Peak HVAC season will be here before you know it. Here are four steps to help you and your staff get ready.
Spring is just around the corner, which means peak HVAC season isn’t far behind. Even though HARDI is predicting a slowdown from the past few years, you’ll still be busy this summer. In fact, the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a “Summer Sizzler” for most of the U.S. Hotter-than-average temperatures will have most of the country broiling — and your customers’ HVAC systems in need of some help. We have a few steps you can follow to make the transition into busy season a little easier.
1. ANALYZE CURRENT HVAC TRENDS
If you’ve been in the business for a while, you probably have prepping for peak HVAC season down to a science. Homeowners have been interested in indoor air quality and upgraded HVAC systems since 2020, so the same strategies have worked over the past few years. But you know trends change constantly, and you shouldn’t get too comfortable with your strategies.
For example, HVAC trends are different this year. Instead of customers looking to upgrade, you’ll find more pocketbook-focused customers who just want a simple fix. But Inflation Reduction Act HVAC incentives will likely bring in other customers with larger projects. Make sure you understand what, if any, impact this year’s trends will have on your business before busy season hits.
2. PLAN STRATEGICALLY
With these new trends in mind, it’s time to adapt your game plan. What worked last summer may not be the most efficient for this summer. By planning now, you’ll be more prepared when it’s time to get your staff ready.
First, be sure to prioritize your calls. Avoid booking all of your upgrades and preventive maintenance at the same time, and keep some time blocked off for emergency calls. Since homeowners are putting off preventive maintenance, you may have more emergencies than normal. By blocking off time now, you’ll save yourself the headache of shuffling schedules around later.
After you have an idea of the peak HVAC season workload, go ahead and schedule your techs. Yes, we’re still a couple of months away, but creating a schedule now gives your techs the time to work in family time and vacations around their schedule. Be sure to include dates when you need all hands on deck, like Memorial Day weekend and the Fourth of July.
The last essential step is to delegate tasks if you have the resources. Ask your office manager to handle scheduling and help with the bookkeeping. Offer your senior techs opportunities to train the newbies. And most importantly, choose a second point of contact so you can take a breather during the peak HVAC season, too.
3. GET YOUR STAFF READY
Now that your plan is set, it’s time to get your staff ready. Hopefully, you’ve had time during the slow season for basic HVAC training. If not, it’s time to get your new techs up to speed so they’re ready to take calls on their own once the busy season hits.
Before summer is in full swing, consider scheduling a staff meeting during regular working hours so your entire team can attend. During this meeting, go over the current HVAC trends with your staff so they know what to expect, especially since the trends have changed. Your techs may be used to upselling and getting yeses, but they should be prepared for more nos.
Explain IRA incentives to your staff, too, so they can help answer homeowner questions. A tax professional is the best resource for your customers, but prepared techs can at least help with the basics, like understanding what equipment will qualify. Prepare your techs for other common questions homeowners may ask, too. Answering questions in the field puts your techs on the path to improving customer experience to increase sales.
4. OFFER MULTIPLE PAYMENT OPTIONS
Now your plans are mostly in place, but you still have one decision to make: Do you want to offer financing to your customers? As we’ve discussed, customers are a little more pocketbook-focused this year. Consider this: 57% of Americans can’t afford a $1000 emergency bill. If their A/C goes out this summer, they may not be able to fix it.
Most, if not all, contractors accept cash and check payments. But not all contractors accept credit cards or installment loans. Credit cards and loans may be the only way a homeowner can repair their HVAC system if they can’t afford it upfront. So, if you don’t offer those payment options, they either won’t get the service done at all, find someone else who offers financing, or have you scrambling to find a financing option to save the sale. The last thing you want to deal with in the middle of peak HVAC season is paperwork and onboarding with a new financing partner.
You could offer a cash payment plan, but there’s a risk that comes with that. If the homeowner doesn’t make the payments, you’re out the money and have to hunt it down yourself. But if the homeowner pays with a credit card or loan, the lender is taking on that risk, not you.
When you partner with FTL Finance, once the homeowner confirms the job is done, you’ll be paid and won’t have to worry about anything. Plus, unlike a credit card, we offer your homeowners competitive interest rates over a set number of years. Connect with us today to learn more about how you can offer financing to your customers.