Starting a new career can be nerve-wracking, and new HVAC technicians, in particular, face a range of challenges that require them to be quick on their feet.
To give every new HVAC tech a head start, we’ve put together nine top HVAC tech tips — including many of the things they might not have taught you in HVAC school.
9 HVAC Technician Tips
ServiceTitan’s field services software can support new HVAC techs to stay organized, keep on top of paperwork, and provide an excellent customer experience. To find out how, click here to get a demo.
1. Keep Your Eye on the Details
As with any new job, attention to detail is paramount — not just to impress your boss but to make your life as a tech a whole lot easier. Between customer information, HVAC maintenance job details, pricebooks, and so much more, there is a lot to keep track of. Your best bet: Start focusing on customer service before you even hit the road.
Take the time to remember your next customer’s name and do your best to gather any previous system service history your HVAC company has on the customer. That demonstrates that you have come well-prepared. Plus, job histories and customer profiles help inform the work you’re about to perform.
If your company does not have a central database for this type of information, there are comprehensive software solutions — like our own, ServiceTitan — that make it easy for every member of the team to access important information at the touch of a screen.
2. Familiarize Yourself with HVAC Software
Every HVAC tech needs to know the basics of their craft: How to fix an air conditioner, install a thermostat, or set up an efficient heating system. But equally important to the business is a tech’s ability to navigate HVAC and field services management software.
Most successful HVAC businesses use HVAC software to manage their day-to-day operations, a lot of which helps deliver better customer experiences: notifying customers of arrival times and delays, quickly showing prices and high-quality product photos and videos, quickly creating maintenance agreements, following up with customers, delivering upsells and cross sells, and more.
If techs can use this software well, it helps the business run smoothly, gives customers a positive experience, and can even help land more jobs (or bigger jobs).
ServiceTitan was developed to give field services companies, including HVAC, all the tools to manage all areas of their businesses including:
Scheduling and dispatch
Memberships and contracts
Payroll and timesheets
ServiceTitan’s Mobile app, available on a tablet, is how we give service techs access to our wide range of tools to simplify their work in the field. Each tech has a dashboard that shows them at a glance what they have scheduled for the day, along with access to the specific details of every job.
How ServiceTitan Gives Your Techs All the Details They Need on Every Job
ServiceTitan Mobile’s tech dashboard shows techs all the information about the customer and the job gathered by the customer service rep (CSR) who took the call back at the office. They get customer names, address, contact information, voice and text notes related to that customer, details of outstanding estimates, and can even listen to a recording of the actual call that was made.
A fully informed HVAC tech is better prepared for what the job will entail, and will also impress the customer with their detailed knowledge of their specific situation. With access to detailed job histories, you can recognize repeat customers and make sure to suggest appropriate equipment or services to fit each customer.
Say Goodbye to Paperwork and Manual Filing with ServiceTitan
When you use ServiceTitan Mobile, every form that HVAC techs need can be uploaded into the app. So, no more piles of invoices, estimates, and contracts in the back of techs’ vans waiting to be filed back at the office. Lost or delayed paperwork is annoying to everyone on the team and to the customer, in particular.
With ServiceTitan, forms can be triggered to appear automatically at different points in the job cycle and to be completed before moving on to the next step. HVAC techs get a framework to follow so they can never forget any of the required steps of the workflow.
3. Ensure Safety for You and the Customer
Work in the trades is physically demanding and, frankly, dangerous. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2017 National Census Of Fatal Occupational Injuries report, some of the occupations with the highest risk of fatal injuries include:
General maintenance and repair workers
First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers
Helpers in the construction trades
Unfortunately, many of those fatalities are caused by everyday occurrences like driving, falls, slips, and trips. Some practical things you can do to keep yourself safe include driving mindfully, wearing appropriate industrial-grade footwear, and always exercising caution.
For more HVAC technician safety tips, speak to your supervisor to make sure you have all of the suggested safety gear for your particular role. You can also check out our Technician’s Guide to HVAC Safety.
“If we make a mistake on a job, we can apologize. We can give the customer all their money back. But when it comes to things like a homeowner getting hurt or a technician getting hurt, those are the kind of things that you can't undo.”
- Bill Brown, Owner of Paramount Heating & Air
Use ServiceTitan’s Field Service Software to Help Techs Keep an Eye on Safety
While field service management software, like ServiceTitan, doesn’t directly ensure HVAC techs are working as safely as possible, it does free them up to pay closer attention to their safety. A tech who doesn’t have to remember exactly which forms need filling out to close out a job, or doesn’t have to track down outstanding estimates and invoices can be more mindful of all required safety measures and provide a high-quality service.
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4. Diagnose with Confidence
There’s nothing more unnerving for homeowners than a technician servicing their HVAC unit who doesn’t look like they know what they are doing. You may know that you have all of the technical training that qualifies you to perform the work — but you also need to make sure the customer has a positive experience.
Is the issue with the thermostat? The outside AC unit or heat pump? A lack of refrigerant, or a leak? Familiarize yourself with exactly what work you may need to perform on the customer's cooling or heating systems before you do the HVAC service call. That way you can do some basic problem-solving ahead of time.
When the time comes to deliver your diagnosis to the customer, provide clear and direct information. Avoid using jargon or technical language as much as possible. Letting the homeowners know exactly what is wrong, in layman's terms, will help instill customer confidence and avoid confusion.
“For some customers, I send photos of repairs that we've done before to help them visualize what I'm trying to describe over the phone. Other times, we've had to draw diagrams to help them understand. It just depends on the situation and what works best for that customer.”
- Zelena Brown, VP of Operations, Britton WaterWorks Plumbing
If you support your explanation with visual evidence — such as photographs, diagrams, or even video content — customers are more likely to trust your recommendation and less likely to seek a second opinion.
ServiceTitan Mobile Provides HVAC Techs With High-Quality Product Images and Details in the Field
For in-the-field photos, videos, and product information that automatically sync to the cloud for company-wide accessibility, check out ServiceTitan Mobile.
With our mobile app, HVAC techs can present detailed product information, estimates, and solutions to customers while out in the field.
ServiceTitan Mobile Product Information on TabletRather than scrambling through multiple water heater instruction manuals while out on a service call, HVAC techs who use ServiceTitan Mobile can swiftly find the exact information they need right on their tablets.
5. Ask for Help
You’ve gone through all of the basic air conditioning system troubleshooting and even double-checked your work, but you’re still coming up short. While this can be embarrassing, especially for new technicians who want to prove themselves, never give a homeowner a false diagnosis just to avoid an awkward conversation. If you're not sure whether the problem is with the compressor, the condenser, the blower, or just a refrigerant leak, don't guess.
Reassure the customer that you have taken every step you could to identify the problem. Let them know that you are committed to resolving their issue and that your next step is to contact the HVAC contractor.
Speak to your supervisor openly and honestly about the work you’ve already done and ask for their professional recommendation. This way, you know you are following proper HVAC servicing procedures as defined by company protocol.
From there, you can plan your next steps for repairing the heating and cooling systems and inform the customer about what will need to be done either immediately or in a future appointment where you can come back with any additional equipment, knowledge, or support you may need to confidently diagnose the problem.
“Honestly, though, homeowners forgive you for [something] not working [the first time]. They don't forgive you for bad customer service.”
- Bill Brown, Owner of Paramount Heating & Air
6. Be a Tech, Not a Salesperson
There’s actually an easier way to sell customers than simply charming your way to bigger tickets. You’ve probably got every tool you need to perform just about any routine job in the back of your van, but do you have the right tools to make a sale? Selling is a huge part of the job, but many don’t get any training or coaching for it.
ServiceTitan’s Estimate Builder Helps You Sell Services with Ease
Having the right selling tools is just as important as having the right HVAC tools. ServiceTitan’s digital, multi-option estimate builder simplifies the entire process. It provides customers a good, better, best option right from a tablet, so customers get the convenience and peace of mind they want at a price that makes sense for them.
By providing this information on the spot, along with a range of purchasing options, techs are more likely to close a sale — without needing to memorize product price and labor rates, put together job proposals on the spot, or recall interest rates on finance.
This removes the difficult aspects of upselling and allows you to focus on being a friendly, helpful tech. When customers feel like they have the freedom to make their own choice, average ticket sizes and customer satisfaction go up.
7. Communicate with the Customer
When it comes to communicating with customers, don't forget to listen. Not only do they want to be heard, but what they have to say can help you figure out a solution faster.
Is the problem with the blower? Does the homeowner think the issue is with the ductwork? Do they seem particularly concerned about the COVID pandemic? The customer might not know the difference between an evaporator and a heat exchanger, but they want to be heard, regardless.
Ask the customer what their account of the problem is. How long has it been going on? What do they think is wrong? Have they already tried doing something to fix it?
These questions can narrow the steps you take next. Answer all of their questions before you dive in. If customers feel heard, they are more likely to trust what you have to say. Even for little things, like having to leave the site to go buy a part, inform the customer before you leave and let them know when they can expect you to come back.
If you find yourself in a situation with an upset customer, avoid any escalation. Keep a neutral tone and try to address their concerns directly. Be a sympathetic contractor and never criticize or belittle a customer by skirting the problem at hand. It can be easy to want to cut in or become defensive, but interrupting the customer can make matters worse.
“The thing is… it all boils down to verbal communication because there are certain trigger words that people will get offended by or they'll just take it the wrong way, so it's important to stay away from negative words that they can misinterpret [like ‘unfortunately’].”
- Zelena Brown, VP of Operations, Britton WaterWorks Plumbing
A few steps to quickly diffuse the situation: Apologize, take responsibility, and reassure the customer you are willing to fix the problem. Always remain professional.
ServiceTitan Keeps HVAC Techs in Touch with Customers
Using ServiceTitan’s field service software, you can send customers an automated job confirmation text message, so they can be available when HVAC techs arrive. Customer service teams no longer need to make endless job confirmation calls and can spend more time on booking new jobs.
HVAC businesses can also add ServiceTitan’s web scheduler or chat-to-text widget to their website. The widget keeps track of tech availability in real time, so customers can schedule HVAC jobs for themselves online without having to speak to a CSR over the phone (if that’s what they prefer).
8. Communicate Efficiently with Your Team
Yes, communication made it on the list twice. How you communicate with both the customer and your team can make or break your success as a new HVAC technician. The company you work for could have established processes and preferred methods of communication, or they may be in need of updating their communication tools to keep all team members on the same page.
Do you call the dispatcher if you’ve lost a customer’s address? Who do you call if a customer isn’t home? Right off the bat, you should get clear direction on how your entire team expects you to communicate.
Establish preferred methods of communication with all of the people who contribute to your day-to-day workflow and maintain that consistency, so nothing slips through the cracks.
It's really up to the owner or general manager to implement the appropriate policies and a high-quality, high-efficiency structure that will encourage transparent and consistent communication.
Using ServiceTitan to Communicate with Your Office
ServiceTitan is a great solution for streamlining all communication. With ServiceTitan, you can enable SMS texting between office staff and techs and sync all communication to its cloud-based software.
9. Clean Up and Stay Organized
No one wants to deal with a technician who is sifting through a disorganized truck, leaving mud tracks on the carpet, or looks like they haven’t showered.
How you care for yourself is representative of how customers expect you to take care of the job. Keep yourself well-groomed and presentable, even if that means keeping a spare, clean uniform neatly folded in the back of your truck.
Always take measures to prevent any mess that may occur — whether that means wearing boot covers or using a tarp in your work area. Before leaving a job site, make sure everything is cleaned up and looks as it did before you arrived.
Lastly, never get caught with a messy truck or van. Some companies have such a hard time getting technicians to clean up their vans that they have created competitions or incentives to improve their habits.
Congratulations on Your New HVAC Career
Using these trusty tips, you’ll be sure to make a great impression as you start your new career as an HVAC service technician.
By mastering your HVAC skills and learning to use HVAC software as efficiently as possible, you can focus on what’s most important:
Diagnosing the problem and fixing it correctly.
Getting the job done efficiently and safely.
Providing great customer service.
Haven’t started your career path as an HVAC technician yet? See our in-depth guide to HVAC technician salaries state-by-state and find out what it takes to get an HVAC license.
ServiceTitan helps HVAC techs get organized, scrap the hassle of paperwork, and provide great customer service. To find out how ServiceTitan could work for you, click here to get a demo.
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.