Thinking about branching off and starting your own HVAC business? Making the move from doing the labor to running the business will mean a tremendous amount of change. While you may still be doing work in the field, you’ll also now be responsible for administrative duties, business development work, and much, much more.
Here are some key things to consider before starting your own HVAC business:
Forming a Partnership
Starting a business can be a ton of responsibility, and there can be many benefits to sharing some of that burden with a partner. But choosing a business partner is a big decision and not one that should be taken lightly. You should ask yourself some of these questions as you weigh whether starting an HVAC business with a partner makes sense for you:
- Do you fully trust this person?
- Is he or she as committed to the business as you are?
- What does your potential partner bring vs. what do you bring to the business?
- Will you share responsibility 50/50 or handle it a different way?
- What will you do if something goes wrong?
As you ask yourself these questions, you should be able to determine whether the partnership route makes sense or not. In some cases it doesn’t. While working together may equate to sharing the burden, that’s only true if your partner is as committed to the business as you are. In some cases, having a partner might lead to more headaches if you can’t agree.
Should You Join a Franchise?
In addition to considering whether you want to have a partner, you might also consider whether you want to be part of a franchise. There are certainly some benefits to becoming part of an already-established business. You’ve probably heard that many small businesses fail in their first five years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s about half. One of the key reasons is that a new business simply hasn’t built enough of a reputation in its community to support growth.
But by joining a franchise, you eliminate that concern. That’s because you’re essentially adopting the reputation of an already-existing company. You also have the support of a proven, existing business model, as well as help from people who want you to succeed.
Of course, there’s always a downside. With a franchise, you are paying a percentage of your revenue back to the franchisor. Besides buying into the franchise, which is certainly never cheap, you will always be paying part of your profits back to the franchisor. If you feel like you have what it takes to make it on your own, than perhaps this won’t be desirable to you.
Starting the Paperwork
Now that you’ve decided whether you want to hire a partner, become part of a franchise, or branch out totally on your own, it’s time to start the paperwork. From applying for licenses to filling out business forms, the paperwork can feel endless at times. But it’s also important that you do things the right way to ensure you get your business off on the right foot.
First and foremost, you must apply for your state contractor’s license. The National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (http://www.nascla.org) is the best place to turn for specific information on what’s required in your state.
You will also need to start the process of applying for insurance. As an HVAC business you should have both worker’s compensation insurance and general liability insurance.
Lastly, you should determine whether your state requires you to acquire a contractor’s bond. This is a step that protects your clients should you not complete a job, and some states do make them a mandatory part of doing business.
Undoubtedly, there is a lot to think about if you are considering starting your own HVAC business. It’s obviously a big decision and one that should be carefully weighed. But by working through some of the pros and cons of each situation, you should be able to narrow down your options and make the decision that makes most sense for you.