Everyone’s heard the statistics about the number of small businesses that fail, especially in those early years. The plumbing and HVAC fields are no different. Many contractors have a steady stream of happy customers that keep their businesses afloat even through rough patches. Others end up making critical errors that could send their business to financial ruin. But what is the fine line between those two areas? When it comes to HVAC and plumbing business success, certain core principles are near-universal, no matter what types of clients you serve or what specialty you have. Here’s some info that can guide you towards that success.
Move from Technician to Business Manager for Business Success:
Many people who go on the road to HVAC business success or a plumbing company start off working for someone else as a contractor. This experience is often critical, as plumbers or HVAC technicians get help show them exactly the best ways to service their company. However, you can’t keep that narrow mindset if you want to run your own company. If your HVAC or plumbing company can’t operate without your direct daily involvement, you don’t own a business; you own a job.
This means that you need to move from being just a technician to a business manager, and this is a task that can be hard to swallow at first. Some feel that they need to have a presence in each daily task for business success. The opposite is true, though. If every operation was contingent on you, what would happen if you were sick, injured, or indisposed? You need to hire competent people around you and delegate responsibility appropriately.
Learn to Create and Manage Growth:
Many well-meaning contractors simply meander their way through business, only taking the business that comes along without a clear plan for getting more. Not only does this result in unpredictable revenue, but this attitude itself is why companies end up closing their doors. Every business needs to be growing with new sales regularly, and building a predictable and sustainable revenue stream should be a priority for any business owner. Many contractors may get concerned that they don’t have the capacity to handle this influx of clients. This is taking a semi-focused approach. Part of having a good business plan is knowing the benchmarks that will cause you to need to scale up and have a roadmap for doing so.
This may be a surprising topic to discuss when we talk about the contracting world. However, it’s important as a business owner to try and forge partnerships wherever you can. In some cases, this can provide short-term benefits, like introducing yourself to someone that may need services down the line. In other cases, it’s more about long-term gain. For example, if you work with an adjacent contractor that provides other services, they may decide to work with you to cover full-scale jobs. For example, new building construction requires HVAC installation, new plumbing, among other services. Working with other contractors could get you that type of business.
Embrace Technological Change in Your Industry:
The branch that doesn’t bend will always break. This old proverb highlights the importance of being flexible and changing with the times, and that’s never been more important than it is today in the construction industry. If you’re a small HVAC firm that’s looking to grow, the software solutions available today can help you manage documents, track labor time, create invoices, manage payroll, and do just about any task related to managing your projects.
Not only do innovations like this save you huge amounts of time and paperwork, but you’ll also have more mental energy to focus on managing your clients and find new ones – your two most important activities as a business owner.
Focus on Energy Saving and Green Thinking:
It’s important for HVAC and plumbing business success to be able to read the room when it comes to what your clients want. One major set of concerns lately is energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly systems, and plumbers and HVAC technicians are losing out by failing to market effectively to these consumers. There are more tech innovations than ever in these areas, from water management systems to geothermal HVAC systems. You may not be able to offer all energy-efficient services, but expanding into this market puts you in contention with a far-wider set of clients.
Marketing Your Business
On the topic of marketing, what have you done to try and garner new clients lately? Word of mouth can be useful in those early stages, especially if you are a local business. However, it’s not going to get the job done on its own when it comes to keeping your doors open. Part of creating and managing growth is also properly understanding how to market your business. The first thing you need to do is create a profile of your ideal customer. Are you doing more plumbing/HVAC work for families or commercial businesses? What types of services do they most likely need? The next step is finding the channels that those people use, whether it’s digital or in other areas. Then, you need to create messaging that shows your business is the ideal fit.
Implementing More Technology
The branch that doesn’t bend will always break. This old proverb shows that flexibility is paramount in the world of trades, and plumbing is no different. In order to see the highest amount of benefits, though, it’s important that you invest wisely in tech. For example, rather than buying a new piece of equipment, you may want to look into modern software solutions. Project management software like eSUB is a crucial launchpad for your tech upgrades.
How can this software help? Some key features include:
— Managing documents,
— Tracking labor time
— Creating invoices
— Managing payroll
Not only do innovations like this save you vast amounts of time and paperwork, but you’ll also have more mental energy to focus on managing your clients and find new ones – your two most important activities as a business owner.
Business Success – Understand that Innovation Never Ends
No business is set in stone completely. Outside market forces mean that what may work today may not work a year from now. As a result, not only do you need to be a business owner over a technician, you also need to be a bit of an eternal student instead. This means that you need to always be looking to industry trends and customer feedback to find ways that you can improve. The same applies to look internally to be more efficient.