Starting an HVAC company may seem easy on paper, but there are quite a few steps you need to take before you can welcome your first customer. One of the first things you need to do as a business owner is to create an HVAC business plan. It may not be as flashy as marketing or as fun as coming up with your company’s branding, but it’s the backbone of any business venture that will help lead you on a path to success.
But if this is your first time creating a business plan, you might not be sure where to start. There’s no need to fret — we have your back. Writing a business plan might not be the most exciting task on your to-do list, but it’s an important task that will give you a comprehensive look into where your HVAC company stands now and where you plan to take it over the next few years. Whether you’re creating a business plan from scratch or need help tweaking your first draft, follow this guide to successfully create your HVAC business plan.
What Is a Business Plan?
Unfortunately, you can’t just decide to create an HVAC company, and poof, it’s created. A good amount of time and planning must happen before you open your doors for the first time. One of the first steps of the process is to create a business plan for your HVAC company. This business plan is a written document that outlines your company goals, services, organizational structure, growth trajectory, and more.
By outlining where your company exists in the present day and where you plan to be in five years allows you to create a benchmark and goals to work towards. Not only does this help you grow your business more effectively, but allows you to share your business plan with loan providers or investors if there comes a time that you’re looking for additional funding or resources.
Does My HVAC Company Need a Business Plan?
Yes, while not mandatory to start an HVAC company, it is recommended that any startup company create a business plan. Starting a new HVAC business can be a fun venture, but that doesn’t mean you won’t deal with countless headaches or challenges along the way. Creating a solid business plan equips you with a strategy for your business from day one.
Along with keeping you on track and pacing towards your growth goals, a business plan becomes a valuable tool that your team can use to show yourself, employees, and investors that you are running a profitable and strategic HVAC company. An HVAC business plan provides you with the following benefits:
As a business owner, your top priority is running a successful and profitable HVAC company. But to do that, you need to put in some work upfront — and that includes taking the time to put together a strategic business plan laying out your business goals. While your goals may change over time, and that’s perfectly alright, it’s important that you give yourself and your team goals to work towards that will help you achieve the growth you crave.
By laying out your goals and having a clear timeframe set for them you hope to reach these goals, you’ll accelerate your growth. The visibility makes how you’re tracking towards goals more apparent and will light a fire behind you if you realize you aren’t pacing to reach this quarter’s set benchmark. Setting aside time to create your HVAC business plan will provide you with the necessary roadmap for success.
Where do you see your HVAC company in five years? In 10 years? Depending on how much revenue you bring in, those goals might not be financially possible. In certain instances, you may consider looking for outside funding to help you grow your new business venture. Having a solid business plan provides you with a document you can present to loan providers and potential investors to clearly state where you stand, where you expect to go, and your plan for getting there. Without all these details clearly laid out, no investor is going to feel comfortable betting on you or your HVAC company.
Being the boss is a rewarding experience, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. It also means that when there are tough decisions to be made that impact the entire company, you’re the one who has the final say. To make sound decisions, you need to have complete visibility into the health of your HVAC company and a thorough understanding of how you’re pacing against your growth and profit goals. A business plan allows you to have a pulse on your HVAC company and use the provided information and data to make informed decisions that benefit your business.
What to Include In Your HVAC Business Plan
Although no two business plans will ever be identical, certain elements should be considered. If a particular section doesn’t align with your company goals, there isn’t a reason for you to force it in. Similarly, if the example templates you use don’t include a section you’d like to feel, know that you have full control over what goes in your business plan — it’s your HVAC company after all! To help you get started drafting a comprehensive business plan, consider including the following sections:
First and foremost, you’ll want to include an executive summary at the beginning of your HVAC business plan. This quick summary gives a high-level overview of your company’s history, mission statement, executive team, employees, location(s), financial and growth goals, and other basic details that describe who your company is — and what makes it stand out from similar companies in the same market.
Think about your HVAC company and why you started it in the first place. What was your reason for starting it — what problems were you trying to solve for your customers? Are you hoping to provide the most affordable air conditioning services? Or are you looking to provide the highest quality heating service with unmatched customer service? This section outlines what problems you’re aiming to solve for your customers, the training and certifications held by your team, and what differentiates you from competitors. Use this section as a way to highlight all the reasons why your company is the best heating and air conditioning company serving your local market.
Breaking into any market is tough, but there are a lot of other HVAC companies out there. Do you know how your company stacks up against them? Take the time to perform a market analysis to get a better understanding of your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Do they have a limited-service menu or do they offer a wide range of services covering both residential and commercial markets? By mapping out where there are gaps in their business plans or learning where they are succeeding, you can better navigate the market and determine where your HVAC company can outshine the others.
No matter how big or small your company is, there is some form of organizational structure. Outline the company structure and list who is in charge of the different business sectors with the corresponding leadership team and employees listed out below them. Although this section might change as you add or remove members of the team, it’s an important section to include if you plan to get additional funding or investment.
Is there a particular portion of the market your company plans to capitalize on? Or will your HVAC company offer air conditioning, heating, and ventilation services to both residential and commercial properties? Do you work on HVAC rooftop units? Will you also dabble in water heater repair and whole-home dehumidifier installation? Does your HVAC company provide products like smart thermostats? If particular types of jobs have high-profit margins, you may want to emphasize these. If there is a service where you lose money, it might be worth cutting it from your service offerings once you’re bringing enough customers in. Define what your service offerings are and outline how they will benefit your target audience.
Marketing and Sales
Although your hvac marketing strategy may change throughout the year depending on how you are tracking your annual goals, you should include a high-level overview of your strategy in this section. What is your plan to drive new business? Once a lead converts into a sale, what is your plan to keep them as a recurring customer? How do you plan to stay top of mind with your existing customers? Are there particular channels where you plan to advertise your business?
Outline all of the questions above and include information about if you plan to invest in digital marketing such as search engine optimization and paid advertising, or if you plan to rely on direct mailers, radio ads, and television commercials. There is no right or wrong answer to the marketing strategies you want to use — but this is where the market analysis mentioned above can help! You want to make sure you’re on all channels your competitors are and increase your visibility in areas they might be missing.
Depending on your HVAC company’s growth goals, you may need additional funding to help you achieve them. If your purpose for the business plan is to provide a company background to investors, use this section to explain what funding you’re requesting and how the funds will be dispersed and used — allowing them to see exactly where every dollar they’re providing is going.
At the end of the day, the success of a company comes down to its profits and revenue. In the financial projections section, you should clearly demonstrate where your HVAC company stands currently. To do this, include bank statements, income statements, cash flow statements, and loan information from the last few years to help show your company’s profitability. If your HVAC company is new, you may not have much to include in this section yet.
Along with showing where your company is at this moment, you want to include a financial projection for where you expect the company to be financially five years from now. Use this projection to create annual goals that you and your team can work towards. When applicable, breaking up the annual goals into quarterly goes to helps you track them more closely (and successfully).
To conclude your HVAC business plan, you will add any supporting materials to the appendix. This may include resumes for your management teams, licenses and certifications, bank statements, or any other supporting documents that help paint your company’s picture.