If you are a contractor looking to branch out or an entrepreneur looking to fill a need, you may be thinking about starting your own HVAC business, handling repair, maintenance and installation of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. There will always be a demand for contract work since most homeowners aren't capable of doing heavy repairs on their own. However, in the HVAC business, word of mouth is everything, and you won't be able to compete without it. To be successful, you must establish a name for yourself by providing excellent customer service and competitive prices. You must also stay on top of the financial aspects of your business, such as accounting, financing, hiring and firing of contractors, payroll and ways to cut costs.
Sign up for HVAC training with an accredited school (See Resources) if you are not already experienced with installing, maintaining or repairing HVAC systems.
Apply for your HVAC license, if you do not already have one. Requirements vary by state, but you may be required to have at least two years of on-the-job experience under a qualified master HVAC contractor. A license will be about $200 to $300 per year. Contact your state license board to see if you need to acquire any additional licenses (See Resources).
Purchase HVAC insurance. You will need liability (at least $300,000) and worker's compensation insurance if you will have employees. Visit business insurance sites, such as Constructioninsurancesolutions.com, to purchase insurance (See Resources).
Purchase must-have tools and safety supplies such as a capacitor tester, multimeter, foil duct tape, coil fin tools, spout oilers, sensor tubing, gas leak detector, carbon monoxide detector, gas analyzer, thermometer, pressure gauge, refrigerant leak detector, refrigerant recovery machine, a combustion analyzer, ventilation, pumps, goggles, gloves, head protection, shoe covers and first aid kits. Equipment is available from sites like Hvactool.com or Castlewholesalers.com.
Purchase a van. Then advertise your business on your van using vinyl lettering or custom signage from sites like Customonlinesigns.com. Check out Craigslist.com or vehicle sales ads in newspapers for deals on vans.
Advertise your business on HVAC directories, such as B2B Yellow Pages. Offer discounts to satisfied customers in exchange for allowing you to advertise your business on their yard.
Consider drawing up a business plan where you lay out your goals, finances and costs. Doing this will give your business direction. Detail all costs and cash flow in and out each month in a spreadsheet. Advertise in local directories, Google Maps, Craigslist.com and on grocery store bulletin boards.
Familiarize yourself with your tax responsibilities ASAP. As an independent contractor, you may be required to submit quarterly estimated tax payments.
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