In the Chicago area, the two busiest times for an HVAC business are the hot summer months of June through August and the cold winter months of November through January. The extreme temperatures associated with each season usually translate into more service calls and new installations.
We’re fast approaching spring, what’s typically considered a slow season. For many HVAC businesses, it’s a difficult financial time of the year. The good news is there are proactive solutions you can use to maintain a dependable revenue stream as you wait for the busier summer season.
Here are five strategies you can try with your own HVAC business so you thrive, not just survive, during the downtimes.
Promote Preventative Maintenance Programs
Most HVAC business owners will tell you the majority of their customers call them only when they have an urgent problem that requires an immediate fix. Of course, it makes sense to call when there’s an emergency, but we all know that if customers took proactive steps throughout the year they might not have big issues to deal with.
Upselling preventative maintenance that’s performed during slow seasons is not only good for a customer’s equipment, it also helps you build solid, long-lasting relationships with the people you serve. Preventative maintenance also works for connected field services where connected devices send you HVAC performance data you can monitor for potential problems. While this technology may be far off for your HVAC business due to the costs involved, advances in the technology will likely make it more affordable in the not too distant future.
Spring and fall are the perfect times to do some marketing housecleaning and updating. There are plenty of options to choose from. You can:
- Attend trade shows and community fairs
- Create multiple targeted email campaigns
- Look into Google pay-per-click or Local ads
- Update your website and optimize it for mobile
- Send referral coupons to existing clients
You can also visit your local Chamber of Commerce or do an online search for new businesses or residential developments opening in your area. These companies may need large-scale service level agreements (SLAs) to make sure their buildings are heated and air-conditioned properly.
Offer HVAC System Upgrades
Do some of the manufacturers you use slash prices during the slow season to make room for newer equipment models? Though you might make a little less profit on an HVAC upgrade performed off season, doing so can be a steady revenue stream during the down seasons.
Provide Home Performance Services
Customers are always looking to lower their energy bills. A home performance inspection makes sure their HVAC system is performing at optimal levels. Similar to preventative maintenance services, home performance services may bring a slightly larger profit especially if you add it on as a separate line item in the preventative process. Check your HVAC CRM (or files if you don’t have a CRM) and determine which existing clients could benefit from such a service.
This idea won’t necessarily boost your bottom line right away, but if you use downtime to address inefficiencies in how your HVAC business is run it will help you down the road. Take an inventory of things like the products you sell, operating processes, and service contract terms and make those changes you never seem to have time for during the busy seasons.
The bottom line? It’s nice to have a client base that stays loyal to you in summer and winter, but it’s the HVAC contractors who have a solid year-round plan in place who remain successful and, most importantly, grow their business.