Summer is winding down — but as an HVAC-business owner, that doesn’t mean that your profits have to wind down, too. You were likely busy in the spring and early summer when your customers wanted tuneups and servicing on their air-conditioning units before summer’s intense heat began. During summer, hopefully you were busy servicing air-conditioner breakdowns and installing replacement units. Yet now with fall approaching, have you met your profit goals? Can you consider this summer a successful one?
Maintaining a steady stream of profits throughout summer’s entirety should start with a plan of action in the spring. You should have adjusted your pricing accordingly, set your goals based on years past, and put together marketing campaigns aimed at consumers with air-conditioning units. However, while it’s one thing to plan, it’s another to execute.
Here’s a look at some tips to keep the profits rolling in, even as summer comes to a close:
- Tech education: Time is money, so if a tech isn’t familiar with how to perform a certain repair or comes ill prepared to a service call, one of three things could happen:
1. He could perform the job incorrectly, resulting in an unhappy customer and a return service call.
2. He could have to leave the job and then return to the home after he learns how to correct the issue properly.
3. He could say he’s unable to make the repair and leave the customer hanging. Either way, your business is losing money and wasting time.
This is why it’s essential to educate your techs. For best results, consider hosting a weekly mandatory meeting, where new policies, tactics and more are discussed and reviewed.
- Don’t overbook your schedule: Obviously, the more service calls you have scheduled, the more revenue you’re going to acquire. While that may be true, you never want to get into a situation where you’re rushing jobs. Remember, an important part of the service industry is the customer relationship. By adequately assisting him/her with his/her HVAC needs, thoroughly explaining what you’ve done and inspecting his/her system for any other defects, you’re building a relationship, greatly increasing the chances of him/her being a customer for life. Repeat customers are the gift that keeps on giving. (On that note, it’s also a good idea to make sure your techs are well groomed and up to speed on customer etiquette. It’s said that one of the biggest factors as to whether a job was a success or failure pertains to how the customer feels about the tech who performed the work.)
- Target more commercial accounts: Homes are one thing, but you’re likely to make more money with commercial properties, especially if there are multiple HVAC systems that need servicing. If you’re really serious about increasing profits, get serious about going after commercial accounts. Train your techs on larger, more advanced HVAC systems and start marketing your services to the appropriate parties today.
- Every Door Direct Mail marketing: They say that you have to spend money to make money, and Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) is one sure-fire way to get a potential client's attention. It involves selecting a neighborhood or client base and sending a postcard to every home in the neighborhood. This will get your name in front of a large group of prospective clients. It’s also recommended that you include a good offer with your mailing. For example, a good end of summer promotion might be 10 percent off a furnace tuneup. Just be sure to also include an expiration date, so people are more apt to take action within a certain timeframe.
- Network: Try networking for referral work with a variety of other professionals in the industry. For instance, some great connections to make include realtors, electricians, plumbers, restoration professionals, carpet cleaners and property managers. Work to develop referral relationships with these people, where you can refer your customers to them and vice versa.
Hopefully the summer season is one of your busiest yet, but remember, it’s important not to get complacent. Always be learning, improving and searching for innovative ways you can grow your customer base, be a better provider to your customers and, ultimately, make more money in the process.
Patricia Bonacorda is the President of Spartan Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning (http://www.spartanman.com/), a residential and commercial HVAC and plumbing company. They are a licensed, bonded and insured business that has provided professional plumbing, heating and air conditioning services throughout Maryland and Washington, DC for more than 51 years.