Is Your HVAC Business Ready for Summer? 5 Ways to Prepare for Your Busiest Season


Andy Bagner
Implementation Manager
June 11, 2019
minutes to read

Get to the Point:

  1. The Best Way to Prepare Your Team for the Busy Season Is to Plan Ahead — Talk with your employees about what they can expect in terms of timing and schedule.
  2. Reach Out to Your Regular Customers and Schedule Maintenance — Doing this and managing time effectively are very important when you are at your busiest.
  3. Make Sure Your Team Knows and Trusts Your Software — Proper training is the most effective way to ensure confidence.

Depending on the location of your HVAC business, summer might still seem far away. But guess what? It is nearly the official first day of the season (June 21), and whether you are based in Syracuse or San Antonio, that means more appointments and more business. As a recent Electric & Gas Industries Association survey found, many contracting companies make up to 70% of their annual revenue during the summer months.

But more jobs do not have to mean more stress for business owners. Here are a few ways to get ready for your busiest season.

Plan, plan, plan!

The best way to prepare your team (and yourself) for the days, weeks and months to come is to plan ahead. Talk with your employees about what they can expect in terms of timing and schedule. Discuss talking points related to referrals and follow-up appointments.

This would also be the time to ponder whether you need to add staff. Good planning might actually mean additional staff is not necessary yet.   

Reach out to your regular customers and schedule maintenance.

Your regular customers may already know a pre-summer AC tune-up is wise, but that doesn’t mean they’ve actually scheduled something. Reach out to these folks early, and stress to them the importance of yearly maintenance.

If you have service agreements with your customers — we recommend that you do — check to ensure all of these appointments are scheduled well in advance.

Manage time effectively.

One of the most pressing issues for business owners is time management. After all, customers expect technicians to complete work in a timely fashion. And business owners, of course, expect technicians to manage time properly.

There are many ways to measure time — for instance, Pointman’s software includes time tracking. However you do it, let your employees know that you are watching. This does not have to come across in a threatening way. Instead, use it as a reason for praise. And by making this a focus in the days before summer begins, you’ll be able to carry it through the busy season.

Been putting off training? Do it now.

If you have new equipment, new processes or new software in place, you might be thinking you’re better off waiting until after summer for training. Here’s some advice: Don’t wait. Get to it now, before your schedule gets even more packed.

Related to this of course, is compliance. In a recent blog we discussed ways to get your team on board with new software, and training is essential to that process. Want to increase compliance? Make sure your staff realizes the importance of training.

Make sure your team knows and trusts your software.

The above point leads nicely into this one. You always need software that is reliable. But this is especially true during summer. When you are at your busiest, you need to feel confident in the tools you use every day. Summer is not the time for software that does not work properly, or that your team does not trust.

This all goes back to the previous point — training is a must. It’s the most effective way to ensure confidence.

Looking for more insight on planning for the summer? Check out a past Pointman blog post on the topic. And also check out our field service management software for residential contractors. With unlimited business coaching, a team of analysts and a community of peers, our members always have the support and resources necessary for good planning.

Look at Pricing

The start of the year is a great time to look at pricing. Usually, you have an idea of how your company fared the year prior, and you want to ensure you will continue to grow in the months to come. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions with respect to spending or saving in our personal lives, and it’s no different for business owners. Making sure your pricing is in line with where it should be is one of the strongest ways to start the year the right way.

Part of looking at your price book is finding where the issues are, and that can take time. An HVAC company in January is going to be very busy, so it’s a difficult time for a close look. However, a plumbing company might not be as busy. Whenever you tackle this job, your best bet is to look at what your labor rates are. Start there, and let it trickle down across the board. Ask yourself, “Are my labor rates helping my business stay profitable?”

Remember, there are many different services out there and many different groups or communities that you can engage. Never hesitate to say, “Hey, I’m a business owner in Florida. What should my labor rates be?” You can build your price from there. There are also some great billable hour calculators available.

Set Goals

There is no better time of year for looking inward than January. Set your personal goals and company goals for the following 12 months. If you can break those down into departmental goals, even better! Perhaps that means a CSR booking closing rates a little better, or a truck doing 250,000 a year rather than 200,000.

Many companies have found that using an Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) goal-setting system pays off. Looking for a guidebook when it comes to OKRs? Check out Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr. 

One key question is the best way to handle setting goals: Is it smarter for business owners to handle this solo, together with staff, or to delegate completely? 

The best approach is to set goals at the department level. As an owner, you need to take the time to understand what the goals are in each department, and make sure they are in line with your goals for the company. No one likes to set unattainable goals for themselves, so make sure you push your departments to set goals that are lofty, rather than simple ones to feel good about hitting. Entrust your staff to aim higher, and watch how they respond.

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