HVAC Maintenance Contracts: Turning Hot New Business into Cool Regulars
These are the essentials for building and maintaining good relationships and ensuring customer satisfaction, even when the heat is on.
In the HVAC business, as in life, you may face the tough decision of whether to begin a hot new relationship, or continue chilling with the one you have on the go. While we all want to grow our business, there are times when you have to, as the song says, love the one you’re with.
Here’s the scenario: we all know that ongoing heating and cooling maintenance contracts are our bread and butter. Regularly scheduled maintenance customers are your recurring source of revenue year after year. They’re there for you, so you are there for them.
But then there are those opportunities for new business that pop up, usually with seasonal, and often in the form of an emergency call.
A business or homeowner flips on the air conditioner or heater and nothing happens, or the HVAC system makes a funny sound, or the air coming out has a strange smell, etc. You get a panicked call and, no matter how much you want to help in the moment, you have to remember that your regular maintenance customers get priority.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t contact your regular, explain the situation and see if arrangements can be made. Heck, transparency is what builds trust. But since you also want a chance to convert that one-off repair job into a regular client, it may be worthwhile to ask your regular maintenance customer if they can reschedule, while still letting them know that their business is your priority.
Remember: what's good for customers is good for business
Remember, all relationships are a two way street, so make sure to emphasize the importance of regular HVAC maintenance every chance you get—it helps to remind your customers that heating and cooling, along with lighting, are the biggest energy costs for most businesses and households.
Keeping HVAC systems running in tip-top condition through regular maintenance can greatly reduce these costs by cutting the amount of energy equipment uses. These tasks are usually performed twice a year: in the spring for cooling systems, and in the fall for heating systems.
A CRM can help you keep track of your customer’s ongoing needs by allowing your technicians to keep detailed service notes, so you know what was done in the past and what needs to be done in the future.
An email reminder about an upcoming maintenance service date is a great way to encourage repeat business, and a CRM like Jobber’s allows you to tag accounts with notes like ‘fall maintenance’ or ‘winter maintenance,’ so that you can pull an entire list of past customers to bulk email a reminder to each season. Time saved!
Every HVAC system (and relationship) is unique
Just as each HVAC system has specific needs, so does every customer. It’s wise to maintain an HVAC maintenance checklist that’s customized to your customer’s system. There, you can compare the manufacturer’s preventative maintenance schedule alongside your technician’s notes about any existing issues, so as to identify and prevent future performance problems and breakdowns.
Any and all observations should be noted and attached to the client’s profile. For example, you can make notes on:
- The conditions of coils
- Whether drain pans and condensate lines been inspected and cleaned
- The last time the compressor was inspected, its exact refrigerant level and the last time it was recharged
- For heating systems: when the burner assembly, ignition system, and air filter were last replaced or cleaned
Pass on simple reminders to your customers to ensure basic maintenance, like making sure air filters are inspected every three to four weeks to ensure they’re not clogged with debris, which any pro knows can lower energy consumption by up to 15 per cent.
It’s good to be able to show your customer that you’re on top of the little things and the real value that delivers, isn’t it?
Reduce paperwork and get on the same page
Keeping thorough records is a reality of the HVAC industry, so going paperless with software like Jobber can both relieve admin time, and allow your technicians to access past notes and forms from their phones.
Jimmy Cayton, Owner of Service Plus AC and Heating in Casselberry, Florida says Jobber helps his technicians in the field and the staff back in the office stay in sync. “It made a lot of paperwork just vanish,” says Cayton, referring to Jobber’s custom forms and checklists feature. By going digital, he’s freed-up multiple staff to help make the business more productive and profitable.
Happy regulars generate new business
Taking care of your bread and butter maintenance clients will generate positive reviews and client referrals that bring in new business.
Considering that 84% of local consumers trust web reviews as much as personal recommendations, asking for reviews is a smart and easy marketing strategy.
“We get a lot of feedback and we welcome it. It helps us make sure we’re doing a good job,” says Cayton. “We find our customers are really interested in the feedback feature because they know they have a voice.”
Interested in learning more? Check out how Jobber can help your HVAC business.
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