Author: Thomas Christian | Digital Marketing Coordinator at EGIA & OPTIMUS | March 5th, 2024

Creating a Comprehensive HVAC Business Plan | Contractor University

Creating a Comprehensive HVAC Business Plan

Creating an HVAC business plan is the best way to ensure that your business will be successful.

After all, success rarely comes accidentally. Only with a carefully laid out plan will you be able to assemble a team and have them efficiently perform installations and repairs.

Without any semblance of organization, there simply won’t be a way for you to overcome the many barriers that come along with running a successful business.

Furthermore, customers can tell the difference between a well-run business and one held together with paperclips and glue. Although customers typically expect to do business with a well-run, organized company, finding one in the HVAC business is easier said than done.

By simply planning your business, rather than figuring things out as you go along, you are separating yourself from the herd and slowly customers will realize that they’d rather do business with you, even if you charge more than your competition.

Hopefully this concept sounds simple, but following a carefully laid out plan requires hard work and accountability from the top down. A business owners’ understanding of their current place in the market, as well as where they want to be and what it will take to get there, is the first and most important step to building a business plan.

Where your business currently stands and where you want it to stand will be extremely important for the rest of this process. Do you want your service quality to be the best? Your prices to be the lowest? Or possibly you just want the best possible customer service?

Most likely, you won’t be able to beat your competitors in every single way. So knowing where you can beat them and then planning on how you will execute your business strategy is the most important step by far.

The next most important step?

Having a plan to fund your operations, and most importantly profit from them.

Planning for profitability and planning to survive are two different ways of doing business, but we’ll go into both of those later.

For now, what you need to understand is that the mindset preached throughout Contractor University’s massive resource library is that a business should work for you and not the other way around. If you can’t build an HVAC business plan that will eventually create enough wealth to satisfy you, then it may be best to rethink the kind of endeavor you are planning in the first place.

Next, you will need a plan to market your business and sell to your customers. The most effective marketing campaigns hinge on a high-value offer that is better or at least comparable to your competitors (hence why knowing where you stand in the market is so important).

You’ll need a sales team as well to go into potential customers’ homes and close deals. They also will use where your business stands in your market in their pitch to homeowners and renters.

Finally, before you complete your plan you’ll need to include a company structure that is flexible to your customers’ needs and holds your employees accountable.

All this and more will be addressed in this helpful guide to creating a comprehensive HVAC business plan.

Actually Creating the Business Plan

Now, you need to answer these vital questions about planning your HVAC business before we proceed.

First, who should be involved in the decision-making process? Is it just you, or do you have other partners that need to have a say?

Make sure that you are only including people who actually need to be a part of the planning process. Mid-level managers or your favorite technician are not going to have nearly as valuable input as partners or investors whose interests you actually need to consider.

Next, do you actually need to write this out? Or is this a plan that all invested parties can agree upon verbally and be flexible moving forward.

Most businesses, even planned ones, do not have some final doctrine or constitution that governs them. Instead, a vision was laid out at the founding of the business, and then all stakeholders involved bought in and went along with turning that vision into reality.

This also depends on the personalities that make up who is doing the planning. Only you can make this call, and if you trust all parties are coming together in good faith then there’s no need to write out a unifying doctrine.

At the same time, if you don’t feel as secure with the people around you, or if you’re worried they may not have the same expansive business vision that you do, then it’s a better idea to write down your HVAC business plan exactly, or at least its mission statement.

If you do decide to write your entire plan out, definitely make sure that only essential parties are present during the process. Otherwise, you’ll quickly find that unnecessary people adding their thoughts and ideas will slow you down, and overall hurt your efficiency in building an excellent business, which is the whole reason you’re creating a plan in the first place.

Getting Buy-In from Employees

You might already have a business, or be starting from scratch. Either way, getting the buy-in of your new or existing employees on your business plan is critical to its success.

Ensure that in your plan, you’re thinking about which of your employees or which level of management will be in charge of ensuring each phase of your plan goes smoothly. In this way, you’ll be clearly delineating the roles of each employee and they can be confident in carrying out your plan.

If an employee doesn’t believe in the plan or thinks that their work is too unnecessary, their performance is going to suffer along with their morale. Similarly, if an employee is given too many additional tasks that make their workload unbearable, they may either demand a raise or quit altogether.

These are typically always the risk you run when asking for anything more or different from your employees. But if they buy-in and believe in what you are trying to accomplish, they’re much less likely to walk out on you. So include in your planning some way to make each aspect of your plan workable and reasonable for your employees so you don’t accidentally burn them out.

Understanding Your HVAC Market

For an HVAC business, your “market” is anywhere you are planning on doing business.

Some businesses lay out as large a territory as possible because they know that they aren’t everyone’s first call.

Others will focus on a specific neighborhood they either know really well, or areas that they believe will have the highest grossing jobs.

Either way, knowing preexisting competitors in your market that you will be grappling with for jobs and the customers that you will be serving with your business is critical to building a profitable business.

There are typically three ways to beating your competition and gaining customers in the home services industry: through superior quality, cheaper prices or by offering niche products that competitors may not have.

There’s also a fourth way, which is through name recognition or being connected with a certain community. If you can take advantage of your previously existing name recognition, great. If not, we can talk more about this later.

Financial Planning and Projections

Once you understand how you will build a customer base or increase your current one by understanding your market, you’ll need to understand how to fund the operations that you plan to undertake.

It’s important to build your HVAC business plan around what you believe you can realistically budget for. Don’t have great rates from your supplier? Then it’s probably best not to guarantee the lowest prices in your market. The same goes for service quality and offering niche items.

From your previous experience working in HVAC, you should have an understanding of what your expenses will be. Take each expense, add them up and subtract that from your estimated revenue over a set period of time.

Hopefully, you’ll still have profit left over. If not, you’ll need to recalculate your revenue by raising prices, or find innovative ways to keep expenses low.

Marketing and Sales Strategies

The revenue we are calculating in your HVAC business plan will be brought in by your marketing and sales departments.

Effective marketing plans don’t necessarily need to be expansive undertakings, but they do need to get in front of your target customer and reinforce the value you are offering as a business.

This can be as large or small as you deem fit. Marketing plans for businesses also differ by their size. If you’re planning on building a large, multi-area enterprise, then you should plan on spending a lot more on marketing than an HVAC business serving one community or town.

Your sales team will be the biggest driver of revenue for your business.

These are the professionals that visit the home and do their best to close a sale with a customer by pitching them on the value your company offers.

Good salespeople are often worth their weight in gold. That being said, a sales team should be constantly trained and up-to-date on all of your business’s offerings, so it is imperative to have an open line of communication between you sales department, marketing department and middle and upper management.

Operations and Management

This part of your HVAC business plan, if done correctly, is the most beneficial to a business owner.

The goal is to create a management structure so that a business owner can spend as little time as possible addressing a singular issue in the business. Instead, management should aim to handle smaller problems themselves, and only get the owner involved in large scale complications.

To do this, ensure that your management staff feels empowered to manage manufacturer relationships, teams and other operations as they see fit.

Having a robust and empowered middle management team also serves the dual purpose of being a great ensurer of quality control.

When one owner is getting involved in every aspect of their business by themselves, they’ll surely let something slip from time to time. With a devoted team of managers keeping things in order, the extra manpower should constitute an increase in the quality of operations just by virtue of having multiple people practicing due diligence.

Creating a Comprehensive HVAC Business Plan is Critical for Growth

There are simply too many elements of running a profitable HVAC business for one owner to ‘wing it.’ Instead, A proper planning process is essential so that you can be confident in every phase of your business, and hopefully take a back seat while your company succeeds without you watching over every move.

Luckily, Contractor University boasts one of the most robust content libraries for contracting business owners in the industry.

It contains articles, full broadcast shows and online courses created by NYT bestselling authors and renowned HVAC business owners who are here to help you with almost any question you can think of during your planning process.

So when creating your HVAC business plan, take advantage of Contractor University’s content and get ahead of the competition.