Small Business Loans for HVAC Company
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are a part of everyday life that keep offices comfortable, prevent the elderly from getting heatstroke during the summer, or maintain comfortable living situations. They are an important part of most people’s lives, but not one that they think about much until something breaks or needs replacing.
Then, your local HVAC company becomes extremely important. When you started your company, you might have been combining your career with an entrepreneurial mindset. Maybe you wanted to be your own boss and manage your own time, or you find it rewarding to get an A/C unit humming again. But after some time in business, it is time to grow or change direction.
If you have been thinking about growing your business we offer a wide variety of business funding options and the process is fast and easy and be completed online
What Do I Need to Qualify?
Below is a list of the requirements to get approved for business funding with our most basic program. There may be additional factors that are considered, meeting these three requirements though gives you a very high chance of having your application approved.
- At Least 2 Months in Business
- 500 Min. Credit Score
- $8,000 Min. Monthly Revenue
Types of Business Loans Available
Whether it is time to grow or your business is experiencing cash flow problems, at some point, all small business owners need to access capital. Making smart borrowing decisions can see you through a downturn or help you reach new sales goals, but these decisions must be aligned with your overall strategy. You may regret paying too much for capital, or paying above the rate of return on the investment, or taking out the wrong type of loan.
Before applying for a loan, you should investigate your options. Below are several loans that you should look into, one of which could be the best choice for your HVAC business.
1. Short Term Business Loans
A short term small business loan can either fill in temporary funding gaps, support a large purchase, or fund expansion. The key to using this type of loan effectively is to know exactly how long your project will last. You do not want to make payments on a loan after you have received the value of using its funds, nor do you want to run out of money and have to engage in loan stacking.
Shield Funding offers short term business loans with terms of six to twenty-four months. This timeframe is perfect for supporting a big marketing push, buying new equipment or investing in new parts, or opening another office location. Rates range from 9% to 45%, and you must have a minimum credit score of 650 to qualify. When a loan is extended over a shorter period, the lender must charge a higher interest rate to recoup their capital and profit.
If your HVAC business has been in operation for over a year and generates minimum monthly revenues of $10,000, Shield gives loans between $15,000 to $1 million.
2. Business Loans for Bad Credit
In the lending industry, the term “bad credit” simply refers to loans that do not meet a traditional lender or bank’s lending standards. Even if you have a good credit score, other factors could make it hard for you to borrow at a bank.
Banks often require the borrowers to have two years of tax returns, consistent and growing revenue streams, a robust business plan, and an excellent credit score to obtain capital. Their approval rate for small business loans is only 56%, and the average loan amount is $493,000. They prefer to lend in larger amounts because they make more money on these loans, but a loan of this size might be far more than you need to borrow.
Alternative lenders have a higher approval rate; they approve 75% of loan applications and lend an average of $80,000. With Shield Funding, you can borrow as little as $5,000. These numbers demonstrate that they are much more small business friendly than a bank.
Shield Funding will extend a bad credit business loan if you have only been in business for two months. Your minimum revenues must be $8,000 a month, and you must have a credit score above 500 to qualify. Because of easier qualification standards, they charge a higher interest rate to cover their risk. You will pay between 12% to 45% on your loan.
3. Working Capital Loans
The HVAC business has seasonal ebbs and flows. In the fall, homeowners have their furnaces serviced before winter. In late spring, they are concerned about their air conditioning units. In between, however, your cash flow might ebb, and you could struggle to cover your fixed expenses. A working capital loan could solve this problem.
The definition of working capital is the amount of money you have available to pay your daily expenses. It is calculated by subtracting your current liabilities from your current assets. A good ratio is to have two times your liabilities in assets. If you have a negative balance or less than that ratio, consider applying for a working capital loan.
A working capital loan is designed to help you pay expenses such as payroll, rent, or utilities. Shield Funding grants working capital loans from $10,000 to $1 million. Requirements include minimum monthly revenues of $10,000, two months in business, and a credit score of 650 or above. You can borrow for a term of twelve to thirty-six months at interest rates from 9% to 45%.
Financial Growth Tips for an HVAC Business
Growing a business takes planning. Ask yourself what need in the marketplace you are addressing, or where service gaps exist that you can fill. Decide how you want to grow, whether it is through adding locations, signing commercial business, or expanding your service area, and plan accordingly. Not all of these tips will apply, but some may help you reach your goals.
State of the HVAC Industry
The industry generated $97 billion in revenue in 2019, which represented an annual growth of 2.4%. There are approximately 112,000 heating and air conditioning businesses in the United States, with no one company having a dominant market share. The industry employs 1.12 million people, which represents growth of 5.6% in 2018 over 2017.
The industry has been doing well due to expansion in new construction, though expected decreases in individual spending on home improvements in the next few years could affect profits. The pace of new housing starts has started to slow, which will lead to less demand for new installations.
There has also been softening in sales of existing homes. Only 12% of adults plan on buying a home in the next year, down from 14% in 2018. With lower demand, current owners may wait to list their homes. Many homeowners undertake significant repairs the year before selling in preparation of putting their home on the market, so this can also impact HVAC contractors.
Diversification is the best way to protect your business from being hurt too much by one market segment. Working with home builders, current owners, and businesses to build multiple revenue streams protects your income from being hit too hard by a slump in one sector.
Market your Business
If customers do not know about your business, they will not contact you for work. Marketing gets the word out about the services you offer and how you can meet their needs.
Hire someone to set up a professional website to attract new business. Include a description of your company, how long you have been in business, why you started, and the services you provide. Make sure that your contact information is easy to find and consider adding a lead form for customers to let you know what work they need to be done.
Ask current customers for referrals and testimonials. You can include testimonials on your website, or request that they leave you reviews on websites such as Yelp and Angie’s List. Starting a referral program can pay off, as friends and family are likely to trust the recommendation of someone they know. Give current customers incentives, such as gift cards or discounts off future services if the person they refer hires you for work.
Offering deals on discount sites like Groupon or Living Social can help you reach local customers but beware bargain hunters who will never use your company again. When offering a deal, make sure that you are still making a profit.
Lastly, look into sending out postcards and mailers. You can purchase mailing lists of new home buyers in your area and send out targeted mailings introducing yourself and your business. This is a great time to capture the attention of newcomers who will not yet have a preferred HVAC provider.
Plan on setting aside time each week, and allocating funds, to marketing activities to help your business grow.
Invest in Back-Office Technology
Purchasing customer relationship management software can help your business grow. You may have 1,000’s of people in your database, but how many of them had your business come to their home or office last year? CRM software keeps track of business and leads. It will send maintenance reminders or automatic emails, or it can remind you to mail postcards when it has been a year since someone’s last tune-up.
CRM software, which integrates with your website, also allows you to accept online payments. Many customers value this service, and it can cut down on delinquent payments and time spent chasing past-due invoices.
If you are managing a large team of technicians who are going out on multiple jobs and in multiple trucks, time management software could be a big help. Its insights could lead to greater scheduling efficiencies, as well as help you by calculating your profit margin on labor and time for each job. An investment in technology costs you upfront but pays off in the long run.
Cater to Customers
What do your customers value in an HVAC provider? Request feedback and listen to what they tell you. Growing a successful business entails more than just servicing a furnace, you must also think about adding value to your core services.
Maybe they are nervous about letting a stranger into their home, and putting headshots of your technicians on your webpage would reassure them. Or, they find it hard to be home for daytime appointments. Expand your hours and offer appointments after 5 pm and on weekends. If you do not want to pay staff to answer phones during non-business hours, invest in online calendar software where customers can book their appointments themselves.
To increase sales to existing customers, look at popular and complementary services, and bundle them. Sell servicing and filter replacement, or combine servicing with an energy audit, at a slight discount. This also has the benefit of maximizing your technician’s time when on-site.
Your business can stand out from the competition by catering to customers and offering them convenience and safety in addition to superior services.
Stay Up to Date on the Industry
HVAC technology changes, making advancements in products and tools every year. If you have been in the business a while, you have seen the advent of smart thermostats and mobile apps to control a home’s heating. It is important that you, and your technicians, stay up to date on these changes.
Allocate budget to attending trade shows, conferences, and seminars or participating in online training. Take the time to follow industry advancements and learn about new products that your vendors offer and share what you learn with your employees and customers. Not only does this increase their confidence in your knowledge and expertise, but it can also lead to increased sales.
Maybe they have been thinking of adding a programmable thermostat to their home but did not know that you can install one for them. Or, it is time to replace their air conditioning unit, and your excitement over a new line you are carrying inspires them to replace it now. Keeping your industry knowledge current will help your business compete.
Sell Maintenance Plans
Adding standard maintenance plans to your sales strategy can boost profits and help smooth over income during lulls. With a maintenance plan, customers pay a set amount, either monthly, quarterly or annually, for maintenance services. You can promise to deliver these services same-day or a scheduled tune-up plan.
Enlist your technicians to sell these plans when visiting customer’s homes. Train them to remind customers that system cleaning will extend their equipment’s life and improve their home’s cleanliness and air quality. Set sales goals and reward technicians for meeting them so that they have a motive to sell the plans.
When deciding on your pricing for maintenance plans, consider offering a slight discount versus your prices for customers who book a la carte services. You want to incentivize people to sign up because these plans produce regular, guaranteed income for your business. Offering a small discount in exchange for this steady revenue stream could benefit your business.
Incentivize your Team
The technicians on your team make it all happen. Once you have grown beyond a one or two-person operation, you will need experienced, professional technicians so that you can take on more work and grow. Building a strong team and keeping them happy will contribute to your bottom line.
When building an incentive plan for your team, be careful to pay for performance such as timeliness and punctuality but do not encourage them to cut corners. Be realistic about the metrics you set for them and incentivize the behavior you want to encourage, such as positive customer ratings or reviews. Plan on periodically inspecting their work to ensure that they are maintaining high standards.
One of your goals should be for your techs to take ownership of both their work and the company’s success. Offering rewards for selling maintenance packages or obtaining referrals that lead to work makes them a part of your sales team and gives them a stake in your success.
Expand Beyond Residential Homes
Homeowners are not the only customers with HVAC systems that need maintaining, repairing, and replacing. Businesses, retail establishments, apartment complexes, and property management companies all might need your services. Expanding to target these customers could spark growth.
Reach out to local businesses and inquire about their HVAC needs. If they have current contracts, ask when they expire and if you could bid on the work. To land a bigger contract, you may have to hire more workers or dedicate a technician to that customer full-time. Start with smaller businesses to gain experience, and then work your way up.
Expand your Service Area
One of the reasons that the industry is so fragmented, with smaller companies dominating the field, is that it is a local service. Technicians must drive to customer’s homes or businesses and transport tools, equipment, and new units for installation. The price per gallon of gas and the distance traveled can impact your business’s profit margins.
With this in mind, you probably started by only offering services within a few zip codes or a few miles radius of your office. This makes sense at the beginning when you’re trying to get your business off the ground, but now it may be time to expand.
Start researching the demographics of nearby zip codes and neighborhoods. Search online for “HVAC company + zip code” to assess the competition. Is there a zip code that only has a few, low-rated, contractors? Use Zillow or other real estate sites to gauge new home building and residential home sales in that zip code. This research can help you identify gaps in the market. Expanding your service area to fill those gaps will lead to more customers and increased sales.
Expand Product Offerings
One of the biggest trends in the HVAC industry over the past decade has been the introduction of smart products. Smart thermostats that automatically adjust the temperature in the home and can be controlled remotely have become common in new construction homes. Existing homeowners have also begun replacing older thermostats with smart options.
Other smart options include systems that notify the owner of needed repairs and sensors in the compressors and elsewhere, which self-regulate the heat or air conditioning. If you add smart HVAC to the products you sell and install you can tap into this demand and grow your profits. The market for smart HVAC is expected to grow to $26.60 billion by 2020. While you may have to pay for extra training or buy new equipment, it is a wise investment in your company’s future.
The Final Word on Small Business Loans for an HVAC Company
Whenever you borrow, you should have a clear plan on how you intend to use the money. Track how you spend the funds to make sure that they are put to their intended purpose and not wasted. This helps ensure that you meet your business goals.
Finding a reputable lender who will work with you and support your business also ensures a successful borrowing experience. Shield Funding has been lending to HVAC companies for ten years. As a respected alternative lender, they will listen to your concerns and suggest the best loan product for your business. Reach out to talk to a loan specialist today.