How To Start An Air Conditioning And Heating Repair Business

Whether you live in the far north or the deep south, humans have wanted to control their indoor climate for centuries. With modern air conditioning and heating units, the ability to do so is more high tech than ever – but our high tech equipment is also prone to breaking down, needing maintenance, and generally needing repair.

Starting a business to repair air conditioning and heating units can be lucrative, and the number of jobs in this field is expected to increase much more quickly than average, according to the US Department of Labor. Before you start designing a logo and borrowing money from friends, however, make sure you know what you’re getting into.

Do you need a degree?

Generally, those who repair air conditioning and heating units – often called HVAC units – have a high school diploma. They do, however, tend to either attend a trade school with an appropriate program or complete an apprenticeship. Some people also go to a community college that has trade programs, but also take basic accounting and business courses to help them successfully manage their growing company.

Is licensing necessary?

This depends on your state, and sometimes on your county. Some states reciprocate licenses, meaning that if you’re licensed in one state, your license will carry over to another state.

What about certifications?

To know what certifications you need to work on HVAC units, check with your state. Regulations vary, and you many need several different certifications in order to advertise your services or perform appropriate work. These can include:

  • EPA 608, for handling refrigerants,
  • NATE (North American Technician Excellence),
  • HVAC Excellence,

But it’s important to know what’s needed in your state. It’s also important to look at what other local companies have. If they are all NATE certified, you will probably want to have the same certification to compete. If they are not, getting that certification and featuring it prominently may give you an edge over the competition.

Go independent or buy into a franchise?

Depending on where you live and what your business goals are, you need to consider whether you want to purchase a franchise or open an independent AC service business. There are benefits to both; a franchise often costs more to purchase, but you will have some of your business plan already laid out for you and you will be working with an established reputation from the company.

On the other hand, independently owning and operating your company gives you more control over your branding, your logos and advertisements, and where you operate.

Whether you go it on your own or choose a franchise to work with, make sure you have a solid business plan. Know what you can offer that your competition doesn’t, what your prices will be, how you will provide estimates, and what you can do that adds value to your service.

It’s also important to know what equipment you will need to purchase. If you are buying into a franchise, some of that may be provided to you, but some may not. Knowing is obviously important as it affects how much cash you need to start your business.

What insurance will you need?

Business owners may or may not be obligated to buy insurance for themselves, but it’s nearly always a good idea to get insurance. There are many different types of insurance out there, and deciding which one will fit your business needs can be confusing. Working with an established insurance agent who is familiar with business plans in your area can be the best way to get started. They can help you find the right insurance plans that offer the correct benefits at the best available premium.

Many business owners skip the monthly cost of insurance premiums, either thinking that they’ll never get sued, or that they can handle the costs if they do. Many experts consider this simply irresponsible. Negotiating a potential lawsuit on your own as a business can be a disaster; even if the lawsuit ends up going in your favor, legal fees in the meantime can run into thousands of dollars. Few businesses can absorb that cost.

To get the best contracts, customers may also want to see proof of insurance. Financial institutions often want to see that a business is insured before completing a loan, and getting municipal contracts can absolutely mean that a company must be insured and bonded.

Where will you find customers?

It’s generally a good idea to start small. Many apps now exist that allow homeowners and small businesses to connect with service businesses to fulfill their needs. This can be a starting point to build a strong reputation. Some social media presence and a website are often useful, but make sure they’re well constructed and up to date so that they don’t turn off your customers.

It is likely that jobs in the heating and air conditioning repair industry are going to increase significantly over the next few years. This may be an ideal time to open a business which focuses on these needs so that you have the reputation and skill necessary to meet a growing need.