The holiday season is nearly upon us, which means that 2020 isn’t far behind. Do you know what business trends your peers and industry insiders are anticipating for next year? Below, let’s take a look at a dozen trends experts believe HVAC business owners and professionals should be ready for in 2020.
HVAC Industry Statistics & Trends You Need to Know
1. The Industry Is Getting Bigger—Fast
The biggest HVAC industry news for the foreseeable future? It's growing. An AHR Expo and ASHRAE Journal survey found that nearly 88% of respondents in the HVAC industry are reporting a “good” or “excellent” business year in 2019. 43% of those respondents expect 5-10% growth for their business and 23.5% expect growth at exceeds 10%. This is a slight dip from the previous year’s survey, but still a remarkably positive assessment of how current HVAC businesses are doing.
If you’re a shop expecting even more growth in 2020, does it have the right infrastructure and HVAC software to scale? Critical processes of your business, like reporting and payroll, need to be responsive enough to incorporate new team members, new customers, new sources of income—and only a leading business software solution can provide the agility to grow… and not lose a step while doing so.
2. More People Are Working in HVAC than Ever
The most recent employment numbers for the HVAC industry are record-breaking. Over 2018, it was found that 1.2 million people in the U.S. were employed by HVAC companies. That’s more than a 5% boost over the 2017 numbers and speaks to the overall health of the industry.
Have you seen growth at your shop? Noticed new competitors in your service area? More people and money in any industry can be a double-edged sword: Yes, it means the pie is bigger, but it also means fighting harder for your piece of it.
3. Recruitment Should Stay a Priority
While HVAC job lookout remains strong, there is a worrying lack of interest among young people to consider the trades as a career. Despite this, over a current, ten-year period (2016-2026) experts predict HVAC jobs will grow 15%.
What is your HVAC company doing to find and foster new talent for the industry? What makes your business a better place to work than your competitors? Are you adopting the kind of technologies and processes that make onboarding new talent easy for your infrastructure and exciting and engaging for people new to this industry? As the trades face forecasted growth and staffing issues, these are the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself about your business as 2020 approaches.
4. Company Culture Matters
If the HVAC industry is going to need to court a younger generation of talent to fill its ranks—and, at the rate that experienced Baby Boomers are retiring, it will—it needs to think more about the experience it’s providing its workers. For Millennials (and a growing number of other workers—88% in total) company culture at work is central to business results.
Improving company culture can take many forms. One of the most popular strategies is incentivizing performance and regularly providing individual awards and teamwide perks for achievement. Measuring performance in an HVAC shop can be difficult, though… if you’re not using the right software solution.
5. More Employees Prefer Mobile-first Communication
Company culture isn’t all about bonuses and occasional team outings. It’s also about about adopting tools that make work easier and communication immediate and fun. We already know that phone calls are time-consuming and even emails are being seen as more of a burden by today’s workforce—nearly 45% of workers said they prefer text over email in one 2019 survey.
How can HVAC shops leverage this shift in employee productivity and communication preferences? Eliminating the number of phone calls between your techs and your office, is one surefire way. The latest dispatch boards allow dispatchers to send SMS texts to techs in the field with just a click or two.
6. The “Internet of Things” Isn’t Going Away
A few years ago, the Internet of Things was a buzz-phrase that referred to a growing number of household appliances that were wifi-enabled. Televisions. Stereos. Refrigerators. Thermostats. Now, in 2019, it doesn’t look like “smart home” products are going anywhere soon. It’s estimated that over 14 million homes in the U.S. use IoT devices and products—and that number is only expected to go up.
What does this mean for HVAC companies? Does your shop offer the latest line of wifi-enable products and properly install them in customer homes and buildings? Do they know how to speak to them and demonstrate value to customers? If not, it may be time to update that pricebook and start speaking homeowners’ language.
7. “Going Green” Has a Double Meaning...
It’s true: More and more consumers out there are concerned about the environmental impact of the products and services they buy. But more than that? They’re often willing to pay more for options that are more environmentally-friendly than others. GlobalWebIndex found that rising number of consumers were ready to pay for more expensive, eco-friendly products, including 46% of Baby Boomers and 61% of Millenials.
That means your HVAC shop isn’t just losing out helping the environment by not offering more efficient, eco-friendly products—it’s also missing out on bigger tickets. As the new year rolls around, consider researching and possibly stocking products that reduces your customers’ carbon footprint.
8. Personal Touch Is Now a Must-Have
It isn’t just employee expectations that are changing—consumers’ are, too. For example, a State of Global Customer Service survey found that 78% of younger consumers expect customer service reps to have their purchase history and contact information as soon as they start speaking to one another.
Is your HVAC business using customer relationship management (CRM) tools to provide the most convenient experience possible for your customers? Are you collecting customer and job information that you can later leverage to customize marketing efforts and target only relevant customer segments? These kinds of customer service questions are ones to be asking yourself if you’re looking to make a bigger splash in your service area in 2020.
9. No One’s Writing Checks Anymore
Okay, not “no one,” but it’s no secret that check writing has been steadily plummeting since the invention of the credit card and even paying with cash isn’t done as much anymore, either. Instead, mobile point-of-sale (POS) systems like Clover and Square helping small and medium-sized businesses—and even independent vendors and Girl Scouts—conveniently capture payments on sidewalks and homeowner porches.
Are you HVAC techs out in the field still filling out invoices and crumpling up receipts? Or maybe you do have a POS system that isn’t working hand-in-hand with your reporting oraccounting software. Either way, 2020 is finally the year to give your HVAC customers the same, easy POS credit card and check capture, online payment options, and the other speedy, no fuss-no muss payment features they’re offered elsewhere in the marketplace.
10. 2020 Could Finally Be Geothermal’s Moment
Geothermal heat pumps have been an eco-friendly solution for both warming and cooling houses for a long time... but they just haven't gotten the same spotlight as solar panels and other energy and money-saving solutions. Is that about to change? Some industry watchers think so.
Geothermal heat pumps account for about only about 1% of the U.S. HVAC market. But, now that Congress has reinstated a tax credit for the technology in 2018, forecasters are hopeful for a bump in awareness, demand, and installations.
According to the Department of Energy, there are around there are about 50,000 geothermal heat pumps installed across the country every year. If that number is primed to go up... is your shop ready to reap the benefits?
Changes Are Coming for the HVAC Industry
As you can see, there's quite a bit for HVAC business owners and professionals to consider in 2020. What upcoming HVAC trends are you and your shop thinking about the most as we approach the New Year?
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