Summer is the busiest season for HVAC companies.
How do companies seize the opportunity in the most important time of the year?
We asked HVAC companies just that in a survey with our partner ACCA, Air Conditioning Contractors of America.
Here's the five major takeaways:
1. Techs work longer hours to address seasonality
There’s a perception that with the busy HVAC season comes staffing changes to handle the work, but is this really true?
Nearly 65% of respondents simply have their existing teams work longer hours to meet increased demand.
Only 20% add staff to handle demand in the high season and 15% don't make any staffing changes.
2. Large companies are more likely to see the busy season as an opportunity for growth
When we split the data by the number of technicians, companies with 20 technicians or more work harder to meet the increased demand.
Of our respondents, 80% have their techs work overtime, 20% add more staff, and 0% don't make any adjustments.
3. Most companies aren't planning on adding many additional trucks to this summer
Similarly, there won’t be a lot of additional trucks on the road this summer to address seasonal concerns.
The majority of respondents (79%) are planning on adding five or fewer trucks to the team, 14% plan to add 6 to 10 more trucks, and 6% plan to add 11 or more.
4. Referrals are the best source for finding technicians
ServiceTitan has spoken about recruiting and retaining technicians in the past, so it’s always interesting to hear about how companies in the home services space are adding talent to their rosters.
Based on the survey data, companies have had the most success recruiting technicians through referrals (42%), followed by online ads (25%). Only 5% of respondents use print ads to find techs.
5. In terms of incentives, money still talks
It should come as no surprise that 40% of total respondents use monetary bonuses to incentivize their technicians.
However, 27% just use honest one-on-one recognition to motivate their techs, 10% use company-wide recognition, and 10% use promotion opportunities.
When we split the company by size, a different story emerges. 45% of larger companies with 20 or more technicians just use one-on-one recognition more than monetary incentives, which only account for 30% of respondents.
On the other side, smaller companies are more likely to give monetary incentives at 40% and are less likely to give just one-on-one recognition at 24%.
Customer Experience Horror Stories
We received quite an eclectic mix of tales from respondents about customer experience horror stories. Some of our favorites are below.
Falling for a Homeowner
Sometimes, you may want to leave customers with the impression that you’ll walk through walls for them, but that shouldn’t be taken literally. Larry House of Cranbury Comfort Systems told us, “The technician stepped through the ceiling and almost fell onto the breakfast table.
Thankfully no one was hurt and we hired a local handyman to repair the ceiling. They showed up to start the repair the same day. Great customer service turned a tragedy into a save!”
Technician Turned Hero
Each new site that a technician visits holds a new adventure. Daryl Senica of Senica Air Conditioning remembered a time when his technician saved a life: “The call was run one hour after it was received.
The tech showed up to a customer’s house and found the owner passed out from the heat. He called 911 and got help, then later repaired the A/C and made the home comfortable for the owner.”
DIY Gone Wrong
Some homeowners like to handle repairs themselves. But that hands-on approach may eventually warrant a call to professionals. Christopher Lenihan of Kings Heating & Air Conditioning recalled fixing a DIY nightmare with patience and compassion:
“Went out to a home where a person installed his own furnace. It was installed so poorly, oversized, and was not safe to operate, hence we were called for no heat. The customer was a know-it-all because he read online forums.
Our tech was very thorough and compassionate in explaining the concerns about the current install, but not belittling customer — it was all about safety. He even offered to have a third-party evaluation conducted by the local utility company. In the end, we sold his family a properly sized furnace and provided permits, and everyone was happy thereafter.
This is what you get with in-house training — not only technical training, but learning how to speak to customers.”