The Key Elements of a Remarkable Service Call
Autumn is upon us, which can only mean one thing: the slow season for HVAC companies has arrived. Traditionally, the hotter summer months and the colder winter months bring about a much greater need for HVAC service due to the extreme temperatures associated with both seasons. However, during the spring and fall, business owners often wonder what service an HVAC company can sell during the slow season.
Just because there’s seasonal downtime doesn’t mean that bills stop coming in, and that employees stop wanting a weekly paycheck. Boosting sales and driving growth during the HVAC slow season is important. But how can you do it? We’ve come up with four solutions that can help your field service company thrive during the slow season for HVAC.
Focus on preventative maintenance
It’s a general rule of thumb in the HVAC and field service business world that around 90 percent of customers only call when they have urgent problems that require immediate fixes. Although it makes sense to only call when there’s an emergency, it’s not good for your small- or medium-sized business’s year-round bill-paying and business-growing activities.
What can you do to fix this problem that occurs during the HVAC slow season? You can upsell preventative maintenance during the fall and spring months, which can help your company’s bottom line.
Pushing preventative maintenance during the slow season for HVAC businesses is also good for building relationships with your customers. Since you’re visiting these customers on-site when there’s not an emergency call or specific problem to fix, you’re gaining their confidence, being helpful, providing them value, and learning more about what HVAC services are important to them. Along with this, you can use fall and spring for preventative services to clear the deck for more urgent winter and summer service calls.
Preventative maintenance during the slow season for HVAC ties into connected field service as well. Just in case you aren’t familiar, connected field service is powered by the Internet of Things, or IoT. Connected devices—which are expected to be greater than 80 billion strong by 2025—are capable of sending HVAC performance information to a service shop’s headquarters, which allows your HVAC business to consistently participate in preventative maintenance—even during the winter and summer busy seasons.
In short, you are able to monitor HVAC units, and know when a machine is ready to break down. This technology helps during the HVAC slow season because you can call your client and say, “We need to come out to your site soon for a repair.” It builds a relationship with your customer, and keeps this person’s HVAC unit running smoothly. It’s a win-win. However, connected field service is still far off for some small businesses due to the costs involved with acquiring new technology and investing in infrastructure, but, given how quickly technology is advancing, it will arrive at scale sooner than you think.
Focus on Marketing
The winter and summer seasons are often madhouses when it comes to HVAC client needs, so focus on your marketing efforts during the fall and spring. While in the midst of the HVAC slow season you can:
Attend trade shows.
Send direct mailers and mass emails.
Have your technicians perform the preventative maintenance measures described above.
Bring a brochure or a one-page flyer about other services you offer when on these preventative service calls.
Consider Google PPC campaigns, or local Facebook ads to attract more attention during the HVAC slow season.
Search LinkedIn and Google News for ideas about new companies opening in or relocating to your business’s area of service. These companies may need large-scale SLAs to make sure that their buildings are heated and air-conditioned properly.
Consider sending rebate coupons to existing customers. For example, if a current customer refers a new customer, you give the referring client money back, or take a certain dollar amount off of his or her service contract.
There are numerous creative approaches to marketing and selling for HVAC companies, and the slow season for HVAC companies—particularly the fall—is a perfect time to research and explore these options.
Offer System Upgrades
Manufacturers tend to slash prices during the slow season for HVAC companies in order to close out inventory before the winter year-end mark. Although your company might make slightly less money on an HVAC system upgrade during the fall in comparison to the early summer, it can be a steady revenue stream during the HVAC down season.
Offer Home Performance Services
The rising costs of oil, natural gas, and electricity used to heat homes and business offices alike makes your customers eager when it comes to making sure that their HVAC systems are performing at optimal levels in order to keep utility costs down. Along with this, the cultural shift focused around the emergence of “smart homes” is driving customers to check their HVAC systems’ efficiency levels more often.
One way to drive your business’s bottom line is by offering these services in the fall during the heart of the HVAC slow season. Performance services are a bit like preventative maintenance services because you visit a client who doesn’t have an urgent need, and check on the HVAC system’s overall performance. However, your company can make a slightly larger profit from these jobs by adding in an “overall performance fee” to the preventative maintenance process. The slow season for HVAC companies is the perfect time to put that HVAC CRM to use, and figure out what existing clients could benefit from based on past orders and services.
Here’s a bonus idea:
This bonus idea is for you to try during the slow season for HVAC. It’s less about directly driving revenue, but it will help you grow your company’s bottom line in the future. If you have downtime in the fall or spring, you can use it to restructure some of the inefficient areas of your field service shop.
No, no, we don’t mean firing people on a whim in order to save your company money by reducing employee wages. What we mean is to think about your business’s operating processes, the products you sell, service contracts terms, and getting everything organized within the shop and office so that you can hit the ground running when the busy winter and summer HVAC seasons strike. A good place to start organizing your HVAC business during the slow season is our Field Service Management software. You can download our guide right here, and contact us if you are ready to get your field service business ready for the busy season!
We put together an eBook on various aspects of service level agreements — a good example of something you can reorganize during the fall. To learn more, download it now.