of HVAC services once turned to that big yellow book for answers; they now turn to Google. It was once enough to simply purchase ad space in your local Yellow Pages—but those days are over. Today, Google receives tens of thousands of searches per second. Now, putting your business in the faces of potential customers is an entirely different beast. You have to obtain great rankings on Google, and that’s a bit more complex. That’s where the next HVAC marketing strategy comes into play: optimizing your site for SEO. What is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Here’s the basic principle: make your website as search engine-friendly as possible. The better your SEO, the more likely it is that your website will appear when someone Googles “HVAC services”. SEO sounds technical and intimidating, but for a small business, it’s fairly simple. Here’s what you need to do to make your website SEO friendly: 1. ) Select your keywords and phrases In order to reach potential customers, you must first think like potential customers. Make a list of all of the different phrases that users who need your services may search for in Google. This will become the list of words you want to “rank” for, meaning that when a user searches these phrases, you want to appear as high up as possible on their Google search results. That may include things like: Heater repair Los Angeles Best heater repair company Same day heater repair Compile a list of keywords like this for the most important services you provide. 2.) Incorporate your keywords and phrases into your site content Every word on your website is an opportunity for you to improve your Google ranking. Once you’ve compiled your list of keywords you’d like to rank for, it’s time to start incorporating them into your site content. That includes your headers, title tags, and page copy. Be sure to write naturally. Overuse of keywords in your site copy in an attempt to rank (known as “keyword stuffing”) is a big Google No-No. One simple way to incorporate a lot of keywords in a single place is to build a Services page. Here, you can list all the services you offer, allowing you to improve your ranking for a variety of keywords. Remember that improving your SEO does not happen overnight. It’s a gradual and ongoing process. The sooner you begin, the sooner your rankings will begin to improve! If you already have a website and want to see how optimized your SEO is, use our tool for FREE . #3: Start a Blog While customers who are ready to move forward with their HVAC service are searching for phrases like “heater repair Los Angeles”, there are plenty of potential customers who are still in the discovery phase. They’re wondering things like which heater suits their needs the best, whether they should go with energy efficient products, or how much they should expect to pay for an installation. As an HVAC professional, you’re chock full of answers. That’s precisely why an HVAC blog is an invaluable HVAC content marketing strategy . By maintaining an HVAC blog, you can attract customers with articles that rank for keywords those customers are searching, and win them over with your wealth of knowledge and expertise. Hello new bookings, and hello more money! To begin your HVAC marketing blog: 1. Select your keywords and phrases Unlike users who are ready to get moving on their HVAC project, users in the discovery phrase will utilize Google and other search engines for research. That could include phrases like: Best heating system Heating options for large home Cheap heating systems Again, compile a list of keywords and phrases for your most important services. 2. Write blog articles based on these keywords and phrases These keywords and phrases will dictate the topics of your blog articles. You can write a top 10 list of your favorite heating systems, or an article on the best heating systems for small, mid-sized, and large homes. The best part about your blog is that you have knowledge to write the content all on your own—no research required! #4: Build an Optimized Google My Business Page Google My Business is a tool offered by Google specifically for local businesses. It allows you to build a profile for your business that will appear in Google searches and on Google maps. If you’ve ever searched for a gas station or restaurant on Google or Google Maps, you’ve likely interacted with a Google My Business profile. Google My Business is a totally free opportunity to improve your HVAC digital marketing. Building your Google My Business profile is simple. Here are the steps to building an optimized Google My Business (GMB) page: 1.) Create an account at google.com/business Fill in all requested information, including your NAP (name, address, phone number), website, hours of operation, and more. Be sure to include your service area, so customers know whether or not you make house calls to their location. 2.) Verify your business A verified business tells Google that your page is legitimate. There are a number of ways to verify your business with Google, including via postcard, phone, email, and more. 3.) Optimize your Google My Business page The more information you can provide Google about your business, the more legitimacy your business will have with Google. In addition to your NAP and website, add categories (i.e. services you offer) and a description of your business. Be sure to utilize your SEO keywords and phrases whenever possible. Finally, add images and videos if available. #5: Build Credibility With Customer Reviews For better or for worse, customer reviews affect your bottom line. A survey by BrightLocal found that 92% of customers read online reviews when researching local businesses – and another 68% of consumers trust a business more after reading positive reviews . When it comes to building credibility, customer reviews are king. According to a 2018 survey, 91% of 18-34 year old customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. That’s up 15% over the past 5 years, and that number is expected to continue growing. If you run a business with lots of happy customers, there’s no reason not to incorporate them into your HVAC marketing strategy. Here’s how to build a customer review strategy into your HVAC marketing plan: 1 . Build profiles on popular customer review sites You’ve already mastered Google My Business, so building profiles on other review sites should be a cinch. Besides Google My Business, Yelp is the head honcho when it comes to local business reviews. Yelp profiles are built quite similarly to GMB, so you should be able to repurpose most of what you’ve compiled for your GMB profile. Other must-haves include Angie’s List, Home Advisor , and more! 2. Ask customers for reviews While it may feel a bit awkward to ask, satisfied customers are often more than happy to put in a good word for your business. Note that it’s against the rules to incentivize reviews, but a simple ask can go a long way! Provide links to your Yelp and Google My Business pages from your site, so that happy customers are just a click away from a rave review. 3. Respond to reviews, no matter the rating Responding to a positive review is simple. It’s a matter of thanking your customer for their patronage and expressing your gratitude to them, which isn’t hard work. But what do you do when you receive a negative review? The fact of the matter is that bad reviews happen—even to the best HVAC companies. The smallest mix-up may drive an unhappy customer to leave a negative review of your business. But even the most scathing review can be helped by a response from the business owner. A study by the Harvard Business Review showed that by simply responding to customer reviews—positive or negative—businesses saw their overall rating increase by 10%. Don’t make excuses Remember that when responding to a negative review you’re not here to make excuses for their bad experience—you’re here to make it right. A simple response that acknowledges and takes responsibility for the experience, plus a request for them to contact you and give you the chance to right the situation, is all that’s needed. Will the customer follow up? Perhaps. But what’s more important is that prospective customers who read the reviews see a company that’s honest, hardworking, and responsible. #6: Create Useful Video Content Though you may know it best for funny animal clips and viral videos, YouTube is a search engine just like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, with 149 million active users every month. Just like websites and blogs, YouTube videos are searchable by keyword and show up in Google search results. That means that a well-made YouTube video can show up not only to the 149 million monthly YouTube users, but also in the 105 billion monthly Google searches. That’s a lot of people! Think of it like building a blog Incorporating YouTube content into your HVAC marketing strategy works just like building blog content, though the final product is a video rather than an article. Think about what your potential customers might be searching for videos of. Tutorials are a great option. Create YouTube videos that show how to complete simple repairs that any DIY-savvy homeowner can do (and may not be worth your time). This will help establish you as an expert in HVAC and the go-to repair service when a more technical issue arises. If your lack of professional videography skills has you doubting yourself, push those fears aside! YouTube tutorials don’t need any pizzazz or frill. Your smartphone camera is surely sufficient in terms of quality, and your tutorials don’t need to appear professionally produced. They simply need to be clear and easy to follow. #7: Build Brand Awareness and Foster Relationships On Social Media Social media isn’t just for keeping up to date with your ex’s latest adventures. It’s a powerful marketing tool for local businesses to build and connect with potential leads. Through your company Facebook page, you can grow awareness of your business, find new leads, and engage with new and long-time customers. Building out a Facebook page is just like building our your Google My Business profile. Be sure to fill your page with relevant information like your NAP (name, address, phone number), services, business hours, and more. Some other benefits of using social media You can also enable reviews on Facebook. Not only will this be helpful to potential customers, but your reviews will also appear in Google searches for your business. Potential customers will see a result from Facebook that includes your company name, address, and star ratings. Facebook is also the perfect place to highlight any images you have of your company. This could include team photos, before and after images of various projects you’ve done, or any other photography related to your business. Even more free ways to incorporate social media into your HVAC marketing strategy include: Participating in industry-related Facebook groups where you can share your knowledge and establish a reputation as a local professional Host a giveaway on Facebook that encourages users to interact with your page to get more reach and exposure #8: Expand Your Social Media Reach Even Further Through Facebook Advertising With more than 1 billion users, Facebook is ripe with opportunity for your HVAC marketing strategy. While organic social media is a great start at reaching prospective customers, the key to unlocking a steady flow of leads is through Facebook advertising. With a small monthly budget, Facebook advertising will allow you to reach thousands of users potentially in need of your services. Facebook advertising seems complex, but it’s really a simple addition to your HVAC digital marketing strategy. Here’s how to set-up a Facebook advertising campaign: 1.) Set up a Facebook ad account and connect it to your business’s Facebook page 2.) Create a traffic campaign This tells Facebook that you’re aiming to get as many potential leads to your site as possible. Set a daily budget that you feel comfortable with. As small as $10/day can reach more than 1,000 people daily! 3.) Build your target audience Building your audience is your opportunity to reach the users you’d like to connect with. With the magic of Facebook advertising, you can build and target the precise audience you’d like. For an HVAC marketing campaign, you may want to target: Users within your service area Users within a defined age range Homeowners Landlords Business owners 4.) Design your Facebook ads Facebook ads contain 3 different elements: text, an image, and a link. Your Facebook ads should clearly and concisely explain who your business is, what services you provide, and why prospective leads should choose you over the competition. Some examples of compelling copy points may be: Servicing the community for 25 years 5-star rating on Yelp Family owned and operated First time customer discount Your images should convey your business’s personality, for instance: A team photo of your smiling service technicians A technician shaking hands with a happy customer A before and after of a particularly compelling project When it comes to links, always link back to your website. Be sure that the page users land on includes a contact form and a phone number, so they can easily make an appointment with you. 5.) Launch your campaign! Simply turn your campaign on to get the traffic flowing to your site. Test various different audiences, as well as several different ads featuring different combinations of texts, images, and links to see what performs best. You’ll begin to reach prospective customers in no time! Make sure their experience is great - 71% of consumers that have a good social media service experience are likely to recommend a brand to others. #9: Drive Repeat Customers With Automated Marketing Experts estimate that it costs 5x more to earn a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer. In an industry like HVAC, customers are bound to need your services more than once over the course of a few years. So how do you ensure that your customers keep coming back? HVAC automated marketing services help you do just this. By setting up an automated email campaign, not only will you be able to send service reminders and thank you follow-ups automatically, but you’ll be able to do so much more. Some ways to use an automated email campaign: Incentivize email signups by offering a small discount to users who sign up for your email newsletter Set up automated reminders for heating maintenance in the Fall and air conditioning maintenance in the Spring Automate a “We’ve missed you!” coupon for a discounted service to customers who haven’t booked an appointment in over a year Send a bi-yearly recap of the latest and greatest in HVAC technology to incentivize upgrades Digitizing your HVAC marketing strategy is an essential step to get a leg up on your competition. By incorporating the above tactics into your marketing plan, you’ll be driving a steady pipeline of leads with little ongoing effort. Happy marketing!
February 18, 2019 • HVAC Job Description: How to Hire an HVAC Technician for Your Small Business As an HVAC technician, you have an important responsibility: to make a client’s home comfortable, whether that means fixing a broken heater during a cold spell or repairing an AC unit in the middle of a heatwave. Great technicians spend their days dedicated to the craft of installing, repairing, and maintaining heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in order to improve the climate and air quality of a home. More importantly, you have the ability to improve a customer’s quality of life and standard of living. With this in mind, how do you go about hiring another technician for your small business who understands how to deliver outstanding HVAC services? Whether it’s a home heating system or humidity control for a world-renowned hospital, HVAC technicians are relied on for keeping buildings safe and comfortable. You need to find someone whose work makes you proud and to who you’d give your personal stamp of approval. In order to add an amazing technician to your team, you’ll need to understand how to write a captivating job description to attract the right people. Want to know more about what an HVAC job description looks like so you can hire the perfect technician for your company? Use the links below to jump to any questions you have or keep reading for an in-depth look. What General Skills Should an HVAC Candidate Have? What Qualifications Does an HVAC Technician Need to Work for My Company? What Education Details Should I Look for on a Prospective Technician’s Application? How Do I Vet a Prospective HVAC Technician? What Situation-Based Questions Should I Ask When Interviewing? When Would I Need to Hire an Extra HVAC Technician for My Business? How Can I Add an HVAC Technician to My Business? What General Skills Should an HVAC Candidate Have? In 2016, nearly 400,000 qualified HVAC technicians were servicing customers across the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the demand for HVAC technicians will increase by 15% over the next several years—meaning there will be a lot more trained professionals in the market. So what qualities make an amazing HVAC technician stand out above the rest? Let’s take a look at some skills to include within your job description. Typical duties you might want to include in an HVAC job description are: Installing, connecting, and adjusting new thermostats in both urban and industrial environments Repairing or replacing defective heaters, air conditioners, and refrigeration systems Performing standard maintenance duties to increase system efficiency such as changing filters, cleaning ducts, or refilling refrigerants Cutting or drilling holes in a building’s structure to better accommodate a HVAC system Testing electrical circuits, carbon monoxide monitors, and smoke detectors to ensure all safety precautions have been taken Examining blueprints to a building when updating or replacing an HVAC system Testing tubes and pipes for leaks and then repairing faulty equipment Installing low-voltage electrical wiring Collaborating with marketing and engineering professionals to create product definitions and instructions that make sense to the everyday consumer Troubleshooting any sort of HVAC problems in regards to temperature control, humidity control, air flow, etc. Mounting new HVAC equipment onto walls, roofs, and floors Responding to after-hours emergencies as needed Using HVAC software to schedule appointments and manage customer payments Consulting clients on how to make their HVAC systems more energy efficient and eco-friendly Working with computerized systems to fix bugs or install software updates An HVAC technician job description should be thorough and it should note your company’s area of emphasis. While many technicians work with all HVAC systems, your business is likely specialized in a single area. This could include exclusive work with refrigeration systems in the food processing industry, or perhaps thermostats in a home environment. You want to make sure your candidate knows which field they’ll be working in. What Qualifications Does an HVAC Technician Need to Work for My Company? The quality of interior air is an important factor for creating a safe and comfortable environment. Whether it’s at home, at work, or in a public building, HVAC technicians play a major role in regulating our indoor spaces so it’s important to hire a qualified professional for your business to carry out these critical tasks. All HVAC technicians need formal training through post-secondary education at a trade or technical school. As you probably already know, students usually complete an apprenticeship under an experienced technician before fully entering the job market. Once they move into an entry-level position, there are many certifications they can pursue to qualify for specialised work and demonstrate specific skills. Before choosing a technician for your business, make sure you’re familiar with HVAC technician requirements so you know your systems are in good hands. Requirements change depending on which state you live in, but standard qualifications include: A high school diploma Completion of an accredited HVAC program of 6 months and 2 years, or completion of a 3 to 5 year on-the-job apprenticeship Industry, state, and national certifications and licenses An EPA certification for technicians who work with refrigerators In order to avoid HVAC invoicing mistakes or faulty repairs, ask your technician to show you which certifications they have completed. Have they worked for another HVAC business? Make sure to ask for references to get a feel for their work ethic. What Education Details Should I Look for on a Prospective Technician’s Application? When you’re considering a job candidate, it’s important to look at his or her full educational history. Below are examples of what an ideal HVAC candidate should have listed on their resume. Primary education: A high school diploma or GED Aptitude in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields While STEM expertise isn’t necessary, the complex technical training involved in HVAC is made easier with a good grasp on mechanics, physics, and chemistry Academic training : Prospective technicians can receive a certification, Associate's degree, or Bachelor’s degree to gain necessary training - look for evidence of formal classes on an application Courses range from HVAC technology to industry code standards, and it’s important to have a broad range of knowledge. Make sure the technician took classes at an accredited institution On-the-job training: If the technician didn’t complete a formal education, look for proof of a 3 to 5 year paid apprenticeship Ensure that on-the-job training was carried out by an experienced HVAC technician, if possible get the mentor’s phone number for a reference Look for required 2,000 hours of hands-on training and 144 hours of technical education Some common apprenticeships you might see listed on a resume are managed by: Air Conditioning Contractors of America, Inc. Associated Builders and Contractors US Department of Labor Apprenticeship USA Program Professional certifications: This step varies by state, and different industries have different requirements for professional certifications. Popular certifications are offered by: North American Technician Excellence Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association HVAC Excellence Environmental Protection Agency Soft skills: In addition to the above qualifications, there are several “soft” skills an HVAC technician should possess to be successful in the workplace. These include: Listening: A technician needs to be able to accurately diagnose a problem when a customer requests your services, and careful listening is the first step. Good communication: Make sure technicians you hire have great communication skills. Much of an HVAC technician’s job involves following up with customers before and after completing the service to keep them in the loop. This involves speaking to them in person, over the phone, and by email. Time management: Tardy technicians rarely receive repeat clients. Critical thinking: HVAC systems can often be a puzzle to figure out, so a prospective HVAC technician must be competent at finding creative solutions to difficult problems. How Do I Vet a Prospective HVAC Technician? For home and business owners, the same HVAC problems seem to crop up again and again. Let’s take a look at some of the most common problems you might want to ask a prospective technician. These questions help assess a technician’s problem-solving abilities and give you a sense of how they would operate out in the field. Q: What devices would you check for a heating issue? A: If a customer has noticed their indoor temperature getting chilly even when the heater is on, there could be many root causes. Problems with the pilot light, igniters, and various electrical components may be the reason for the lack of heat. A technician should be able to walk you through the process for how they would diagnose an issue. Q: How would you assess and fix uneven cooling? A: If certain rooms are significantly colder than other rooms, there’s likely a problem with the sealing of pipes and ducts throughout the building. This is a serious problem because it’s wasting excessive amounts of energy without actually regulating the interior temperature. The technician should inspect all the ducts, pinpoint leaks, and clean out any debris that could be impacting the air flow. Q: How would you determine poor air flow problems? What questions would you ask a customer? What are some possible repairs? A: Does the house feel stuffy or smell dusty while your HVAC system is running? That could signal that you have dirty filters. Not only do these prevent the correct temperature from being pumped through the building, but it can also damage the performance of a HVAC unit over time. An HVAC technician can help clean clogged filters and determine whether any other parts need to be replaced. Make sure your candidate can describe these steps. Q: How do you know whether an AC unit is properly sized? A: Contrary to the idea that “bigger is better,” AC units that are too large for the space can trap humidity in the building. Because they cycle on and off too frequently, the humidity is never fully removed from the room. A technician should check the design of the building to ensure the customer has a unit that’s performing at optimal efficiency rather than just trying to upsell customers. What Situation-Based Questions Should I Ask When Interviewing? Aside from the necessary education and skills to enter the workforce, there are several other factors to consider before deciding whether or not you’re going to hire a prospect. In order to get a good read on your potential worker, ask applicants situational questions to get a sense of their work ethic and character. Working in uncomfortable situations: Q: Are you comfortable being around chemicals, working in confined spaces, or standing on a ladder to make necessary repairs? Since a technician is the person called in to fix any malfunctions, it’s likely the applicant will often work in overly hot or overly cold conditions. Even if temperatures don’t reach an extreme, many HVAC systems require work to be done in cramped and awkward spaces. Make sure the prospect isn’t claustrophobic or scared of heights because a job may involve climbing into a tight vent or making repairs to a unit on the outside of a tall building. Also, keep in mind there are a few possible dangers of working with HVAC materials. Harmful refrigerants, electric shocks, and carbon monoxide poisoning are all dangers and risks a technician must be aware of. Possibility of working odd hours: Q: Are you willing to go above and beyond to provide service, even if that means being on-call? Broken HVAC systems have potentially catastrophic effects on both businesses and residential homes, which is why clients typically want to have repairs done as soon as possible. When an emergency strikes late at night or on a weekend, a technician may have to work outside of normal 9 to 5 hours. Physical fitness: Q: Are you capable of lifting 50 pounds, pushing heavy equipment, carrying ladders, and operating large vehicles? A technician doesn’t need to be an Olympic athlete to work as a qualified HVAC technician. However, the job can be physically demanding at times, so it’s something to keep in mind as you hire. Good customer service: Q: Is customer service important to you? How will you respond to picky customers? To be a great HVAC technician, a technician can’t just be good at fixing air conditioners—talking with clients is a big part of the job as well. A great team member will have patience with difficult customers, listen carefully to their concerns, and always show respect for their home. A technician with good customer skills could help you with word-of-mouth referrals and gain your more clients. HVAC technician job descriptions vary on a wide scale across many different industries. Keep that in mind as you search for technicians with niche HVAC experience, such as: Aerospace products and parts manufacturing Colleges, universities, and other places of higher education Industrial and commercial machinery or equipment repairs Wired telecommunications carriers Natural gas distribution and management Hardware wholesale merchants Household goods maintenance and repair Building equipment contractors When Would I Need an Additional HVAC Technician for My Business? Your business can’t be run without great people. If your small business is growing, your staffing needs may change. Not sure if now is the time to add more technicians to your team? Keep the following considerations in mind. When to hire more technicians: You’re spending too much time on non-critical business tasks: Is your work-life balance suffering because you’re consistently working around the clock to meet your customer’s needs? When you get home from work, do you find yourself finishing up extra to-do list items that didn’t get finished during the day? Are you stuck in an endless loop of administrative obligations instead of being out in the field or delegating jobs to tasks? If you’ve answered “yes” to most of these questions, it’s a good idea to look into getting extra help. The customer experience is not up to par: Are you getting negative reviews due to long wait times? Even if you and your staff work overtime to make customers happy, things can still easily slip through the cracks. Maybe customer inquiries have gone unanswered and you’re losing valuable prospective clients. If you’ve noticed an uptick of customer complaints, it might be time to expand your team to better serve customers and respond to negative reviews . Happy customers mean repeat customers, after all. Your staff is burned out: Everyone has tough weeks at work where the list of tasks seem never-ending. But have you noticed your employees are having issues keeping up with their jobs? Do you notice a lack of enthusiasm and drive among dedicated employees? Is your technicians’ attention to detail suffering? Are people calling out sick more often? Don’t ignore these red flags, these are signs that your employees are burned out. Adding more employees can help spread out the workload more efficiently and provide your customers with better service. Keep the bottom line in mind: When you’re trying to determine the right number of employees to add to your business, don’t forget about your overall budget. Only hire as many people as you truly need so you won’t dig into your own profits if you don’t see an increase in sales. Reliable technicians are priceless. HVAC systems involve complex wiring and potential safety hazards, so if you do decide to hire a new team member, go slow and make sure you offer a job to the best possible candidate. How Can I Add an HVAC Technician to my Business? Is it time to start attracting talented technicians? A few years ago, there were over 332,900 qualified HVAC techs in the United States alone—and according to the Bureau of Statistics, that number is only going up. Take a look at this sample HVAC job description and use it as a template to encourage the best of the best to join your team. Our HVAC Job Description Who We Are: Use this section to describe your company and why a potential employee should be eager to work for you. Example: Do you want to be part of a team that helps each other grow? Do you like flexible work schedules? How about access to top-notch specialization certification programs on the company’s dime? Then look no further. We’re the #1 rated HVAC service team in the area and we’re dedicated to serving the community with integrity and efficiency. If you want to feel appreciated on the job and find a position where you have room to grow, we’d love to hear from you. Why We Need You: Use this section to persuade a potential employee to choose you over other companies. Example: Because we provide state-of-the-art services to all our customers, we need employees who are the cream of the crop. If you want to have a career instead of just a job, it’s time to send your resume over to us. We offer competitive salaries, generous paid time off, medical insurance, a matching 401(k) policy, and a crew of smiling faces to greet you at work every morning. Qualifications: Use this section to outline the primary requirements for the HVAC technician you want to hire. Example: In order to be part of our team, we need you to have: 3+ years of experience with residential HVAC troubleshooting, service, and maintenance A valid driver’s license and clean driving record An EPA certification A willingness to put in late hours and weekends when you perform on-call duties A hunger for learning more specialized techniques through certification courses and seminars The ability to pass a pre-employment background check and drug screen Great customer service both on the phone and in person Application Requirements: Use this section to ask for any specific documents to prove the candidate is qualified. Example: To apply, please send over your resume and cover letter. In the cover letter, please answer the following questions in individual paragraphs: What area of the HVAC industry are you the most interested in? Describe a particularly challenging assignment and how you fixed it. How has your prior experience prepared you to work for us? While the type of HVAC technician job description will vary depending on the position, this template will generate qualified leads so you can attract the most experienced and enthusiastic professionals to your business. Once you’ve completed your job listing, be sure to post it on trusted sites that can help you attract the right applicants. Sites like Monster.com, Indeed, LinkedIn, and even Craigslist are a good place to start.
Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator
February 13, 2019 • Thanks to smartphones, we have access to a wealth of information and tools right in the palm of our hand. Apps have completely revolutionized many industries, from ridesharing to academics to banking. The HVAC industry is no different. As an HVAC technician, it’s important to have your physical tools with you to diagnose and resolve issues. However, virtual tools are just as crucial and can help you enhance your business by allowing you to solve problems more efficiently in the field. Below you’ll find the 13 best HVAC apps that can help you learn HVAC concepts, troubleshoot problems you may face in the field, and calculate loads so you can make accurate choices about furnace or A/C unit size. These apps can help both amateurs and seasoned pros, so read on for an in-depth look at the HVAC apps that’ll help put your new HVAC business on the map. Our HVAC App Categories: HVAC Learning Apps HVAC Troubleshooting Apps HVAC Load Calculation Apps HVAC Business Apps HVAC Learning Apps If you’re new to the HVAC field, it’s important to be committed to becoming an expert and that means you need to absorb all you can about heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration. HVAC software allows you to brush up on essential knowledge so you’re better able to handle and resolve issues out in the field. As an aspiring HVAC technician, you’ll need to have a wide breadth of knowledge and be able to answer questions such as: What is a sling psychrometer and what does it measure? What’s the difference between an air conditioner and a heat pump? What is one element you don’t have to consider when you’re completing an outdoor unit install? If you’re not sure what the answers are to those questions, have no fear. The apps below will cover those questions and many more. Even if you’re a professional who has been working for years, there’s always new technology and equipment to learn in the industry. Below are some of our favorite HVAC apps to keep you updated and knowledgeable. HVAC Flashcards by BH Inc – iOS — Cost: $4.99 Best for: “ Studying HVAC technology & theory” This app is a great tool for studying for the HVAC exam and may even make the process a little more fun. It’ll help you gain better understanding of HVAC technology , terms, and theory. HVAC Flashcards covers major areas of the HVAC exam including: Air distribution and balance Gas heat Heat pumps Refrigeration concepts Controls Electric heat Features: Access to over 1000 pre-made flashcards with essential terms, equipment, and concepts Statistics for cards and games you play plus a study-tracker Schedule for reviewing flashcards to help keep you accountable Customization of flashcard color and text color for a user-friendly interface Text-to-speech technology Offline download available for offline studying so you don’t need an internet connection to learn How to use: Choose between four modes: Study, Listening, Quiz, and Matching Study statistics to monitor how well you’re doing among different categories Simply follow the directions on the screen to flip between flashcards The Dictionary: Complete HVAC Dictionary Free — Android — Cost: Free Best for: “ Studying HVAC terms” This app serves as a quick reference guide for HVAC terms and concepts. Enjoy learning about more than three thousand terms with expert descriptions covering heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. This is great for both professionals and those just beginning their HVAC careers. Curious what parameters make a leak Class IV or Class V? Need to know the difference between an axial fan and a centrifugal fan? Done. With this HVAC app, you’ll have all of the definitions you could want in one convenient place. How to use: Type in your HVAC term right into the search bar Add bookmark to save the term for easy reference later HVAC Practice Test — iOS — Cost: Free Best for: “ Various study modes” Get ready to crush your HVAC exam. This HVAC app boasts thousands of up-to-date questions, tracks your progress for every single question, and optimizes your ability to memorize concepts and terms. You can even challenge your friends to see who has the most HVAC know-how. Instead of one mode where your brain gets bored, your mind is stimulated by multiple learning modes. How to use: Choose between different featured modes: Study, Slideshow, Matching, Memorize, and Quiz Based on your progress, the app will quiz you daily on categories that need more attention Flip between flashcards, test your knowledge with a timed, multiple-choice test, or review your overall knowledge progress Challenge friends to HVAC knowledge quizzes HVAC School – Android — Cost: Free Best for: “ Curated information from HVAC professionals” If you’re an Android user, this is one of the best HVAC learnings apps you can get. It will help current HVAC technicians keep their knowledge base current and assist those aspiring techs to learn all they can. Features: Tune in and listen to the HVAC School podcast, an informational podcast about changes in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems you should know about. Read technical articles by professionals in the industry to bolster your understanding of concepts, equipment, and theory in the industry. Use the HVAC calculators integrated within the app to gain a broader comprehension of common HVAC mathematics concepts. How to use: Use the dashboard to search through different categories: Tech Tips, Podcast, Tools, and Search Look up HVAC terms, listen to an industry podcast for insider knowledge, read articles on HVAC theory, and utilize HVAC calculators HVAC Troubleshooting Apps As an HVAC technician, you have an incredibly important job: fix sometimes critical issues that affect customers’ enjoyment and comfort of their homes. Here are some common problems you might face on a typical service call, depending on your particular location: Common problems faced on an HVAC service call Heat pump won’t shut off The actual temperature doesn’t reflect the thermostat High electric bills Heat pump is blowing cold air Steam coming from outdoor unit Cold and hot spots within the home Overly noisy indoor unit Strange odors around unit Hot water runs out too quickly Those are just a few common HVAC issues but you never know what your day in the field will hold so it pays to be prepared for anything. Below are some of the best HVAC troubleshooting apps you can confidently diagnose and fix a problem. iManifold – iOS and Android — Cost: Free Best for: “ Calculating HVAC/R system performance” The iManifold App is a convenient troubleshooting tool that calculates HVAC/R system processes as well as performance. Using user input and dynamic, live system data, you’ll be able to easily hone in on any issues. With over 40 selectable refrigerant options and equipment options, the iManifold app can be customized for your specific HVAC/R needs. For advanced options, you can upgrade to iManifold Report Pro, Charge & Airflow Report, and Mechanical Inspection to take your HVAC business to the next level. How to use: Calculate HVAC/R system performance by inputting variables directly into the blank fields Look up equipment information, system profiles, and troubleshooting guides HyTools – iOS and Android — Cost: Free Best for: “ Hydronic calculations” HyTools by IMI Hydronic Engineering delivers a handy, intuitive hydronic calculator app for HVAC pros. This isn’t just any app, it was built by industry leaders in hydronic distribution systems and temperature control, IMI Hydronic Engineering International SA. More than 100,000 projects all over the world and years of experience helped to build this app so you know you’re getting the best, most accurate information. Need to make a unit conversion? Confused about pipe sizing? Find all the answers you need with this app designed with the HVAC professional in mind. Features: Pipe sizing Unit conversion Hydronic calculator (input two values and get the answer) Power – flow – temperature difference Flow – valve setting – pressure drop Flow – Kv/Cv – pressure drop Dirt and air separator pressure drop calculation Valve sizing and presetting Radiator power estimation (panel as well as column) Run-time selection of localization and run-time selection of language How to use: Input values into the empty fields to find common HVAC calculations Use answers to guide any necessary corrective actions or to determine replacement needs Refrigerant Slider – iOS and Android — Cost: Free Best for: “ Pressure-to-temperature refrigerant conversions” This app comes from the engineering experts at Danfoss who specialize in refrigeration, air conditioning, heating, motor control, and machinery. If you’re looking for an app that acts as a quick, efficient pressure-to-temperature refrigerant converter, this is your app. The Refrigerant Slider covers 69 different types of refrigerants including natural ones. You’ll be able to dive into a world of refrigerant knowledge thanks to this app’s in-depth description of different refrigerant types. Features: View Global Warming Potential (GWP) and Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP) of refrigerant materials Ability to switch between AR4 and AR5 values according to European F-Gas regulations App built according to NIST Refrigerant Properties and uses Antoine equations for conversion See both dew and bubble point for refrigerants Switch between Metric and Imperial units How to use: Using the left side of the screen, a slider will help you determine the pressure or temperature reference Using the right side of the screen, you’ll see the pressure and temperature in exact measurements Type in a specific pressure or temperature reading and the slider will give you instantaneous answer corresponding to your input Test and Balance/Commissioning Calculator – iOS and Android — Cost: $9.99 Best for: “ Pressure-to-temperature refrigerant conversions” If you’re an HVAC technician out in the field, you will want to be prepared with the right knowledge. And with HVAC issues, that means you must have various formulas and mathematic equations close at hand at all times. The Test and Balancing/Commissioning Calculator has common calculations you may need when you’re out trying to fix different HVAC issues. How to use: Find Cooling MBH Calculation: By using inputs of altitude, CFM, entering and leaving dry bulb and wet bulb temperatures, this calculator determines the work performed by the cooling coil in total, sensible, latent MBH, tons of cooling and condensate gallons per hour. Find Water MBH: By using the known GPM and entering and leaving water temperature, the calculator will tell you how much heat is transferred into water. Find Sheave Change: Helps you determine the necessary sheaves and belts to either add or subtract to the fan RPM to get to the correct CFM. It also determines the required BHP for change, the length of the belt, and delivers both motor pitch and fan pitch diameter. Find Heating MBH Calculation: Utilizing the known altitude, CFM, and entering and leaving dry bulb, the calculator will deliver the sensible heating load data. Find Humidification: Using the known altitude, CFM, and entering and leaving dry bulb and wet bulb temperatures, the calculator will tell you the work being reintroduced into the air stream. For example, “steam pounds per hour,” “total MBH,” and “gallons per hour”. Find Traverse Points: By inputting the duct size and whether or not there is an internal liner, this calculator will give you location points to perform traverse in ducts, both rounded and rectangular. Find Psychrometric Properties: Delivers all psychrometric property data from any dry bulb and wet bulb temperature of air at any given altitude. Find GPM: Determine the GPM based on one of the combinations below: Known Cv & ΔP (PSI) Known design ΔP of fixed Orifice, Design GPM, Actual ΔP (PSI) Known design ΔP of fixed Orifice, Design GPM, Actual ΔP (Ft) This is one of the pricier apps on the list, however, it’s also one of the most comprehensive pieces of HVAC software. HVAC Load Calculation Apps The load calculation is how you determine the right size furnace and/or air conditioning unit for a client’s home that properly balances heating and cooling needs. When the HVAC industry was in its infancy, technicians would make an educated guess to ascertain the heating gains and losses for a given property. Usually this number was derived from the actual size in square feet of the home and it wasn’t necessarily an accurate number. Because HVAC companies needed to make sure the unit would be big enough for the house, they usually erred on the side of caution and installed a bigger-than-needed unit. A too-small unit in a house that doesn’t properly balance cooling and heating losses means that the unit won’t effectively cool or heat the house. A unit that’s too large for a space or property, however, isn’t great either. A too-large unit results in hot and cold spots throughout the house. The HVAC industry changed radically when the Air Conditioning Contractors of America was formed. The organization came up with standardized ways to calculate a home’s heating and cooling losses involving complex mathematical equations. Unfortunately, doing those calculations by hand meant a lot of time and effort was expended. In the modern HVAC world, apps and software do the mathematical heavy lifting. Here are some of the best HVAC load calculation apps to make sure your service responds to your clients needs. HVAC Load Plus — iOS — Cost: $24.99 Best for: “ Sizing cooling and heating units” HVAC Load Plus is the perfect companion when you’re out in the field. It’ll allow you to size cooling and heating units, show those results to the client, and email the data to your home office to analyze the information further for more insight. Plus, you’ll save time by inputting data in the field and returning to your office for a more thorough analysis. Features: Weather for more than 1000 cities in database Data for hundreds of construction types for ceilings, windows, doors, floors, roofs, and more Additional input variations such as number of people, number of bedrooms, ventilation airflow, and more Ability to download a full HTML report of all data including a spreadsheet attachment Easily transition from Imperial to Metric units Equipment location services Bonus module: HVAC Quick Load – will allow you to perform rule-of-thumb heating and cooling load calcs based building type, square footage, and the number of people How to use: Create and store an unlimited number of projects – plus, you can copy existing projects to new projects for simple recycling of data Use calculator and report feature to see a full breakdown of the cooling and heating load report which includes further breakdown by opaque load, window load, skylight load, ventilation load, infiltration load, and internal load contributions Duct Calc Elite – iOS and Android — Cost: $6.99 Best for: “ Calculating ductwork sizing” Duct Calc Elite helps you make the most of a customer’s HVAC system. Duct sizes that are too small means that the entire system has to work more to keep the property heated and cooled to comfortable temperatures. Conversely, if the duct size is too big, the velocity is compromised so you might not be able to feel it at all through the vents. To calculate ductwork sizing, you’ll need to know the following: Square footage of the home Square footage of each individual room Cubic feet per minute Duct’s sizing friction loss rate Or, you can simply rely on the Duct Calc Elite which does all the work for you. This useful HVAC app boasts an intuitive, user-friendly interface so you can enter values for each calculation with total confidence. Features: Duct Size by Airflow mode Duct Size by Dimension mode Pressure Drop mode How to use: Use the included calculator to find the following: Duct dimensional units: inches, centimeters, or millimeters Airflow units: cubic feet per minute, cubic feet per second, cubic meters per second, or liters per second Velocity units: Feet per second, feet per minute, or meters per second Pressure loss unit: inches of water per 100 feet or Pascals per meter Duct material type: aluminum, concrete, fibrous glass duct liner, flexible duct-metallic, galvanized steel, PVC plastic pipe, smooth liner, spiral steel, or uncoated carbon steel Air temperature: Fahrenheit, Celsius, or Kelvin Elevation: feet or meters HVAC Check and Charge – iOS and Android — Cost: Free Best for: “ Refrigerant charge calculations” HVAC Check and Charge from Emerson Climate Technologies delivers on-site refrigerant charge calculations for air conditioning applications. Features: For use with R-22, R-410A, R-32, R-407C and R-134a Airflow calculator Superheat calculator (non TXV) Subcooling calculator (TXV) How to use: Technician chooses subcooling, superheat, or airflow setting Enter the specific system temperature with latent and sensible environmental loads Resulting calculation is the proper system charge Final value tells you whether or not the charge amount should be altered HVAC Duct Sizer – iOS and Android — Cost: $5.99 Best for: “ Ductwork sizing” This is another highly-rated duct-sizing app for both Android and iOS users. Essentially, it’s a virtual version of a traditional duct sizing measurement tool. How to use: Find Size by Airflow: Choose the total airflow in CFM (or L/S), the aspect ratio and either velocity of air or the friction loss per 100 feet (or 30 meters). The resulting calculation delivers both exact and rounded estimations of height, width, and diameter dimensions, the equivalent diameter (for rectangular and oval ducts) and the calculated velocity and friction loss. Find Size by Dimensions: You can examine an existing duct system by punching in the present duct dimensions and either the airflow or velocity numbers to arrive at the calculated duct friction loss. Add in custom parameters: Duct shape: rectangular, oval, round Duct material type Duct roughness Air temperature Air pressure HVAC Business Apps If you own your own HVAC business, you know how important it is to stay organized. With clients, multiple technicians, ongoing projects, emergency calls – HVAC businesses are known for being dynamic, busy organizations. So, it’s important to ensure that you have all your bases covered with regard to scheduling, clients, and project progress. For example, you can make it easier for potential customers to go about hiring an HVAC technician to fix a heating, cooling, or refrigeration issue by allowing online booking through social media and review sites. You may also want to consider a business app to help you digitize all the important information you’re dealing with day to day like client information, messages, projects, schedules, employee messages, and more. For all of your HVAC business needs , HouseCall Pro is the app that’ll help streamline your workflow and build your company. Housecall Pro – iOS and Android — Cost: Free Trial Best for: “ Managing your HVAC business” If you’d like an app that does it all, look no further than the Housecall Pro app. This app will serve as your business hub where all of your business-critical matters are in one convenient location. Message clients when you’re on your way, dispatch technicians based on proximity to clients, allow customers to pay with their credit cards for instant payment, send out automated emails without marketing services – there’s truly no other app like it. Don’t waste your time half-heartedly trying to market, let us handle that for you while you focus on higher-value tasks that are important to your business. How to use: Use the intuitive dashboard to navigate to each category and section to carry out your essential HVAC business tasks: Online Booking Schedule and dispatch Custom invoicing and estimating Payment Instapay Live map Service agreements QuickBooks Online Automated marketing Messages to clients Pay by credit card, cash, checks Send jobs to employee calendars Set recurring jobs Send notes and photos while on a job Send invoices via text Sync data to secure cloud Set employee permissions Export customer data and job information at any time Looking for a payment platform for your HVAC company? Check out our comparison of Clover vs. Square . HVAC Apps for every project HVAC apps aren’t the only way to get a job done right the first time, but they’re a helpful tool to make the most of your time, knowledge, and skillset. As an HVAC technician, you’re tasked with the important job of making sure people’s homes are comfortable. Using apps like Housecall Pro helps make your business more efficient and responsive. Tackle each HVAC job with the confidence that comes from knowing you have all the information you need right in your pocket.
Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator
February 4, 2019 • The HVAC industry is growing faster than ever. By 2023 , the HVAC system market is expected to reach a value of $251.6 billion. So, what can you do to maximize your piece of this size-able pie? If you’re an HVAC business owner, you should start by developing a clear understanding of how to calculate profit margins and optimize your income. By taking steps to increase your profit margins now, you’re setting your business up for success as the market expands. This article looks at average HVAC profit margins, salaries, and expenses to help you decide how to set your prices and pay your technicians. We’ll also talk about simple changes you can make to optimize your profit margins. How Much Should You Charge for HVAC Services? This can be tricky to answer. People get squeamish when you bring up money. But the bottom line is, you’re running a business – and a business needs to be profitable to survive. That means you’ll need to think strategically about how much to markup materials and how much to charge per hour or per job. Start by Determining Your Break-Even Point Before you can turn a profit, you need to charge enough to cover basic materials and labor costs. So, start by figuring out your break-even point. That is, what’s the absolute minimum amount you need to charge to cover your expenses? Once you have this baseline figure, you can use it to help set your rates and optimize your margins. Here’s how to calculate your break-even point for any HVAC job. Step 1: First, add up all of your monthly costs for running the business, including bills, rent, licensing, and equipment. Then, divide the total by the average number of jobs you do per month. Step 2: Next, estimate how many hours each job requires and multiply it by the hourly cost of your technicians and other staff members. This should include hourly wages as well as any additional benefits you offer, like health insurance. Step 3: Calculate the costs of all materials and equipment required to complete the job. Step 4: Add these numbers together to calculate your break-even point. If you were to charge a customer that exact amount, you’d recover all your expenses – but wouldn’t make a cent of profit. Now that you know your break-even point, you need to factor in your desired profit margin and markup costs accordingly. Setting HVAC Costs: How to Markup Materials and Labor Many HVAC business owners treat profit margins and markup as the same thing, but these are two different numbers – and to make a healthy profit, you need to understand both. Markup is the difference between your break-even point (i.e. what you pay for parts and labor) vs. what you charge the customer. You need to know how much a part costs you before you decide how much to charge for it. Keep tabs on fluctuations in market prices to avoid short-changing yourself if costs go up. Standard markup on parts is 100% for non-retail items, which means you can bill the customer for twice what the part cost you. Labor markup ensures you’re making a profit off the time your technician spends completing a job, rather than just enough to pay their wages. Your profit margin is the percentage of sales that represent profit. That is, how much you’re earning back in relation to the total amount invoiced for. You can set your prices by using your desired profit margin or markup on individual costs. To determine how much you should charge for a 40% profit margin, for example, you would divide your total costs by 1.60. So, if your overhead costs are $500 for a job and you want a 40% profit margin, your calculation would look like this: $500 / 1.60 = $800 Education is the #1 Factor that Impacts HVAC Technician Salary If you’re wondering how much to pay an HVAC technician, there are several factors to consider. According to a 2018 survey, the most critical factor that affects an HVAC professional’s salary is their level of education. While the median income for all non-owner HVAC professionals is $55K, techs with certifications and degrees can command a higher salary. This makes sense, since the more a technician is able to specialize within your field, the more potential value they can bring to your company. Here’s how education can impact average earnings: Almost two-thirds (61%) of HVAC professionals have some form of industry-related education. Four out of five (80%) people surveyed have an EPA Section 608 certificate. Those with an undergraduate degree in HVAC-R make an average of 32% more than someone with just a Section 608. How Much Do HVAC Owners Make? Of the HVAC professionals surveyed, 12% were business owners. While technicians often assume their boss is taking home the majority of company profits, this is far from the truth. Here’s what the survey uncovered about HVAC business owner income: HVAC business owners have a much larger income range than their employees. Average owner income is $598K per year, but the median income for owners is only $76K. One owner surveyed claims to take home a hefty $20MM per year. These numbers suggest that a very small portion of HVAC business owners are making serious bank, but the median income for owners is only 21K higher than that of employees. 6 Ways to Increase Your Average HVAC Profit Margin 1. Minimize the Cost of Acquiring New Customers Customer acquisition cost is the amount you have to spend on advertising and sales to get one new paying customer – and it’s often a significant cost that can eat into your profit margins. In fact, one report found that acquiring a single new customer costs HVAC professionals between $200 and $300. If you can minimize your acquisition costs, your profit margins will go up. Experiment with direct mail, email marketing, and social media marketing to get noticed by your target audience. Ask new customers how they found out about your business. When you find a type of advertising that works more effectively than others, shift more of your marketing budget towards those efforts. 2. Keep in Touch with Existing Customers Even if you can cut down your cost per lead, it’s much more cost-effective to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one. So, if you can sell more services to your established customer base, you’re automatically increasing your profit margins. One way to increase sales from current customers is to offer maintenance agreements that bring in recurring monthly revenue. You can also use direct mail and email marketing to keep your company top-of-mind for existing customers during slow months. This is effective because it not only fills up your schedule during the off-season, but it also frees you up to service new customers who are more likely to contact you during the busy season. 3. Add Value Instead of Offering Discounts There’s a time and a place for providing discounted services – for instance, during a serious lull in the off-season or to reward customers who give you referrals . However, most of the time, you should try to avoid lowering your rates – especially if you’re looking to boost your average HVAC profit margin. If you want to attract new customers without cutting into your profits, add more value to your existing offer. So, rather than promoting a 10% discount for first-time customers, focus on communicating added value instead. That could mean throwing in an added bonus that won’t cost you anything, like beefing up their warranty or priority service in the case of an emergency. 4. Invest in Your Team Members Putting together an amazing team doesn’t mean only hiring seasoned pros. You can and should invest in fresh talent who can learn from your more experienced techs. Not only do junior technicians have lower salary requirements, but they’re also easier to mold into the perfect employee and are often eager to learn more about the industry. Your techs are the lifeblood of your company, so it’s worth investing in developing their skills. By encouraging team members to specialize and earn new certifications, you can inspire them to build a long-term career with your company. If you invest in your team today, you’re strengthening your business and setting yourself up for a more secure financial future. 5. Track All Your Data in One Place The first key to maximizing profits is to know exactly how much money you have coming in, how much is being spent, and how your costs break down. Using a home service business managing tool like Housecall Pro makes it easy to keep tabs on your cash flow, customers, invoices, and profit margins. Plus, you can accept credit card payments with our mobile app, which means you get paid before even leaving the job site. That means no more overdue invoices or time spent chasing customers for payment – which is great for your bottom line.
Stephen Altrogge, Author