Because the HVAC industry is seasonal, workers experience busy and slow times throughout the year. That leads many business owners to wonder what they can offer when things slow down. Just because a company is in its "off-season," doesn't mean expenses and other payments are no longer coming in or going out.
It isn't uncommon for companies to struggle to maintain revenues as service calls dip. Keeping revenue flowing during the off-season is critical not only for boosting sales but also for driving growth. Here are some tips for understanding what HVAC contractors should do during their off-season.
When Is the Off-Season for HVAC Contractors (vs. the high season)?
When answering the question, "when is HVAC off-season," that involves understanding this industry's slow and peak seasons. The HVAC industry's off-season, or slowest season, typically occurs in the fall and spring.
While the summer months tend to be the busiest time for HVAC contractors, winter is typically a close runner-up. The peak seasons are challenging for customer service reps, dispatchers, and technicians. They also often involve an influx of HVAC maintenance jobs, which create challenges with scheduling.
You'll also find that your business's off-season also depends on its location. For example, if your company is in Maine, furnace repair is likely in high demand in the winter; however, in New Mexico, that isn't the case. So based on location, you might see a decline during fall and winter before business picks back up between March and April.
How to Keep Revenue Coming in During the Off-Season
When you're working with existing or new customers, it's a good idea to speak to them about maintenance plans to ensure that you stay busy year-round. Besides talking to customers about HVAC maintenance for winter, offer one, two, and three-year plans. Let customers know that it helps them save money in the long run when they take advantage of these plans. Here are some additional ways to keep revenue coming in during the off-season.
Off-Season Maintenance With Current Customer Base
A surefire way to attract business from your existing customer base is by reaching out to them. It costs less to talk to your existing clients than it is to convert new customers. For example, you can reach out to them about why HVAC maintenance is important. You can also cull together a list of people from your current client base who expressed interest in completing additional projects.
Another strategy is to create a list of customers who might need maintenance, replacements, or upgrades. Send a message to them about the off-season HVAC preventative maintenance services you currently offer and tell them how they can benefit from this work.
Offer Off-Season Discounts for Maintenance and Upgrades
Customers who need new commercial or residential installations account for most of the HVAC industry's job orders during their peak season. Manufacturers typically cut prices during the slow season to help close their inventory before the year ends. A winning strategy for your company and your customers is to offer off-season coupons or discounts for HVAC maintenance and system upgrades. Examples of these services include:
- Checking fan blades for cracks or other defects
- Checking refrigerant levels
- Inspecting air filters and blower wheels
- Inspecting condensing units
- Inspecting cooling systems for unusual vibrations
- Inspecting electrical and wiring
- Replacing filters
- Searching air ducts for leaks
It isn't uncommon for many in the HVAC industry to reduce their HVAC marketing strategies during the off-season or other business slowdowns. However, one of the best ways to stay active in the industry is to do the opposite when installations and other service calls taper off. Let's look at how you can focus on marketing.
Add or Upgrade an HVAC Mobile App
Your HVAC business benefits from adding or upgrading an HVAC app for a streamlined process during the high season. When using an intuitive mobile app, your company can customize its service maintenance agreements, make it mandatory for technicians to offer them during service calls, and track maintenance plans. Other benefits to adding or upgrading an HVAC mobile app include:
- Building momentum by gathering critical data accurately and quickly
- Delivering real-time home maintenance contract reporting
- Offering coupons to existing and potential customers who download the HVAC app
- Offering discounts when technicians are on the job site
- Seeing where your company is driving growth and profitability
Marketing your business should also include updating your website and ensuring it has mobile optimization. The off-season is also the optimal time to determine if you need to rebrand or create a new website. Because your HVAC company isn't experiencing a significant influx of business, the slow season is an excellent time to make these assessments.
When updating your website, remember that Google doesn't recognize when seasonal shifts occur in the HVAC industry. Therefore, you must use SEO strategies to ensure your website ranks year-round. If your company is inactive online for an extended period, that can cause a drop in search result rankings.
Maintain or Establish a Social Media Presence
An area where HVAC contractors may drop the ball is with social media. While it takes time to establish a brand through a blog or social media, it's worth the effort. When you boost your company's social media presence, your company can see the following benefits:
- Attract more visits to your company's website
- Create better insights into who your current and potential customers are
- Experience higher-quality interactions with existing and new customers
- Improve customer loyalty and customer service
- Increase your company's visibility
- Understanding your customer's pain points and how to solve them
When a seasonal company's norm says it's time to take a break from marketing or selling during the off-season, your company's budget tells a different story. You must still pay bills, and that means ensuring revenues flow throughout the year. When you use the tips above, it's possible to achieve that goal and experience business growth during the off-season.
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