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Foundations for HVAC Business Success

Feb. 3, 2021
Much of your success in 2021 rests on your recruiting and hiring, and your ability to generate maximum profit by offering customers a variety of needed home comfort products and services.

Our February Contracting Business print an online content includes guidance on subjects that are vital to the success of your HVACR enterprise: recruiting, technician development, service and profitability. Five experts are here to provide their insights: Chris Hunter, Ben Stark, Charlie Greer, Dominick Guarino and James Leichter.

HVAC entrepreneurs Hunter and Stark have written “It’s Go-Time,” with the help of author David Rothacker. "It's Go-Time" is a landmark guide to starting, managing, growing and ultimately selling an HVAC business. When not writing awesome books, they provide business consulting at Since selling Hunter Heat and Air, Hunter was named director of customer relations for ServiceTitan.   

In their book, the authors devote 16 pages to recruiting, hiring and retaining employees. The article is a reprint from the "It's Go-Time" chapter on recruiting, hiring and retention, and I thank Chris Hunter for allowing us to reprint the immensely helpful information. 

The need for quality technician and office employees is a perennial concern. Looking through some of our back issues, I found that leading contractors were expressing concern about dwindling candidates in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The good news is, recruiting methods have sprinted far ahead of simply posting a “Now Hiring” sign in a window, or a newspaper “Help Wanted” ad. 

Proper recruiting begins with your message and the messaging vehicle. The message should explain the type of candidate you’re looking for. Ben Stark looks for people who are outgoing, can follow a script on the phone or in front of customers, can adjust to customer personalities and can create solutions to customer problems. Chris Hunter looks for people with a great attitude, strong work ethic and a desire to succeed. He says, “Hire for attitude, train for technical aptitude.”

It’s also vitally important that your recruits see a career and a future in HVAC and in your company. Stark has mapped out a very detailed “Career Path to Success Program,” which you can find on page 17.

It’s vitally important that your recruits see a career and a future in HVAC and in your company.

Where are you broadcasting your recruitment message? Social media must be in the mix: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more. In the field, you should arrange visits to area schools, set up a booth at job fairs, and host tours of your facility. Show visitors all that an HVAC career offers.

Charlie ‘Tec Daddy’ Greer was an immensely successful HVAC salesman, who for many years since has offered sales training at His tips on interviewing can be found HERE.

I’ve always appreciated Charlie’s willingness to tell it like it is. Among his observations:

  •  “Never hire anyone on their first interview. They will never be that person again.” 
  • “If they can’t at least describe some sort of sales procedure, they’re not a salesperson.”
  • Walk candidates out to their vehicle. See how it looks inside. If they’re going to be driving one of your company vehicles, that’s how the inside of it will look.”

Greer’s additional interviewing tips include that you take note of follow-up communications by the candidate, comb through all references, and do a nationwide background check on the candidate.

In his article "Wanted: Next Level HVAC Technicians," Dominick Guarino, CEO of National Comfort Institute, offers advice for those “High Performance” Contracting business owners who follow NCI’s proven Performance-Based Contracting methods, and are seeking “next level” technicians. Performance-Based Contracting is NCI's unique approach that originated with delivering measured performance in HVAC systems to consumers. Methodical testing and balancing are at the heart of the NCI program.

“When recruiting personnel for this new opportunity, the key is finding professionals who want to be more than just an average tech or installer,” Guarino writes. “Be specific about what you are looking for. Describe what is expected of a High-Performance technician or installer, and the kind of training they would receive.”

James Leichter is president and CEO of Aptora Corporation, a developer of contracting business management software, editor of and a founding faculty member of EGIA Contractor University ( His article -- Understanding Your Company''s Service Operations -- touches upon an assortment of keys to HVAC profitability: knowing where revenue is generated, setting proper margins, offering a range of offerings beyond basic service and replacement, marketing and lead generation.

Much of your success in 2021, will rest on your recruiting and hiring, and your ability to generate maximum profit by offering legitimate services to customers.