How to Use HVAC Installation Checklists to Drive Revenue Growth and Reduce Errors (With Free Template Download)
Most of the HVAC contractors we work with know that requiring techs to use installation checklists is a great way to improve performance, reduce errors, and generally enhance the overall operation of their business.
Installation checklists can enable field service technicians to do multiple HVAC system installations in a single day without compromising on quality or customer service. They allow techs to focus on the task at hand, rather than worrying about the things that they might be forgetting.
On the office side, installation checklists — and other kinds of checklists, too — make it easy to ensure standard operating procedures are followed, which reduces stress for managers and employees alike. And HVAC business owners and managers can reference checklists during performance reviews to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of their staff.
Conversely, without installation checklists, HVAC contractors often find that their techs frequently overlook crucial details, leaving them with a variety of potentially costly headaches. For example:
Failure to check both heating and cooling functions of new systems due to being in a particular season, resulting in excessive free maintenance on HVAC equipment past warranty.
Maintenance agreements that lack filter size specifications, necessitating multiple service calls.
Free services calls on equipment for which no permits were acquired.
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Put simply, installation checklists are a key element of HVAC industry best practices. They’re often instrumental in transforming high-performing teams into top-performing teams.
That’s why we’ve designed a free HVAC installation checklist template for you to use in your business. In the next section, we’ll explain how to download and use it.
But it’s worth noting that a PDF installation checklist alone has its limitations. Specifically, it can’t be updated and tracked in real time. It can’t be seamlessly shared and viewed between field staff, office staff, and management. And it won’t integrate with other key areas of your day to day workflows.
So, in the last section of this post, we’ll walk you through how our HVAC Software, ServiceTitan, provides dynamic installation checklist features that integrate with the rest of your business operations — improving efficiency, accuracy, and accountability throughout your operation.
How to Download and Use Our HVAC Installation Checklist Template
To get started, simply follow this link to download the PDF to your desktop and save it as a new file.
Once you’ve saved the new file, you can customize the first page with your company name and logo. Although we think our template is pretty comprehensive, it’s designed to be fully customizable. So as you go along, you can add or delete items from your copy to suit your business needs.
An installation checklist can be as long or short as you want it to be. But we generally recommend not making it too long, as an excessively detailed checklist can sometimes cause techs to rush through the steps without carefully completing each item.
After you have your checklist looking the way you want it, you’ll have your tech or customer service representative print out a blank copy to take along on each installation call. When the job is done, the tech can bring the completed form back to the office where it can be reviewed by higher-ups and stored for safekeeping.
Now let’s take a closer look at the template.
The body of the checklist form is divided roughly into three basic sections:
The first page of this section is all about the basics, prompting the tech to fill in the relevant customer contact information, their own name, and the model and serial numbers for the equipment they’re going to work on.
As shown in the screenshot above, the next portion of the pre-installation section of the checklist template helps techs make sure they’re ready to begin their install before they actually get started.
Our template includes all of the essentials: making sure the drain line is cleared, checking the gas piping and refrigeration system for leaks, ensuring that ducts are insulated and sealed; verifying that the model number is the same as the one on the order, that the unit hasn’t been damaged during shipping, and that all loose parts have been installed.
It also features customer-service friendly items — reminders about shoe booties and floor coverings — and a column on the right-hand side for any notes the tech might want to add.
What we might call the “main” section of our HVAC installation template — the one that deals with the installation itself — consists of three pages that look like the one pictured above, which features tasks related to Electrical and Controls (fuses installed, unit properly grounded, thermostat parameters properly set, main power wiring correct and matches NEC local codes), plus one page devoted to measurements.
The next two pages feature sections for Gas Requirements, Airflow Fans, Coil Requirements, and Refrigerant Requirements. Among the many checklist items included in this portion of the template are: blower issues, various kinds of leakage checks, and building code verifications.
The last page of the Installation section gives techs a place to record initial measurements for all of the equipment relevant to the job at hand: inlet gas pressure, supply air temp, refrigerant charge, and more.
The last page of our HVAC installation checklist template helps contractors remind techs to provide homeowners with a walkthrough of their new unit and instructions on how to use their thermostat, along with warranty information and options for maintenance agreements and a review request.
Importantly, it also helps to avoid potential disagreements down the line by requiring sign-off on the work by both the customer who ordered it and the tech who performed it.
Now that we’ve gone over how to use our HVAC installation checklist template, let’s take a look at some of the difficulties that contractors who rely on PDF checklists tend to face.
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The Challenges of Using Paper Installation Checklists
As we noted earlier, while a PDF HVAC installation checklist — like the one described above — is a good first step, for most contractors, it’s ultimately not going to solve many of the issues that exist in the rest of their operational workflows. This largely comes down to the kind of errors that are prone to occur when HVAC contractors do their business with pen and paper.
With a PDF-based checklist, contractors either need to keep a supply of printed forms on hand at the office, or rely on their techs to print out checklists themselves before heading to jobs. Either way, there’s a good chance that with everything else they have to worry about, techs are going to forget to bring a checklist with them when they go to a work site.
Maybe they’ll remember and loop back to the office — delaying their arrival at the installation location and potentially throwing off their schedule for the entire day — and maybe they won’t.
Even if they manage to arrive at a job on time, with a checklist in hand, it’s all too easy, in the midst of a complex series of tasks, to overlook details and commit small errors, which can end up being costly in the long run.
For example, if a tech neglects to pull a required permit and the installation doesn’t get green-tagged, your company could be on the hook for a time-consuming (and free) series of code corrections years later, when the homeowner who hired you wants to sell their house.
Similarly, if a tech installing a new air conditioner and heating system in the fall forgets to check the equipment’s cooling function, by the time the homeowner figures out that their air conditioning unit doesn’t work, they’re likely going to be past warranty. Once again, you’re going to be on the hook for free work.
Paper-based HVAC installation checklists are susceptible to human errors large and small. A tech might forget to wear their uniform or protective gear — or they might forget to order a crane for a roof installation.
Even seemingly tiny mistakes, like forgetting to give a customer their warranty information or user manual, neglecting to walk them through how to use their thermostat, or failing to collect the necessary signatures, can necessitate follow-up calls, draining time and resources from your company at no cost to your customers.
Finally — even if all goes well — paper-based checklists have to be turned in to managers or owners, manually reviewed, copied and filed, and often stapled to invoices and delivered to customers by mail or by hand. It’s a tedious, inefficient method, and over time, it can be extremely costly.
How ServiceTitan Helps Contractors Optimize Their HVAC Installation Process to Maximize Efficiency and Drive Revenue Growth
More so even than other leading field service management software, ServiceTitan allows service companies to seamlessly integrate all of their core business functions on a single, cutting edge software platform. Whether they’re back at the office or out in the field, employees using ServiceTitan can access all of the tools and data that they need to do their job with the click of a button via Android, tablet, desktop, or iOS with our mobile app.
That includes HVAC installation checklists — as well as any other kind of checklist an HVAC contractor might want to use. In other words: no paperwork — no need to carry around paper forms or fill them out by hand, no need to review them with supervisors or copy and file them.
With ServiceTitan, all of the data entered onto the platform is instantaneously available to the subscriber, so that small business owners and managers can actually observe their techs working through an installation checklist in real time. Techs can even have their supervisors sign off on important items remotely, from their tablet or desktop.
Our software also provides gated workflow features, so that contractors can make it impossible for their techs to complete a job without checking off each and every step prescribed by an installation checklist. Needless to say, this radically reduces the chance of error.
The photo above shows the Comfort Survey portion of a customized ServiceTitan pre-installation checklist.
With a form like this, contractors can involve homeowners in the process, giving them a greater sense of agency and, ultimately, satisfaction.
This screenshot demonstrates just how detailed contractors using ServiceTitan can get with their installation checklists, specifying, for example, the dimensions of the line set and pad for a given job.
Other commonly featured items include: condensers, heat pumps, air handlers, boilers, evaporators, venting systems, air distributors, air filters, compressors, condensate drains, condensing units, flues, and heat exchangers.
With a highly specialized HVAC installation form, it doesn’t matter whether you’re working with an indoor or outdoor unit, or in an attic or crawlspace — the checklist is always customizable and applicable.
For customers with an eye for detail, you can even add a place for Energy Star and ACCA ratings.
One of the things that contractors, techs, and homeowners like best about ServiceTitan’s checklist features is the ability to include a virtually unlimited number of highly specific, labeled photos. For instance, the snapshot above shows a checklist section devoted to photos of different kinds of ductwork.
Business owners can include similar sections for any portion of the installation process that they like — photos to demonstrate that the work area is clean or that the thermostat has been properly installed, and more.
For techs and managers alike, photos are often easier to follow than descriptive notes, and they provide far more detail and accountability than a check mark. Furthermore, photos — especially the before-and-after kind — give customers a crystal-clear understanding of the work that’s been performed, and how their investment has improved their home.
Improving Operational Workflows with HVAC Installation Checklists and More
While a paper-based HVAC installation checklist is a good first step for shops that have been operating without any checklist at all, as we’ve emphasized throughout this post, it’s ultimately not going to solve many of the installation process challenges that tend to slow contractors down and hurt their bottom line. Things like:
Forgotten, missing, or illegible paperwork.
Missing specs for maintenance agreements.
Repeat service calls to correct errors.
An excess of free work.
To truly make the most of HVAC installation checklists, many contractors are looking to HVAC software solutions like ServiceTitan, allowing them to maximize their efficiency, minimize errors, and drive revenue growth through fast, accurate execution of the biggest ticket jobs.