How To Start An HVAC Business

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Image of technician working on an home air conditioning unit

Heating and Air Conditioning Business Overview

A normal day as a certified HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) business owner will revolve around two main tasks: installation and service.

HVAC system installation means installing the main units both inside and outside a building and then running ductwork. Service work requires finding problems with older systems and fixing them as well as seasonal maintenance

This type of work can sometimes be dirty and often service calls occur in most extreme weather conditions.

HVAC Business Considerations

There are a few things to consider when getting into the HVAC business.

First, consider whether to start from home or to rent a shop.  Starting from home saves money but in some cities and towns, it may be illegal.

Next, consider specializing in a certain style of HVAC. You could specialize in residential or commercial systems. Also, consider different systems specialties like heat pumps or geothermal heat systems that could give you an edge in your market.

Finally, think about what type of business you want. There are HVAC franchises available such as One Hour Heating & Air®. The benefit of a franchise is name recognition and a proven business model. The disadvantage is paying the franchise fee. Plus you can’t deviate from the business model.

Tasks and Skills Needed to Operate when getting into the HVAC Business:

Whether you do all the work yourself, hire, or subcontract, here’s a list of tasks that need to be attended to when operating this type of business.

Also, see How To Become An HVAC Technician

HVAC Business Tasks:

  • Invoicing clients
  • Setting up service contracts
  • Scheduling service calls and installations
  • Scheduling employees
  • Setting up contracts with suppliers
  • Staying current with certifications, business licenses, and insurances
  • Tax record keeping
  • Advertising
  • Developing competitive estimates

Industry Specific Tasks:

  • Knowledge of different HVAC systems
  • Operate diagnostic tools
  • Installation of main units
  • Installation of ductwork
  • Creating custom-built ductwork
  • The ordering of supplies and equipment
  • Service work on old models
  • Keeping up with new technologies
HVAC Business Approximate Required Daily Hours

General Hours of Operation – Most HVAC businesses have normal business hours – 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but often they offer 24-hour emergency service.

Hours Needed to Prepare – Plan to spend about an hour loading equipment and getting to your destination. At the end of the day, plan on closer to two hours to clean and store equipment and do paperwork.

HVAC Business Employee Requirments

During the startup phase, you can run this business single-handedly. Once your business is up and running successfully, you may need to hire:

Licenses:

You must get the proper HVAC training from an accredited school in order to obtain a license to practice HVAC contracted services in your locality.

While regional requirements may be different, most HVAC technicians must have a minimum of two to four years of HVAC training and a license before performing HVAC services for others.

You will also need a business license, Federal Employee Identification Number (EIN), insurance and possibly incorporation paperwork such as an LLC.

Approximate Minimum Startup Cost:

The average startup cost may vary according to your business plan. Entrepreneur Magazine estimates that the average startup for an HVAC business is between $2,000 USD and $10,000 USD. However, buying a brand new work van and large amounts of inventory would significantly increase startup costs.

Necessary Equipment & Supplies
  • Truck or van for equipment, supplies, and transportation
  • HVAC testing equipment, meters, gauges
  • Basic hand tools (pliers, hammers, wire strippers, light, etc.)
  • Specialty tools (valve core removal tools, duct knives, and staplers, etc.)
  • Supplies, such as tape, screws, WD-40, degreases, Cable Ties, etc.
  • Safety equipment (gloves, glasses, dust mask, etc.)
  • HVAC software
Monthly Expenses to Consider:
  • Vehicle costs (fuel, insurance, maintenance, etc.)
  • Rent/Lease/Mortgage
  • Answering and/or cell phone service
  • Wages
  • Utilities
  • Certifications
  • Tools and equipment
  • Advertising/marketing
  • office supplies and operating cost
Special Requirements for This Business:
  • Excellent time management skills
  • Provide On-call emergency service
  • Stay up to date with Diagnostic tools and advancing technologies
  • Licensed HVAC technicians
Pros and Cons:

The Pros of Running an HVAC Business:

  • The constant demand for climate control
  • Ever-growing business
  • Both installation and service incomes available
  • Possibly high-profit margins

The Cons of Running an HVAC Business:

  • Physically demanding work
  • Changing technology requires staying up to date with changes
  • often a very dirty job (crawl space and attic work)
  • Deal with weather extremes
  • Clients can be irritable when their units break down
Type of Customers You Need to Attract:

Since most climates have both hot and cold extremes, climate control is essential in most places. Clients can include homeowners, home developers, and commercial buildings owners.

HVAC Business Statistics:

As a specialist, HVAC technicians are in high demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 308,000 HVAC employees in the United States. Over the next decade, estimates suggest that the industry will grow by 28%.

In addition to new installation, units that are already installed need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years.

Revenue:

Installation of a new system can cost several thousand dollars. However, profits of installation may be low 5 to 10%. Service calls and contracts can vary as well.

Contractor Excellence, an HVAC industry magazine, says that a typical service call may be over $225 USD (including a diagnostic fee and flat repair fee.)

The article continues to say a service contract could be $400 USD a year. In the end, total revenue can vary greatly depending on location and competition.

Resources:

Considerations

Considerations Before Starting Your Business

Start-up Checklist:

Business Start-up Checklist

HVAC Business Plan

A Sample HVAC Business Plan Template

The ultimate HVAC business plan

HVAC Business Plan | OGScapital.com

HVAC Revenue

How much do HVAC business owners make? | hvac-talk.com

HVAC Technicians Salary 2018: How Much Money Do They Make | owlguru.com

HVAC Contractor Salaries in the United States | Indeed.com

HVAC Insurance

How Much Does HVAC Business Insurance Cost? | Insureon

HVAC Insurance – Dalton Timmis Insurance | Daltontimmis

HVAC Technicians Insurance | Mitchell & Whale Ltd.

HVAC Contractor Insurance | Bolt Insurance

Plumbing and HVAC Business Insurance | Nationwide

HVAC Certification: Ultimate Guide | Hvwtech.com

HVAC License

Show me your HVAC Business License, Why It Matters

Which HVAC Certifications Should Technicians Have? | Angie’s List

HVAC Test 

25 Best HVAC Programs for 2017

HVAC Articles

How to Start an HVAC Business [The Complete Guide] | Fieldpulse.com

8 Ways Advertise & Market Your HVAC Business | Service Max.com

How to Start an HVAC Business | ehow.com

HVAC Systems | SBA.gov

The 7 Biggest Mistakes That HVAC Contractors Make | Energyvanguard.com

8 Tips for Running Your Heating & Cooling Systems Efficiently | The Eco Friendly Family.com

6 Tips to Keep Your HVAC System Up & Running | Brown Heating & Cooling

HVAC Maintenance Checklist | Trane

9 Tips to Keep Customers HVAC Systems Running | Contracting Business

6 Sustainability Tips for Commercial HVAC That Also Save Money | PG&E

Home Energy Myths Debunked | Horizon Servicesinc.com

HVAC Tips – Plumbing Tips | ARS/Rescue Rooter

HVAC Training Resources

Complete Guide to an Online HVAC Training | Guide to online schools.com

Online HVAC Training | Penn Foster Career School

HVAC Training and Certification Prep Online – Ashworth College Online

HVAC Training | Alabama Power

HVAC Training | HVAC Technician Schools | Lincoln Tech

HVAC Parts

Trane Supply | Trane

HVAC Equipment | Johnstone Supply

HVAC, YORK & Building-Equipment Replacement Parts | Johnson Controls

HVAC | HD Supply

Crescent Parts & Equipment | A Wholesale HVACR Distributor

HVAC Tools & Equipment

Imperial HVAC\R Tools

YELLOW JACKET: HVAC Supplies and HVAC Products

Refrigeration & AC Tools

HVAC & Refrigeration Tools | Imperial Tools

HVAC Forums

HVAC, Plumbing, & Electrical Service Forms

HVAC Business Forms – Business Starter Kit

HVAC Contractor Invoice Form – Custom Form Printing

HVAC Heating & Air Conditioning

Order HVAC Forms Online – Big Discounts

What Should Every HVAC Form Have?

HVAC Discussion Forums

HVAC-Talk: Heating, Air & Refrigeration Discussion

How To Start Your Own Plumbing & HVAC Company? – Business – Contractor Talk

Starting a HVAC/R firm – Engineer Business Practices and Issues | Eng-Tips

HVAC Books:

HVAC Tables, Equations & Rules of Thumb Quick-Card Pamphlet

HVAC Design Sourcebook 1st Edition

101 Ways To Suck As An HVAC Technician Paperback

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology 7th Edition

HVAC Control Systems 3rd Edition Edition

Audel HVAC Fundamentals, Volume 1: Heating Systems, Furnaces and Boilers 4th Edition

Associations:

The Indoor Environment & Energy Efficiency Association | ACCA

AHRI | Ahrinet.org

Air Movement and Control Association International, Inc. | AMCA

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) | US EPA

IIR – International Institute of Refrigeration | IIR

HVAC Service Industry Organizations and Associations | Thomas C Wilson

Established Businesses & Websites:

HVAC Services, Inc. | HVACservices.com

A Heating, Air Conditioning, and Plumbing Services Company | Gelinas HVAC

Horizon Services | Horizonservicesinc.com

Real HVAC Service HVAC Company | Realhvacservices.com

Greencastle AC Repair, HVAC Service | Premier HVAC Services LLC

Ductworks | Ductworkshvac.com

HVAC Directory, HVAC Professionals | HVAC.com

RSI Contractors | ACCA

Franchise Opportunities:

HVAC Franchise Opportunities Guide | Franchising.com

Heating and Air Conditioning Franchise | Aire Serv LLC

Heating & Air Conditioning | FranchiseOpportunities.com

HVAC Businesses For Sale

Air Conditioning Businesses For Sale in Worldwide | BusinessesForSale.com

Special Trades Businesses For Sale | BizBuySell.com

HVAC Contractors Businesses for Sale | BizQuest

HVAC Name Ideas

51 Best HVAC Company names ideas

Creative HVAC Business Name Ideas – Heating and Air Conditioning Company Names

43 Good HVAC Company Names – BrandonGaille.com

51 Best HVAC Company names ideas 

HVAC Marketing and Advertising Ideas

9 Proven HVAC Marketing Strategies for Attracting More Customers

5 HVAC Marketing Ideas, Tips & Strategies for HVAC Lead Generation

Top 8 Ways Advertise & Market Your HVAC Business | Ideas & Strategies

11 Easy “Do It Yourself” HVAC Internet Marketing Strategies | Gotch SEO

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