Staying warm during cold Canadian winters and cool during sizzling hot summer days requires a working heating and air conditioning system. Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning companies install, maintain, and repair heating and cooling systems, making this field a great year-round small business opportunity. If you’re considering staring an HVAC business, there are several key points you should keep in mind.
HVAC Business Responsibilities
First, decide if managing a business is the right fit for your skills and work-life balance. Experienced HVAC technicians often feel confident they can run a business based on their years of industry knowledge and technical skills, but being a small business owner requires you to wear many hats, including a management hat, an accounting hat, and a marketing hat. Managing the business end of things is a full-time job, and when you add on keeping track of appointments, customer service, and performing technical tasks, it can be overwhelming. Take some time to decide if you want to focus on running the business or prefer splitting your time between being a field tech and business owner.
HVAC technicians are required to be fully certified by a reliable training organization. You’re probably already certified if you already work as a technician. If you are not a technician and plan to hire technicians to work for your company, be sure to include certification information on the application. If you are new to the HVAC field, check out training programs offered at educational institutions such as Ontario Colleges and PCDI Canada. Both institutions offer comprehensive heating, refrigeration, and air-conditioning training and HVAC courses.
Join a Professional Organization
A quick way to give your new business credibility is to join professional organizations, such as the Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI), and the Mechanical Contractors of Canada. These organizations offer useful programs to members, such as special training, insurance plans, and discounts on tools and supplies.
Specialize in One Area
Embrace the concept of specialization if you want your business to gain attention in a crowded market. Instead of trying to do a little bit of everything, your company can focus on offering the best furnace installation and repair services in your province. Another idea is to focus on offering green-friendly air conditioners, heat pumps, and furnaces to appeal to budget-conscious and eco-friendly customers.
Manage Growth With an HVAC Business Plan
Map out a business plan that explains in detail how you plan to grow your business from a start-up to a thriving operation. You may have good ideas in your head, but a business plan allows you to flesh them out and set concrete goals. Consider the types of clients, numbers of clients, areas of operation, hours of work, and how much money you want to make. Managing and controlling growth is critical, because you can go out of business quickly if growth happens too fast and you stretch your resources too thin or spend too much on equipment without the incoming business to support it. Also, you may want to keep your business operating at a certain level to sustain balance between your personal and work life.
Common HVAC Equipment
While you work on your start-up budget, make note of the standard equipment you need to provide service to customers. One of the big expenditures is a work van, which must be roomy enough to hold HVAC tools and equipment. Common tools of the trade include pressure gauges, ohm meters, leak detectors, and wire stripping tools.
Setting Service Rates
To be successful, your company must set rates that are comparable to your competition. If you charge too much, customers may opt for your competitors’ services. Charge too little, and you may not cover your expenses. Figure out your service rates by estimating your supply costs, researching competitor rates, and finding a profitable middle ground. Starting an HVAC company can be a rewarding experience if you have the right training, technical skills, and business know-how.