In the heating and cooling business, technical know-how is obviously key to doing your job. However, succeeding in your job often requires other skills, which we have talked about extensively in the past, like communication and teamwork.
However, these skills don’t exclusively translate to working with customers and fellow service technicians and installers within your company. Devoting your skills and time to working with those outside of your HVAC company can have some fantastic benefits.
What are we talking about exactly? We are talking about the benefits of building relationships with other home services companies in your area.
Even though home service companies like plumbers, electricians, flooring, landscaping, construction contractors, and concrete companies may provide a very different kind of service from your company, at the end of the day you have a common goal: provide homeowners with a valuable service that helps improve their lives and home.
Besides just being a good home service neighbor, having good connections and relationships with the various home service companies in your area opens the door for many benefits and opportunities. Here are some of the perks and why this is sometimes an overlooked opportunity for new HVAC professionals.
Find a trusted partner
Even though you provide very different services, the home service companies are destined to cross paths at some point in time on a single job. Maybe a situation will occur in which you run into an electrical issue during a routine installation that requires an electrician to run new electrical.
In this situation, the customer will be looking to you for advice and where to turn next. If you have done your networking and built relationships with different companies, you will undoubtedly have someone in mind you can refer them to right away that you know will get them taken care of and do the job right.
Having trusted partners to turn to when customers need a referral allows you to go above and beyond for a customer and help you establish even more value in their eyes than before. A customer that feels taken care of and is happy will be more likely to come back to you in the future or refer customers to you in turn.
In the home service industry, home service referrals are fortunately a two-way street. If you have done your due diligence in establishing relationships with these kinds of companies, there may become a day in which the script of the scenario we talked about before becomes flipped.
Say a building contractor working with a customer on building their dream home eventually reaches the point that they need ductwork installed or their HVAC system installed. With so many options for heating and cooling companies to turn to in the area, what would cause them to recommend you?
Establishing a rapport and demonstrating your value as a trusted company with your home service colleagues will help establish you as their “go-to” when they need to make a recommendation. Just like you want to give your customers the best treatment, so do they, and referring them to a company like yours will do that.
On the business side, having strong relationships with other home service providers creates some very unique marketing and other business opportunities. One such opportunity may be as simple as them allowing you to leave advertisements in the form of business cards, flyers, or pamphlets around their office for their customers to see and take when they come in for a visit.
If you and another business can come to an agreement, you might also be able to establish referral bonuses for any customers that they might send your way. This could be in the form of payment to the other company as thanks for them sending work your way, or it could be a reward for the customer themselves, offering them a small cash or gift card bonus when they drop your home service referrals partner’s name.
It may seem like a minor thing, taking the time to build relationships with the companies in your area, but doing so can have very monetary and reputational benefits for you and the heating and cooling company you work for.
So, take the time to pick up the phone, visit their office, or put together an event and introduce yourself to those around you. Chances are, they will understand the value of your home service referrals relationship and be excited to take part in it as well.
Is an HVAC Franchise right for you?
For anyone who goes through the rigors of an HVAC education and training likely has the end goal of one day owning their own HVAC company. While that may not be the first step post-graduation (it is probably a good idea that you work in the industry for a while first) the appeal of having your own business is certainly something every technician should aspire to one day.
Of course, it takes a lot to get there, including lots of certifications and additional training and education on not just HVAC, but successfully running a business. That can take a lot of time and money, let alone the personal investment of running a business.
That is why, for many, a first logical step in the right direction of opening up an HVAC business for yourself is joining and opening an HVAC franchise location.
Opening a franchise location makes a lot of sense for many HVAC professionals, but it also comes with a number of considerations that have to be taken into account as well. Just like opening a business of your own, joining a nationwide franchise is a big decision.
If you are considering joining and opening an HVAC franchise, here are some of the pros and cons that come with the territory you should consider.
Get a taste for running a business
Many of those opening HVAC franchises have only ever worked as a technician or installer for another company and have never had any experience running a business. One of the perks of opening a franchise location is the availability of support and operational help, so franchisees can get a taste for running their own business with the backing of a large franchise.
Franchises often have conversion teams to offer on-site instructions and mentoring for the first several months to help the new owner get up to speed with franchise operations. If you have never run a business before, joining a franchise can help teach you a lot.
Access to great resources
When you run your own HVAC business, you are left on your own for just about everything: advertising, equipment purchases, prospecting, etc. Doing all of the things necessary to running a business and finding new customers is a full-time job on its own. With a franchise, you’ll often have much needed help on all these fronts.
Most franchises give you access to a wide range of marketing tools and assets to help with advertising, as well as that franchise’s customer database to help you keep and grow your customer base.
One of the toughest things for an HVAC business just starting out is earning the trust of local customers. Buyers are (and should) be very particular and weary about who they do business with. For a company just starting out that they have never heard of, this can be a tough task.
The advantage of opening a franchise location is that you more than likely get to skip that uncomfortable step in the process. Their well-established business means it is very likely that they (or someone they know) has hired your franchise before, heard an advertisement on the radio, or seen you on TV. That name recognition goes a long way in earning trust in your company.
You aren’t your own boss
One of the biggest appeals of starting and owning your own business is the satisfaction of being your own boss. As the owner, you get to control every aspect of your business from the name to even what the colors on your trucks are. You don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself. In a franchise, you don’t get this luxury.
While opening a franchise puts you in charge of the location, at the end of the day it is not entirely your business. You still report to the higher ups in the franchise, don’t have control over the name, colors, and much in the way of larger decisions. If being your own boss is important to you, a franchise doesn’t offer complete freedom.
Change can be difficult on current business owners
Franchising isn’t just an option for new business owners. Many businesses opt to join a franchise in order to take advantage of the support and resources they offer. This can be a good move for a rising business who needs assistance fulfilling their potential. However, anyone considering this route should be mindful that change is going to have to happen, whether you like it or not.
For many established business owners, the transition can be difficult to swallow as they see things about their business they once had total control over change without the ability to stop it. Joining a franchise is not necessarily a bad move, but as the owner you need to acknowledge that there are going to be changes and accept them.
HVAC Franchise fees
The process of opening an HVAC franchise location isn’t as simple as just calling them up and getting started. In order to join the franchise, you’ll need to offer up a franchising fee upfront in order to begin.
Franchising fees vary from franchise to franchise, but are often several thousands of dollars, a similar investment to what it takes to start a business of your own. In order to open an HVAC franchise location, you will need to approach the process very similarly to how you would if you were opening your own business.
All in all, opening a franchise location for an HVAC company can be very rewarding and beneficial for business owners starting out (or looking for a change) but does come with its own demands that must be met. Just like starting your own business, it takes time, effort, and serious planning to make sure the process goes smoothly and works out for both sides.
Ready to begin your HVAC career? The Training Center of Heating and Air Conditioning is the perfect place to learn everything you need to know about the industry, beginning your career, finding your first job, and maybe even opening your own business here in the Houston, Texas area.
Learn more about our upcoming schedule of classes today.