So you’ve been working as an HVAC technician for years, went through the apprenticeship stage, got your journeyman’s then your master’s license, perhaps been working for others for even more years, and now you’ve decided the time has come to start your own business. So, exactly how do you start your own HVAC repair business?
The following is a straightforward checklist of items to ask yourself which can help you know whether or not you’re ready to start your own HVAC repair business, and some of the things it will take. If you’re asking why a repair business, it’s because it’s the simplest and most cost-effective way to get you started.
Am I ready: You’re the only one who really knows if you’re ready to go it on your own, but it’s a good idea for you to have been in a supervisional or managerial role for at least a few years in the past. There’s a lot more to running a business than just the tasks at hand, just like there’s more to running a restaurant than just cooking.
You need not only to have been trained in all aspects of the business but feel comfortable doing them, like you could do them in your sleep. All aspects should come as second nature.
What will be my startup costs: That’s the best part and why you should be getting started in the repair business. Honestly, most HVAC repairmen starting out in their own business find they need no more than about $10,000 to do so. You can do it even cheaper if you have to, Some have even started there business right out of their work van and dome it for just a few thousand dollars.
Do I need a business plan: You may think that because you are a tradesmen and not a Wall Street firm that you don’t need a business plan, but you do. A business plan helps you organize exactly what tools you will need, what items you will have to acquire, but best of all through that organization it helps you to keep costs low. A good business plan is the guiding light toward a successful business.
How much should I charge my customers: Good question. This is something you should have picked up from being on the job all those years. If you feel confident, you can quote a fixed rate to your client. If you’re on target, you stand to make more. Be aware however that if you underestimate your costs, you’re bound to lose money.
The fixed rate or “Bid” approach is better suited for those who have been in the business quite a long time. In the beginning, just to play it safe, you can bill your customer for the materials and just set your rate. It’s really up to how confident you feel at this point.
Do I need a contractor’s license: The answer to this question in most cases is Yes. Even though you are already a licensed HVAC technician, even though you may already have your masters license, in most cases you will be required to get a contractor’s license as well.
What tools will I need: Again, that’s the best part about specializing in repair. You will need the same tools you always have, but mainly you will need a van to haul everything around in.
Assorted items you will need include: electrical wire stripping tools, pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches, leak detectors, ohm meters, and even other supplies such as wirings, duct tape, sockets, and thermostats. You would also need other working tools like capacitor tester, combustion analyzer, pumps, gas analyzer duct tape and pressure gauge to mention a few.
How do I save money on materials: As a licensed contractor you will now have access to wholesale supplies. The bigger the job, the more money you save on bulk supplies. And don’t forget, most small businessmen mark up their materials at least by 20 percent, working the price into the overall bid.
How do I grow my business: That’s the best part. Just do the best job you can, build your customer base, work off referrals, and be sure to watch your bottom line. The rest is up to you.