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How To Start A Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) Business
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How To Start A Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) Business

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Reasons for starting an HVAC Business

For anyone looking to start an HVAC business, we want to wish you all the best and if you need any further information once you have read this blog, feel free to send us a message.

Taking control of the direction of your career can be incredibly rewarding and unlocking life rewards such as time, money and mind. This is what you can look forward to:

  • The accomplishment of building your own business from the ground up
  • The ability to run your business your way.
  • To grow as large or as manageable as you like!
  • Take the next step in your career
  • Now you are starting your business there are so many other avenues to explore and new challenges that will keep your business constantly moving forward

The rise of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) businesses is growing every year and with the constantly changing weather conditions in the UK, the need for ventilation and heating systems is rising fast. Commercially HVAC has a higher demand with many office and retail buildings have or planning to install air conditioning to keep their employees or customers happy.

On top of this, the demand for maintenance and repairs services is a massive monthly returning income for many HVAC businesses by offering monthly subscriptions to an annual maintenance service contract and this is not going away any time soon! If you are thinking about starting an HVAC business, it is a great time to get involved.

Many tradesmen are technically very good at what they do and see what their employer is doing and think they can do a better job than them at running a business. This might be true however there’s a difference between being a tradesman and a businessman and we want to help you get there.

Roofers start roofing businesses. Electricians start electrical businesses. But no one teaches us how to run a business, how to sell, market, finance, scale, comply with health & safety rules and constant changing regulations.

Making the jump from being an employee to a business owner might feel risky however with the right guidance you will be amazed at how quickly your business can progress.

You could make a million excuses to say why this might not be the right time to start a business however when would you ever be ready? Starting a business takes courage and there will always be risk factors otherwise everyone would be a business owner! 

The need for high quality HVAC companies is in demand and growing rapidly in the UK with growing popularity. It is a great business to get up and running with quick turnaround times. It can be great to get your name out there early by speaking to local contractors, builders and engineers about their HVAC needs and if you position it in a way where they see it as a potential sell on opportunity and to expand their services, it will be a win-win for both of you.

Qualifications and Associations 

If you are looking for extra support, there is an association called FETA (Federation of Environmental Trade Associations) which is a trade association that represents the interests of contractors, installers, suppliers and manufacturers in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration and building controls industries. FETA aims to be a representative voice and offer quality services for its members. FETA participates in debates that could affect its members and collaborates with other organisations to work toward a better future for member industries.

HETAS is another organisation that can help you along your journey and also provide the heating and equipment testing and approvals scheme (HETAS) certificate. HETAS set the benchmark for best practice in the industry through the provision of the competent person scheme and industry-leading training to increase the safe and environmentally responsible use of biomass and other solid fuels, appliances, and associated technologies.

There are several routes of becoming a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineer. You could complete a college course or an apprenticeship. 

You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site. 

There are many college courses you could take, to help you on your journey to becoming an HVAC engineer, such as: 

  • Level 1 Certificate in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning 
  • Level 2 Diploma in Access to Building Services Engineering 
  • Level 2 Diploma in Installing and Maintaining Refrigeration Systems
  • City & Guilds Level 2 and 3 Diploma in Electrical Installation 
  • Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Plumbing and Domestic Heating 
  • Level 3 Diploma in Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems. 

You’ll need: 

  • Up to 2 GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent (level 1 course) 
  • 2 - 4 GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent (level 2 course) 
  • 4 - 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent (level 3 course)

Ensuring you have the right training and qualifications in place will help you provide credibility to your business and the client you are serving. It is always worth expanding your knowledge and continuing your training every year.

Additional skills which may benefit anyone considering a job as an HVAC engineer include:  

  1. Understanding of building and construction 
  2. Capable of using tools and machines 
  3. Excellent attention to detail 
  4. Good customer service skills 
  5. Logical thinking skills 
  6. Ability to use your initiative. 

Preparing Ahead

A massive tip which we can give for free is to answer your phone! Although it may sound obvious you may be surprised to find out that 70% of construction business owners do not answer the phone… If you think this might be a problem for you take a look at Saint Virtual Assistant Call Handling service to ensure 100% of your calls are answered and in your business name so we look a part of your team. You probably are thinking that you can answer your phone however what happens if you are in a middle of a job, or speaking to a client etc as much as we try not to, the possibility of this scenario happening will always be there. From as like as £40 per month you can have you calls answered for you.

Taking the first step towards your HVAC business is to build your business roadmap. This might seem like wasted time as you have sales and no consistency however it’s a way to tell yourself where you want to get to and build a solid foundation for your business.

Some pointers on how to build a well-rounded business roadmap:

  1. Funding 

How much do you need to start up and fund your business adventure? Deciding how you’ll fund the initial costs i.e through a loan, credit card (very risky), savings or is there any Government schemes available? 

We always recommend having at least 1 year saved up before you start a business full time as the survival of a business needs all the help it can get.

An HVAC business has an average start up cost compared to other trades. It should cost you less than £15,000 depending on the scope of your plans, although this will vary depending on how much you need to buy, the amount of insurance you need and how you plan to market your business.

Remember you will need a van, tools, materials, safety equipment, and potentially a marketing budget.

  1. Customers

Every business needs to build who its ideal client is. This will help you ensure you are working with the right companies/customers that will grow your business in the right direction. Using your ideal client outline, you can target them using advertising, social media or networking with other trade professionals.

Saint Global is the perfect way to market your HVAC company, you’ll receive expert marketing guidance and proven strategies to put your new company on the map for the right clients to find you!

  1. Finances 

One of the many areas many businesses, especially in the construction industry undervalue… Having the right finance team around you can change your business overnight and provide insights into your business you never knew you could have had for your business, no matter how long you have been in the industry.

An accountant is so much more than just helping you pay the right tax, you should be openly talking about your strategic decisions with your accountant, There’s a reason why many of the top CEOs in business today are from an accounting background.

  1. Pricing

Another area an accountant/business coach can help you with is your pricing. Deciding how much you are going to charge is a critical part of the business. You need to make sure that you are covering your costs and getting a good profit from the work you are putting into your business.

It may help to look at competitor prices as a rough guide. If you need help with pricing methods take a look at our free Construction Survival Guide.

  1. Legalities 

Every business needs to keep in line with the legal requirements. Some of the things you will need are insurances, licenses, H&S guidelines and any compliance requirements such as registering your company with company house.

You’ll need the right licenses and insurance before you start working to cover your business financially and legally and against any accidents or mistakes. 

Some examples of insurances are:

  1. Public liability insurance - in case of injuries caused by your work
  2. Van/tool insurance - to protect your van/tools
  3. Professional indemnity insurance - to protect you if clients claim the service is inadequate
  4. Employer’s liability insurance - required if you employ at least one person
  5. Plant and machinery insurance - to protect your P&M licenses

Take a look at our free Start a Business e-book and other free resources here to find out more.

Licenses are a legal requirement to carry out certain work and for you to continue operating your business such as local authority licenses, goods vehicle operator license or public highway licenses for example, you might not need them but always best to check.

What tools will I need?

To start an HVAC business, you will need a range of tools and equipment to complete the jobs ahead. Some of the tools and equipment you will need can be costly however there is always the possibility of buying used tools for a great price. Here is an idea of what you could need:

  • Screwdrivers
  • HVAC load calculator
  • Drill
  • Pliers
  • Hammers
  • Psychrometer
  • Tape measure
  • Wrenches
  • Torch
  • Multimeter
  • Thermometers

Is an HVAC business profitable?

We have seen many HVAC businesses reach £1 million turnover quite easily - it depends on how quickly you want to scale, the resources you have and the team supporting you.

If you want to grow, keep chasing the highly profitable services and work hard then it is very likely your business will be successful and make a great profit. The demand in the UK for HVAC businesses is at an all time high and continuing to grow year on year.

How do you market an HVAC business?

Many businesses take a dip into marketing which is often a price sensitive area and don’t often get the return on investment they are looking for however the most common mistake we see is that business owners expect an immediate return. Marketing is building your company for long term success whilst most often having a good impact on the short term too. Here are some tips we recommend to get you going:

  1. Advertising: You can pay to advertise your business although this can be costly. Experience in this area is advised as it can be quite the money pit if you invest incorrectly.

  1. Website: With many website builders out there, you can build a website yourself however be cautious as it can be quite the time investment once you start! Your website is usually the first thing a potential clients sees so ensuring its high quality gives your customer a good first impressions.

  1. Social media: Using sites like Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn etc can help you to join local groups where you can advertise your services for free and start building your network of potential clients. Social Media is the current highest return of getting new customers to your business. You need to be creating your own virtual room for potential clients to find you on as many platforms as possible.

  1. Reviews: Sites like Trustpilot, Facebook or Google all have a way of leaving reviews about your company based on the customers’ opinion. The power of reviews is massive, it can dictate whether someone uses your company or not so doing your utmost to get 5* reviews and managing them is essential.

  1. Direct mail: Email marketing is one of the cheapest forms of marketing and often the one with the highest Return on Investment!

  1. Saint Global: Joining Saint Global will let you work with an experienced media team specialised within the construction industry who can take care of your media troubles and much more.

How Much Should You Be Expecting To Pay Your HVAC Team?

The expected salary for an HVAC engineer varies as you become more experienced. 

  • Newly trained HVAC engineers can earn in the region of £20,000 
  • Experienced HVAC engineers can earn up to £55,000 
  • If needed you can always outsource to another HVAC company to keep up with demand however this can often lead to more problems than solutions.

Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do.

If you need any more information about starting business, Saint Financial Group specialise within the construction industry and are the UK's No.1 support company for construction businesses.

Frequently asked questions

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This article has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the provided content.

PS. Whenever you are ready, here's how to grow your construction business...

1. Join our Facebook Group which built completely for businesses within the construction industry. Real people, real support. - Now also available on LinkedIn.

2. Keep up to date with Construction Insider Providing you with industry insight, tips & tricks and much more to make sure you are ahead of your competitors!

3. When you are ready, Become a Saint Financial Group client, and we will provide you with the highest quality solutions to effectively scale your construction business. Book your meeting here!

How To Start A Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) Business

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