In a private Facebook group we manage for home service companies, an owner of an HVAC company asked other HVAC owners what advice they would give themselves when they just started out.
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The responses were too good not to share. Here are some of our favorites and tips on how to act on them.
1. Get a coach or a mentor
A business coach or mentor can jumpstart your growth and save you from making costly mistakes that can take years to undo.
Where to start:
- One of our partners, Nick McDonald, owner of High Growth Coach, works with HVAC companies around the world in a one-on-one capacity, plus online training programs.
- Several pros recommended Success Group International (SGI), an organization that provides consulting, educational opportunities, and more.
- If you’re on a tight budget, start with SCORE, a national organization of retired business professionals that mentor for free.
2. Charge as much as your competitors
Even if you’re a younger business owner, more than likely you’re an experienced HVAC technician. Charge what you’re worth in order to stay competitive.
Learn how one HVAC company made it to $1M in 14 months and why — even as a younger business — he pays his team better than anyone else in town.
3. Know your EXACT numbers
Want to avoid undercharging? Set your prices based on the exact costs of running your business and your profit goals. Start by:
- Calculating your break even point (which requires you to know your overhead expenses)
- Setting a profit goal that will allow you to take care of your team and your family and grow your business
- Updating your prices to reach those goals.
More resources about what to charge
Note: With Housecall Pro, you can upload a flat rate price book that you pull from to create quick estimates in the field.
4. Prepare for the downtime
Heating and cooling work is often seasonal, which is a major stumbling block that prevents businesses from growing. One pro’s simple advice is to set more money aside for the slow season.
5. Don’t take every job
When you’re first starting out, it might seem counterintuitive to turn down work. (And you gotta do what you gotta do to keep the lights on). But the point here is if you’re keeping yourself busy with low-paying jobs, you won’t have the time to seek out and win the better-paying projects from higher-quality customers.
Learn how to attract more of your ideal customers by creating sales funnels designed specifically for them and download a free Sales Funnels For Home Service Companies ebook now:
Improve your sales funnels with this ebook for home services businesses
Sales funnels are different methods of marketing to reach your next customer. Whether you’re new business owner, or if you’ve been in the home services industry for years, it can be difficult to keep up with all the different types of paths customers could take to find your business. This is why we designed our Sales funnels for home services companies ebook to cover the four stages most homeowners go through when looking for your home service business. Plus, we include a follow-up checklist so you can use this information right away.
6. Target new construction jobs to start
One pro recommends starting with new construction work. Here’s why:
“Generating cash flow is difficult at first and new construction with bigger firms can provide that initial trickle. It also allows you the ability to hire one or more installers for the time you sell replacements that are more profitable. New construction is great for honing skills with newer guys in the industry as well. It’s not the most profitable aspect of running an HVAC shop but it helps when trying to grow.”
7. Sell long-term service agreements
The other reason this pro suggested starting with new construction is the likelihood that those customers will need follow-up work.
Build long-term relationships from the start by offering recurring maintenance agreement plans. Recurring service plans save your customers money while gaining more value from their investments. All-the-while, you increase your monthly revenue from your existing customers. It’s a win/win! Learn how to sell them.
8. Join our community
One of the amazing benefits of being a Housecall Pro user is having access to our community of home service pros eager to help each other thrive. We manage a private Facebook group for home service business owners and experts filled with advice like you’ve seen in this post.