HVAC, Technician Tips, Business Tips, Pro Features

HVAC Flat-Rate Pricing Apps: What to Know Before You Buy

August 25th, 2022
9 Min Read

If you’ve spent time shopping around for flat-rate pricing software for your HVAC business, you’ve likely found it hard to tell the difference between one flat-rate pricing app and another. 

Even pricing apps that function very differently in practice often appear, on the surface, to be quite similar. But there are two major issues with most flat-rate pricing apps that HVAC businesses should be aware of:

  1. Many flat-rate pricebook solutions are standalone, pricing-only apps rather than holistic, all-in-one platforms. This means they aren’t designed to seamlessly integrate pricebook functionality with the rest of your service business workflow.  

  2. Among holistic field service management software products that offer flat-rate pricing systems — in addition to the other tools you need to run your business — many use third-party pricebook products that require inefficient, manual processes to manage. 

In this article, we’re going to discuss the implications of choosing pricing-only apps or HVAC apps that use third-party pricebooks. 

Then, we’ll walk through how our HVAC contractor software offers built-in pricebook functionality that streamlines pricebook management and seamlessly connects to the rest of the tools HVAC businesses need to run their operations. 

Below, we cover:

Note: ServiceTitan protects your margins by giving you the tools you need to stay on top of the fluctuating prices of materials and equipment, in an easy way that lets you focus on other essential business tasks. If you’d like to find out more about how ServiceTitan’s all-in-one contractor software can help you grow your HVAC business, book a free demo here.

The Drawbacks of Pricing-Only Apps and Software That Use Third-Party Pricebooks

Above we mentioned two common types of HVAC pricing apps:

  1. Pricing-only apps

  2. Field service software that integrates with third-party pricebooks

Let’s look in more detail at the drawbacks of each.

The Problems with Pricing-Only Apps

While pricing-specific apps can seem like an affordable option for managing and implementing HVAC pricing, they often lead to significant inefficiencies in an HVAC business’s workflow. 

Specifically, because these products don’t seamlessly connect with the other tools HVAC contractors use to run their businesses, they require spending a lot of time entering and re-entering the same pricing information into numerous other apps. For example, dispatching apps, work order apps, invoicing apps, etc.

In addition to being tedious and time consuming, this approach introduces countless opportunities for error. Mistakes can occur when employees make typos or double entries, forget to copy over information from one app to another, or simply get confused when they’re trying to sync products and systems that weren’t built to work together. 

Similarly, software incompatibilities and syncing errors can lead to data loss and record-keeping snafus, which can in turn create enormous organizational headaches — and, in some instances, serious financial problems.

The Problems with Software That Relies on Third-Party Pricebook Integrations

In theory, investing in holistic field service management (FSM) or HVAC software that includes pricing functionality is a better solution than pricing-only apps. However, many types of FSM software lack built-in pricebook features, and instead rely on integration with third-party pricing solutions. And this, too, has significant drawbacks.

Specifically, apps using third-party pricebooks often require contractors to export their data to spreadsheets any time they want to make even small updates to their pricebook. Users can’t quickly make changes on the fly from within the software itself. 

As a result, there’s still friction and inefficiency in the pricebook management process that can lead to delays in making pricing updates. In turn, that causes delays in rolling out the most up-to-date pricing and reflecting them in estimates that are delivered to customers. All of this can have a severe impact on an HVAC business’s bottom line.

To solve these problems, we’ve built pricebook functionality into our product. There are no third-party integrations required, and price list updates can be made and rolled out in real-time, without ever needing to export and reimport your data. 

In the next section, we’ll walk you through how pricebook management works in ServiceTitan.

The Benefits of ServiceTitan’s Built-In Pricebook Functionality

ServiceTitan users can set up their pricebook using one of three basic approaches:

  1. HVAC contractors can upload a pricebook that they’re already using. That way, if they already have a pricebook they like, they needn’t start all over again from scratch.

  2. Alternatively, users are able to create a brand new pricebook from the ground up. Our interface makes it easy to do, and for small businesses, this can be a practical option. 

  3. Finally, HVAC contractors can opt for ServiceTitan’s Pricebook Pro catalog. An upgrade product, Pricebook Pro offers a pre-built, continually managed flat-rate pricebook(more on this below). 

Organize Pricebooks for Easy Navigation

HVAC business owners can organize their pricebook into categories to make locating items and services as easy and efficient as possible. 

To save time — and avoid sifting through long lists and catalogs — many of our users arrange their pricebooks by business units and verticals, as shown in the screenshot below.

For example, if they offer electrical or plumbing services in addition to HVAC services, they can create separate categories for their electrical flat rate and plumbing flat rate pricebooks. Or they can categorize pricebooks by residential, commercial, and construction, depending on the customer segments they serve.

Keep Prices Up to Date with Pricebook Editing and Automation Features

To guarantee they’re pricing their services accurately and profitably, HVAC businesses must ensure that their prices reflect fluctuations in the costs of equipment and materials. So it’s vital they track those changes diligently. 

In place of the time-consuming and error-prone process we described above — where contractors have to export items to a spreadsheet, edit them, and re-upload them to their pricing app — our platform provides an interface that allows HVAC contractors and their employees to edit prices and specs on multiple pricebook items simultaneously. 

Let’s take a close look at how these advanced filtering and editing tools work:

Item Editing

ServiceTitan users can update individual services or items manually, one at a time, allowing them to provide exactly the amount of detail they need.  

Bulk Editing

Edits and markups can also be applied to groups of services, packages, equipment, and/or materials. With a few clicks, changes can even be applied across an entire pricebook. 

Fine-tuning is also simplified with add and remove/replace functions for:

  • Images 

  • Categories

  • Item descriptions

  • Primary vendors

  • Time increments 

Dynamic Pricing Automations

Our Dynamic Pricing feature enables contractors to set up rules to auto-update pricing according to customized parameters.

One of the most popular ways that HVAC contractors use Dynamic Pricing, for example, is to automatically adjust their prices as overhead costs change (labor rates, materials, and more). 

Or they’ll use Dynamic Pricing to auto-apply “after-hours” pricing — elevating the rates they charge for work on weekends, holidays, or otherwise outside the bounds of the standard workday. 

Again, by ensuring that new estimates and proposals reflect cost changes, ServiceTitan’s pricebook management tools help contractors save time and hit their profitability targets.   

Automate and Upsell Through Pricebook Connect

By opting into our Pricebook Connect feature, contractors can access top industry vendor catalogs and automate updates to materials and equipment prices through a direct link to those catalogs. 

This allows for changes to item descriptions, photos, and prices to be automatically reflected in their pricebooks, with no need for manual intervention. 

In addition, Pricebook Connect periodically sends out customized suggestions for upgrades and best-selling products based on the HVAC services listed in user pricebooks. 

By staying aware of new products and packages, contractors can be sure their proposals reflect the latest in HVAC equipment, potentially boosting average ticket prices.   

By helping service company owners streamline pricebook management, this suite of features allows them to get more done in less time and ultimately improve their bottom line. And all of this is included in a base ServiceTitan subscription.

How Our Pricebook Pro Add-On Provides Even More Streamlined Pricebook Management

While the features we’ve described so far give HVAC businesses significant efficiency improvements in pricebook management, businesses still need to make continuous decisions about which flat-rate services to offer, what to include in service packages, and how to set their pricing to hit target profit margins. They also need to continuously monitor pricing updates from vendors and periodically implement those changes. 

To take this onus off of HVAC business owners — and free up staff to spend more time focusing on providing great customer experiences or marketing activities that help grow the business — we offer our Pricebook Pro add-on feature. 

Drawing on decades of experience from industry veterans, Pricebook Pro further streamlines pricebook management in three ways:

  • Giving you a well-built HVAC pricebook from the outset, based on industry average prices and best practices, saving you hours of pricebook setup time. (You can add your own items and make adjustments to this base pricebook, as your business requires.)

  • Keeping on top of price updates. Our team monitors changes in supplier pricing on your behalf and updates prices on a monthly basis.

  • Providing a comprehensive range of pre-designed flat rate services based on industry best practices and trends, which keep track of updated prices. 

In combination, Pricebook Pro features help ensure that users are able to offer their customers cutting-edge HVAC services and products at prices that align with their profitability goals, all while saving HVAC companies innumerable hours on pricebook creation and maintenance. 

It also gives subscribers a host of extras that can be leveraged to increase close rates and average ticket prices: product images and upgrades, recommendations, detailed item descriptions, and more — which are all available in PDF format. 

Techs can draw on these and other resources while they’re on site to educate customers and give them confidence in their purchase decisions.  

A recent survey of Pricebook Pro subscribers found that this ServiceTitan add-on boosted their revenue by an average of 13% year-over-year. 

Connecting Your Pricebook to the Rest of Your Business: Creating Good-Better-Best Proposals, Work Orders, and More

Whether you’re using our base pricebook features or our Pricebook Pro add-on, all ServiceTitan users benefit from a seamless connection between their pricebook and the rest of their business operations — beginning with the creation of estimates and proposals.

With ServiceTitan, business owners, managers, office staff, and field service technicians can easily create Good-Better-Best proposals based on the services and prices defined in their pricebook. 

Leveraging our mobile app, which runs flawlessly on both Android and iOS (iPhone and iPad) mobile devices, techs can build estimates and proposals right from the field. They can build estimates from scratch by selecting items from your pricebook, or leverage and customize estimate templates for common recurring services. 

The ability to provide extensive product details and high-quality images supplies techs with everything they need to explain services, packages, and products to customers, whether they’re selling a system replacement or performing a simple repair job.    

After a business or homeowner has made their selection, techs can then create work orders, offer financing, generate invoices, collect payments, and more — all of which are directly informed by the contents of their pricebook. And these are simply our mobile features.

The same functions are also available via desktop for office staff, including many others such as:

All of these critical features can help HVAC service contractors get ahead of the competition by streamlining their overall operations, integrating core business functions to drive revenue growth, improving efficiency, and increasing their bottom line. 

Discover what ServiceTitan can do to streamline your operations, increase profitability, and improve customer experiences. Schedule a call to get a free, personalized demo of our all-in-one software solution today.

ServiceTitan HVAC Software

ServiceTitan is a comprehensive HVAC business software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.

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