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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    14

    Newbie wants to start an HVAC business

    I live in the north east, so warm and cold weather here. I've been in the work force for 16 years and I am a sales person. Over the last 6 years, my industry has changed a lot, and personally I've been layed off 2 times in the last 3 years. My job has turned into a "what have you done for me lately" job, where nothing that you did the year prior, quarter prior of even month prior matters. I've seen people that have had 3-4 good sales years in a row, have a tough year and get fired.

    I've always said that if I were going to do it all over again, I would have gone into the trades. I'm handy, I do all of my own home projects and I do them well. After researching franchises, researching buying businesses, and researching working for other companies, I just can't stay on this ride forever because I'm not getting any younger, and the thought of finding a new job every year is not an idea that I find fun.

    Every opportunity that I've investigated has been a trade of some sort. Flooring Franchise, HandyMan Franchise, Painting Franchise etc ...

    I want to start my own business. I'm very interested in HVAC for 2 reasons. One because it is in the trades and two because nobody can do HVAC themselves. You can put in your own floor, hang your own ceiling fan, and paint your own room, but when you throw that little switch and your air conditioning is hot instead of cold, you pick up the phone, and your checkbook not your toolbox.

    I'll preface my question by saying this, I'm not trained in HVAC (yet) and I have no experience in this business. But my profession now is selling marketing. So I'm an expert marketer and a cold calling sales person. Work ethic, dedication and drive isn't going to be the problem, it's my lack of HVAC knowledge that will be my initial challenge, I think.

    My question is, is there anyone out there who has a small business, (1-6) people that is putting $100K or better a year in their pocket as the owner? Not profit, I mean what goes in your wallet and, am I crazy to think that I can go from where I am today to owning a small HVAC business? It is a complete industry change for me, but "the man" is just not something that I can do for much longer.

    Please don't flame me, I know that HVAC is not easy, I know that I have to go to school first. So lets assume that I'm somewhat smart and will learn quickly, is this doable ?

    I'm not in a position to go work for an HVAC company as a tec to learn the ropes nor do I want to, I'm too old for that and I won't make enough money for the time that I'm doing that, I need to dive in.

    -S

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    In the work truck
    Posts
    3,028
    I hope you have money saved up! If this is what you want to do your going to need to hire good people that know the trade and what they are doing. Those people wont be cheap! Im assuming you want to try residential?

    If you look in the phone book, the majority of the HVAC companies closed their doors within their first 5 years. Good luck. Im afraid to say sounds like you'll need it. Also I think you bringing home 100k in your first year is wishful thinking. Do you have any customer base at all?
    Gotta have the right tool for the job!

    Where is all the stuff MADE IN THE USA?

    "Thats what we do Troy. Incredible, Invisible, Imbelivable things. We are an Unseen, Unknown, Unvincible fraternity of craftsman.."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Toledo, Ohio, United States
    Posts
    12,911
    Twilli says bring money to Toledo
    No Heat No Cool You need Action Fast

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    14
    I'm not looking to make that type of money in the first year. I'm just wondering if that kind of money is being made. When I talked to the Handyman franchisees during my process, I talked to 7 handyman franchisees and none of them were making more than $65K a year. Which is not bad by any stretch, but $65K a year in the NE is like $30K.

    It's funny, because it sounds like it's next to impossible to start any business and make any money. When you talk to anyone in various industries, everyone has the same thoughts. You need a ton of money saved, most of the new businesses fail in the first few years and it's unlikely that you'll be successful.

    What ever happened to starting on a shoe string and making it with hard work.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Toledo, Ohio, United States
    Posts
    12,911
    Quote Originally Posted by twilli3967 View Post
    Twilli says bring money to Toledo
    Twilli says bring money to Toledo
    No Heat No Cool You need Action Fast

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    24
    One thing you need to do is check the regulations that your state has to operate an hvac business. Is starting your own hvac business a short term goal or a five year goal? Most states required that you have a minumum of several years of experience before you can apply for your contractors license. Becoming a partner in an existing company may be an option so you can learn the business and get some experiance. Starting a business or becoming a partner will take a good chunk of money

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    SE PA
    Posts
    183
    Quote Originally Posted by squeed View Post
    I'm not looking to make that type of money in the first year. I'm just wondering if that kind of money is being made. When I talked to the Handyman franchisees during my process, I talked to 7 handyman franchisees and none of them were making more than $65K a year. Which is not bad by any stretch, but $65K a year in the NE is like $30K.

    It's funny, because it sounds like it's next to impossible to start any business and make any money. When you talk to anyone in various industries, everyone has the same thoughts. You need a ton of money saved, most of the new businesses fail in the first few years and it's unlikely that you'll be successful.

    What ever happened to starting on a shoe string and making it with hard work.
    Yes, there are folks doing 6 figures pre-tax. Probably fewer today than 3-5 years ago, given the economy....but many still doing well even today.

    The question is, WHY do you want to get into HVAC?

    Aside from the $$ you hope to make, WHY do you want to get into HVAC?

    There is a large, and really never-ending learning curve in the industry. You have to love to learn the core material and products, since it never stops, or you'll regret this industry.

    I'd say if you don't thrive on the fundamentals that drive this industry you should think hard about starting the journey.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    14
    The reason why I want to go the HVAC route is because I think that it is an industry that isn't going to change to the point of becoming obsolete. I've worked in 2 other industries that were killed by new technologies, so I spent years learning something that went away only to have to start over.

    I'm not building equity in my career. I'm working for someone who can at any moment let me go, and I'm back at square one.

    I'm young enough to start something but too old to start as a newbie with someone else. I also want to build something that I can bring my kids into in the future. Plus, I feel like it's interesting.

    I really thought I was going to go the route of the franchise but I'm based on months of research and talking to people, it seems like franchising is one step above used car sales.

    -S

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Round Rock
    Posts
    3,586
    Your state probably has laws regarding how long you have to do it for a living before you can get a license. Which means that you will have to be a tech for somebody for a few years. Not much way around that. Who knows what other laws are in effect in your state. In Texas its 3 years of verifiable experience. But even after 3 years, I think you don't have enough experience to handle a lot of issues that will come up on a daily basis. My opinion is that it takes at least 5 years to become proficient enough to handle 95% of issues. You will have to hire somebody to be your technical knowledge if you try before then. Guys like that are not cheap and will severely cut into your hope of making $100K/year. My suggestion is that if you have the sales and marketing ability to team up with somebody who is technically proficient, because there is a good chance that they may not have your skill set. Also keep in mind that the only ship that won't sail is a partnership.
    I like DIY'ers. They pay better to fix.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    14
    Do you think that a licensed professional who is already in business would have any interest in working with a marketing guy to try and grow their business? I had considered that but thought that they would have no interest in an arrangement like that.

    -S

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    In the work truck
    Posts
    3,028
    Quote Originally Posted by squeed View Post
    Do you think that a licensed professional who is already in business would have any interest in working with a marketing guy to try and grow their business? I had considered that but thought that they would have no interest in an arrangement like that.

    -S
    I suppose it would depend on what it would cost them.. And what return they would get on their investment.
    Gotta have the right tool for the job!

    Where is all the stuff MADE IN THE USA?

    "Thats what we do Troy. Incredible, Invisible, Imbelivable things. We are an Unseen, Unknown, Unvincible fraternity of craftsman.."

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Round Rock
    Posts
    3,586
    Quote Originally Posted by squeed View Post
    Do you think that a licensed professional who is already in business would have any interest in working with a marketing guy to try and grow their business? I had considered that but thought that they would have no interest in an arrangement like that.

    -S
    Who knows? Not everybody will. You won't know until you call around. I might offer them your services and work off commission only. If you don't sell, you don't eat. Be an independent contractor, pretty simple. I'd take somebody who I didn't have to pay until they make the sale.
    I like DIY'ers. They pay better to fix.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    469
    You can do anything u want to do
    your already doing the most important thing using google, Im sure you have been to other sites. Notice not many

    Been self employed for 13 years I'm 34, not rich but rich in freedom, and that's what matters
    started HVac, floors, Painting, Bonds, and found myself back to hvac. Reason no 15 year old genius can wipe out your trade. Can't send cold air threw mail.

    My advice is to buy front row tickets to a Very important sport game (picking a game that doesn't matter, will only backfire! Playoffs preferred) Invite a person that will kick down the door to the Industry. Don't mention anything about your objectives,, find out who he is as a person not a Boss, and run with it. If he doesn't call u in any way, to thank you u dnt wnt to wrk with him.

    Write the tickets off on your taxes, that experience itself will give u an ideal how Business really is.


    Not a new member just lost password plus i have 10 email, forgot which one for reset

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