Inventory Management

How to Run a Profitable HVAC Business

A man repairs an HVAC system.

Wondering how to grow your HVAC business? We’ve compiled nine tried-and-true suggestions for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning companies looking to scale their business, boost profits, and get everyday tasks done faster. 

No matter how big or how small your HVAC business, there are suggestions on this list that can help your company get organized, streamline tedious accounting responsibilities, find new customers, and stop wasting resources on inefficient processes when that time, money, and effort could be better spent focusing on sustainable, sure-footed growth. 

 

1. Determine how to reduce cash burn

Every business spends money to make money—but unnecessary spending could be hurting your bottom line. The first step to growing your business is reviewing your “cash burn” (what your business spends to cover its expenses) and looking for opportunities to optimize and reduce. Review your balance sheet carefully, and determine if there’s anything non-essential or suboptimal eating away at your cash flow. You may also want to do an inventory audit to see if you have any inventory or assets that could be costing you unnecessary overhead.

This isn’t always the most comfortable exercise. Sometimes, services, vendors, marketing spend, and even employees that once felt vital to your business might appear on your list of questionable expenses. You may need to ask yourself some hard questions and make some tough decisions to free up the cash you need to push your HVAC business to the next stage of success.

 

2. Hire the right people as you grow

If you’re wondering how to grow your HVAC business, there are few answers as essential as hiring the right employees. As your HVAC business expands, you’ll need to rely on your team more and more to keep things running smoothly. That goes from every aspect of your business, from customer service to invoicing to keeping track of inventory. 

Yes, you can invest in the right tools and software for these responsibilities. But they’ll require well-trained, reliable employees if you want your business’s reputation to remain excellent even as your business scales. While you should never hire for the sake of hiring, you’ll need to determine when, where, and which employees you do need to bring on to scale and drive profitability.

 

3. Tackle inventory—and pick a solution that will help you scale

Inventory is likely one of your HVAC business’s biggest expenses. And managing that inventory can feel overwhelming without the right tools. Choosing the right inventory solution and practicing perpetual inventory is an important way to drive profitability at your HVAC company. 

If you over-order inventory or parts, you’re wasting your company’s money. If you under-order your inventory, you risk costly work stoppages and delays. Not to mention the time and resources spent looking for the right parts. That’s why digitizing and automating your inventory management is key.

Start by creating a comprehensive inventory list. Ideally, you’ll build this using an inventory management app such as Sortly. (But an inventory spreadsheet works too.)  Whatever inventory management system you decide to use, ensure you capture every last detail of each item, including location, quantity on hand, and any key warranty or expiration dates. If you do use an app, you can also add pictures, barcodes, QR codes, and attachments directly to each item’s profile. 

Keep in mind that some solutions, including inventory apps like Sortly, were designed to assist business with multiple locations. These solutions can help you pinpoint what’s where quickly while automatically reminding you when you’re running low on items you need. They can also speed up tedious inventory processes like checking items in and out, and help you blast through inventory audits that would otherwise take weeks. 

Note that with an inventory app, you’ll be able to maintain perpetual inventory. That means your inventory records will always be accurate and up to date. Periodic inventory, on the other hand, is only updated from time to time.

 

4. Maintain perfect records to save time, money, and stress

Preparing taxes. Ordering inventory. Forecasting demand and seasonality. Planning for maintenance and repairs. All of this can be made that much easier if you’ve got airtight records and documentation to help you through these tasks. 

Accounting responsibilities, for example, can be completed in a fraction of the time provided the appropriate, accurate information is readily available to your team. This goes for balance sheets, claiming depreciation on assets like vehicles and other investments.

By keeping your inventory management system accurate and performing an exhaustive physical inventory audit when necessary, you can rest assured your accounting team is making informed decisions that don’t jeopardize your business’s financial health. And, when your business is trying to grow, there’s nothing more important than keeping an eye on cash flow. 

 

5. Invest in the right assets—and take care of them

Yes, saving money is important to growing your HVAC business. But you’ll also need to purchase assets and equipment to prepare your company for its next phase of expansion. Ensure you are purchasing the right assets for your business—whether that’s a new fleet of service trucks, a few dozen tablets, additional equipment, or new tools—and make sure they’re properly inventoried, tracked, and tended to.

Everything from remembering to schedule routine maintenance for equipment to ensuring your most valuable assets are properly secured in a surveilled area can help ensure your costliest purchases continue to serve your growing business for years to come. 

Related: How to Reduce Inventory Shrinkage

 

6. Find new ways to expand your customer base

There are plenty of pieces of advice that touch on how to grow an HVAC business. But the truth is that to actually grow your business, you’re going to need new customers. Whether you’ve simply doubled your presence in one service area or are expanding into a new town, county, or region, your HVAC business must find new sources of customers if it wants to generate revenue to cover those new costs.

Start a referral program—and incentivize it. Advertise online. Try paid online search. Send out postcards. Offer discounts or rewards for leaving reviews. Find a way to reach new customers, and once you do, ensure that they’re thrilled with the service you provide. 

 

7. Boost productivity wherever you can

We’ve already touched on how beneficial accurate records can be when it comes to growing your HVAC business. That’s because these records help your team get things done faster—and get them done right the first time. And that saves you time and money.

There are many other ways to boost productivity. Invest in scheduling software. Improve how your team communicates throughout the day. Turn on messaging so potential customers can reach out to your business via Yelp or other review platforms. Rethink how you maintain inventory on trucks so that your technicians can spend more time servicing customers and less time driving around town. 

You’ll also want to ensure you aren’t wasting time or money hunting down inventory that should have been stocked days ago. You can use automation features like low stock alerts on inventory management software to ensure you never run out of a key supply or material again. 

 

8. Keep tinkering as you grow

As your HVAC business continues to grow, what worked yesterday may not continue to work tomorrow. Don’t be afraid to pause and start back at square one—taking stock of what’s working and what’s simply eating up valuable resources. Learn as you go, and keep adjusting your growth strategy to match what’s happening both in your company’s books and in the real world.

 

About Sortly

Sortly is a top-rated inventory management software solution designed to help your growing HVAC business track every piece of inventory and every last asset it owns. From air filters to dehumidifiers to the very trucks that get your team (and all those tools) from point A to point B, Sortly can help you stay on top of it all. Plus, with automated features like barcode and QR code scanning, low stock alerts, and customizable reports, it’s easy to speed up tedious tasks and keep the rest of your team—like those accountants—on top of every last detail.

Ready to unlock the next phase of your HVAC business’s success story? Claim your free, two-week trial of Sortly’s most powerful features today.