If you're like many HVAC technicians-turned-business owners, you know how to deliver great HVAC service. But do you know how to manage a successful HVAC business that provides great customer satisfaction for your residential and commercial clients and profitability for your company?
At ServiceTitan, we have 15+ years of experience in providing field service management software to over 100,000 contractors — including countless residential and commercial HVAC businesses — and we recognize that there are multiple management systems to oversee.
You need to know how to set competitive pricing, control inventory, deliver quick estimates, and provide accurate invoicing to customers. You need a powerful routing system for dispatching and scheduling HVAC technicians, such as GPS tracking on mobile devices, and a good CRM to streamline the whole customer service management process.
The modern way to do all this is with the latest all-in-one HVAC service software that helps HVAC contractors optimize their operational processes so they can focus on boosting cash flow, creating workflow efficiency, and growing ticket sizes.
We designed one of the HVAC industry’s most highly regarded and most-used HVAC management solutions. With ServiceTitan's field service management software, HVAC companies can:
Optimize work schedules to maximize efficiency and profit
Streamline business processes such as pricing, estimates, and invoicing (including exporting invoices directly to QuickBooks accounting software)
Offer estimates and financing to customers on the spot
Capture check and credit card payments in the field
Track HVAC staff’s performance and specific marketing campaigns — from leads to booked jobs
In this post, we’ll walk through the four most important functions of business management that you need to master. Plus, we’ll explain how the key features of ServiceTitan's modern HVAC software solution takes the hassle out of running your own business and gives you the tools to manage it more efficiently.
Table of Contents
Find out more about how ServiceTitan could help you manage your HVAC business more efficiently by signing up for a free demo here.
What are the 4 Functions of Management?
Planning gives enterprise and small-business owners a roadmap to follow as they build a strong foundation to grow their HVAC company.
Industry experts suggest crafting a business plan based on how you want your business to look in 10 years. If you're not sure, find a mentor, listen to podcasts, and read books by HVAC industry leaders (such as ServiceTitan) to learn everything you can about how to do HVAC management the right way.
“You’ve got to act like the business you want to become,” says Tommy Mello, The Home Service Expert.
Plan, plan, and then plan some more. When you're ready to put the plan into action, ServiceTitan provides the tools to succeed.
“Create a budget. Create a business plan,” says Dawn Wasicek, the former ServiceTitan administrator at McCullough Heating & Air Conditioning in Austin, Texas. “Create an implementation plan to support your business plan.”
Keep in mind that crafting a business plan is not a one-time task. It's a working document that must be revisited on a regular basis:
Remember to review it 2-4 times per year
Adjust it as your company grows and hires new team members
Use it to track goals, then set new ones
Expand or add new services, but do it with data to inform the decision
Learn more on how you can Level Up Your HVAC Business Plan Every Year here.
Organization means getting all of your business processes to operate smoothly with less personal intervention from the business owner, resulting in fewer mistakes and a better customer experience.
A well-organized HVAC company:
Supplies the right tools and materials for each team member
Monitors job costings from inventory, labor, and payroll so you can manage change requests efficiently and focus on profitability
Offers flat-rate pricing to reduce bookkeeping errors and help technicians offer HVAC system upgrades to grow ticket sizes
Automates invoicing to speed up payments, improve customer experience, and create better cash flow
Pays HVAC staff promptly and correctly, every time
Getting these operations to run smoothly, with minimal errors, is a prerequisite for growth. Without this, the owner (or those high up in the company) will be firefighting constantly and the business will be limited in its ability to scale.
Mello and other industry experts suggest creating an in-depth organization chart that clearly defines each employee’s role, job duties, and compensation structure. Also, strive for a management hierarchy that allows only five direct reports to any one manager, and provide detailed operating manuals that outline proper procedures at your HVAC company.
It’s a recipe for HVAC management success, and one used by big players in other industries.
“Look at McDonald’s or KFC, they open a new store every four to six hours. It’s this master plan to go in and everything’s the same, there’s a system and checks and balances around every single aspect. That’s how they create success,” Mello says.
ServiceTitan Helps You Organize Your HVAC Business Processes
As well as call booking, scheduling, and dispatching (which we discuss later), ServiceTitan has several features to help you organize your HVAC business processes.
HVAC businesses that don’t use modern HVAC software (like ServiceTitan) rely on technicians spending time pulling together all the relevant paperwork (hours worked, materials used, etc.) to create an invoice when they could be doing actual work.
With ServiceTitan’s free Invoice Generator tool, HVAC techs can generate the invoices themselves, while they’re on site, by inputting the relevant information into a customized invoice template and sending it to the customer via text or email.
Invoicing in this way saves time and looks professional. Plus, mistakes such as pricing errors or lost paperwork are significantly reduced.
Note: If you already use accounting software, ServiceTitan’s invoicing software can be integrated with QuickBooks, so you can ensure all your financials are accurate, up-to-date and easy to access.
Paying staff correctly (and on time) is essential when running a successful HVAC business. SeviceTitan’s payroll software has been designed to help you track staff (via timesheets), and pay them promptly.
Our timesheet software helps you manage the productivity of your business by monitoring time spent on specific activities, such as driving and collecting materials, as well as time spent on actual work. All these are recorded in real-time, and overtime and bonuses can be configured easily, too, as can part-time and full-time hours.
HVAC technicians can access their timesheets for sign-off, so there’s no need to drive into the head office each payroll period. This saves, on average, around 30-60 minutes for each employer, every month, and helps the whole team.
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Job Costing & Pricing
Managing real-time job costing is a challenge for HVAC businesses. ServiceTitan’s job costing flyout gives you a breakdown of job costs so you can see your profit at a glance.
The real-time data synced from inventory, technicians on-site, and payroll helps you identify potential risks early, and manage productivity and change requests so you can deliver on time and within budget.
Note: You can manage your pricing with ServiceTitan’s Pricebook. Read our tips on HVAC flat-rate pricing to prevent bookkeeping errors and learn more about ServiceTitan’s Pricebook tool here. Pricebook Pro includes upgrades and recommendations to help HVAC techs grow ticket sizes when they are out in the field and allows you to be confident that the information is always correct and current.
Learn more about how ServiceTitan can help you manage your inventory here.
Leading, the third of the four management functions, may be the most important thing you do.
For some contractors, leadership means giving things up, such as control for growth, or personal accolades for team wins. That's what Chris Hunter learned from his mentors, as he transitioned out of the truck, and began working on his business, instead of in it.
Instead of jumping each time a customer called, Hunter followed the advice of his mentors, who told him to choose between control or growth, because you can't have both.
“That really hit home with me, because I wanted to control things. I wanted to control the outcome," Hunter says. “But if we want to go up, we're going to have to learn how to give up that control for growth. It's no longer about you being No. 1, it's about coaching other people to be No. 1.”
Eddie McFarlane, Vice President of Learning and Development at Haller Enterprises, a 400-employee, multi-trade service company in Pennsylvania, says true HVAC leaders inspire their techs, CSRs, sales staff, and managers to perform at a higher level. Like honey attracts bees, company success invites even more success and gives you a competitive advantage.
“Essential leadership — it's just the ability to transparently share and communicate your values, and then allowing others to join in that vision you've shared, and developing the muscle memory for these skills,” says McFarlane, a former service technician.
The ServiceTitan Playbook is a useful resource to learn how to set up your company culture and inspire leadership. You can also learn more about effective leadership from these ServiceTitan resources:
The fourth HVAC business management function allows you to control what matters most.
Once you’ve done the planning, organizing, and leading, it's time to measure the success or failure of your plans by putting the proper controls in place. This means understanding your company's most important key performance indicators (KPIs) and monitoring which actions to take to move the needle.
Monitor the following key metrics to assess where your company succeeds, where it can improve, and what measures to take to ensure your business thrives:
Use ServiceTitan's cloud-based software to track specific KPIs in real-time, schedule work orders efficiently with profit in mind, and set benchmark goals that make sense for your company.
With our technician scorecard, you can stay up-to-date on every HVAC tech’s stats, such as: number of calls per day, generated revenue, memberships sold, response times, and more. Likewise, our CSR scorecard lets you monitor metrics for your customer service team, such as number of calls handled, conversions, etc.
ServiceTitan lets you take a deep dive into your metrics so you can see exactly what’s driving revenue and where there’s room for improvement.
Additional Ways ServiceTitan’s Software Helps HVAC Management
As well as helping streamline the processes of your HVAC business (such as invoicing and payroll), modern HVAC management software should include these four core features to speed up bookings, provide a personalized service, and maximize their customer experience:
Feature #1: Call Booking
With ServiceTitan’s cloud-based call-booking tool, customer service reps (CSRs) can see who is calling and greet customers by name. The software has customer prompts so CSRs ask the right questions on every call, such as, whether the customer is calling about an HVAC installation, HVAC maintenance, and what existing HVAC equipment they have.
ServiceTitan’s software includes call recording to give you a complete and accurate record for every booked job, and provides insight for when calls don’t get booked. This tool helps you manage your HVAC business professionally and efficiently so that, ultimately, you can book more jobs.
Feature #2: Scheduling
ServiceTitan customers can use the scheduling software to organize HVAC jobs weeks, or even months, in advance.
Our simple user interface allows CSRs to see the available time slots for each HVAC field technician without leaving the original screen. This means the right technician can be sent to the right job and that each day the tech’s workload can be optimized to maximize revenue.
ServiceTitan’s HVAC scheduling software lets HVAC shops properly plan for upcoming services and busy seasons, while tags can be used to note special equipment needed for a job (e.g. a specific control system or refrigerant); this way, no time is wasted.
Feature #3: Dispatching
ServiceTitan’s dispatching software helps ensure your HVAC techs arrive on time to their jobs. The dispatch board uses simple drag-and-drop technology that shows the status of each job at any time (scheduled, unassigned, canceled, on hold, etc.).
Our smart schedule optimization means CSRs and dispatchers can respond to traffic issues or unexpected changes (such as a job over-running). They can shorten or extend the duration of a job, or reassign a tech to another job.
ServiceTitan’s software tracks HVAC techs and job progress in real-time. This means you can send out job confirmations and changes to appointments to customers by text. Everyone is always up-to-date and there’s no need to make confirmation calls as the customer is kept informed of the arrival time at every stage.
Feature #4: Mobile App
ServiceTitan’s Mobile App makes it easy for your HVAC technicians to offer customers services while out in the field. With a simple tap-click-or-swipe, techs can build estimates with photos, manufacturer videos, and product information — allowing customers to make decisions on the spot.
HVAC techs have access to all of the customer information collected by CSRs (contact details, job histories, outstanding estimates, what air conditioning system they have, prior invoices, notes, and more) directly from their mobile tablet.
Techs can take payments from customers by capturing checks and credit cards via the mobile tablet camera, or you can add a credit card swiper. This is convenient for customers and means you get paid faster.
Techs can also offer financing options in the field. You control which plans you offer and set the rules to suit your business, and ServiceTitan will automatically do the calculations so techs can close jobs more quickly.
Want to Try ServiceTitan to Improve Your HVAC Management?
The bottom line? You are now the leader of an HVAC service business, and a leader’s job is to remove any friction or hurdles that stand in the way of driving more revenue, says McFarlane of Haller Enterprises.
“Everything we do that is friction to our frontline employees inhibits our productivity and our profitability,” McFarlane says. “Your job is to ruthlessly edit every process, procedure, and rule.”
Using ServiceTitan’s modern HVAC software helps optimize all your HVAC operational processes so you can focus on streamlining and growing your business.
ServiceTitan is one of the HVAC industry’s most highly regarded and most-used HVAC management solutions. Find out how our software could help you manage your HVAC business more efficiently by signing up for a free demo here.
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.