For several reasons, starting an HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) business can be a worthwhile venture. There is a growing demand for the units as they are more energy-efficient than other heating and cooling systems.
Plus, your HVAC business can sell the units, installation, and ongoing maintenance services.
Providing maintenance services can result in a steady stream of recurring revenue. Many customers opt for regular maintenance contracts to ensure their HVAC systems operate efficiently and avoid unexpected breakdowns.
Even during economic downturns, people and businesses still require functioning heating and cooling systems, and as more residential and commercial buildings are constructed, they are continuously needed.
However, starting an HVAC business can be a complex process, and it’s essential to understand all the steps involved, from registering your business as an LLC and applying for the necessary permits and licenses to learning about the regulations and understanding the market.
If you are already an HVAC technician, then you appreciate the business of HVAC installation and repair. However, as a technician, you’re not automatically set up for success as a business owner.
With this Business Blog guide, you’ll have all the information you need to confidently start your HVAC business.
Your first action in starting a business includes several steps that will vary depending on your location and the type of business you’re creating.
- Market Research
- Business Plan
- Business Structure
- Regulations and licenses
All businesses must be thoroughly researched before committing funds – yours and maybe a loan. Before launching your HVAC business, do market research.
Be sure you know why you want to have your own HVAC business and that it is for the right reasons. Identify your target market, competition, and potential demand for your product or service in the location or area you wish to operate.
Know who your competitors are and if there is room for another operator. Your research will reveal if there are any gaps in products and services that you can fulfill and, therefore, create your own market without direct competitors.
For pricing models, consider a subscription service model where your clients pay a monthly or quarterly fee for their HVAC servicing. The subscription service model is attractive to businesses as it helps them ensure they have regular cash flow.
The cost of starting an HVAC business ranges from $2000 – $10,000. However, you will more than likely exceed this estimate. Remember to research startup costs so you know you can afford it and, if not, how you will fund it. Your startup costs and projections will be itemized in your business plan.
Research Suppliers and Equipment
One of the most critical aspects of establishing a successful HVAC business is sourcing quality supplies and equipment from reliable vendors.
Start by researching which names are well-reviewed among your peers, and consider talking to veteran HVAC professionals who’ve been in the biz for years. You should also compare prices between suppliers to ensure you get the best deal on materials, tools, and other needed parts. You may get discounts or exclusive pricing if you sign up for their customer loyalty programs or negotiate bulk purchases.
Create a detailed business plan outlining your goals, target audience, marketing strategy, financial projections, and operational plan. There really is no way around this requirement.
For funding, lenders will ask for your business plan, and you will need to ensure it has information on how you plan to fund your business, whether through personal savings, loans, investors, or other means.
Your business plan will also detail your staffing requirements, technology needs, marketing and sales strategy, and budget.
When starting your HVAC business, you will need to decide on the legal structure of your business. Do you want it as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation?
The structure will impact your liability, taxation, and other legal aspects. The very first decision is to pick the proper business structure.
Each entity has other pros and cons, too. For example, an LLC offers limited liability protection but also requires filing fees, while a corporation allows you to have investors but also carries additional compliance requirements and paperwork.
Seek professional advice from an accountant before choosing the business structure for your HVAC business.
Choosing a business name for your HVAC company is fun. Make sure it’s unique to do that. You will need to check its availability. Register your business name with the appropriate government authorities.
Regulations and Requirements
Every business is subject to specific regulations, including those for HVAC businesses.
You might need a license, zoning approval, or other local regulations depending on where your business is located.
Make sure to research the regulations for your state and county to ensure compliance before you start. Understanding any requirements imposed by insurance companies or other entities is also essential.
The initial research you do will help keep you from running into surprise costs down the line. As you must comply with local, state, and federal regulations related to your industry, add what your business needs to your business plan, including costs for compliance.
Tax ID, Business Bank Account, Financial Systems
Obtain a tax identification number (TIN) or employer identification number (EIN) from the tax authorities.
Open a business bank account to separate your business finances from personal finances. Then, choose an accounting system to manage your finances. To manage cash flow, use an online SaaS subscription model like Xero.
Once you have organized your account, it is time to set up a system for invoicing, tracking expenses, and managing cash flow.
We recommend getting business insurance, including premises, contents, limited liability, and professional indemnity.
Insurance is necessary for risk mitigation and asset protection. If you have staff, you will also need Workers Compensation Insurance.
Your business will need staff, and they will most likely be employees. In your business plan, establish a hiring process and create job descriptions.
Familiarize yourself with employment laws and regulations.
Your newly hired technicians will need to be HVAC certified. Hire technicians who are either already approved or cut down on costs in the early stages of your HVAC startup, including an apprenticeship program.
It’s important to remember your reputation as a quality service business will depend on your technicians having completed their apprenticeship or gone to trade school, technical school, or community college.
Marketing and Sales
Develop a marketing strategy to promote your business. This could include online marketing, traditional advertising, and other promotional activities.
A relevant and detailed marketing plan will ensure your HVAC business gets prospective customers.
To grow your pipeline of prospective customers, have a website, and invest in SEO to rank highly for local keyword searches.
There’s no harm in having profiles on social media platforms to increase your reach and launch online ads that target a specific audience, such as homeowners in your area.
Traditional marketing tactics like printing coupons and distributing business cards to local shops, restaurants, and other businesses also work.
Utilizing multiple methods can help you attract more clients quickly and establish yourself as an expert in the industry.
You will need to know how to sell and close to turn prospects into actual customers. Develop a sales strategy and templates for your salespeople so there is consistency and a steady, proven system for customer acquisition.
Regularly review your business plan and financials for your HVAC business. Adapt your strategies based on performance and changing market conditions.