HVAC, Business Tips
10 Essential HVAC Invoice Tips For Contractors
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Running a profitable HVAC business requires carefully billing customers for the services, repairs, and equipment your heating and air conditioning company provides. HVAC invoices fuel your company’s operations, often making the difference between net profit growth and scrambling to meet payroll each month.
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When presenting customers with an HVAC service invoice, do your techs take the time to educate them about their home’s heating and air conditioning systems? Or, do they simply do the A/C tune-up or furnace repair, bill the customer as they pull out of the driveway, and move on to the next job?
If the latter applies, your home services company likely misses out on upsell opportunities that can bring in much more profit than a one-time HVAC service call:
Does the customer know how much money they can save on their heating and cooling bills by installing a new, higher-efficiency system?
Are they interested in a service contract, so they no longer need to worry about scheduling preventive maintenance?
Would they like to earn a discount on future repairs by submitting an online review or referring a customer?
Wow those one-time callers into becoming repeat HVAC customers with a digital invoicing system and HVAC invoice template that clearly shows good, better, and best options for equipment repair and replacement. Your customers will appreciate the helpful information, making it more likely your techs can close the deal on the spot.
Educating Customers with HVAC Invoices
A skilled tradesman in the HVAC industry knows exactly how to repair a furnace or install a new compressor, but that’s only one part of an HVAC service technician’s job. They also need to be on the lookout for opportunities to upsell products and services, and clearly communicate the benefits of each as they present an HVAC invoice to the homeowner.
Nikolai Matveev, owner of Cardinal Plumbing, Heating & Air, offers weekly training sessions to help his technicians and sales staff clearly explain to customers the complicated mechanical topics listed on the HVAC service invoices. He also makes sure the techs present good, better, and best choices on every invoice.
“We want to make sure whoever we send out there, they can explain it really well. If the customer has some kind of concern, they can address those, and by the end of the day, they close the job and make sure everybody’s happy,” Matveev says.
The key to making everyone happy? Communicating in a knowledgeable, but easy-to-understand and presentable way, says Chris Graham, who runs a one-man air conditioning and refrigeration business for residential and commercial HVAC customers in Texas.
“Look at the whole picture, for installation and just for everything,” Graham says. “The equipment age and the home age, and wrap it all up into a presentation, and it sells itself, basically.”
For commercial HVAC jobs, knowledge and presentation are especially important, he says, because a contractor must typically work through a chain of command to get sign-off for an HVAC service invoice. “You have to keep up with the technology, because it’s constantly changing and it’s more sophisticated equipment,” Graham says.
Get your HVAC technicians to warm up to the idea of providing stellar HVAC service and making sales by following these 10 best practices of HVAC invoicing:
1. Email HVAC invoice forms directly to the customer.
The best way for HVAC companies to get paid quickly and effortlessly is by generating an electronic HVAC service order invoice and delivering pricing to the customer before ever leaving the job site. Invoicing software such as ServiceTitan gives your techs the opportunity to personalize customer service by clearly explaining the work completed and how much the customer owes. It’s also a good time to discuss recommended options for upgrading to a more efficient HVAC system. Give your customers a personal touch and gain a repeat HVAC maintenance customer for life.
2. Don’t email or text customers without asking permission first.
While most HVAC customers prefer communicating by email and text in today’s digital world, your company’s CSRs and HVAC techs need to ask for permission before hitting send. Would the customer like to receive appointment reminders via text or get a text alert to let them know exactly when their HVAC tech will arrive? When the job is complete, the tech can email them a link so they can instantly pay invoices online.
3. Give your techs an easy-to-use HVAC invoice template.
Your company’s HVAC service techs likely learn better with a hands-on approach, so create quality HVAC invoice forms to use in the field. A template following HVAC invoicing best practices should clearly answer the following questions:
What payment methods do you accept? Checks, credit cards, and/or cash?
What are your billing terms? Do you require a deposit before work begins?
Are you set up to receive online payment? If so, did you include the correct link?
Does your company offer financing plans?
Does the invoice clearly show the amount due and the due date?
Will the customer accrue late fees, and what are the penalty terms?
Is the job itemized, clearly outlining the service or repair, all materials, and labor?
Is your company’s contact information — name, physical address, email, and phone number — easy to find on the invoice?
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4. Don’t make it too difficult for your techs to process HVAC invoices in the field.
Consistency breeds accuracy, so train all your techs to complete HVAC invoices the same way by outlining the specific details you want included. Explain what types of information you want recorded on every invoice, and make it easy by using an HVAC software mobile app that lets your techs simply click through the various options. You can even create a laminated cheat sheet for them to reference in the field, but tell them to leave the pen and paper back in the office.
With ServiceTitan’s HVAC invoice software, your techs can use their phones or tablets to photograph checks or credit cards while in the field and post a customer’s payment automatically. This means fewer trips to the bank and no more lost checks.
5. Keep customers’ service history, contact info, and preferred payment method on file.
Knowing all of those details helps to personalize the HVAC service experience, whether it’s a routine furnace tune-up call or a no-heat emergency in the middle of the night. A home services app keeps organized maintenance records for every customer at your fingertips.
6. Don’t send your HVAC invoice to the wrong client.
Too many clients and not enough techs? It’s a problem for many HVAC contractors trying to meet high customer demand, in light of the current trade worker shortage. Keep your company’s client list from spiraling out of control by organizing it with a software solution, eliminating human error. If your CSR sends an HVAC service order invoice to the wrong client, how are you ever going to get paid?
7. Follow up on unpaid HVAC invoices.
Everyone likes to get paid for a job well done, including your heating and air conditioning service techs. No one likes the annoyance of tracking down unpaid invoices every month, so lessen the load on your office staff by automating the invoicing process using digital invoicing. By automatically notifying the customer by text or email and making it easy to collect payments, you’ll both improve operational efficiency and increase your bottom line.
8. Don’t turn down credit cards, and prepare service techs to accept cash payments.
Most successful home services companies accept payment in any form, and the easier for the customer, the better. Some customers only want to pay with cash, while others prefer to use a credit card for larger HVAC jobs. You can accommodate both by using a mobile home services app that allows your workers to process invoices and credit cards while in the field. With ServiceTitan software, you can even process refunds directly through the app to avoid the hassle of third-party processing and invoice adjustments.
9. Keep track of HVAC invoices, service contracts, and maintenance agreements.
As your business grows, so do your number of clients and the amount of records documenting their home’s HVAC systems and services. To grow your list of repeat customers, it’s important to keep a well-organized filing system so your CSRs and HVAC techs can easily access a customer’s latest invoice, a past service contract or ongoing maintenance agreement. It’s the kind of personalized shopping experience customers now expect.
10. Don’t forget to offer a service contract or maintenance agreement as part of your HVAC invoice.
With the right visual presentation offered to the customer on a digital marketing platform such as ServiceTitan, your techs can easily offer good-better-and-best options in a professional format when creating a customer’s invoice. It’s also a good time to sell the value of a service contract or maintenance agreement for future work or priority service when a breakdown occurs. Homeowners tend to remember HVAC techs who are helpful and don’t mind educating them about their home HVAC systems.
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