You know the HVAC industry, and you know what it takes to deliver great HVAC field service. If you're like many HVAC technicians-turned-business owners, your resume shows a highly skilled field technician experienced at servicing or installing HVAC equipment. But do you really know how to manage an HVAC business?
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HVAC business management requires a business mindset to not only provide great customer satisfaction for all of your clients' air conditioning, heating, and air quality needs, but also profitability for your company.
You need to know how to set competitive pricing, control inventory management, 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 management process.
The bottom line? You are now the leader of your service business, and a leader’s job is to remove any friction or hurdles that stand in the way of driving more revenue, says Eddie McFarlane, Vice President of Learning and Development at Haller Enterprises, a 400-employee, multi-trade service company in Pennsylvania.
“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.”
Modern, all-in-one HVAC service software helps HVAC contractors optimize their processes and operations so they can focus on boosting cash flow, creating workflow efficiency, and growing ticket sizes.
Utilizing a cloud-based HVAC software solution gives your technicians access to a mobile app in the field, automated functionality with the back office, and full integration with trusted third-party financial services like Intuit QuickBooks Online, Sage Intacct, GreenSky, and others, to quickly convert estimates into sales.
With ServiceTitan's field service management software, HVAC companies can:
Easily adjust and customize their Pricebook.
Provide digital invoices and estimates.
Export invoices directly to QuickBooks' accounting software.
See incoming transactions in real time.
Offer on-the-spot financing.
Capture check and credit card payments in the field.
Track specific marketing campaigns—from leads to booked jobs.
Simply put, an HVAC app like ServiceTitan's best HVAC software solution takes the hassle out of running your own business and gives you the tools to manage it most efficiently. HVAC management software also helps HVAC contractors master the four most important functions of business management.
What are the 4 Functions of Management?
The four functions of management are:
Planning gives small business owners a roadmap to follow as they build a strong foundation to grow their HVAC company.
It tells you where you started, where you’re going, and what to expect when you get there. A solid business plan, essentially, sets you up for future success.
"If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else." — Yogi Berra
Industry experts suggest crafting a business plan based on how you want your business to look in 10 years. If you're not sure how that might look, find a mentor, listen to podcasts, and read books by HVAC industry leaders 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.”
Both plans require you to lead your team down the road to success, but just 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:
Review it four times a year, or at least twice.
Adjust it as your company grows and hires new team members.
Use it to track goals, then set new ones.
Expand or add new service, but do it with data to inform the decision.
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The second core function of business management involves organizing.
Organization means getting all of your ducks in a row, so to speak, to improve workflow and efficiency for you, your management team, field technicians, dispatchers, and customer support reps.
“If you could get all the people in the organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time." — Patrick Lencioni
A well-organized HVAC company:
Supplies the right tools and materials for each team member.
Sets up a transparent pay structure, so everyone knows the bottom line.
Offers flat-rate pay to incentivize and reward high performance.
Keeps inventory stocked, with clear controls in place to reduce waste.
Automates invoicing to create better cash flow.
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.
Leading, the third of 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.”
"Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way." — General George Patton
McFarlane of Haller Enterprises 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 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.
"Control your own destiny, or someone else will." — Jack Welch
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.
Other key features of ServiceTitan HVAC software include:
HVAC dispatch software gives dispatchers the flexibility to respond quickly and easily with a simple drag-and-drop interface.
HVAC scheduling software lets HVAC shops properly plan for upcoming service, busy and slow seasons, and special equipment needed on the job site.
HVAC job costing software helps you manage job financials, make informed business decisions, and forecast profitability.
HVAC software with QuickBooks integration seamlessly calculates payroll, invoices customers, and orders inventory. Go paperless and eliminate error-prone data entry.
HVAC billing software helps contractors get paid faster by collecting electronic payments in the field and automatically processing recurring membership payments.
HVAC call-booking 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.
ServiceTitan is a comprehensive software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and substantially elevate the trajectory of their business. Our comprehensive, cloud-based platform is used by thousands of electrical, HVAC, plumbing, garage door, and chimney sweep shops across the country—and has increased their revenue by an average of 25% in just their first year with us.