One trait that every business owner needs is a bit of organization. No matter how great of an HVAC technician you are, a successful business requires processes.
Processes don’t need to be complicated or cumbersome. Their purpose is simple: to improve your speed and consistency of service. Not to mention that having processes in place makes it much simpler to scale your business, either by adding more techs or hiring support staff. If you have no processes at all, we recommend keeping it as simple as possible. A bulleted checklist written on a whiteboard or typed in a word processing software will do just fine.
There are few processes every HVAC business should have:
1 – Lead Capture
Everyone has had it happen to them: you get a call or referral, scribble the information on a piece of scrap paper, and place it in your pocket for safekeeping. It’s not until several weeks later that you rediscover the tattered note. By then, the work has long since gone to someone else – or your note is illegible. Nothing is worse than a lost lead!
Think through your lead capture process and write it down, step by step. Consider things like:
How do you typically receive leads?
What kind of information do you collect from leads?
How do you qualify leads, or determine what kind of work they need doing?
Is there a place you store lead information for future safekeeping?
How does a lead become a customer?
2 – Before and After
Most HVAC service providers sell products and services with lots of promises attached. Whether it’s improved comfort, lower energy bills, or a quieter system, customers often have some healthy skepticism. But there’s no denying data. Make it a habit to capture a data point that will demonstrate to the homeowner the improvement you’ve made. For example, a simple decibel meter reader taken before and after new system installation is better than trying to compare anecdotally. There are plenty of other ways to incorporate data readings into a process that will build trust with your customers.
3 – HVAC Warranty Process
Providing work as part of a warranty repair can be complicated, especially if you’re taking on the task of coordinating with the manufacturer. You can save your future self some time by documenting the step-by-step process for warranty repairs. And, since you’ll likely repair HVAC systems from all different manufacturers, it may make sense to make separate lists for each one. HVAC businesses can update their processes at any time, so if you learn there’s a new step or piece of information you need, just add it to the list. A checklist will make the next warranty submittal much easier.
4 – Feedback Loop
You should be asking for feedback from every single customer. This is how you’re doing, and whether or not customers are happy with your work. Take the opportunity to set up a process for customers to provide their thoughts. That could be as simple as a phone call, text, or email to ask. You could also set up a survey or even ask customers to write a public review on Google, Yelp, or Facebook. Many times, customers won’t provide any feedback unless you specifically ask! Make sure your process includes a way for you to incorporate that feedback into your other processes. Plus, create an avenue to share feedback with employees as well.
5 - Goal Setting
Goal setting is an integral part of any successful business. It perhaps one of the most important processes your HVAC business can have. It’s an easy task to overlook, though, if you’re busy with day-to-day work. Whether you’re looking to grow your HVAC business or just maintain your current book, the best thing to do is to establish a goal-setting process. Keep in mind that goal setting doesn’t end once you’ve decided on an objective. Since every goal should have a time component, your goal setting process should include regular check-ins and a final ‘did we meet our goal?’ check. We recommend monthly, quarterly, and annual targets for every heating and cooling business.