When you run an HVAC company, a strong business plan and careful preparation can make your business thrive throughout the year. And in order to keep your business solvent, it’s important to know your daily, monthly, and yearly goals. While sticking to a plan to meet these goals is important, preparing for bumps in the road and changing along with shifting demands are equally as important. Downtime in between seasons can wreak havoc on budgets and the bottom line if you’re not careful. But, by being prepared for these slowdowns and unexpected lulls, you will discover that you can make it as a profitable HVAC provider.
A Good Plan Keeps You Ahead of the Game
One of the best ways to prepare for downtimes is to have customers sign up for maintenance plans. This allows your customers to have a set amount they pay for HVAC maintenance each month and provides you with a steady stream of income throughout the year. As a business, you should also have contingency and succession planning in place, so you are not liable for losses at these times.
Dig Deeper Into What the Customer Needs
To stay competitive, you have to be willing to dig deeper and figure out what your customers need. Few homeowners want to spend the money for a new cooling system, but they may need a new air conditioning unit instead of just a repair. While they may be calling in to get a quote for a service, knowing what questions to ask could lead to a larger sale. It’s important to pay close attention to the customers’ needs or any apprehensions at this stage in the journey. If they’re unsure about opting for larger jobs or express not having the money upfront for the service, be ready to offer financing options for HVAC or other routes they can take by choosing to work with you.
Be Strategic with Pricing
While pricing should always be competitive, there are ways to cut costs that don’t involve paying your workers less. Look at your overall pricing and find ways to cut costs that you can choose to pass on to the customer. For example, during slow seasons you could offer a discount and get your workers scheduled for more jobs, or leverage technology to help keep costs down.
Be Careful with Your Estimates
It can be tempting to price a job low when work is slow, but you have to consider that jobs that are low paying and have high labor hours are generally worthless. Even if you don’t lose money, you could be riding a fine line between making a profit and losing money on the job. In addition, you will be using your equipment that depreciates, as well as tying up your employees if another job comes along. Know what your work is worth, and provide estimates based on that instead of what you think someone will pay. If your estimates are turned down often, it’s time to reconsider your estimate strategy completely.
Talk to Your Customers
One of the best ways to be ready to meet customers’ needs is to go straight to the source and find out what those needs are. If you’re finding that business is especially slow, and the estimates aren’t turning up with any business, take the time during those lulls to get in touch with customers and find out why. Pick up the phone, give them a call to follow-up, see if they still require services and don’t be afraid to ask why they may have chosen the competition instead. This data is critical in revising your business’s own tactics for landing more sales and will help turn downtime around.
Contact CE today by filling out our form, or calling us at 877-591-8917. We will be happy to answer any of your questions about CE products and how you can be better prepared for the unknown in the HVAC industry.