You’re an HVAC small business owner, and business is going strong. You’re hitting sales goals and your list of returning customers has grown. Things are going well ... but how do you keep it going?
We polled some experienced business operations managers and asked for their advice. They had some solid tips for HVAC small business owners about how to keep a good thing going.
Take marketing (and payments) online.
While it seems like every small business is marketing online, too many HVAC businesses are not. If you’re getting a steady enough stream of word-of-mouth local customers, you may not think you even need to market online.
However, if you want to grow that steady stream of customers, small business owners have to have an online marketing presence, especially given the boom that the HVAC industry is facing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 15 percent increase in HVAC jobs by 2026, so it’s prime time for small business owners to start marketing online and getting their share of that growing market.
Even if you are the most well-known small business owner in your area, if you’re not marketing online, you’re missing out on customer-base growth that other small business owners can leverage. Don’t let someone else take the low-hanging fruit.
Online marketing could be the extra bump your small business needs to surpass your goals—and it doesn’t have to be complex. Start small and make it as simple as creating a social media presence and posting in local groups. If you’re already doing that, it might be time to consider building an SEO-rich website and developing a paid advertising plan.
Make small business payments easy.
Additionally, marketing online goes hand-in-hand with convenient online payments. Offering your customers online payment options, like FusionPay, is another way that you can earn more customers. It’s how you can break into more tech-savvy local customers, giving your business another competitive edge.
Increase your word-of-mouth marketing.
Word-of-mouth marketing sounds a little old fashioned because it’s timeless, and it has always been crucial for small business owners. These days, you have to mix in technology—like social media posts—in addition to connecting with customers while participating in local events, supporting charities, and getting neighbor-to-neighbor testimonials. An online presence will only increase your word-of-mouth marketing.
For example, it’s common for Facebook users to ask for recommendations in local groups or look at a business’s social media comments and online recommendations. When you have a happy customer who sees someone asking for a local HVAC recommendation, they’re likely to jump in the comments and recommend your services. Or a potential customer could ask a question in a local group, and you can turn your answer into a marketing tool.
Don’t forget that your online reputation is also paramount in word-of-mouth marketing. Most potential customers do their own research and use Google or Yelp reviews to guide their choice. If you have a solid testimonial and referral plan, you’ll stand out more to potential customers.
Find ways to generate recurring revenue.
As an HVAC professional, you know it’s in your customers’ best interest to have a regular maintenance plan in place, even in an “off” season. But as you also know, too many customers forget about the workings of their HVAC systems until they have an issue.
That’s why creating service plans and maintenance agreements is the ideal way to help customers avoid ugly surprise repairs, while also providing you with recurring revenue. It’s a win-win for you and your customers. With regular maintenance, they’ll avoid inconvenient and expensive surprises, extending the life of their HVAC system and saving money in the long run.
Your service plans and maintenance agreement could also come with loyalty program perks that will really make your customers feel appreciated. For example, you can offer incentives for current customers to refer to new customers. Since it costs five times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep current customers, referrals are priceless. Reward the customers who refer you to friends and family. If you have a loyal customer who is already on a maintenance plan, you could give them a general discount on service, or offer one free maintenance check. This approach will strengthen customer relationships and grow your customer base.
Invest in field service management software.
If you’re thinking that this advice sounds good, but you’re not sure how you’ll find the time to do it, then you need to invest in field service management software. It’s one of the best investments an HVAC small business owner can make, because it helps you deliver fast, coordinated, and convenient service. Your field service management software should keep everyone in touch—field techs, office staff, and customers.
The right field service management software will help you:
- Gain visibility
- Increase revenue
- Reduce operating costs
- Win repeat customers
Learn more about how field service management software can help your business keep growing—request a demo.