The book “The Millionaire Next Door” found that most people with a million dollar plus net worth had dull-normal jobs. Less than 20% had inherited any money, and fewer had earned more than $200,000 a year in any profession. About two-thirds of millionaires had built up their businesses and become wealthy that way. A few were doctors or
lawyers who controlled their spending and built a practice that earned more than their own labor. Far more were pest control specialists, auctioneers, welders and HVAC professionals who started out in the field and built up a business from scratch. If you think you have what it takes, here is the process of starting your very own HVAC air conditioning business.
Learn the Trade
You can’t work in HVAC without the necessary knowledge. You’ll need to invest a year or two in an HVAC training school to get CDL and HVAC training. Now you can begin to work in the field and learn the true ins and outs of the business.
Work in the Field
Before you try to start a business and hire employees, you’ll want to work as an employee in the field. You’ll learn the intimate details of the job. You’ll learn what other HVAC technicians want in a boss and management techniques from your own bosses. You’ll observe what customers want and how those needs are met. Perhaps equally important will be saving part of your salary so that you can open your own business one day while minimizing the debt required to do so.
A side benefit of working for others for a few years is the ability to tell clients that while your business is brand new, you personally have five or more years of experience working in HVAC. Work on getting higher levels of certifications with HVAC equipment like the universal EPA 608 certification that lets you work on all types of equipment, whereas Type 1 can only service small appliances like humidifiers. The NATE certification is nationally recognized, and techs with this certification earn more money.
If you can install HVAC equipment as well as repair it, this could be a lucrative skill when you’re working on your own.
Consider the Type of Business You Want to Open
There are regionally and nationally recognized HVAC franchises you could buy, and a few of these have a clear path for HVAC techs to rise to franchise assistant manager before being given help setting up their own franchise. The benefits of a franchise include brand recognition and sometimes corporate benefits for you and your employee. The downside includes franchise fees often due at the start and a percentage of revenue whether or not you turn a profit.
The other option is going your own way. You could start by buying the necessary tools and chemicals and then working on the side. Be careful not to work on the side with clients your employer services, or the employer could fire you and even take you to court. Once you have a few customers and word of mouth going, you can quit the job and work for yourself. This route requires having general liability insurance in your own name or that of your newly incorporated business. Your state may require certain licenses and permits to work in HVAC, but it is your responsibility to learn about them and acquire them.
You should research your options for selling HVAC systems as well as installing them and servicing them. If you can sell HVAC systems for a dealer, you’ll earn a commission on every HVAC system sale and likely the business to install it and maintain it for the first few years, as well.
Once you start hiring help, you’ll need workers’ compensation insurance. Continue to expand, and you’re on your way to becoming a successful business owner with the potential of becoming wealthy.