HVAC, Business Tips, Guides, Pro Features

HVAC Slow Season: 5 Tips to Keep Revenue Flowing Year-Round (& Grow Your Business)

January 8th, 2024
17 Min Read

Workers in a seasonal industry such as heating and air conditioning experience ebbs and flows throughout the year, but the slowest time of year for HVAC typically occurs in the fall and spring, when homeowners tend to give their home heating or cooling systems a break. 

While service calls may dip during these times, that doesn’t mean your HVAC company should take a hiatus until the busier HVAC seasons

In our experience of working with hundreds of HVAC contractors (and other home services businesses), the slow times are the perfect time to review and adjust your business processes and marketing activities. Then, you can maintain reliable revenue streams during the downtime, maximize growth, and be ready to hit the ground running in peak season.

Here are 5 tips (including using HVAC management software like ServiceTitan) on how successful HVAC companies can keep the revenue flowing and increase profit year-round. 

  1. Sell and promote home maintenance plans

  2. Adjust marketing spend in HVAC slow season

  3. Offer off-season discounts for HVAC system upgrades

  4. Start planning to hire seasonal help

  5. Use HVAC software to streamline processes

To learn how ServiceTitan’s software can help you maintain and grow your HVAC business year round, schedule a free personalized demo here.

1. Sell and Promote Home Maintenance Plans

Home maintenance contracts, service agreements, club memberships — call them whatever you want, but just make sure your HVAC techs and CSRs offer them to every single customer. 

Home maintenance plans generate guaranteed, recurring revenue from new and existing HVAC customers who typically pay an annual fee for preventive HVAC check-ups in the spring and fall. 

Other customer perks of club memberships include receiving priority service when something breaks down, waived inspection fees, seasonal discounts, free quotes, and more. They also help to build revenue and a loyal customer base for your company.

For Cool Today, a multi-trade company in Sarasota, FL, customers who bought and renewed a membership at least two times accounted for nearly triple the revenue of first-time customers, says company president Jaime DiDomenico. 

Finding success with selling memberships really comes down to understanding the difference between a “transactional” customer and a “relational” customer, DiDomenico says. Just ask your techs.

“Ask them if it’s tougher to sell a first-time customer or somebody who knows you and trusts you,” he says.

At every opportunity, coach your techs and CSRs to clearly explain the benefits of HVAC service maintenance plans to customers, such as:

  • Extend lifespan of HVAC equipment

  • Fewer mid-season breakdowns

  • Lower future repair costs

  • Address “invisible" issues, such as air quality concerns

  • Warranty coverage for some equipment

  • Priority service for repairs

  • Special discounts

  • Waived diagnostic fees

  • Waived emergency service fees

While it might be easier to sell memberships to an existing customer than a new customer, it is possible to do both. For instance, your company can offer free inspections on initial visits to identify potential issues, then offer solutions to help the customer remedy the problem over time or stay on top of it with a monthly maintenance contract.

Investing in a new HVAC system or paying to repair an older one may require a large financial investment. So, to help ease your customers’ concerns, offer regular maintenance checks to keep their equipment in tip-top shape.

Figuring out which homeowners will benefit from a maintenance agreement, whom you’ve targeted and whom you haven’t, is challenging if you’re using paper files or spreadsheets. Likewise, once you’ve signed customers to an agreement, managing that service — for example, knowing when a service appointment should be scheduled or when it’s up for renewal — is extremely difficult without business software like ServiceTitan. 

ServiceTitan’s Service Agreement Software

With ServiceTitan, HVAC techs can use maintenance agreement templates that were pre-approved by the company, present them to the customer, and get them signed with just a few taps. HVAC companies can create the templates from scratch or adapt and improve on an existing agreement. Using our wide range of templates, you can set up and store as many forms as you wish to suit different membership types. You can customize them to include details such as membership duration, frequency, billing information, and pricing. 

This turns the ad-hoc, disorganized, and inconsistent presentation of membership agreements into a systematized process where you can be confident that all techs are presenting the same, pre-approved, agreements to customers. You can even make membership forms a mandatory part of service calls that match specific patterns.

ServiceTitan agreements can also be integrated with other ServiceTitan tools such as scheduling, executing jobs, and estimates. You can even tie agreements to individual types of equipment (such as air conditioners) so there’s no confusion about what needs servicing. 

Since everything is centralized, agreements can be viewed by office staff (via our desktop app) as well as techs, so everybody has all the information they need, wherever they are located. For example, service techs can access job histories, maintenance checklists, and warranty details, as these are seamlessly linked with the customer information.

ServiceTitan’s service agreement software also automates billing and membership renewals by organizing customers by membership expiration dates. This lets you stay on top of who’s due to renew or upgrade their maintenance contract. The software lets you define the billing frequency when you set up the membership so that invoices are automatically issued for the specified time frame (monthly, quarterly, etc.). This is a huge time saver as payments will run automatically, meaning you only need to follow up on those who fail to pay. 

In contrast to managing agreements via paper files or spreadsheets, ServiceTitan produces a master list of every membership account, including the payment status, for business owners to view. This provides a big-picture view of how much revenue they’re bringing in so you can take action if needed.

Read our ultimate guide on maintenance contracts here

2. Adjust Your Marketing Spend in the HVAC Slow Season

Some contractors believe it’s best to pull back their marketing efforts during slow periods as a way to ride out a lull. However, to stay in the game and be successful, experts say HVAC companies should do exactly the opposite during slow seasons.

If you resist the reactionary and instead beef up your marketing strategy, you’re more likely to end up better on the other side, says Ben Stark, business owner and HVACR industry consultant.

“Don’t pull back, extend the marketing,” he says. “Push it a little bit, instead of pulling back.”

Matt Michel, CEO of Service Roundtable, agrees. “When it’s harder to find a customer, that’s not the time to pull back your efforts. It’s time to step them up,” he says.

Focus on Targeted Marketing Campaigns

Adjust your HVAC marketing spend to focus on targeted advertising campaigns that promote service plans or seasonal check-ups during spring or fall. Use HVAC digital marketing, traditional advertising on TV, radio, newspapers, and billboards, and/or direct mail fliers to let customers know when it’s time to prepare for a cold winter or a hot summer.

Direct Mail

Direct mail can be used to offer special deals — for example, preventative maintenance discounts — to local businesses and homeowners during the slow season. 

ServiceTitan’s Marketing Pro has a library of postcards, which HVAC businesses can use for their direct mail campaigns. Setup takes minutes. Simply choose your design, adjust the text, then print and mail your postcards to your chosen audience. 

Direct mail campaigns cost a set fee per postcard, so you only pay for the number that you send, and results can be tracked so you can see exactly which ones are driving revenue.

Email Marketing

Targeted email marketing is a cost-effective method to keep your brand top of mind during the quieter months.

Using data already collected in ServiceTitan, you can target previous customers with a seasonal discount, follow up on unsold maintenance agreements, or offer a special deal to new customers who might be considering installing HVAC equipment. 

Sending email campaigns with ServiceTitan is easy. Choose from our huge range of email templates, adjust the text to fit your campaign, and deliver to your chosen audience. 

Targeted emails produce higher open rates and more calls coming in. As with direct mail, ServiceTitan allows you to monitor the ROI for specific campaigns right within the ServiceTitan dashboard. 

As well as these proactive marketing activities, use the slow season to examine whether you're driving traffic and getting leads from your HVAC company’s online presence.

Manage Your Online Presence to Drive Leads

Here are five ways to make improvements.

#1. Optimize Your Website for SEO

Include keywords that potential customers will use to search for HVAC services on Google (e.g., air conditioning upgrade). Sprinkle these on your website’s landing pages, content blogs, and social media posts to improve the SEO of your website. Then you stand a better chance of coming up on top of the Google search results when potential customers are searching. 

#2. Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly

Most customers will search for HVAC services via a mobile device, so your website needs to be easy and quick to find. Ensure it’s:

  • Uncluttered images and text blocks shouldn’t be excessive

  • Responsive — the text should adapt to any screen size

  • Dynamic — users see an adapted version of your site (dependent on the device used)

Learn more tips on how to improve your HVAC website here.

The #1 newsletter for the trades.

#3. Promote Your Google Business Profile Page

Claim your Google Business Profile page with a locator map so your website ranks higher when customers search for “local HVAC companies” or "HVAC services near me.”

#4. Invest in Google Services Ads

Investing in Google Local Services Ads will guarantee your HVAC business appears at the top of Google search results.

Local customers looking for HVAC services will be able to view a snapshot of your business — such as the company name, Google review rating, and years in business — to determine whether your business fits their needs. 

Costs for Google Services Ads vary, but you only pay when a customer contacts your business through the ad, so this can be really cost-effective.

ServiceTitan integrates with Google Local Services Ads to allow homeowners to directly schedule online appointments with your company. It also provides business owners with ROI metrics on every campaign.

#5. Maximize on Google Reviews

98% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses so it’s never been more important to ensure that your HVAC business has stellar reviews for your services. 

Provide an easy way for satisfied customers to leave five-star reviews and respond appropriately to negative reviews to encourage potential customers to choose your company over a competitor.

ServiceTitan’s software automatically sends survey requests to customers after a job has been completed. This makes it easy for customers to share their experience on an online review site (Google, Yelp, etc.) while it’s still fresh in their mind.

Learn more about how to ask customers for reviews to improve your online rankings and how to grow your HVAC business

Mastering HVAC digital marketing during the slow season — from targeted email and direct mail campaigns to Google Local Services ads and 5-star Google reviews — increases brand awareness for your HVAC company and helps you build an online reputation that draws in new customers.

Track Your Marketing Performance

You can also use the slow season to drill down into your marketing analytics to see what’s working and what’s not. Then you can adjust or even switch off any channels that are not performing and strategize and implement new ones.

Also analyze performance data of your HVAC techs and CSRs. This will give you an overall picture of your business so you can adjust and improve on performance.

With ServiceTitan’s reporting software, you can track key metrics and monitor performance from any source:

  • Marketing Scorecard: Track all your campaigns and tie in specific customers to whichever campaign brought them to you (e.g a direct mail campaign).

  • Technician & CSR Scorecard: Track the performance of every tech and CSR (e.g., number of maintenance records sold) so you can reward or provide coaching as necessary.

  • Dynamic Dashboard: Filter dozens of KPIs and track how your business is performing so you can get an overview of all the seasonal fluctuations and take action to maximize revenue flow.

Read our full HVAC marketing guide for more ideas on marketing activities to focus on during the HVAC slow season. 

3. Offer Off-Season Discounts for HVAC System Upgrades

Installing a new HVAC system for residential or commercial customers generates the highest tickets in the HVAC industry. To close out inventory before the end of the year, manufacturers also tend to cut prices during the slow season.

Encourage customers to schedule HVAC system upgrades in the fall or spring, and throw in an extra incentive by offering coupons or off-season discounts. Ultimately, your company may earn a little less on each installation, but you’ve established a steady flow of income during the slowest time of year for HVAC.

As a bonus, once your HVAC techs enter a customer’s home to install a new system, they can explain the benefits of signing up for a home maintenance plan to keep the system performing at an optimal level year-round.

4. Start Planning to Hire Seasonal Help Now

As an HVAC company owner, you know how hard it is to find quality techs with the right skills in a climate where an industry-wide trade shortage has collided with low unemployment numbers since the pandemic. 

As we transition to fall, it’s time to start thinking about whether you’ll need seasonal help for the winter, or if you can wait until spring to hire seasonal help for the summer.

Summer is typically the busiest time of year for HVAC companies, but winter isn’t too far behind. Both busy seasons can be challenging for your techs, as well as your CSRs and dispatchers, with an influx of new jobs creating a flurry of scheduling complications.

Make sure to adequately staff both teams and provide the proper tools and training, so everyone feels confident to rise to the challenge during periods of high demand.

As the seasons change, consider the following:

  • What does your past seasonal data tell you about how many people you need to hire for the winter or summer? 

  • Do you plan to hire more employees for the busy seasons, or offer current employees longer hours?

  • Would an integrated software solution improve your team’s efficiency in the office and out in the field?

  • Are you properly measuring your team’s performance and rewarding them for a job well done?

Consider How You Pay Your HVAC Techs

The HVAC slow season is also a good time to consider whether you want to pay your employees an hourly rate or switch to flat-rate pay. Flat-rate pay differs from hourly pay, as it places the focus on technician productivity and rewards employees for performing at a high level, no matter how many hours they work each week. 

An investment in your employees pays off in the end for any company working in the trades, says Chad Peterman, President of Peterman Heating, Cooling & Plumbing in Indianapolis. 

As a keynote speaker at Pantheon 2020, Peterman shared his vivid vision for changing the way society views people working in the trades. His company believes in instilling hope, care, and compassion to help employees dream again, set and accomplish goals, and then recognizes them for it. His strategy resulted in 300% growth for the company in just five years.

Read more about hiring staff in the ServiceTitan Playbook and our guide to hiring the best HVAC staff here and here. You can also learn how to build a sales commission system for your HVAC techs in this post and how using a flat-rate pricing system helps both the customer and the HVAC contractor in this post

5. Use HVAC Software to Streamline Operations

Using the HVAC slow season to review your operational processes and marketing activities to ensure you are streamlining and optimizing each one is essential for maintaining a steady flow of revenue through the year, not just during the busy winter months. This is where HVAC management software like ServiceTitan comes into its own.

We’ve discussed how ServiceTitan can help with maintenance agreements and marketing activities. Here’s how our field service business software can help increase efficiency in other business processes, too:

Optimize Scheduling and Dispatching

Some HVAC companies use traditional calendars and spreadsheets to schedule HVAC jobs and allocate technicians. But this can be laborious and chaotic, especially if there is no clear procedure for what information the CSRs should collect. It also causes lengthy wait times for customers when they call in, as the CSR tries to gather all the details together and work out the schedule.

With ServiceTitan’s HVAC software, CSRs collect the correct information right from the customer’s first call by using drop-down menus and a predefined workflow. They can then view the scheduling calendar and technicians’ availability all in the same screen, without keeping the customer waiting. 

Using our Advanced Capacity Planning feature, HVAC business owners can set capacity strategies that dictate how many bookings of a particular job type CSRs can take on at a given time. For example, HVAC businesses can choose to increase capacity for service agreement calls to maintain revenue flow during the HVAC slow season.

Our custom tags can be used to flag specific jobs that need special tools or even languages spoken to ensure the right HVAC contractor with the right skill set attends. Our software tracks all technicians in real-time. So, if an emergency crops up, such as an urgent job or a traffic delay, your dispatch team can adjust the schedule accordingly. Plus, they can keep technicians and customers informed via SMS so everybody’s aware of any changes. 

The simplicity and flexibility of using ServiceTitan’s scheduling and dispatching software keeps everything running smoothly so you can be more productive and, ultimately, complete more jobs.

Automate Billing and Payroll

Issuing invoices late or with mistakes will directly affect your cash flow — something you want to avoid during the slower seasons in particular. Invoicing customers correctly and promptly is essential for ensuring that you’re bringing in revenue as soon as it's due. Likewise, paying HVAC staff swiftly will instill trust and loyalty so you don’t have to spend unnecessary recruitment fees. 

ServiceTitan helps you do both.

Invoice Generator Tool

With ServiceTitan’s free Invoice Generator tool, invoices can be generated from the HVAC job site so there’s no need to search for all the job details afterward. Instead of going back to the truck and filling in reams of paperwork, HVAC techs can simply input the relevant information into a customized invoice template where the automated invoice will be sent to the customer then and there via text or email. 

This saves time and looks professional — you can even include imaging and branding. It also significantly reduces the likelihood of pricing errors and lost paperwork. 


ServiceTitan’s payroll and timesheet software has been designed to help you track staff and pay them quickly. 

Our software also helps you monitor the 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. 

HVAC techs can access their timesheets for sign-off directly within the software, without driving into the head office. This saves time for everyone and makes your business more agile and productive.

“The two most important things we have noticed since using ServiceTitan is that it has allowed us to streamline processes and gather detailed information quickly and accurately. This has helped us become more efficient, organized, and profitable,” says Will Hallet, owner of Penguin Air.

ServiceTitan HVAC Software

ServiceTitan offers features that help you manage your entire HVAC business, including:

Using ServiceTitan’s tools to ensure your HVAC business is super-efficient and maximizing on your marketing activities as we’ve described will help your business thrive through the HVAC slow season.

To learn how ServiceTitan’s software can help you grow your HVAC business during the slow season, schedule a free personalized 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.

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