4 Tips to Manage Your Hectic Life

Owning and operating a healthy HVAC business is hard work. Your day is consumed with handling service calls yourself or dealing with service technicians that are supposed to handle the service calls. After normal business hours, there’s paperwork antime managementd financial chores that keep you going well past dark.

With all of the demands as a heating and air conditioning contractor, it is important that you manage your precious time wisely. Here are 4 tips to help you manage your time better.

  1. Prioritize.

The work is endless, but your available time isn’t; and it’s important to keep that fact in perspective. The reality is that you cannot ever get ‘it’ all done. It just is not possible, so you must prioritize and let some things go.

Activities that make you money or tasks that are urgent should take priority over other things on your list.

  1. Time is Up.

There are tons of ways to waste time while still feeling productive. I can sum this up in one example: Facebook. People spend hours essentially doing nothing on Facebook.

While you may not be a Facebook junkie, there are likely tasks within your business that are similar. Those tasks that seemingly hypnotize you, and before you know it, you’ve spent two or three hours consumed and have little to show for the time.

For those tasks, limit the ‘damage’ by limiting the time you spend doing them in one setting. Avoiding these time sucks will give you many more hours to be productive elsewhere.

  1. Nobody’s perfect.

To all of those perfectionists out there, it is important to realize that nobody or nothing is perfect. While you should take pride in your work and workmanship, there is a limit to how good a job can be.

Giving 100% is fine. There’s no need to give 110%, because most of your competition is only giving 90% anyway. If it’s fixed, it’s fixed, and you can put the tools away knowing that the customer will be pleased (even if it’s not totally perfect).

  1. Get a guy for that.

One of the hardest things to do as a small business owner is say ‘no’. As a service business, an HVAC company has to be there when needed and do great work. To do this, you must say ‘no’ to some things and let others help where it makes sense.

For example, if you are spending 5 hours a week doing the books, hire a bookkeeper or an accountant to do it. That will free up an extra 5 hours each week to take more business and generate more income.

If you are working 3 or 4 hours per week on your company’s website, outsource it to a company that can update your site and improve your chances of getting found by more local customers. (Ductwork Marketing would gladly help you!).

If your time is better spent elsewhere, doing something else to make your company money, you should seriously considering outsourcing the task to your guy for that.

Managing your time and prioritizing your almost endless list of tasks and ‘to-dos’ is a constant struggle, but implementing these 4 tips will help you win the daily battles and bring a little more sanity and less stress to your life.

At DuctWork Marketing, our mission is to help small HVAC contractors grow their sales, increase their profits, boost productivity and improve overall business health. If you are looking for affordable online marketing tools that give you long-term control for your HVAC business, visit www.ductworkmarketing.com.

Is a Free Website a Good Choice for My HVAC Business?

If you are a small HVAC contractor without a website, you are not alone. As of 2013, 55% of all small U.S. businesses still had not are free websites a good choicemade the leap into the online world.

A lot of small business owners know they should have a website but are not sure how to get started. Quite honestly, the whole decision process can be confusing. You can consume a lot of precious time researching which option is best for your business.

Today, several website providers are aggressively advertising websites on television. Most all are offering free websites that are easy to set-up and get started. For a hardworking, busy HVAC contractor that is not up-to-speed on the inner workings of the internet, this is a pretty attractive option.

But is free and easy really the best choice? In this article, we will talk about these options.

Free and Easy Websites

Typically, the truly free website options make it very easy to setup a basic website. Most all offer a variety of website design templates from which to choose. You ‘point-and-click’ your design choice and color scheme, ‘drag-and-drop’ a few features and pictures into the design, and you have a basic website. You can typically have a basic design up-and-running on the worldwide web in an hour or so.

Sounds pretty easy, huh? Well, it actually is, but these easy and free websites do have some drawbacks.

Free Websites Have Limitations

The options that are truly free do not allow you to have your own domain name as your website address. They require you to use their name or identifier in the web address. So instead of your company having a website address of www.yourcompany.com like most business sites, the web address would, for example, have to be www.yourcompany.blogspot.com.

Another major free website provider offers a free website but with more limitations. In addition to not having your own domain name, it also displays ads for other companies on your site and provides only limited storage space that limits the robustness of your website.

Another major free website provider, that specifically targets small businesses, offers free websites only for a finite, 30 day period. After that, if you want to keep your site and all of the work you put into writing the content and refining the site’s design, you must convert to a paid version.

How Can Website Providers Afford To Offer Free Websites?

Let’s face it, people find ‘free’ really attractive, and companies that offer these ‘free’ options know that – and they advertise a lot on television. They would not continue to spend the millions of dollars to advertise without having a lot of people sign-up.

How do free website providers pay for all of that advertising by offering free websites? Their primary strategy is to “hook” you by making it easy to set-up a website with the expectation that you will find the ‘free’ version too limiting and upgrade to a paid premium option. Another, secondary, method to subsidize your free website is to sell companies ads that will ultimately be posted and show up on your site.

Quite honestly, it is a pretty effective strategy for them, but not necessarily for the small business seeking a website.

Free Websites Defeat the Purpose

The ultimate purpose of a website for a small business is to attract more customers. But the limitations of the free websites do not provide the professionalism needed for potential customers to view a free website seriously. Not having your own domain name is a huge no-no, and having advertisements for other businesses on your website screams ‘unprofessional’.

So free websites are an option to get started, but not a good one for a small HVAC business. As a small heating and air conditioning contracting business, you want your website to look professional. You want your own identity, and you want long-term control over your website. To accomplish this, it is best to choose a paid option.

Find an Affordable Website

Fortunately, internet technology has evolved to allow for many paid options. In years past, it was common to spend five or ten thousand dollars to initially set-up a customized website that only had limited capabilities. Today, you can get a website for your HVAC business much more reasonably.

If you are ready to get a website for your HVAC business and want it created and maintained by a team that only works with small HVAC contractors, DuctWork Marketing can help. Click here to learn more.

 

A Facebook Page Is Bad For Your HVAC Business

Facebook is currently the most popular social media site on the planet. As of this writing, Facebook has over 1.2 billion monthlyfacebook is bad for HVAC contractors active users worldwide.

Facebook makes it very easy to set-up a page for your company. In about thirty minutes, you can have a fairly complete page created.

But just because it’s popular and easy does not mean that it’s a wise decision to have a Facebook page for your HVAC contracting business. Despite the popularity of the site, there are several reasons why your heating and air conditioning contracting business should not invest in a Facebook page.

Lack of Control

In business, you want to control as many things as possible – so they don’t get screwed up. Counting on other businesses for your success can lead to serious problems for your business, especially if they change their minds about what’s best for them later.

If Facebook were to change its policy on how it lets businesses operate or communicate on its site, this could seriously disrupt your ability to communicate with your customers. If Facebook is your main communication tool with your customers, that would be a problem.

Large Time Investment

The thirty minutes needed to set-up the pages is only the beginning. To make Facebook an effective marketing or relationship-building tool, your page must be updated and maintained on a regular and frequent basis.

Many businesses spend a lot of money promoting their Facebook page. They do everything from including their Facebook page in their ads to incentivizing customers to ‘Like’ them on Facebook to paying full-time employees to do nothing but update and maintain their Facebook page.

For a small HVAC contractor, devoting the time and resources necessary to do Facebook effectively is just not possible.

‘Likes’ Don’t Mean Looks

For those that want to invest the time and have interesting information and updates to share, there is no guarantee that the posts will be looked at and read.

Facebook allows users to control their own Facebook experience, so just because people click “Like” on your page does not guarantee that your updates will be included in their Facebook news feed.

A person that “Liked’ your Facebook page can unsubscribe to your updates, and your new posts will be hidden from his news feed. This makes it impossible to know exactly how many people your business is actually reaching and how many are seeing and reading your posts.

HVAC is Different

Facebook is designed to highlight events or new things that customers will find interesting.

For a retail clothing shop or a home decorating boutique, things change often.  New merchandise comes in seasonally so there is a lot of opportunity to share new posts on Facebook.

With heating and air services, not a lot happens that will be interesting to your average customers – at least not frequently. Since purchases of heating and air systems or services are not made as frequently as with retail businesses, the opportunities to share is limited.

As a heating and air contractor and business owner, your time is precious. You have to spend your time and marketing dollars where you get the biggest return. With Facebook, the return is simply not there, especially when the investment is in a communication channel that is not within your long-term control.

At DuctWork Marketing, our mission is to help small HVAC contractors grow their sales, increase their profits, boost productivity and improve overall business health. If you are looking for affordable online marketing tools that give you long-term control for your HVAC business, visit www.ductworkmarketing.com.

3 Ways a Customer Newsletter Can Help Grow Your HVAC Business

Email newsletters certainly are not new. Businesses of all types offer free newsletters to their customers and promote them frequently. “Sign up for our free newsletter..” is a popular phrase on advertisements and business signage.

Why would so many businesses spend so much time and energy promoting something that they are giving away? Because free email newsletters have proven to be an effective and inexpensive way to communicate with customers.email newsletter for HVAC contractors

Free email newsletters can be especially helpful to HVAC contractors because there are such long time periods between service calls and face-to-face interaction. Some businesses have the luxury of interacting with their customers weekly or monthly. Most heating and air conditioning contractors are lucky to see their customers every six months.

So how do heating and air contractors stay in touch with customers between service calls? The reality is that most don’t, but a newsletter can change that.

Here are three ways that a free email newsletter can help grow your HVAC business:

1. Develop stronger customer relationships

 People do business with companies they know, like, trust and value.

An email newsletter lets you show a more personal side to your heating and air conditioning business and helps you develop a relationship with your customers. While it’s important to be professional, people like to know there are people, nice people, connected to the business they support – and newsletters let you open-up a little more.

Developing a stronger relationship makes your HVAC business more memorable, and it helps create a bond that can create customer loyalty – so they call your company back when they need service again.

2. Inexpensive advertising

 When you offer a free email newsletter from your HVAC business, you have an opportunity to collect emails from all of your customers. While not all customers will share their email with you, a lot of them will if they feel they will get something of value in return.

Some people like being the first-to-know about new services or products. Some like knowing they can access exclusive coupons or discounts. Others value helpful tips on how to lower their heating and cooling costs.

A newsletter provides a forum for those things the customer finds valuable, and also allows you to advertise or highlight products and services that positively impact your bottom line.

Sending an email is the least expensive way to communicate, and that’s essentially what an email newsletter is – an email. No stamps. No printing costs for flyers or postcards. All you have to do is write the newsletter content and press the ‘send’ button.

3. Collect honest feedback.

Every business needs feedback from its customers to ensure that it’s on the right track, delivering value and that customers are happy.

The highest quality and most honest feedback comes from customers that know your business – and those customers are most likely to subscribe to your newsletter. You can better trust feedback from your newsletter subscribers, even if it is not always positive, because they likely have your best interest in mind.

They like you enough to stay in touch, and they want to help you improve your business – so they like your company even more. And since you have their email address, they are only a button-click away.

While there are benefits to a newsletter, it is important to safeguard the email addresses that your customers entrust with you. Sharing their emails with any other business is a big no-no, and sending emails too frequently or not giving something of value can actually hurt your relationship with your customers – so it is important to strike the right balance between giving and getting.

While developing a newsletter is some work, it can have great rewards when it is done correctly.

At DuctWork Marketing, our mission is to help small HVAC contractors grow their sales, increase their profits, boost productivity and improve overall business health.

For more useful tips and information, visit us at www.ductworkmarketing.com.

How To Choose The Best Email Address Format For Your HVAC Business

Sheding that aol, gmail, hotmail or other free email address and getting a customized email adchoosing the best email address formatdress for your HVAC business will definitely improve your company’s image with customers and potential customers.  Your business will be more ‘professional’ as a result.

Now that you have made the decision to get your own customized email, you need to decide the best way to set-up your email address format and create the email addresses.

What is the best email address format?  Well, if you aren’t sure what you want or need to do, here are some tips to help make your decision easier:

If you are a one-person business…

It may be best to keep it simple.  It is likely that one or two email addresses will be sufficient now.  You can always add new email addresses later.  Just remember, the more email addresses you have, the more places you will need to check for emails.

If you choose to have just one email address for now, make it somewhat generic, like CustomerService@YourDomainName.com.

With only one email address, this will be the address that is actively promoted to your customers or potential customers, so make the email address flexible enough to apply to many situations.

If you choose to have more than one email address now, have at least one generic email address like the one noted above as well as one personal email for yourself, like YourName@YourDomainName.com.

If you are a multiple-person business…

It is probably appropriate to have multiple emails.  Depending on the size of your business, you may have multiple support departments such as billing, customer service, dispatch, and receptionist with multiple employees within each department..

Each support (non-technician) person using a computer with internet access should probably be given an individual email address.  Each support department should also be provided a group email address (ex: billing@YourDomainName.com).

A ‘group’ email should be set-up to arrive in the Inbox of every employee that is part of that ‘group’.  So if you have three employees in your billing department, all three of those employees would receive emails addressed to billing@YourDomainName.com, and each of the three would also receive emails addressed to his/her individual email address.

Why is a group email address is a good idea?

Since a group email goes to all individuals within the ‘group’, if an employee in the group is on vacation or out sick for a day, a week or longer, the rest of the group will see the email and be able to respond to it in the employee’s absence.

If the email goes to the employee’s individual email address, no one else would be able to see and respond to the email while the employee was out. If the email is urgent or requires action prior to the employee’s return, not knowing about it could be bad.  Bei

Here are some examples using John Doe, a pretend employee at DuctWork Marketing:

ng able to see and respond to a group email ensures nothing falls through the cracks.

Individual email format examples

johndoe@ductworkmarketing.com                 john.doe@ductworkmarketing.com

jdoe@ductworkmarketing.com                       johnd@ductworkmarketing.com

john_doe@ductworkmarketing.com             doe_john@ductworkmarketing.com

doej@ductworkmarketing.com                       john@ductworkmarketing.com

The format choice is usually based on personal preference, but some formats will limit flexibility and growth over time.  For example, the john@ductworkmarketing.com format only provides for one person named John to have an email address.  And jdoe@ductworkmarketing.com would make it tough to hire Jerry Doe, because John already had jdoe.

Some formats might prevent simplicity.  For example, if an employee’s name were 15 letters long, using one of the full name formats might be cumbersome and prone to spelling errors by those sending emails.

These situations may not be a problem for your business, but it’s worth noting.

As stated earlier, a business typically chooses a single email format and sticks to it when creating email addresses for individuals in the future.  This is done for two main reasons:

  1. Developing future emails is easier because the format is already thought-out.
  2. It is easier to remember different company email addresses.  If Mary Smith’s email is msmith@ductworkmarketing.com, but Jill Jones’ email is jill.jones@ductworkmarketing, it would be much tougher to remember than if the two addresses had the same format.

Remember, there is no one right answer concerning email format.

When making your decision, just factor in your personal preference, your current business and employee situation and your vision of what your business will look like in the future. Considering these factors will allow you to make the best possible decision.

At DuctWork Marketing, our mission is to help small HVAC contractors grow their sales, increase their profits, boost productivity and improve overall business health. If you want help setting up your email and other affordable online marketing tools for your HVAC business, visit www.ductworkmarketing.com.

What Is A Domain Name and How To Pick The Best One For Your HVAC Business?

how to choose a domain nameWhat is a domain name? 

Domain names provide unique identities for individuals, organizations and business entities on the internet. Examples of domain names are apple.com, amazon.com, att.net and ductworkmarketing.com.  These examples, when typed into Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or another web browser, take the visitor to the business website.

In the examples above, the domain name corresponds to the name of a business, but that is not always the case.    For example, Beyond H2O, a business that provides water filtration systems and installation services, uses the domain name whatwatershouldbe.com – so you can really choose any available domain name you wish for your website.

Each domain name is unique and is available for use by only one owner.  As of December 31, 2013, more than 271 million domain names had been registered.  Almost half of those (127.2 million) ended in .com or .net.

While 271 million is a lot, there are still trillions of .com domain names available.  If your HVAC business has a fairly common business name, your first few choices for a domain name may no longer be available, and you may have to get a little creative (just as BeyondH2O did).

How to Search for Available Domain Names?

Use a domain selection tool to search for available domain names. A domain selection tool will allow you to type in a desired domain name and see if it’s still available or already taken/registered.

With a domain name selection tool, you can quickly type in different domain choices, so this can save a lot of search time.  Some domain search tools will also suggest alternative choices if your original choice is already taken.

The domain selection tool that I use often for searches is instantdomainsearch.com. It’s quick, easy and free to use. Click here for the link.

How to Select The Best Domain Name For Your HVAC Business?

Choosing a domain name for your HVAC business website is similar to naming a child.  You get one chance to do it right, and it’s a choice that likely won’t ever change once done.  Given its importance, you should put some thought into it.

Everyone’s got an opinion on the best domain name for your HVAC business – but your first choice for a domain name should be your business name (or some variation of it), if it’s available.  If it is not available, the tips below should help you make a good choice:

  1. Develop a list of keywords

If your first few domain name choices are not available, come up with about 5 or 6 words or phrases that would be appropriate for the domain name of your HVAC business website.  Examples might include “heating”, “cooling”, “HVAC”, “air conditioning”, “ac”, your city or town, etc. Your list might include a portion of your business name also.  Once you make your selections, take those words or phrases and begin building domain names with them.

  1. Be unique but not weird

It is important to not have your customers confuse your domain name with another business with a similar domain name.

For example, it’s likely not best to reserve the domain aire.com as your customers will often mistakenly type in air.com instead.

  1. Choose a .com domain

The .com domain (ex: apple.com, amazon.com) is still the gold standard, and most web users assume that the web domain will end in .com.

There are certainly other domain choices (.net, .tv, .us, .org, .co, .info, .biz, etc.), but when choosing one of them, you run the risk of your customers going to the .com version instead (ex: your domain is yourcompany.net but your customers type in yourcompany.com instead).

  1. Make it easy to type

Don’t use words in your domain that are hard to spell, are easily misspelled or that can be spelled multiple ways.

  1. Easy to remember

The easier the domain name is to remember, the easier it is for customers to find you and refer others to the website of your HVAC business.

  1. Keep it short

Short names are easy to type and easy to remember and less likely to be mis-typed in a web browser.

  1. Use words associated with your work

Use words in the domain name that relate to the HVAC industry, so customers can instantly guess what your business does and the type of content on your website.

  1. Avoid hyphens and numbers

Hyphens and numbers make it hard to share your domain name with customers verbally and are harder to remember and type. Also, numbers of any kind are difficult because the customers aren’t sure whether they should type the actual number or spell out the number.

How to Register a Domain Name?

After choosing the best available domain name for your HVAC business website, it is time to register it.

You can register your domain name through the registrar of your choice. The costs to register a domain name range from about $10 to $15 per year, depending on the service – although some offer even lower prices for the first year.

If you choose one of the super low cost options, look carefully at the registration costs for the second year and beyond.  Sometimes the initial savings are not worth the long-term costs.

If you are ready to build a website for your HVAC business, or you need a more effective website that lets local customers find your business, DuctWork Marketing can help.

DuctWork Marketing only works with HVAC contractors, and we do all of the heavy lifting to get your website online so you don’t have to.

Visit www.DuctWorkMarketing.com to learn more about how we can help get a website for your HVAC business started today.

 

5 Reasons to Incorporate Your HVAC Business

5 Reasons to Incorporate Your HVAC Business

In the legal and tax world of business, there are five ways to structure an HVAC business:

  1. Sole Proprietorship
  2. Partnership
  3. Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)
  4. S Corporation
  5. Corporation

Most small HVAC businesses begin as sole proprietorships. If there more than one person is involved in the business, it would be a partnership. In both a sole proprietorship and partnership, the business and the individuals involved in the business are essentially one in the same from a legal and tax perspective.

Choosing either of these structures is not necessarily bad. It is very quick and easy to create the business, and it is inexpensive. When you are trying to get your business started and off the ground, there are not many things that are quick, easy and inexpensive – so it is a natural choice for many.

As you gain traction in your business, it may make sense to review your business structure and change from a sole proprietorship or partnership to a more distinct business entity that can better protect your home, personal automobiles, property and other personal assets if something bad happened within your business.

Changing the legal structure of your business to a corporation or Limited Liability Company (LLC) can provide some real benefits. Here are five reasons to consider incorporating your HVAC business:

1. Personal Asset Protection

The biggest reason most choose to change to a corporation or LLC is to protect their personal assets in case debts, lawsuits or other legal judgements are claimed against the business. As a sole proprietorship or partnership, your home, personal automobiles, retirement savings and other personal property are at risk, should a business-related legal judgement be claimed against your business. In a properly structured corporation or LLC, you, personally, will have limited liability for debts and liabilities of the business.

2. Establish / Build Credit

Many HVAC businesses need a loan from time-to-time or a line of credit to handle seasonal spikes in business or to manage business growth. As a sole proprietorship or partnership, the business credit is your personal credit. By incorporating, you can begin establishing a separate credit rating for your business – so your personal credit is separate. Just as with your personal credit, building credit for your business will take time. You will likely have to continue to provide a personal guarantee for a while, but the structure change will allow you to begin the process.

3. Protects Your Business Name

When you incorporate, the appropriate paperwork is filed with your state, typically the Secretary of State’s office. Once this is done, most states prevent other businesses within the state from forming a business entity or using a trade name that is the same name as your company. This helps protect your business legally and also helps when marketing your HVAC business to customers.

4. Extended Business Life

If you structure your business as a sole proprietorship or partnership, and you die – the business is dissolved. With corporations or LLCs, the business can continue. The structure also makes selling your business easier and can make it easier to attract investors, should you need them.

5. Tax Flexibility / Deductions

Taxes are always tricky, but if you incorporate you may gain some tax benefits. You can also deduct normal business expenses, including salaries, before income is allocated to the business owner(s). Your accountant, knowing your specific situation, can help explain exactly how you and your HVAC business might benefit from incorporation.

Should you choose to incorporate, there will be fees associated with the filing process. Fees vary based on the type of structure chosen. Corporations are the most expensive to start and maintain, but a LLC is a more economic alternative to a full blown incorporation.

If you are still unsure about whether to incorporate or which structure to choose, it may be worth an hour with an experienced attorney to ensure you make the best choice.

If you have already made the decision to incorporate and want an inexpensive way to get everything set-up, consider using LawDepot. I have used their service to set up a couple of LLCs, and it was considerably less expensive than having an attorney do it. I had to make a trip to my county courthouse to file the paperwork, but I saved a lot of money doing it myself.

At DuctWork Marketing, our mission is to help small HVAC contractors grow their sales, increase their profits, boost productivity and improve overall business health.

For more useful tips and information, sign-up for our free newsletter at www.ductworkmarketing.com.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand these recommendations are provided to be help you grow and make your HVAC a healthier business, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products until you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

 

 

Why Defining Your Ideal Customer Is Important

define you ideal customerMost HVAC businesses, small and large, do not clearly define their ‘ideal’ customer, but doing so is one of the cornerstones of building a wildly successful HVAC business long-term. It truly separates the best companies from the rest.

Having a wildly successful HVAC company means ensuring your customers are thrilled with their service or installation experience. But how do you truly thrill someone and make a positive lasting impression when you don’t really know them?

Better understand your customer.

Not knowing your ideal customer is like trying to pick-out a gift for someone you barely know. If you have ever done this, you know it’s hard.

It’s hard because you do not have key pieces of information about the person. You may not understand their interests, hobbies or social and economic situation – and not knowing these things makes choosing a desirable gift tough. You can make some basic assumptions about the person, but if you really knew and understood the person, you could choose a much better gift.

The goal, when defining your ideal customer, is to be able to understand your customer well enough that you are able to provide them a great gift, which in this case is a positive experience with their HVAC service or installation.

People remember great gifts and the people who gave them, and customers remember companies that provide an excellent customer service experience. Both are memorable because both are so rare.

How do you describe your ideal customer?

Most HVAC business owners, if asked, would define their customer pretty generically. The defining line often begins and ends at either residential or commercial; and even that line is crossed by some.

So what is meant by the term ‘ideal customer’?  It means describing the one person, or in the case of commercial HVAC contractors – describing the one business, that your HVAC business is best suited to attract and make happy.

The description of your ideal customer should be very specific. Something like this:

“My ideal customer is named Carrie the Customer. She is 34 years old, has a college degree in business, works in mid-level management in a downtown office building, has an annual income of $45,000, is divorced, has 2 kids under 10, owns a home, isn’t very handy around the house, her schedule is hectic between work and kid activities, etc, etc…”

When defining your ideal customer, you want to create a ‘total person’ – so your description will actually be more specific and cover more areas of the customer’s life than the example; but you get the idea.

Build your business around your ideal customer

By defining your ideal customer, you can learn and fully understand what he/she is looking for. You can learn what makes him/her ‘tick’ and determine what he/she likes, needs, wants and prefers.

Once you really understand your customer, you can build your business, its products and services and the overall customer service experience around those likes, needs, wants, and preferences. Once you cater to the customer to that level, he or she would be crazy to call any other company when HVAC work is required – and that customer loyalty will make your business highly successful long-term.

Of course, when you structure your business around your ideal customer’s likes, needs, wants, and preferences – that customer is not going to be the only one with those same likes, needs, wants, and preferences.  The reality is that a lot of people will have the same characteristics as your ideal customer.

The products, services and customer service experience you initially create and design for your ideal customer will actually work for many others – because others will have a similar set of likes, needs, wants and preferences.  And those people will call your HVAC business too.

Your ideal customer guides your business direction.

When you create your ideal customer, you provide your business with focus. Your ideal customer description is something that you can always come back to and ask a simple question “Is this something that my ideal customer will like and pay for?”.

Since you’ve defined your customer so well, you’ll be able to answer – and if the answer is ‘yes’, you’re on track – and if it’s ‘no’, you will probably want to reconsider.

In short, defining your ideal customer helps guide the direction of your HVAC business and keeps it on track – both now, and by asking the question “Is this something that my ideal customer will like and pay for?”, it will help guide your business direction in the future also.

At DuctWork Marketing, our mission is to help small HVAC contractors grow their sales, increase their profits, boost productivity and improve overall business health.

For more useful tips and information, sign-up for our free newsletter at www.ductworkmarketing.com.

4 Reasons to Have a Logo for Your HVAC Business

Logos are everywhere. They are the symbol or design used in business marketing to identify a business and its products or services. It’s the Golden Arch on the McDonald’s sign, the Swoosh on that Nike football jersey and the blue oval with the distinctive white script on every Ford vehicle.

 

McDonalds

Fordnike ii

 

As a small HVAC contractor, you may not think that a logo is necessary – and honestly, it’s not. Very few things in business are necessary; but a properly designed logo can help your business, and we feel it is worth the relatively small investment.

Here are 4 reasons to get a logo for your HVAC contracting business:

1. Attract more customers

It is important to attract new customers whenever and wherever possible. It’s the key to business growth.

To do that, your business must be ‘attractive’ to potential customers- and that means it must project a professional image and look reliable, stable and dependable.

A logo helps your HVAC business look reliable, stable and dependable, and that sets potential customers at ease and gives them confidence in the ability of your business to do a good job – even if they don’t know you yet.

Remember, the goal with prospective customers is to get them to call and give you a chance. Once they do that, you can show them how good your business is and you’ve got them!

2. Make your business look bigger

As you survey your competition, it is highly likely that the biggest HVAC contractors in your service area already have a company logo. That is certainly the case in most markets.

Why do they have logos? Because that’s what big companies do. Just look at McDonald’s, Nike and Ford. Although your largest competitors are nowhere near as big as these three mega-corporations, they want to present themselves as just as well-run and professional – so they designed a logo to help.

They do this because people need help making choices, and a lot of people equate ‘big’ with ‘better’. After all, a company has to be good if they were able to become big, right? Of course, we know that bigger doesn’t equal better; but when a person is trying to decide between one HVAC contractor and another, sometimes perceived size is how they choose.

3. Be more memorable

The world is a hectic place and everyone has a lot to remember. In fact, there is too much to remember and some stuff falls through the cracks – and we forget.

It’s no real surprise that studies have shown that people forget names and numbers over time, but the studies also reveal that visuals help people remember or recall information – even after long periods of time.

Most HVAC contractors have very limited contact with a customer after the service call or installation is complete, and the time between visits or interactions can be six months to a year or more.

With such long periods of time between interactions, customers can forget your company and not remember who to call when they need HVAC work done. A visual, like a  logo, can help your customers remember your business.

4. Stand out from your competition

If you are like most, there are a lot of HVAC contractors in your area – all competing for the same customers.

With all of the competition, it is difficult to grab a potential customer’s attention, and it’s continuing to get tougher and tougher.Your business needs a way to stand out from the crowd.

In a world of too many words, a well designed logo can help get a customer’s attention by adding a visual image that can be more easily seen. Customers (or potential customers) cannot call your business until they notice it, and a logo can help you get noticed.

Having a logo can provide your company with many benefits, even beyond those outlined above. Some of the benefits are measurable and some aren’t; but the financial investment to create a logo is relatively small, given the positive impact it can have on your business.

At DuctWork Marketing, our mission is to help small HVAC contractors grow their sales, increase their profits, boost productivity and improve overall business health.

For more useful tips and information, sign-up for our free newsletter at www.ductworkmarketing.com.

 

3 Ways to Grow Your HVAC Business

3 Ways to Grow Your HVAC BusinessBeing a small business owner is hard work, especially if you’re an HVAC contractor.

You never know when the phone is going to ring, and many times, it does not ring often enough.

As an HVAC contractor, customers don’t keep coming back week after week or month after month, like in many businesses. Your best customer might need your services once, maybe twice a year – and that’s if you offer a maintenance program. If not, it could be a year or more between service calls to the same customer.

This means you need more customers to keep your schedule full and your bank account from being overdrawn.

If you are an HVAC contractor looking to grow your HVAC business, here are three low-cost ways to get more customers:

1. Be Reliable and Fair

 Sometimes business is complicated, but in this case, it’s pretty simple. If you just do what you say you are going to do, a lot of good stuff happens.

It’s unfortunate, but there are still a lot of contractors out there that don’t practice the “Golden Rule” of treating others the way they want to be treated.

Customers typically only want a few things from their HVAC contractor. They want someone knowledgeable, honest and responsive that shows up on time as promised and gets their heat and/or air fixed in a timely manner – and leaves the site clean when they leave.

Unfortunately, a lot of contractors miss the responsive part. If a contractor doesn’t return the customer’s call promptly or show up on time, the customer is probably not going to be happy with the experience.

To grow your HVAC business, you need satisfied customers that are thrilled about the experience – so thrilled that they are willing to tell their friends and relatives about it.

2. Make Salespeople Out of Your Customers

 If you have customers that are thrilled with their experience with your company, they are much more likely to want to tell others about your HVAC business.

Research shows that a single customer has influence with a group of friends and relatives – and that group ranges between 50 and 300 people. That’s a lot of people!

How nice would it be to have your satisfied customers tell 50 (or 300) of their closest friends and relatives how great your HVAC company is?

How long would it take you to market and sell your business to 50 (or 300) people? How much would it cost? A lot – in both time and money.

Customer endorsements only cost the time and effort it takes to do a great job and provide an excellent customer experience – but the rewards can be phenomenally impactful to your HVAC business.

When you know the customer is pleased with your work, give the customer extra business cards to hand out to people they know that may need your services.

If you want to really motivate them, create a customer referral program where they will receive a cash payment for each customer they refer to your HVAC business. Offering them a $25 or $50 check is a small price to pay for a new, long-time customer they send your way.

3. Build a Community

 People buy from people they like, and they buy again from people they remember.

As an HVAC contractor, it’s traditionally been hard to develop a real, memorable relationship with your customer – because it’s such a long time between service calls. You had to hope that they remembered your company whenever they needed HVAC help down the road.

Today, there are easy and very cost-effective ways to connect with your customers after the appointment is over – and to stay connected until the next service call is needed. One of the most effective ways that gives you complete control is an email newsletter. Other options are a Facebook page or a Twitter account.

Whichever option you choose, it is important to give your customers value. None of the tools will be effective if you only send them messages that ask them to buy something.

As in any relationship, you have to give to get. Your business must give customers information, tips or content that the customers consider valuable and useful.

And remember that relationships (and communities) are not built quickly. It takes many months, often years, to build an effective relationship with your customers – but the reward of repeat customers that are willing to recommend your business to their friends and family can be huge.

Building a community is a lot of hard work, but doing it correctly means a dependable base of loyal customers year after year and a endless, steady stream of customer referrals for your HVAC business.

If you are an HVAC contractor and want more information, tips and tools to grow your HVAC business, visit www.ductworkmarketing.com.