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How to Manage HVAC Maintenance Contracts like a Pro

How do you take on new leads while maintaining relationships with existing customers? Here’s everything you need to know about turning hot new business into cool regulars and keeping those regulars happy.

In the HVAC industry, as in life, you’ll likely face the tough decision between beginning a hot new relationship, or chilling with the one you have. While we all want to grow our HVAC businesses, there are times when you have to “love the one you’re with.”

The challenge is that ongoing heating and cooling service agreements and maintenance contracts are bread and butter. Meanwhile, opportunities for new business pop up (i.e. emergency calls and new leads). You have to service these folks in order to grow your business and create new service agreements down the line.

Juggling the two can lead to disorganization and confusion, which can hurt your business and negatively affect your customer service. You’re up against a lot of variables such as:

  • Expertly scheduling last minute emergency appointments in between regular customers
  • Tracking each client account and knowing the details of each service agreement
  • Standardizing your service across all accounts
    And reminding all your clients to continue booking appointments
  • How can you expertly manage your maintenance contracts while running a smooth HVAC company that delivers top notch customer service?

Let’s find out how to do it below.

Invoice regular clients and service agreements consistently

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Balancing loyal HVAC maintenance contract clients with new leads

Use a CRM that allows you to attach notes to each client account and site visit.
Use a CRM that allows you to attach notes to each client account and site visit.

We’ve all been there: you get a call from a new lead who says they flipped on the air conditioner or heater and nothing happened, or their HVAC system is making a funny sound… the list goes on.

They’re in a panic, and you truly want to help them, but then you have a packed schedule of service agreement customers, and you know that your regular maintenance customers get priority.

You can either contact the client with the next appointment and see if arrangements can be made, all while reminding them that their business is still your priority. Or, you can tell your panicked new prospect that you can only come by tomorrow evening and risk losing them to your competitor.

We recommend that you avoid those two courses of action. You don’t want to ask too much of your existing clients, and you don’t want to lose new opportunities.

The best course of action is to look at your detailed HVAC schedule and your Client Relationship Management Solution (CRM) and figure out which of your clients and service opportunities can be shuffled around based on appointment details, location, and client history.

When you use the right software to operate your HVAC business you can make strategic decisions, while tracking all of your customers’ ongoing needs.

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With the right tools you’re able to squeeze in an emergency call as soon as possible while maintaining your existing schedule. You’re able to keep existing customers happy while potentially onboarding a new client who might turn into a service agreement down the line.

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A detailed schedule and calendar allows you to view all your jobs on the map. That way, you can make educated decisions around when you can service emergency calls.

Next, you can use your CRM to access client information and notes for the appointments that day. This will help you get a picture for which clients are more flexible based on the appointment type, as well as the interaction history you’ve had with them. That way, you know exactly which clients you can shuffle around, and which ones you definitely can’t.

With the right tools you’re able to squeeze in an emergency call as soon as possible while maintaining your existing schedule. You’re able to keep existing customers happy while potentially onboarding a new client who might turn into a service agreement down the line.

Image of HVAC tech offering good customer service

Accurately tracking HVAC maintenance contracts

Use a software that allows you to make notes within client accounts and appointments.
Use a software that allows you to make notes within client accounts and appointments.

You’ve probably been here: you or your tech goes to service a regular client and you send an HVAC invoice when you’re done. However, you billed your client when you shouldn’t have. Either they pre-paid for services, or you didn’t bill them thinking they had full tab when they didn’t. Or, you’ve serviced a client a few times and believe that they would benefit from a service agreement.

The best solution here is to have access to detailed client notes on the road at all times.
You want your techs to know everything about every account, but when your records are on paper, or only at the office, you can’t exactly check in on them.

If you keep your client notes up to date, you can see all your clients’ service agreements and account history immediately. You can also keep track of how much money is left on someone’s tab based on the notes and invoice history. This helps you track what happened during their last visit so you can pick up exactly where you left off.

Your team will always be in the loop, and this transparency can save your team time, energy, confusion, and money.

Plus, when you’re on the ball and can offer your customers organized and professional service, you can impress them and show the value you bring to the table. Happy customers are easy to retain and upsell. Plus they make great lead generators through referrals.

Offering consistent service across all client accounts

Every HVAC system (and relationship) has unique needs. That’s precisely why you need to constantly be on the ball each time you visit a client’s property.

Imagine showing up to service a system and forgetting that you promised a complementary tune up; or forgetting a replacement part; or one of your techs missing the fifth step in the maintenance procedure for half your customers’ units.

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When it comes to performing good work and offering great service, consistency is key. It’s difficult to offer that when you have so many clients who require different services and who have different accounts.

Keeping an HVAC maintenance checklist that you can customize to your clients’ systems and can replicate across all your accounts can help. This can help you compare the manufacturer’s preventative maintenance schedule alongside your technician’s protocol checklist and notes they made about existing issues.

The right job forms and checklists will help you and your techs complete protocol, make notes, and attach everything to the client’s profile. For example, you can make notes on:

  • The conditions of coils
  • Whether drain pans and condensate lines have been inspected and cleaned
  • The last time the compressor was inspected, its exact refrigerant level, and the last time it was recharged
  • When the burner assembly, ignition system, and air filter were last replaced or cleaned
HVAC job form
Use job forms and checklists to help improve consistency between service calls.

When you have a good record of information, you can pass on system reports to your clients to ensure they keep up basic maintenance. These little things will help you show your customers that you’re on top of everything, and help you educate them about their system. It really helps you communicate how much you care, and how much value you bring to their property maintenance. Plus, you’ll be able to track this information too, which can help with troubleshooting and preventative measures.

Another bonus is that having all this information in a digital form rather than pen and paper is a huge time and energy saver. Jimmy Cayton, Owner of  Service Plus AC and Heating 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.

Reminding maintenance contract clients to book appointments

HVAC appointment reminders
Find an HVAC software that helps you remind clients to book appointments.

A new season starts, but you’re not as busy as you should be. Some clients never rescheduled their system tune up, other clients have systems you know aren’t going to last the season. How can you get everyone to book an appointment? Better yet––how can you keep track of which clients need specific services each season?

One major challenge in the HVAC industry is keeping your clients on top of their own systems’ needs. Unfortunately, few clients end up booking their own seasonal services and tune-ups. Your best bet is to send out seasonal HVAC email reminders or phone calls about regular system maintenance. This will help you encourage repeat business and fill up your schedule.

Using a CRM that offers email integrations and client history details such as Jobber, allows you to tag accounts with notes like ‘fall maintenance’ or ‘winter maintenance.’ That way, you can pull an entire list of past customers to bulk email a reminder to each season. Alternatively, you can give them a call to remind them to book an appointment based on what work was completed for them last.

At the end of the day, don’t forget that 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, which will (hopefully) turn into more maintenance contracts.

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