In 2020, the HVAC services market was valued at over $57 billion. With a constant need for heating and air conditioning, the world needs HVAC technicians and the services they provide. If you’re looking to break into the industry, you might be wondering how to start an HVAC business, what HVAC business requirements there are, and (most importantly) how to make it successful. Read this post to learn the ins and outs of starting your own HVAC business.
Is Starting an HVAC Business Worth it?
For many people, yes, starting an HVAC business is absolutely worth it! Entrepreneurs enjoy many perks of owning their own business, including the freedom of working for themselves, the flexibility it can provide, the passion of knowing that they’ve created something from scratch, and the drive that comes with waking up every day to improve it.
Financially, HVAC can be a profitable business to enter, too. However, like all industries, profit margins depend on how savvy of an entrepreneur you are. According to ZipRecruiter.com, the average HVAC business owner makes about $55,000 a year. Now, that doesn’t reflect business revenue—which is also used to pay for employee salaries, equipment, inventory, and more—but rather take home pay. In 2019, the average salary in the United States was $51,916. So, comparatively, being an HVAC business owner is worth it financially.
How Do I Start My Own HVAC Company?
When it comes down to it, there are four basic steps to starting your own HVAC company. Use this HVAC business startup checklist to get everything you need to start your company organized.
1. Create a Business Plan
A good business plan is essential to starting any business. It lays out the foundation of your business, and can guide you from generating ideas about your company all the way through opening day and beyond. It should include key information such as:
- Your business structure
- A description of your company and goals
- What business services you’ll offer (repairs, installations, etc.)
- Target service location—or the areas where you’ll operate
- Business hours (for both regular hours and emergency services)
- A marketing and sales plan, including a website
- Revenue projections
- Market research in your geographic area
Business plans act as a roadmap as you build your business, and can also be useful when it comes time to seek out additional funding or partners.
2. Understand your Strengths and Weaknesses
If you’re starting an HVAC business, you likely already excel at the technical side of HVAC—like repairs, installations, and parts recommendations to customers. But how are you with other aspects of business like bookkeeping, scheduling or customer service? Determine what components you can handle yourself and what you need help with. Then, you can decide between outsourcing or hiring full- or part-time staff to assist.
Many HVAC businesses start small, as a one-person business, and grow as demand for their services allows. This is a great way to start small and limit upfront costs. Some small businesses also enlist the part-time services of a family member or close friend to assist with something specific, like taxes or bookkeeping.
3. Determine Upfront Costs
You might be asking, “How much money do I need to start an HVAC company?” If so, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that HVAC companies cost between $2,000 and $10,000, depending on what kind of costs you need to cover. As a general rule, HVAC companies may need to buy the following up front:
- Tools and safety equipment
- An office or warehouse for storage
- A work truck
- Insurance for your inventory as well as liability insurance to cover work-related incidents
- Marketing materials and a website
- Required business licenses or certifications to operate in your city or state
- Business management software to maintain inventory, scheduling, and financials
If startup costs are a problem, research small business loans and other financial assistance programs available for entrepreneurs looking to start their own business. The business plan you developed in step one will be an important asset for loan applications or other financial programs.
4. Know the Laws
Most cities or states have legal requirements that businesses must meet in order to operate, such as creating an LLC or corporation and obtaining business permits and licenses. Research what the law requires in your area.
In addition to business requirements, many states require HVAC contractors to have certain certifications. There are several different accrediting bodies and certification boards in the United States, including the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, HVAC Excellence, North American Technician Excellence, the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association, and the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society. Before finalizing your business plan, you should know and understand what requirements you need to meet for your location.
How Do I Make My HVAC Business Successful?
It’s not enough to just start a business. Successful business owners work every day to ensure that their business gets—and remains–profitable. Here are some tips to make sure you’re on the right track:
- Get and stay organized. This will help make sure you’re making good use of your time and effort.
- Keep detailed financial records so you know exactly what you’re paying for.
- Understand your competition, their rates, and their services. While you don’t want to price yourself too low, you should understand what you’re up against.
- Provide great service and leave your customers satisfied.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals from satisfied customers. Word of mouth is one of the easiest, cheapest marketing strategies.
- Be creative. A good marketing campaign—especially on social media—can be creative and edgy. It’s how you’ll stick in people’s minds.
Acumatica: Meeting your HVAC Business Requirements Needs
At Circle City Software Solutions, we know that an important part of managing a successful HVAC business is having easy access to everything—from sales numbers to inventory to daily schedules. That’s why we recommend Acumatica to our HVAC clients. Acumatica is a complete end-to-end software for HVAC businesses, providing companies with the real-time information whenever—and wherever—they need it. Reach out to us today to learn how Acumatica can work for you.