Customers have high standards for anyone they choose to hire for HVAC work. After all, few people would debate that a well-maintained ventilation system is essential for comfortable living in a hot city like Houston. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prove that you’re worth your clients’ trust.
Signs of a Good HVAC Contractor
Just as clients look for potential red flags when searching for someone to hire, they also look for “green flags”–in other words, good signs about a potential hire. By doing your best to know and display those green flags, you can earn yourself more loyal customers! Here are a few of these good signs:
- Fully in compliance with applicable laws
- State-of-the-art HVAC units and equipment
- Quality work and service
- Written warranty
- Emergency services
- Excellent testimonials
1) Fully in Compliance with Applicable Laws
Most states require extensive licensing for anyone working in the HVAC field or handling coolants in their work. In addition to providing proof of a license, make sure you’re familiar with the EPA’s standards for indoor air quality and can demonstrate your adherence to them in your work. Your clients will be glad to know they can trust you to comply with legal requirements and maintain a high standard in your work.
2) State-of-the-Art HVAC Units and Equipment
Clients want the best for their home HVAC systems, even if that means the units they end up purchasing are expensive. A quality air conditioning or heating unit will last a long time, require few repairs, and save the homeowner money on their energy bills. Are you able to offer these exceptional units to your clients? Do you know how to work on them with excellent results?
Pro Tip: Take the time to evaluate your tool collection as well. Does anything need replacing? The quality of your work is directly related to the quality of your tools.
3) Quality Work and Service
Anyone with excellent customer service skills but no knowledge of an HVAC system makes a poor air conditioning technician. Likewise, you can have extensive knowledge of how home ventilation systems work, but without customer service skills, you may not be rehired. Learn to strike the proper balance of excellent work and approachability to best appeal to a wide range of clients.
4) Written Warranty
Even if the HVAC hardware and parts come with a written warranty, what about the work you do on them? Clients will generally feel far more comfortable knowing that hardware and labor alike is backed by a guarantee in writing. Make sure you can provide this for your customers, whether on your own or through your HVAC employer.
5) Emergency Services
A home’s heating and cooling systems are essential to homeowners’ comfort. If the AC stops working in the middle of a hot Houston summer, the HVAC technician had better be available to come and fix it immediately! Offering 24/7 emergency heating and air conditioning services will go a long way toward keeping and retaining clients.
6) Excellent Testimonials
Finally, customers still love seeing good ratings and glowing customer reviews. Make sure to request good reviews from satisfied customers, and reach out to try solving any problems mentioned in negative reviews. The more positive stories you have to share, the better your chances at gaining new customers will be!
Earn Clients Through Quality Services
Ultimately, clients look for a candidate that can provide both quality HVAC work and excellent customer service. If you can show that you are able to provide both, not only will potential new clients seek you out, but your previous clients will also be likely to hire you a second time for future work. Hard work and good service will pay off!
Connect with us to learn more about marketing yourself as an HVAC contractor.
If you have been in the HVAC industry for any time at all, you are aware of the massive technician shortage. If you have been in it for decades like many experts have, you are aware this shortage is nothing new. Waiting for this problem to solve itself has not worked in the past and will still not be effective today.
Conventional job search methods, whether newspaper ads or online job postings, are not nearly as effective as they once were in a technical industry. In recent years, more modern methods such as training schools have shown much more promise in creating skilled, dedicated workers. Let’s take a look at what the facts show.
Unreliable Recruitment Methods
Most contractors have tried everything to find technicians, from the newspaper ads of a few years ago to the online job postings of today. The result is usually the same. Either these calls for workers get no responses or attract poor workers who can’t perform. Since good technicians usually don’t have any problem finding a job, they spend far less time searching and thus rarely see these postings. This leaves a contractor in a bad place when trying to grow a business or just keep it running through normal attrition.
At times, a desperate contractor will poach technicians from another business with the promise of additional pay. For instance, some HVAC technicians will find business cards on their service trucks that say, in a nutshell, “I will pay you more than you currently make–call me!” While this method is common, this just breeds service techs that jump companies for additional pay rather than the overall value of that company. If this is your business’s chosen method, don’t expect loyalty from a tech that jumped just for a few dollars. There is a better way.
Get More HVAC Technicians Quickly
Training your own employees is the solution. Who do you know that could be a great technician if they only had proper training? Find a training school that really does teach what is needed. This fast, efficient method of education can give you a quick return on your investment.
Pro Tip: Find a training facility that can balance time commitments with excellent results. HVAC skills may not need years to teach, but can’t be learned overnight either.
Questions to Ask a Potential Training Center
Finding the right tech school requires asking just a few questions until you find one that checks all your boxes.
Questions should include:
- How much of the class is hands-on?
- How many hours will they practice Brazing?
- Will they get to actually build up complete systems?
- How many different refrigerants will they get to recover and charge?
- Is there a hands-on final exam covering the entire learning experience?
- Will they get to remove motors, blowers, fans, and blades from working systems?
- Will they get to do lots of performance testing with superheat and subcooling methods?
- Will they learn how to use a ductulator?
- Was the program taken from a book or custom made based on years of experience?
- Finally, what is the cost and how long does it take to complete?
Be Part of the Solution
If you come to the realization that getting trained technicians will never happen if you do not become part of the solution you will never see a solution to your technician shortage. Invest in your company’s future by investing in training your own hires and you will never have a technician shortage.
Connect with us to learn more about the classes we offer and our students’ ultimate success rates in the HVAC field.
From time to time, a business or independent contractor find themselves in the unusual position of firing a customer. This is a relatively uncommon occurrence and is usually seen as something of a strange role reversal. However, the ability to cut ties with a customer is a crucial ability to have, particularly for contractors or small business owners.
Yes, you can fire a customer and your business prosperity can depend on it. If a customer is unbearably difficult or clearly trying to take advantage of you, there’s no shame in refusing to provide services to them anymore. Ultimately, this decision will protect your sanity and your business.
How to Know When a Customer Needs to Be Fired
Many customers are finicky, and some are just downright hard to work with. However, it’s not impossible to work with finicky or difficult customers. After all, they still pay you just like the good customers do.
However, there are some customers who are past finicky and difficult and are impossible to work for. This customer will seek you out just to take as much as they can from you in time and expertise, but will never pay you a dime. They generally start the process by telling you how many projects they might have for you once they get this one resolved. This only thing they want is to somehow get you to fix their system for free. In the business world, these kinds of customers are known as “tire kickers”, after people who waste a car salesman’s time by kicking the tires of every car in the lot without actually buying one.
Pro Tip: Anyone who hires you for HVAC work with the promise of dozens of future jobs is just as dishonest as someone who offers to pay an artist in “exposure”. They just want free labor from you–don’t give it to them!
Firing a Customer
Learn how to identify these bad customers sooner rather than later and fire them. Usually, this is done by giving them a price and refuse to work until a check is in your hands. Other times it requires telling them you will not work for them. In extreme cases, it might just mean blocking their number and forgetting about them.
Don’t Be Fooled
Some of the persistent, impossible customers just don’t understand the concept of being fired. Train yourself to not get caught in a tire kicker’s web of promised future work. If you suspect a customer may be a tire kicker, ask for payment or a deposit upfront and see how they react. If your instincts are correct and they’re just wasting your time, fire the customer immediately. Don’t give them time to fool you anymore.
Terminating the Relationship with a Customer
As an HVAC technician, train yourself to distinguish between a difficult customer, a client having a bad day, and a tire kicker. Additionally, remember there’s no shame in refusing to offer services to a particular client because of their behavior. Just make sure you know when to cut ties with a bad customer and how to handle the situation professionally.
Connect with us to learn more about customer relations in the HVAC field.
Customers know that the best way to get a good deal on products or services is to comb the market, looking for the best company for their price. While many homeowners are concerned with getting the lowest possible price for what they want, another huge factor is the company itself that they’re considering. How do they generally treat their customers? And for an expensive yet critical part of the typical American home, the HVAC unit, homeowners are even more careful of their ultimate choice.
Appealing to a Wide Client Base
Customers have definite preferences regarding HVAC services, ranging from price to availability. However, don’t forget the more nebulous yet equally important factors many homeowners consider as they shop for air conditioning services. A few additional preferences may include:
- Experience and previous work
- Reviews and testimonials
- Speedy service
1) Experience and Previous Work
Past experiences, knowledge of current HVAC technology, and records of previous work are all important to prove your competence as a trustworthy technician. Even if you haven’t been in business very long, you can boost potential clients’ confidence in you by demonstrating an intimate knowledge of their HVAC problems and how best to solve them. Show off your current knowledge as well as your previous experiences and successful jobs.
2) Reviews and Testimonials
One excellent way to provide information about your previous work is through glowing customer reviews. How many past clients are thrilled with your excellent work on their HVAC systems? How recent are their reviews? Don’t be shy about promoting good testimonies from previous clients.
3) Speedy Service
Considering how many people use their HVAC units daily, especially during the summer, timeliness is a huge factor in which technician customers will hire. If their favorite technician isn’t available for a month, whereas a less familiar one can be there in an hour, most clients will choose the faster option. By its nature, HVAC is often a time-consuming job with work showing up abruptly and with urgent need. It’s important to do your best to be open to surprise jobs without neglecting previous appointments.
Pro Tip: Once you’ve been hired by a client, outline the timeline of your work for them. Make sure they understand exactly how long they can plan to wait on you.
Exceeding Customer Expectations
A home’s heating and air conditioning systems are among the most important parts, and consequently, homeowners prefer to hire only the best to keep their units maintained. In addition to exceeding customer expectations regarding your service and skill level, make sure you can meet their preferences regarding customer service as well. Your growing client base will appreciate your effort!
Connect with us to learn more about building an HVAC business after graduation.
Any job where you’ll be interacting with customers regularly requires excellent customer service skills. Considering the nature of an HVAC career, where you regularly enter your clients’ homes to examine their AC units and discuss plans for repairs, customer service is more than required to be successful.
As an HVAC technician, you’ll spend a good part of your workday talking to customers. Good customer service skills are absolutely essential to maintain strong relationships with your clients and build your long-term career. Let’s look at just a few customer service skills to develop for a future career in the HVAC field.
Respect the Clients’ Home
The majority of jobs you’ll be working on will be in someone’s house or apartment. Though it’s a more relaxed environment than an office, remember that you’re a guest in their home. Ask the homeowners’ permission before sitting on any furniture, using their bathroom, etc. Make as little of a mess as possible and clean everything up before you leave. Your ultimate goal should be to make it appear that, except for the now-working air conditioning unit, there’s no evidence you were ever there.
Pro Tip: If you’re replacing a faulty unit, ask the homeowner what they’d like done with the old one. Some don’t mind if it sits in the yard before being hauled off, but some prefer to conceal it in the meantime.
Develop Courteous Communication Skills
How well do you communicate? Coming across as too rigid will make your customers wonder if you’re upset while being too friendly could make clients uncomfortable. Your job is to find the perfect balance. Professional speech and behavior is sure to spark confidence in your clients.
There are times, however, when you can and should be understanding. Remember, no client plans for an expensive repair such as a faulty air conditioning system. While your ultimate job is to analyze and fix the problem, you should also offer empathy to the customer as they plan to handle this issue. Work with them as best you can to fix their ventilation systems quickly and to their satisfaction.
Present a Professional Image
You might have the best empathy and communication skills in the world, but if you show up to a job in filthy clothes and leave trash around the house as you work, your customers will lose faith in you rather quickly. A huge part of customer service is presenting a professional image. Along with the professional behavior required for your job, make sure your work clothes and vehicle send the same message. Most of all, remember that actions speak louder than words. Even with professional behavior to back you up, your client is not likely to call you back or recommend you if they have to clean up a mess once you’re gone.
Developing Great Customer Service Skills
When dealing with a professional, such as an HVAC technician, clients expect a professional attitude and a regard for the customer. As an HVAC worker, demonstrating excellent customer service to your clients will leave an excellent impression on them and encourage them to call you again the next time their air conditioning breaks down. Your investment in bettering your professional image could earn you new customers and repeat jobs!
Join the conversation to learn more about great customer service in the HVAC world.
In your new career in the HVAC field, you’ll be learning as you go and establishing yourself as a trustworthy contractor. Of course, no one is perfect, and you’re likely to make mistakes along the way. However, there are a few key errors you should do your best to absolutely never make.
Common HVAC Mistakes
As you work to develop your HVAC job, you may find yourself uncertain about some decisions or aspects of your new career. First of all, remember that everyone makes mistakes. However, a few particularly unfortunate mistakes could cause problems for you in the long run. Consider these choices you should absolutely not make in your HVAC work:
- Don’t sell yourself short
- Don’t just focus on the HVAC mechanics
- Don’t rely on “rule of thumb”
1) Don’t Sell Yourself Short
In your early days of business, you won’t be able to charge especially high prices for your services. You’ll still be in the stage of proving yourself to your clients. However, don’t constantly underbid on a job. Remember, the cost of a job is your salary. Don’t feel obligated to bid an unreasonably low price or accept a terrible estimate.
2) Don’t Just Focus on the HVAC Mechanics
On the surface, your clients are hiring you to work on their HVAC units and fix a definite problem. Ultimately, they’re hiring you to enhance their comfort in their own house. If you fix a faulty air conditioning but fail to mention that a poorly done window is causing the cold air to leak out, your clients may face the same problem later. Make sure your clients know what other work may be necessary to completely fix their problem. As an added bonus, you may be able to do some of that work yourself, resulting in a bigger paycheck!
Pro Tip: Don’t try to fix a problem you didn’t study for. Offer to expand your project to include additional HVAC work, but don’t try to fix a client’s broken window.
3) Don’t Rely on “Rule of Thumb”
You’ll rarely encounter two identical homes or HVAC systems. While you may be tempted to rely on what you believe to be universal characteristics between different HVAC units, the truth is that you’ll be working on drastically different equipment almost every time. Study and learn about the myriads of unique HVAC systems and house layouts, not a “rule of thumb” that changes with every change to building styles.
Don’t Make These Common HVAC Mistakes!
There’s no way to predict what you’ll encounter in your new career or the decisions you’ll have to make. However, you can decide ahead of time to avoid these pitfalls when they show up. Don’t allow yourself to make these mistakes! Your new career will thank you.
Join the conversation to learn more about what to avoid as you start your new journey into the HVAC field.