It’s fairly safe to say that most people who decide to start an HVAC business come from with many years of experience providing service in the industry. While practical experience is necessary to running any service business, a certain level of HVAC business management understanding is vital to achieve success as a business owner. Aside from in-depth knowledge of the services offered, an HVAC business will only be successful with solid systems in place, proper training, enforcement of systems and training, and regular review of processes to understand where change might be necessary. The quality of your training and systems can truly make or break your business, your reputation, the level of service you offer, safety on the job, and your overall profitability.
HVAC Business Management Strategies To Set You Up For Success
1. Have Systems for Everything
Even though flexibility and adaptability are essential in the in-home service industry, systems are the real key to a successful, profitable company. This applies to all levels and positions within the business, from sales, to reporting, to internal and external communications. When systems are in place, they help hold people accountable to their responsibilities, and everyone knows their role in any given situation. Frequently, many service failures are simply due to a lack of communication and a misunderstanding of “whose job it is” to handle aspects of a certain situation. Having proper systems and clear protocols in place will significantly reduce confusion and inevitable service failures.
Think through all levels of your company. Are any areas lacking in proper systems? Do you have specific documentation for handling customer complaints? Does everyone understand their roles and expectations? Do you have an iron-clad inventory system? Examine each area of your company and identify places that could use some clarity and written specifics. Systems greatly minimize unnecessary emotion, finger-pointing, and confusion, and improve consistency, service, and profitability.
2. Train and Retrain Your Employees
Employers in the service industry understand the importance of technical training. Having the proper training ensures that a job is completed successfully and to the customer’s satisfaction. More importantly, and particularly relevant to the HVAC business, proper technical training is vital to prevent potential injury or significant damage to someone’s home or business. Additionally, poor training can result in costing your business, time, money, and your reputation.
Aside from technical training, employees on all levels can benefit from sales and business training. Your techs are in the perfect position to sell your company to the clients they interact with face to face. If your employees are not confident in selling tactics and the products your company offers, you may be missing valuable opportunities to grow your business. Never underestimate the power of technical training paired with professional sales training and the impact it has on your numbers. When these two types of training are used together properly, they have the power to grow your business exponentially.
3. Enforce Your Training and Systems
Having the right systems and training in place are only useful if they are enforced and reinforced. In the service industry, you can’t just have training meetings when it’s convenient. Training needs to happen regularly and often. You can’t enforce systems when it’s convenient. Usually the least “convenient” times to do things are when they need to be done the most. During the busy times, it’s easy to let go of the little details, as well as to avoid holding meetings and regular training sessions. Unfortunately, during the busy time is when mistakes and service failures are most likely to happen. That’s when you really need to re-focus on what’s important so crucial steps aren’t being missed and team members aren’t providing subpar service.
Many owners and managers also make the mistake of thinking that if they’ve trained a team member on something once, they don’t need to ever mention it again. Retraining and reenforcement of systems, while consistently upholding your standards and scheduled meetings, will set the bar high for your team members and leave little room for excuses and poor results. Equally, letting your systems help you effectively manage the business, while not making too many exceptions, will provide similar results.
5. Consistently Review and Modify Your Systems As Needed
Change is necessary to the success of any business and it shouldn’t just come as the result of a negative event. Service failures can offer an excellent opportunity to learn and make modifications, but ideally these disasters can be avoided as much as possible. Change that comes as a result of proactive thinking and strategic actions will benefit and grow your company in the long run.
Look at every aspect of your company and see if there are any areas you may have become complacent. Just because something hasn’t been an issue in the past, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared with a system in place and proper training. Furthermore, industries and technologies are constantly changing. In order to grow, you must regularly review your protocols to ensure you have the best plan in place for your business. Ensure that your employees are regularly presented opportunities to learn and advance in their roles. This will keep employees from getting complacent, lazy, or bored enough to look for other opportunities.
In order to be successful in HVAC business management, it’s important to have systems in place for everything, proper training for your employees on all levels, regular enforcement of protocol and training, and consistently look for ways to improve and grow. Many business owners in the service industry make their jobs more difficult than they have to be due to lack of effective training and systemization. While breakdown in these areas doesn’t necessarily mean a disaster will occur, following these guidelines as you structure your business will allow you to serve your life, your team members, and your customers to the fullest.
The Blue Collar Success Group helps HVAC businesses with HVAC business management by training teams and helping them to implement systems and processes to help grow their businesses. Download our free breakeven calculator so that you know your exact numbers and drill down precisely what you need to do to skyrocket your business.