tips for hiring accountant

3 Tips For Hiring The Best Accountant Possible

The internet is now full of accounting software solutions that often urge businessmen to attend their tax and accounting issues by themselves. Still, there are cases when an expert is needed. Just as installing Photoshop in your PC does not make you a graphics designer, having accounting software will never make you an ample accountant. It can only follow your commands —and a skilled accountant can do far more than just fill in some gaps and type some numbers. A skilled accountant is an essential and valued partner that can boost your business’s growth. He masters any aspect of your business’s life and course, from financing your next venture to saving for your son’s academic education.

The majority, upon hearing the word “accountant”, immediately pictures a tax preparer, but an accountant is much more than that. Accountants possess far wider knowledge than just tax laws and regulations, and therefore can serve as priceless assets to any entrepreneur.

But let us be more specific. An accountant’s field includes 4 main areas:

  1. Business Consultants. This service usually determines which accountant will eventually earn your trust. Your accountant knows well, even better than you, your business’s special nature, your tax status, and your financial statements. Therefore, nothing would seem more prudent than asking him to assist you while trying to lay down a business plan that is feasible and promising. A skilled accountant can advise you on numerous business issues, from insurance bits and pieces to expansion ventures. Your accountant can offer you fresh and reliable insight, simply because they have a deeper understanding of the background.
  2. Accounting & Record-Maintaining Services. Accounting and records occupy most of an accountant’s working time. However, more and more businessmen tend to keep their own books and records. This is because if they are checked by lenders or by the IRS, the business owner is considered responsible for their truthfulness; hence, many believe it is wiser to keep them themselves.

In most cases, accountants are asked to help when a business is organized for the first time, by installing and explaining the operation of several accounting systems to the owner. These systems can help you assess revenue and expenses at any given time and adjust prices and charges. They also allow you to cut on unnecessary operating costs, establish a budget and stick to it, and reduce accounting work (and corresponding fees) needed while preparing financial statements and tax returns.

  1. Tax Consultation. An accountant can assist you regarding taxes in two different ways: tax compliance (i. e. ensuring you will not find yourself in trouble with the law), and tax planning, namely discovering ways to minimize your general tax burden. Many companies are looking for tax consultation abroad. A great example of premium tax consulting services is Cyprus.
  2. Auditing. Auditing services are needed in several cases, usually though they are required by banks as an essential term when issuing a loan. Auditing may come in several forms and levels, from a simple preparation of a financial statement based on data supplied by the businessman to an actual audit, in which the accountant assures that the business’s financial statements are accurate.

How To Choose Your Accountant

Often, the best way to get a skilled accountant is to ask your lawyer, your banker or a colleague to propose one. In case you need more options, just about any state has a Society of Certified Public Accountants that can readily assist you in your quest.

Please, do not make the mistake of undervaluing the CPA’s opinion. Their members are exclusively professionals who have successfully passed a thorough nationally standardized test that lasts 2 days! The majority of states require CPAs to have no less than a college degree or an adequate equivalent, and many ask them also to present proof of some post-graduate experience. The least you need your accountant to have is adequate education and understanding of your business’s accounting needs. Passing a CPA test is a minimum guarantee of an adequate level of skill and knowledge.

As soon as you have in mind some good options (4 or 5 will do), you must prepare before meeting and discussing with them in person. First of all, draft and take with you a list of what you will need. It is vital, for example, to decide in advance how much of the accounting work of your business you are willing to assign to your accountant.
tips for hiring accountantAs soon as you have everything you need in place, you are ready to meet them in person. Focus on discovering 3 things:

  1. Character & Style. Every individual has their peculiar personality, and the first thing you should do is determine which personality you consider easier to work with. After all, your accountant will be one of the most trusted and close partners. So, is the accountant’s character well-matched with yours? If you visit an accounting firm, please bear in mind that some partners undertake sales and new collaborations and then assign the actual work to a colleague.

Since you want to assess their competency and skills, try to find out how they would handle possible problems and situations relevant to you, i. e. an office audit seeking confirmation of automobile costs. Then listen carefully and see whether the answer satisfies or disappoints you.

  1. Service. All, almost all, accounting firms provide tax and auditing services. But maybe that is not enough for you: for example can they handle your bookkeeping? Can they advise you on management issues? On pension fund accounting? On real estate issues? Is your future accountant skilled enough to assist you while designing and implementing financial information systems?

Some CPAs may even undertake transaction analysis regarding loans and financing, or the preparation, auditing, reviewing and drafting of financial statements. Some accountants are specialized in investment management. Make sure your accountant will be able to represent you before tax authorities.

Ensure the accountant has the whole lot, based on your needs and wants. In case they aren’t able to provide specialized accounting services (investment management for example), they may know other accountants with whom they collaborate with and trust and can refer them to you. Besides that, you should also evaluate the accountant’s experience in your type of business and in your field or industry. That’s quite important in terms of time: an experienced accountant in your line will not be obliged to spend time and effort in familiarizing with relevant regulations and directives, and will surely make far fewer mistakes.

  1. Fees. The first thing you should know is whether he or she demands upfront fees. Accountant fees range from $100 to $275 (€90-€250) per hour, or more, depending on the kind of services provided. Still, numerous accountants prefer to work on a monthly charge. Of course, in this case, you are the one who will have to do the math: consider your needs and figure out what services will be more cost – effective in your case.

Make sure you gather quotes from different accountants and then try to estimate the total yearly charges for the services you require. However, do not make cost – effectiveness your compass: an accountant with a larger per hour fee is probably far more experienced and able to work faster than a beginner with a more economic charge.

Finally, do not hesitate to ask for references, especially from colleagues of yours or clients of the same profession or industry. An accomplished, experienced accountant will be happy to provide such references. Then, contact some of them and determine how satisfied they were with his availability, his or her services and charges, as well as his communication skills.

I’m sure all this information will wisely guide your decisions.


 

Chris Adam is content writer at Global Serve Consultants, a leading organization specializing in international tax advice and planning, company formation and management.

TipsForHVAC

Tips For Running A Successful HVAC Business

According to a 2014 research report from BCC Research, contracting businesses that specialize in HVAC systems are poised for excellent growth: from $75.4 billion in 2014 to $116.6 billion in 2019 — a 9 percent increase a year for the five-year period. If you want to take part in this growth by launching an HVAC business, you will need a clear plan to ensure success. To get started, here are some helpful tips.

Have a Plan for Growth

Your business plan needs to have a clear direction for expansion as your company grows. Consider factors like:

  • How many hours will you work or offer service?
  • How will you hire new help?
  • How will you add service vehicles to your fleet?
  • What services or certification will you look to add?

Answering these questions at the beginning will create the groundwork for success. Also, in your business plan, create measurable goals you can strive for along each step in your growth.

Keep in mind, however, that growth is not necessarily automatic — and some stages of growth can create distinct problems for your business that will need to be addressed, according to online publication THE NEWS. For instance, when you are ready to transition from being an owner/contractor to an owner who sits in the office and manages the company, with another contractor filling your in-the-field duties, your salary suddenly has more impact on the overhead costs. You, therefore, must raise your rates to compensate.

Consider Your Vehicles

Your vehicles will be important to your service staff and the products you sell. Without reliable, professional-looking vehicles, you will not be able to get to your customers’ homes or offices to work on their HVAC systems. Before purchasing a vehicle, decide what type will work best for your needs and whether you want vehicles with company logos or not. Be sure to ensure that the vehicles have room for new products and tools, so a cargo van or pickup truck is often the best option.

In addition to the vehicles, consider investing in a fleet management program that will make tracking them easier once a point is reached where you have multiple service vehicles. These programs allow you to see the location of your vehicles and drivers, track maintenance and dispatch service providers more efficiently.

Focus on Delivering Strong Customer Service

HVAC is very much an industry that grows through word of mouth. According to Entrepreneur, word-of-mouth advertising occurs when your business far exceeds the customer’s expectations. In the HVAC service industry, it can also occur when customers who were satisfied with your service are talking to friends who also need service. Both types of word of mouth are valuable, and both rely on solid customer service, every time.

Get Certified and Think About Specializing

TipsForHVACFinally, make sure you are properly certified for the type of HVAC service you wish to offer. Certification, such as North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification, gives your company a sense of authority that will help you land more work and cause more people to be willing to hire you — as you build your reputation. In other words, according to Chron.com, it makes you appear competent to potential customers. While NATE certification may be one of the most common options, there are a number of industry-based organizations offering this type of certification in addition to training in the field.

While seeking certification, consider specializing, especially at the beginning of your business. Specializing in a particular type of HVAC work allows you to pour your training and education into the area where you excel, becoming an expert at that and then branching out into other services that compliment your first area of expertise. That said, do not focus too strongly on one area because this could limit potential growth.

HVAC work can be financially rewarding, and the field offers excellent growth potential. With these tips, you can start your HVAC business with a clear understanding of where you see it going, and that will be a blueprint for greater success.


 

Robert J. Hall is president of Track Your Truck, a leader in GPS vehicle tracking systems and software for small and mid-sized companies.

ppccampaign

How To Create Your Own HVAC PPC Marketing Strategy

PPC (pay-per-click) advertising offers HVAC companies a lot of potential benefits. First, PPC on Google (through the Google platform, AdWords) allows small companies to get immediate visibility on Google. Second, it can produce high-quality leads and service requests. Third, it provides credibility and brand awareness — two things independent HVAC companies can never have enough of. Here are the key elements in crafting a winning PPC marketing strategy.

Offers

For PPC advertising, a great deal hinges on the offer. You must give people a strong reason to click on the ad. Then, when visitors click, they must arrive at a landing page that persuades them to schedule service or inquire further. What are the three critical elements of a strong offer?

  1. High value. The prospect probably doesn’t know you, so they are skeptical. A $5 off coupon may not be enough incentive to risk hiring you, but 50 percent off the first service call just might.
  2. Time sensitive. Open-ended offers give prospects no reason to act now. Fifty percent off the first service call, good through the end of the month, is likely to generate more inquiries than the same offer without an expiration date.
  3. Complicated offers with a lot of fine print, even when legitimate and well-intended, are liable to confuse and/or raise suspicions. In addition, people scan quickly online rather than read carefully. With all of that in mind, a strong simple offer beats a strong complicated offer every time.

ppccampaignKeywords

Now that you have a great offer (actually, a few great offers; we’ll talk more about that shortly), the next strategic challenge is to get that offer in front of the right people on Google. This is accomplished through keyword research. For PPC, keywords are the phrases people use when conducting search queries on Google. When they search for your target keywords, you place a bid, and if your bid wins, your ad appears to the searcher. Three key elements of a good strategic keyword include:

  1. Keywords such as “HVAC services” are more relevant than “home improvement.” “Air-conditioning repair” is even more relevant. The more relevant the keyword, the more likely qualified prospects will be interested in your ad and click on it.
  2. “Air-conditioning repair” indicates high user intent that someone who is interested in getting service. “Air-conditioning HVAC” could indicate an interest in service, or it could be a student doing research, or something else non-relevant. Keywords with high buying intent are much more suitable for PPC.
  3. Search volume. Targeting keywords that only generate a handful of searches a month may never deliver enough clicks to generate a sale. On the other hand, super high-volume keywords may generate irrelevant traffic or be too expensive to bid on. For independent HVAC companies, the winning strategy is usually to target mid-volume terms that are affordable and meet the first two criteria noted here.

Keyword research is important and rather involved — here is more information to help in your keyword research.

CaMpaign Structure

Once keywords are identified, they should be grouped together, probably according to service area. There will likely be one set of keywords around air conditioning, another around furnace repair, etc. The reason: Each grouping of keywords should have a customized landing page designed to be totally relevant to each service area. The more relevant the landing page, the more likely people will be to inquire. After all — someone interested in air conditioning wants to know you are fully dedicated to that service, rather than it just being one among many.

Another important campaign structure element is geography. With PPC, you can set up your ads to display in a particular town, state, etc. If you go too narrow, you may not have enough search volume to generate enough leads; obviously, if you go too broad, you will get leads outside your service area.

Testing

Offers, keywords, and campaign structure can be tested over the course of a campaign, and indeed must be to have any chance of success. Therefore:

  1. Before launching the campaign, have several offer ideas lined up. You can test one against the other to see which converts better. By systematically testing offers, your campaign should improve month after month.
  2. Review results to see which keywords are drawing clicks. As time goes on, you can emphasize those keywords more, eliminate poorly performing keywords, and try new keywords. Again, this leads to continuous improvement.
  3. Review results to see which landing pages are delivering the most leads. Again, you can put more emphasis on winning landing pages, and either eliminate poorly performing ones or test different content and design to improve their effectiveness. Similarly, other campaign elements such as geography can be evaluated and tested, to zero in tighter and tighter on areas of your market delivering the most leads.

In closing, budget enough money to sustain a PPC campaign over at least six months. It will take that long, possibly longer, for testing to make its mark and bring what appears to be a slow campaign up to speed. Many companies think they fail at PPC when success was right around the corner. Don’t give up too soon — your reward for patience may be very big!

Author Bio

Brad Shorr is the Director of Content Strategy at Straight North. Headquartered in Chicago, they are a B2B Internet marketing company that offers SEO, PPC and website design services to businesses across the nation. With his many years of industry experience, Brad’s work has been featured on sites such as Moz, Forbes and Smashing Magazine.

 

business growth

You Work Hard to Win a Customer – Don’t Lose Them over Fees

When an air conditioner or furnace breaks down, the homeowner is immediately concerned. What will it cost to get it fixed? Will I have to run up a big charge on my credit card or will I have to forget that weekend get-away? You’ve won half the battle; they give your company a call! Now, don’t lose the sale over fees. Here are some that can be deal breakers.

Trip Charges. Just about everyone who works has to get to their place of business and no one pays them for that drive. No wonder they question your charges if they include a trip fee. They’re wondering why they should pay you just to show up. After all, their home is where the work is. This can be a deal breaker.

Gas Surcharges. Homeowners are getting hit just as hard at the pump as you are when gas prices hit new highs. You may need to charge a fee to cover the extra costs you are incurring. Be sure to explain it to your customers and make it fair. Someone who is just miles from your location will probably be unwilling to pay a fee that is the same for someone 20 miles away. Consider a map of your service area with concentric rings flowing out from your location and a set gas surcharge cost for each ring. When you have initiated a surcharge, be upfront and explain it to your potential customer when they call for service. Be sure to drop it when gas prices fall again.

Diagnostic Fees. It’s acceptable to charge a diagnostic fee if you don’t get the job. Customers need to understand that calling for service is NOT calling for a free estimate. However, if you get the job, a diagnostic fee just doesn’t make sense. The first step in fixing a problem is finding the problem. No one wants to pay extra for it. If you have a minimum charge, be upfront about it and let the customer know at the time you answer the phone.

Overtime, Weekends And Holidays. This is a tough one. Markets are starting to see HVAC companies who do not charge extra for working outside of normal hours. This is a great selling point for the customer who has had their furnace quit working on a cold Thanksgiving holiday or a family who comes home in the middle of summer on a Friday evening and find the A/C has conked out. When it comes to personal comfort (and even personal safety), when heating or cooling quits functioning and it’s very cold or very hot, that’s an emergency. It’s also a cost you’re going to have to figure out how to handle. If you’re available 24/7 every day of the year, you need to know how you will charge your customers for evening, weekend or holiday work. Make your customers aware if your rates change during these times and what you will charge.

Costs for HVAC Services can be problematic. The customer is concerned about price the minute they know they have a problem. They want to know what it’s going to cost. But, it’s hard to estimate a cost before you know what the job will entail. Be honest about your charges. If you avoid surprising your customer, they are more likely to feel satisfied. Look at your business model and decide what fees you need to charge and what is a fair price for your services, whether you work by the hour or on a flat fee basis. Remember, customers aren’t just looking for the lowest price; they’re also looking for expert service. Be willing to explain your charges in advance and be sure to also mention the benefits of using your company. You can make the sale!

 

Why You Should Invest In A Company Wellness Program

corporate wellness programWellness Programs are steadily increasing in business settings.  Even large insurance companies such as Humana are offering their own wellness programs. You are probably asking yourself, why you, as a business owner, should offer a wellness plan to your employees.  Below, you will find several important reasons you should invest in a company wellness program such as Aptora’s Corporate Wellness Program.

Decrease in Absences

Improved employee wellness directly relates to a decrease in employee absences.  The top reasons given for absences are healthcare-related issues.  The healthier the employee, the less likely they are to call in sick or use vacation time for illnesses.  Companies that offer wellness programs have reported that they have significant decreases in absences.

Increased Job Performance

Aptora’s Wellness Program encourages employees to improve their fitness level by participating in fitness activities such as walking.  As the employee’s overall fitness level increases so does their job performance.

Improved Morale

Employee morale increases when employees feel that their employer cares about their health and is taking an active role in encouraging the improvement of employee health.

Less Turnover

Engaged employees are less likely to seek other job opportunities.  A good wellness plan can help employees feel like they are a team and give them a more enthusiastic attitude about their jobs.

Improved Chances of Hiring That Prospective Employee

Looking to get a “leg-up” on your competitors when actively seeking new employees? Consider this; when looking for a new employer the majority of prospective employees consider company health and wellness offerings.

Employees Feel Like They are a Part of a Team

By hosting a wellness program you allow your employees to feel as if they are a part of a team.  They do this by interacting with other like-minded employees that are working towards the goal of increased wellness.  Employees will naturally support each other in their wellness activities.

Decrease in Injuries

As employees improve their overall fitness, their risk of injury decreases.  Exercises such as walking helps improve your core fitness which in turn can decrease the likelihood of injury.  The “core” refers to four abdominal muscle groups that provide a focus for physical work.  If you have an unfit core, your other body muscles have to do the work and this increases the likelihood of sprains and strains.

Decrease in Insurance Costs

Insurance costs are expensive.  In most companies, health insurance is one of the top expenses.  It is no longer an option for a company to not offer insurance to their employees’ in order to cut costs.  So, what can the business do to help control this expense?  Invest in a wellness program.  If your company’s wellness program meets certain criteria (consult your insurance provider to see if your program does) you may be eligible for a discount on your company health insurance policy.

Are you ready to take the next step in starting your own wellness program?

After reading this article, are you thinking about investing in a company wellness program but you are not sure how to do this or you don’t want to have the ongoing expense of an outside Administrator?  Aptora’s Corporate Wellness Program may be the solution for you.

This complete do-it yourself system is easy to implement and use.  It is a low cost alternative to hiring an outside wellness firm to implement its wellness program in your company.  Aptora’s Corporate Wellness Program is a fully customizable system that covers all areas of implementing a wellness program including conception, implementation, documentation and tips to start and maintain your company’s wellness program.

Call (877)232-7978 or go to www.aptora.com to receive more information on this revolutionary new wellness plan.

 

 

 

 

 

blogcover

How To Utilize Search Engines For Your HVAC Website

The topic of discussion today is SEO, and how those of us in the HVAC industry can properly use search engines to our advantage to get more traction and traffic to our websites. I have utilized this technique and have seen some great results when seeing the data and noticing the growth in organic traffic.

Understanding How Search Works Today

To best understand how to fully utilize search to get visitors to your website, we must understand a few things about search.

Personalized Search: Search engines like Google are trying to deliver the best results to their users. They care about this feature more than their advertising platform. If you and your friends did a search you might populate different results because Google is trying to decipher exactly what you are looking for.

For Example, I am a giant sports fan, so most of my searches throughout the year will consist of searching up player performances and team news. My friend who may not like sports at all will not get the same results for some specific searches. I tried this out when my friend and I both searched the vague term “Brooklyn.”

My search results: Brooklyn Nets: NBA Basketball Team, Info about the Nets are the top results

My friend’s search results: he will get results about Brooklyn the city, and the top results will reflect trying to acquire information about the city of Brooklyn.

Search is trying to determine what results we are looking for without us having to mention it in detail using the search bar. The goal for the search engine is to provide a seamless and intelligent answer.

This concept of search is important to know for any industry.

How To Improve Traffic To Your Website – Organically

When I talk to my colleagues about buying services like SEO, we come to this discussion on what we are paying for. Many companies try to sell you rankings for specific keywords, which is a bad sign. No matter what anyone tells you, nobody can promise you rankings for words, and if they can, those are probably not words that will drive you traffic, leads, or any business. Buying keyword rankings is a flawed concept but many people fall into this vicious sales pitch.

seo

What Should You Be Buying?

If you are planning to improve your positioning on search, it is best to buy into a company that is selling you a practical and technical strategy.

But What Does This Mean?

Taking into consideration the customers’ needs: Sometimes in something as technical as HVAC we do not understand that our customers do not understand the technical aspects of their heating and cooling systems.

A lot of SEO companies will try to promise you positioning on fat head terms like

  • Air Conditioning Repair [ City Name ]
  • Heating Repair [ City Name ]
  • Furnace Repair [ City Name ]
  • Boiler Repair [ City Name ]

This is not a bad strategy to start off with, but a person who is only promising you this is not being realistic when coming up with a strategy to optimize for search.

These terms are good to have, but nobody can promise you rankings for these specific terms. There are only ten slots available on Google’s first page results, and these generic terms are usually occupied by 3rd party websites like Yelp, Yellowpages, Homeadvisor, and Thumbtack. The realistic picture is, for these search terms you only have 3-4 slots to rank on the first page.

This is due to:

  • Competition
  • Authority of 3rd party sites

How Do We Reach Our Customers With Search Engines?

The answer that I have discovered to work is developing content that speaks to your audience.

Your audience has more questions to ask than just air conditioning repair.

They want to know why their air conditioner is not working, they want to see exact matches to their concerns, and they want to know if they call you, you know what you are doing.

Long form content is the best way to tackle your customers’ concerns, and this can simply be done in the form of a blog post.

Examples of this might include:

  • Why is my air conditioner leaking water?
  • Why is my air conditioner leaking water?
  • Why is my air conditioner not blowing air?
  • How do I clean my air filters?
  • How do I clean my furnace?

These are some examples of targeting specific customers and their problems.

What Are The Benefits Of This Strategy?

  • These terms are less competitive: If you know who your competitors are, and you do a search for these specific technical issues, you will notice the results are drastically different from when you were just searching for broad search terms like “air conditioning repair.”
  • They will rank better in search: Because these terms are less competitive, they are more likely to do better in a national and local search.
  • Tie this in with the concept of personal search: As I discussed earlier this concept of tackling low competitive content will directly benefit your customer’s personal search results. If you can make that initial interaction between the searcher and your website, that visit is logged into their history. This means that Google will know they have visited your website in the past, and it will populate results for broader terms that are more competitive because it knows you got the answer you were looking for from a different search query.

Conclusion:

Understanding SEO is a tall order, but you can always simplify any form of marketing to just tying together the goals of the business and the needs of the customer.

Reach out to your customer, make content that will answer their questions and you will set yourself up to position yourself as a company that understands the industry, and be recognized as a trusted technician.

The more pages you produce, the more chances you have to generate more traffic. I highly recommend an HVAC technician to write about the needs of their HVAC customers, because we are on the front lines. We understand the customer, and we want to help them.

Make a list of your most common repair requests, and then make a list of requests you believe are rarely called in for. Reform these requests in the form of a question, and write a piece of content that will respond and answer the question. Make your page easy to navigate to the correct service, and have your phone number visible to call for service as well as other information like savings or coupons that can be clearly seen to convert the customer.

Content is the key to conquering the much-confused topic of SEO and in the technical place of HVAC we need to reach out based on our understanding of how the customer views their heating and cooling systems.


About The Author:  Chris Maderazzo is the owner of the heating and cooling company Easy Air and Heat. He has also established himself as a well-known and widely respected professional in the electrical contracting and service industry. His attention to detail along with superb leadership qualities has what helped him be successful in all his business ventures for the past 20 years.

 

portable air conditioners

Benefits of Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners provide a mobile-cooling unit that can meet your temporary or mobile-cooling needs. For companies involved in the construction industry, warehouses that have varied cooling needs (depending on the products being stored), and offices under renovation, temporary and portable cooling is a necessity. The flexibility and mobility these units provide ensure that cooling needs are always properly met.

How Portable Air Conditioners Work

Portable air conditioners work on the same basic concept of a central air conditioner. They remove hot air from the indoor space and release fresh, cooled air back into the area. The units use a tube to draw air out of the building, and another tube to expel the air to the outdoors. The tubes can be connected to any opening, like a door or window that links to the outdoors.

The portable air conditioner has a compressor, condenser and evaporator, just like other air-conditioner types. Refrigerant moves through the system, changing from a gas to a liquid. As it does, it absorbs the heat from the inside air, expelling it to the outside and sending cooled air back into the room. Through the process, the unit also removes water vapor from the air.

Portable air conditioners provide several benefits for specific types of businesses. These include:

Mobility

portable air conditionersWith a portable air conditioner, companies can move the cooling anywhere they need it. This can be particularly valuable when an office is under construction, or for industries that regularly move from one site to the next.  Because they are lightweight and on casters, these units provide the flexibility you need to deliver cooling exactly where it is needed, and move it when the need changes.

Mobility is particularly important in some specific industries. For example, construction work, where the location of the job moves regularly, can benefit from mobile air-conditioning options. Also, businesses that have large computer server areas, which need more cooling than other areas of the office, can benefit from being able to move the additional air conditioning as the location of the server moves and expands.

Simple Installation

Portable air conditioners are simple to install, as they require nothing more than an opening to the outside to use. These units can be used directly out of the box, with minimal setup required. This means you can have cooling immediately, without the need to wait for an installation crew.

Reduced Humidity

Portable cooling units not only cool the space, but they also help reduce humidity in the space. As a portable air conditioner works, it pulls water vapor from the air, releasing it into the condensation pan or through a hose connected to a drain. This, in turn, lowers the relative humidity of the space.

Air conditioners typically maintain a relative humidity of between 40 and 60 percent. This is much lower than the outside air on a hot and humid summer day, and helps improve the comfort of those inside the facility. For workers who suffer from allergies, lower humidity levels can help keep allergens, like mold and dust mites, at bay, making allergies less of a problem for employees. Dehumidification also helps protect the assets inside from damage due to moisture in the air.

Affordable Cooling

One of the most obvious benefits of portable air conditioners is the affordability. If your facility needs cooling in a confined area, it’s often more cost effective to install a portable or temporary unit to cool that area than to make major changes to your HVAC system, or install a cooling system to the building that does not already have one. For mobile-cooling needs, portable air conditioners are the only viable option, as establishing a new HVAC system at each site is simply not affordable.

Portable air-conditioning units are a true asset to companies that have mobile job sites, or those that are under construction. With a portable air conditioner, your workers can feel more comfortable and experience improved productivity and safety. As you think about your cooling needs, consider the benefits of portable air conditioners.


About The Author: Dale Allen is the National Service Manager of Rankin, a Chicago land company and leader in temporary climate solutions.

hvac vehicle equipment

Choosing the Right Vehicle Equipment for Your HVAC Business

How does the inside of your work van look? Can you find your tools quickly and easily? How much physical effort is required to get your equipment out? Does it look polished and professional? These questions bring to light several important considerations for HVAC contractors and business owners. Take some time to consider your answers to determine if your work van is doing its job, or if it needs a few upgrades.

Let Vehicle Equipment Work for You

If you struggle with finding the tools necessary to do your job, consider adding cargo vehicle equipment to your work van. Cargo van equipment comes in all types, from racks that secure your ladder, to shelves that house your HVAC equipment.

A worthwhile addition to any HVAC operation, cargo vehicle equipment offers a wide range of benefits, allowing you to:

  • Become more efficient. Do you ever find yourself spending way too much time searching for a tool you need right now? With cargo management equipment, you gain immediate access to your equipment, saving precious time once taken up by scavenging through the back of your work van.
  • Give yourself a break. By organizing your HVAC equipment for easy access, you’ll save yourself from having to climb into your van to remove bulky equipment.
  • Look like the pro that you are. A well-organized work van immediately lets your customers know that you are a professional. It’s an easy way to build trust with your customers, ensuring them that you’re organized, efficient, and committed to doing your job well.

Now that you know how vehicle equipment can help you perform at your best, what equipment do HVAC contractors need most?

Vehicle Equipment for HVAC Contractorshvac vehicle equipment

There’s no shortage of tools that come along with working as an HVAC technician. From gauges to pumps, to ladders, to full air-conditioning units, HVAC equipment comes in all shapes and sizes. Accommodating all of this equipment requires versatile storage solutions that are durable enough to withstand the heftier items and flexible enough to allow for easy organization. To help you get started, here are some essential cargo storage solutions for HVAC contractors:

  • Shelving – A shelving unit keeps your tools organized and out of the way. Storing your tools on designated shelves allows for easy access and fewer headaches. You can opt to store the heavier equipment closer to the doors and keep those frequently used items in easy to grab places.  Bonus points for adjustable shelving, as it gives you the ability to move your shelves as your work requires.
  • Ladder Racks – Transporting a ladder is no easy feat. One of the heavier items in an HVAC technician’s arsenal, ladders take up considerable space and have unique storage needs. A ladder rack helps to secure your ladder to the roof or interior of your van, depending on the model. A well-designed, ergonomic ladder rack will take the strain out of loading and unloading your ladder.
  • Partition – A vehicle partition separates the front of the cab from the rear, securely storing your equipment in the back of the van.
  • Upfit Packages – If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution to your HVAC storage needs, an HVAC upfit package could be the perfect fit! Upfit packages provide all of the essential equipment to easily transport your tools and major equipment from job to job. Common components of an HVAC van upfit include shelves, rail kits, drawers, partitions, and storage bins.

If your HVAC van is in dire need of some organization, it might be time to invest in these cargo vehicle equipment essentials. As an HVAC pro, minutes spent unnecessarily scouring your van for tools are dollars wasted. With an upfitted work van, you’ll save precious time, increase efficiency, and establish yourself as a professional before you even make it to the door.


 

About the Author: Todd Goldmeyer is the Marketing Manager at Adrian Steel Company, North America’s leading manufacturer of cargo management solutions for trade vehicles. With over 60 years in the business, Adrian Steel is powered by constant innovation and guided by a commitment to providing best-in-class customer service. Learn more about our HVAC upfit equipment at www.adriansteel.com!

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Safety Tips For HVAC Contractors

Summer has come to an end, and with it the busiest time of the year for most HVAC contractors. But, that doesn’t mean it’s time to relax. Improving your business should be a year-round activity and the colder months are a perfect time to think about what you can do to make your business better.

Here are some safety tips to think about when you’ve got some breathing space this Fall and Winter:

1. Get Your Contractor License Bond and Know How It Works

This may not sound obvious, but getting bonded and understanding the claims process should help define how you think about workplace safety. To start, follow this 3-step contractor license bond process to get bonded at the best possible rate.

Once you’re bonded, familiarize yourself with how the claims process works. When you’re determining your standards of quality and safety, avoiding claims needs to be at the forefront. If a customer brings a claim against your business for improperly done work, it harms your reputation and can even prevent you from getting bonded again.

2. Maintain an Onsite Safety Manager If Possible

State and local regulations may or may not require it, but if possible, maintaining an onsite safety manager trained in OSHA or EM-385 rules and regulations can help maintain the highest safety standards in your workplace.

While a full 40-hour course in EM-385 rules may not be necessary, some type of certification can help. This onsite expertise can be incorporated into your advertising or bond application. As it shows your commitment to safety, it could even lower your premium for your contractor license bond.

ventilator-349658_6403. Ensure Your Equipment Keeps You Safe

Whether you’re dealing with summer heat or winter cold, gloves, face shields, helmets, and other HVAC contractor equipment needs to be properly used and maintained. Though this is only the start.

Proper ventilation can serve the dual purposes of keeping you and your employees at a comfortable temperature year-round, while helping to protect against the buildup of harmful compressed gases or chemical vapors. There’s never a bad time to invest in next generation equipment or at least double check maintenance.

4. Double-Check Your Electrical Systems

As any HVAC professional knows, extreme temperatures put incredible strain on heating and cooling systems. This means it’s also the season to double-check the electrical systems backing your equipment. Electrical malfunctions can lead to anything from blackouts to fires, putting your safety and reputation at risk.

Make sure you’re familiar with your state and municipal ordinances and safety requirements. Not adhering to these could leave you liable for any malfunctions that occur months after you’ve finished at a site, depending on the bond requirements for a given job. This is another reason to ensure you maintain high work standards.

5. Learn More From Online Safety Resources

Once you’ve checked your worksites and reviewed your contractor license bond, there are plenty of free resources out there with more information and tips on maintaining a safe HVAC workplace. One example is this exhaustive safety guide put out by State Auto Insurance. Resources like this offer detailed lists, including small details (like why you shouldn’t use impact tools with mushroomed heads) that you may otherwise forget about.

What kind of tips would you offer your fellow HVAC professionals? Share your best to make sure everyone has a great summer!


 

Eric Halsey is a historian by training and disposition who’s been interested in US small businesses since working at the House Committee on Small Business in 2006. Coming from a family with a history of working on industry policy, he has a particular interest in Surety Bonding, Contracting, and Professional Certification; he loves sharing his knowledge of the industry for JW Surety Bonds.

hvac contractors can make more money

Top 5 Ways HVAC Contractors Can Make More Money During The Summer

It’s summer, which means that people all over the country are going to be firing up their home air conditioners in an effort to stay cool indoors. This is good news for you, the HVAC contractor. Just as how business was (or should have been) booming with service calls and furnace replacements during the cold winter months, the summer should afford you the same type of opportunity when it comes to air conditioners. Though as you know, meeting your overhead costs and turning a profit isn’t easy — and just because you had a successful summer last year doesn’t mean that this year will follow suit.

With that being said, here’s a look at five ways you can make more money in the summer as an HVAC contractor.

  • Raise Prices: While this might be an unpopular tactic, in many cases, it’s a necessary one — especially if you haven’t done so in several years. Simply raising priceson your service calls can potentially bring in tens of thousands more dollars over the course of just a few months. Demand for HVAC services is high during summer — why not take advantage of the increase in business?
  • Charge More for Same-Day Service: This one should go without saying, yet many HVAC contractors still charge the same rate for a regular service call as they do for an “emergency” service call. Plumbers charge more for emergency service and delivery services charge more for overnight service — why shouldn’t you as well? That isn’t to say that you’ll lose business if someone doesn’t want to pay more of a premium fee, just explain that you can put him/her into your regular scheduling system, which offers standard prices. Think about this, however: When an air conditioner breaks on a 100-degree day, most people are going to want the problem resolved ASAP.
  • Think Add-Ons: Wireless thermostats, smart thermostats, air cleaners, portable generators, surge protectors — these are all popular add-ons that HVAC contractors can also offer to their customers while servicing their HVAC unit in the home. You can even offer a certain percentage discount on these items if the customer were to purchase it on the same day as you’re servicing their HVAC system. Some HVAC contractors have even invested in greater revenue-generating add-on services, such as duct cleaning and electrical work.
  • GPS Tracking: This isn’t so much a money-making tip as it is a money-saving tip. As you know, money saved goes right into your bottom line. Consider equipping vehicles with GPS tracking equipment. Not only can you map routes and service calls to more effectively and efficiently consume gasoline while your techs are on the go, but GPS tracking is also a safety feature. For instance, alerts can be programmed to deliver to managers or owners when a tech is speeding or driving erratically, so corrective action can be administered. You can also set maintenance reminder alerts on GPS units.
  • Run Promos: Finally, running promotions, both while in the customer’s home and through marketing can also be a big boost to business. For instance, techs should be taughthow to up-sell customers while in the home on additional services that are offered (i.e. thermostats, duct cleaning, etc.). It’s worth noting that they should be taught not to be pushy when attempting to sell the customer on these other services. With that said, keep a running list of your techs and the add-ons that they’ve sold in the month, and reward the top sellers at the end of the month. You may even choose to give your techs commission on any add-on sale that they make — it’s up to you how to handle it. Secondly, the summer is a great time to stay at the forefront of your customers’ minds through marketing. Advertise with coupons/discounts on air-conditioning services and educate potential customers about the importance of regular, routine maintenance on their air-conditioning units in your marketing.

Summer isn’t going to last forever, so take advantage of the opportunity to elevate your profits like never before. You may even elect to implement a similar sales-boosting strategy during winter, when servicing on heaters is the most common. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by — your summer should be booming as an HVAC contractor. How much do you intend to profit from it?


Author Bio

Patricia Bonacorda is the President of Spartan Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning , a commercial and residential plumbing and HVAC Company. For 51 years, Spartan Plumbing is a licensed, bonded and insured business that has provided professional plumbing, heating and air conditioning services throughout Maryland and Washington, DC.