One of the advantages of being an independent or franchised HVAC company is being able to hire technicians as you need them. Being able to scale up your labor force helps you meet the rise in demand for your services, especially during the summer.
However, the consequence is possibly having to furlough them or lay them off when autumn rolls around and the slow season hits. It’s necessary to keep your heating and air business in the black, but it also means letting good people go.
Wouldn’t you rather keep them because you actually have business in the slow season? There are strategies you can use to keep the money flowing when the leaves are falling.
Making HVAC Money in Q4
As the temperatures start coming off their summer highs, air conditioners in residential homes enjoy less workload. Soon, they start running less and less, before finally turning off for the season.
You might be looking forward to service calls for heating systems in the early winter, but until then, you want to drum up all the business you can in between. Use these ideas to get through:
Preventative Maintenance Plans
You might decide to call them home maintenance contracts, club memberships, or even service agreements. Whatever you call them, be sure that everyone in your franchise offers them to every customer. These are beneficial, because their revenue is:
Current and new clients alike can pay annual fees for preventative visits every spring and fall where you and your technicians look over their HVAC systems. Since HVAC systems run hardest in the summer and winter, the fall and spring seasons are great times to fix them up from the wear and tear they took previously while ensuring efficient operations for the upcoming workload.
How you formulate your plans is up to you, but there are many benefits to your customers you can include, such as:
- Priority service during breakdowns
- Seasonal discounts
- Waived inspection fees
- Extended lifespans on HVAC equipment
- Fewer breakdowns during the high season
- Lower repair costs in the future
- Deal with ‘invisible’ issues, including concerns about air quality
- Keep their current equipment running longer
Maintenance plans are effective ways of turning transactional customers into relational customers. Your techs and representatives can likely tell you that it’s much easier to get business out of relational clients than the other kind.
Other Slow-Season Techniques You Can Use
Preventative maintenance contracts are very effective in the fall, but they’re not the only option you have:
- Boost Your Marketing: Many HVAC businesses adjust their marketing budget down in the fall to save money during a lull. However, you might want to consider doing the opposite. Any marketing methods that are known to be effective should be fueled up even more so you keep money coming in.
- Offer Seasonal Discounts: As the end of the calendar year approaches, many manufacturers will start cutting prices on HVAC equipment in order to clear out inventory. You’ll also have technicians available for installations. Add it all up, and offer fall discounts on system upgrades. Clients can save money while you make money off the biggest-ticket orders you enjoy all year.
- Cut Hours Without Cutting People: If your techs were working 40 hours a week or more during the summer, consider scaling back weekly schedules in the fall. Reduce their work week to the minimum hours that let them maintain benefits. Ask for volunteers who want to cash in sick days or paid leave to save payroll even more.
Spring Into Action
Is the spring season as slow as your usual fall? Most of these techniques are just as applicable to that time of year. Doing them in the fall means you’ll be ready for any slow season that comes your way.
Capture All the Business You Can
When your HVAC business gets to a slow season, it’s imperative to capture every potential piece of business that you can. These various techniques can help you get through the fall, but you also need to make sure that your website is converting every visitor that you get.
Sign up for our free website audit. As meticulously as you go through someone’s home HVAC system for utmost efficiency, we can do the same for your website.