How to Build the HVAC Money Machine from HVACbooks

Building Your HVAC Companies Business through Tune-Up’s and Service Agreements …. from HVACbooks.

We are aware of no business model superior to establishing a lucrative HVAC service and replacement business using the “Maintenance Department Model”.

This is not a get rich quick model, it has been effectively replicated by hundreds of organizations, in most areas of the country and it will work.

How does the Air Conditioning Maintenance Department Business Model Work?

You set up a maintenance department, independent of the service department. The air conditioning maintenance department continuously recruits new customers and generates HVAC business and HVAC sales leads  This maintenance department keeps generating leads even when you are distracted by other AC business demands. You continue to run your business as you have in the past while growing your maintenance tune-up department. Business for the air conditioning maintenance department is not seasonal. Tune-ups are scheduled weeks and months in advance. Tune-ups are performed year round. Overtime is not necessary.

Marketing for the entire HVAC business is directed exclusively toward obtaining tune-ups from new customers. These customers are converted to service agreement customers with one, two or three year service agreements. A service agreement customer is worth as much as $800.00 per year, per customer, in accessory and replacement HVAC sales. We also know our sales closing rate goes from 30% to 70%+ when the customer is a service agreement or service contract customer. Replacement sale profit margins are higher for service agreement customers.

 Following is a brief outline of how to get started.

•Perform tune-ups with your service techs until you get the maintenance department up and running.

•Develop a budget and plan that makes sense for your business. This might be a one (1) person maintenance department or much larger department, depending on your business, market area and capitalization.

•Develop a budget and break the budget down into measurable daily goals for each employee in the department.

•Hire your first air conditioning maintenance department employee, a Precision Tune-up Specialist (PTS). This person is hired first for people skills and then trained to perform AC tune-ups. If tune-ups are not available, this person puts on their marketing hat and get’s some.

•Train your demand service techs to sell tune-ups and service agreements.

•Train your dispatcher and customer service reps to sell tune-ups and service agreements.

•Track your results. If monthly budgets and objectives are not achieved, introduce countermeasures to get back on track.

HVACbooks for HVAC Companies.  Get our Free EPA Certification Study Guide at our HVAC Training site

What’s In The Maintenance Department eBook?

Our book “The Maintenance Department Business Model” includes six chapters.

Chapter 1 is an actual business plan I put together for an HVAC business I managed.  Most of us just need a template and a format to walk us through the process and make us think about the decisions we need to make when building a business plan.

Chapter 1 also includes a detailed description of service agreement plans and the tasks to be completed in a service agreement.

Chapter 2 includes the budgeting process which is different from a business plan. The budgeting process includes all the detail including sales forecast, the cost of trucks, payroll, materials and overhead.   The budget will also give us monthly breakdowns of where our business will come from and what actions will be used to generate our business and leads.

Chapter 2 also includes details on service technician and precision tune-up specialist compensation.  The recommended maintenance department commission and spiff program are also detailed.

Chapter 3 covers staffing. This includes the opportunity manager or sales manager, Service technicians and PTS.  Key performance indicators which are the measures you will use to judge performance are included. Position descriptions for all key positions are included.

Details on hiring the precision tune-up specialist are also included in Chapter 3.  You will be interested in the training agenda and interview questions when hiring for these key positions.

Chapter 4 includes additional training information including personality profiles to hire for these key positions the first time.   Instructions on converting service calls to tune-ups, training the precision tune-up specialist, information on the tune-up tasks such as how to clean a condenser are described.

Chapter 5 details marketing deployment.  Step-by-step instructions for direct mail and initial marketing steps are included.

Chapter 6 includes step-by-step instructions for managing the maintenance department.  This chapter will detail managing service agreements, debriefing, renewing service agreements, and a manual system for tracking service agreements. There is no need to buy and learn expensive software when starting a service agreement program.

You can find most of this material if you search the internet and read dozens of articles, but this eBook will save you a lot of time by documenting everything in one digital file.

Good luck with your HVAC Maintenance Department.

HVAC Marketing, Using the Telephone

E-mail and direct mail are essential tools in the HVAC Marketing arsenal.  Using the telephone for marketing  should also be a tool used on a regular basis.  Many people communicate best by voice. Use every excuse you can think of to talk to your customer.

Outbound Telephone Marketing

  • In most states you can call consumers that you
    have done business with in the past.  Check
    your state laws.
  • You can also call consumers who have not
    enrolled in the no-call-list
  • You can usually call businesses
  • Call and confirm service calls before
    dispatching the tech.  Set up a service
    agreement sale by asking if they qualify for your 15% discount?
  • Make a happy call after every visit to make sure
    you have a happy customer
  • Follow direct mail with a phone call and ask the
    customer if they have any questions
  • Ask customers if they want a filter change
    reminder via phone
  • Conduct telephone surveys

Inbound Telephone Marketing

  • Answer the phone with a cheerful greeting.  “It’s a wonderful day at myAcCompany, how can
    we help you?”
  • Ask curiosity questions to get the customer
    involved.  “Do you qualify for our 15%
    discount?”  When the ask how to qualify,
    you explain your service agreement program
  • Have a live person answer the phone
  • Never let the phone ring more than twice
  • Everyone answers the phone, even the owner
  • No one gets their calls screened.  If you don’t want to talk, politely excuse
    yourself
  • Ask all customers if they are happy with their
    electric bill.  Present benefits of
    energy efficient product or service.
  • Design phone scripts for all possible questions
    and have them available in a binder at every desk.
  • Recruit a secret shopper and listen-in when they
    call your company and ask questions.
  • Use a message on hold.

Don’t participate in a slow economy; turn on your HVAC
Marketing.

HVAC Marketing in a Down Economy, Easy Payment Plan, Part 2

We want to eliminate all obstacles preventing your customers
from placing an order.  Most of us use credit cards or some form of electronic payment.  Make sure you accept all forms of money.

Make it convenient and easy for your customer to buy.

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • Discover
  • Carte Blanche
  • American Express
  • Diners Club
  • Pay Pal
  • Checks by phone

 

Do you offer a full service agreement?  The customer can authorize you to auto draft
or deduct $25.00 from their credit card or bank account every month.  In return, you perform preventive maintenance and emergency repairs at no charge.  It is in your best interest to keep the equipment in top condition to prevent breakdowns.  This is a Win-Win arrangement.

When it’s time to replace the system, you get the order.

Increase your HVAC Marketing and don’t participate in a slow economy!

HVAC Marketing in a Down Economy, Part 1

Do you remember your high school sports coach saying, “when things get tough, the tough get going”? That was good advice. When things get tough in the economy, make the mental decision not to participate. Redouble your efforts. If a recession is a 10% decline in business, double your efforts to make up the 10% plus growth of 10%.

This series of posts will suggest no-cost or low-cost marketing to help grow your business.

Direct mail is the old reliable marketing technique for HVAC Marketing. Direct mail activity has declined in the past year with many businesses moving their marketing to the Internet. This provides less competition and more opportunity in direct mail.

Make sure you implement your direct mail program using the proven methods suggested in our postcard marketing article. Track your results and if you do decide to experiment, test the trial against the traditional method.

We recommend marketing single HVAC tune-ups and having your tech convert the tune-up to a HVAC service agreement or HVAC replacement lead.

Good luck with your HVAC marketing and growing your business.

HVAC Marketing, Direct Mail or Postcards

Direct mail for HVAC Marketing works. It has worked as far back as I can remember. If you tried it and it didn’t work, you quit too soon or your expectations were not realistic.

Who to Mail To
Mail to prospects that are just like your existing customers. Are they homeowners, what income level, Married/single, 10 year old homes, 20 year old homes, new homes? Get professional help from a list company if you are not sure.

Test
Test your HVAC Marketing mailing with 1000 to 5000 pieces. Measure the response and decide to mail higher quantities or retest. Multiple mailings, 3 minimum, are recommended since it takes multiple impressions to reach some potential customers. Mail to the same prospect a minimum of three times and test the results (over time) of additional mailings.

Response Rate
Measure the results of your test or mailing based on return on investment. Response numbers will vary greatly based on the level of competition, time of year, your message, etc, etc, etc. Determine what a new customer is worth and how much you can afford in marketing. A new customer should be worth $500 to $1000 per year in sales. If you are making 10% to 20% on sales you can afford $50 to $200 in new customer acquisition cost, per new customer. This is assuming your goal is to grow your company.

Taking the Calls
Make sure your CSR or call taker is well trained. This person should have a bubbly outgoing personality and be genuinely interested in people. Make sure you provide them with a script and that they rehearse so they don’t have to read it. Provide a log and ask the new customers how they heard of your company. Keep good records and measure what works.

Your HVAC Marketing direct mail should include a call to action. If that call to action directs them to your website or a special landing page, make sure the customer will have a favorable first impression. You only have one chance to make a good first impression. This landing page should get, at minimum, an email address. Include your phone number in a prominent place.

Converting
Your techs must be trained to convert tune-ups to service agreements and replacement leads.