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How to Start a HVAC Business

There are many reasons why someone would want to start their own HVAC business. Perhaps they want to be their own boss, or maybe they have better ideas on how to run an HVAC business and want the opportunity to execute those ideas. Whatever your reason is for starting an HVAC business, hold on to it and frequently remind yourself of it because the journey is about to get interesting.
Working for an HVAC company and starting an HVAC company from the ground up are very different experiences. The business owner will suddenly have to become proficient in sales, marketing, finance, hiring and training, and other administrative duties. After all of that work, the business owner still may not turn a profit in the first year or two. Before jumping into starting an HVAC business, here are a few tips and tricks that can help owners succeed in their venture.

Take Calculated Risks

Starting a business of any kind comes with risks. However, there are foolish risks and there are calculated risks. With a calculated risk, you at least have done the research, counted the cost, and have formulated backup plans if certain processes need alteration or complete abandonment.
Before starting your company, it’s best to have saved at least 6-12 months of income to sustain yourself and your family during the beginning stages of business. Make sure you have the support of your spouse and/or family before you begin, as unsupportive family members can be a real hinderance to the success of a business. Make sure they understand how many hours you will need to pour into it for that first year in order to accomplish big goals later on.

How to Start a HVAC Business

Most businesses, not just in HVAC, fail within the first five years. In order to avoid this statistic, you will need to lay out a business plan and formulate goals before ever applying for a business license. Jumping in head first and planning to learn along the way are what cause many business owners to stumble and eventually crumble under poor choices and mismanagement.
Now, not all failure leads to demise. There are opportunities to learn from failure and create better processes. However, building a robust basic structure for your company can help stabilize you during the storms. You can adopt certain practices that are working well for other HVAC companies, and improve or change other tactics to help you stand out from your competitors. Above all, embrace optimism. If you don’t think the business will succeed, neither will your partners or customers. You can still have contingency plans in place, but even those can help strengthen your optimism.

Attain Required Certification

Every state is a little bit different for what they require for starting a business in general, and for starting a specifically contractor-based business. Most states require some amount of experience as an HVAC installer and servicer. Your state may also require a state contractor license, which you can earn by taking the associated test. On top of this, you will need to apply for the license and choose a name for your new company. Most states, counties, and cities charge certain fees for starting a business. You will also need to obtain general liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance to protect your business against loss. Remember to include these basic costs into your investment calculations when building your business plan.

Finesse the Arts of Bidding and Advertising

Some people may have a natural talent for advertising or are bidding gurus, while others need practice to master these skills. When bidding, you will want to stay competitive with the other contractors, but also make a profit on the job. Learning this balance can take time. Advertising is another area of business that may not come naturally. You can take classes on effective methods of advertising, and you can also research how others in your space are doing it. Look at it from a customer’s perspective. What is going to grab their attention and what information do they need to know to prompt them to learn more? Remember, it’s easy to overspend on advertising, especially with online advertising. However, some forms of marketing are absolutely worth the investment. Do your research before committing to any one over another.
While you won’t have everything figured out before opening for business, it’s easier to build from a strong foundation than a shaky one. Never stop learning, listen to your customers, and keep setting goals. Soon you will have a successful HVAC business of your own.

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