Running a 24 Hour HVAC Operation All By Yourself.
all of your competitors offer 24 hour emergency service
and youíre a one or two-man HVAC company with limited
resources, how do you compete?
First, be realistic about your capabilities
Itís easy to advertise 24 hour emergency service on a
billboard. Itís not always easy to get up in the middle
of the night to answer a service call.
Before you decide to offer 24 hour service, make sure
youíre aware of what youíre getting into and willing to
handle the worst case scenario. You may not get many
calls, but if you do, you have to answer and be ready to
deliver. If not, the damage may be worse than if you
were never an option in the first place.
Set your terms and stick to them
Itís 7pm on a Thursday night and a new residential
customer calls with an ďurgentĒ request. You know it can
wait until the next business day, but theyíre willing to
pay double your rate. What do you do?
Determining your after-hours rates, service area,
emergency stipulations, and other criteria in advance
will help you avoid any uncertainty in such situations.
Policies and procedures arenít reserved for big
companies; solo HVAC contractors can benefit from them
Rules will help you run a consistent operation. Think
about what matters to your customers, be realistic, then
set a policy you can justify and stick to it.
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Have a plan for fielding emergency calls
Operating a 24/7 HVAC company means phone calls may come
in at all hours of the day and night. Youíll need a
simple way to field those calls in accordance with your
emergency service policy.
The easiest way to take calls around the clock is to
forward everything to your cell phone. The downside is
that every call made to your business line will reach
you directly, including wrong numbers, telemarketers,
and customers who are just looking to leave a message or
ask a question.
A second option is
an answering service that caters to HVAC companies.
They can answer on your behalf and filter out the
important calls. Thereís a small cost associated with
hiring a service, but itís typically around the same
price as your cell phone bill and may save you a lot of
headaches if business picks up.
Test it out and see what works for your business
If youíre already running an HVAC business, the
obstacles above arenít large barriers to entry. You can
always start offering 24 hour emergency service for a
trial period and see if it works.
Just remember what youíre getting into and that offering
emergency service sets expectations for the customer.
You have to be ready to live up to your advertising.
Create a policy, plan for the calls, and assess the
results as you move forward.
About the Author
Gere Jordan writes for
Continental Message Solution, a
leading 24 hour answering service and call center
serving the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
Industry. They provide professional receptionists,
appointment scheduling, and after-hours dispatching
solutions so companies can operate around the clock
without the extra staff or distractions.