Business owners in the HVAC industry may specialize in keeping their customers comfortable, but that doesn’t mean they’re not dealing with some uncomfortable business challenges along the way. We’re going to take a look at a few here.
But first, the good news: according to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for HVAC mechanics and installers is expected to increase 14% between 2014 and 2024—much faster than other industries. This means that HVAC business owners who take a strategic approach to get in front of their challenges have nothing but an opportunity to enjoy in the years ahead.
Frankly, there are a lot of HVAC service providers in the marketplace. That’s great for consumers, who have high demand for their expertise, but it can make it challenging for an HVAC company to find its niche. IBISWorld research shows that there are no companies with a dominant market share in the industry, as no industry operator accounts for more than 5.0% of total industry revenue. The majority of these companies are “smaller companies” (60.3% employ only one to four people) that specialize in specific regions or kinds of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems.
With so much competition from the smallest local outfit to the national chains, HVAC companies may be tempted to differentiate on price to win business—but that may not be the best long-term strategy. In fact, an Energy Vanguard article warns against coming in with the lowest bid just to get in the door. “This is no way to run a business,” they say, “because there are so many companies willing to do this (and) there will always be room for smart contractors to come in and do things right.”
It might be a better idea to differentiate by providing your customers with a high level of service—regardless of the area of specialization—so the company can build a loyal base of long-term customers who refer their friends and neighbors, too. Get more insights in Technology’s Role In Increasing Customer Satisfaction and How Field Service Businesses Can Amplify Word of Mouth Marketing.
The phone rings off the hook when it’s freezing cold and steaming hot, right? Naturally, business generally booms when the weather is at its most extreme—when people’s HVAC systems break down or show their limitations. But aside from being especially busy when the weather rears its ugly head, technicians are at greater risk for accidents on the road and outdoors while facing the elements. HVAC equipment is also more vulnerable to damage at these times.
What all of this means for the HVAC business owner is that cash flow fluctuates seasonally, as do technician hiring schedules and customer calls. It might be hard to “weather” (excuse the pun) the slow times, challenging you to identify other related services to provide to customers or finding compelling marketing offers that entice customers to address their HVAC needs an off-season.
HVAC businesses take an investment to get up and running—anywhere from $2k – $10k, says Entrepreneur—and they take ongoing capital to keep the business going. The various costs include:
- Specialized equipment
- Skilled technicians
- Fleet of vehicles
Fleet telematics solutions are ideal for field services businesses including HVAC companies because they can help business owners manage and even automate processes related to:
- Vehicle maintenance schedules (and costs)
- Real-time field technician scheduling (and customer service)
- Vehicle security and driver safety
- Fuel consumption and emissions
Automile is revolutionizing fleet management with it’s innovative, cloud-based, mobile, and design-first experience.
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