asset tracking

Use Tracking To Protect Your Business’s Assets

HVAC work, by its very nature, requires a significant number of mobile assets. Not only do you need the vehicles that your workers will drive to repair or construction sites, but you also need the equipment they will use to do their jobs and the equipment they will be selling to customers who need replacement or repair. Keeping tabs on all of these assets as they move about your community is overwhelming. That’s where asset tracking can help. Here are several key benefits of asset tracking for the modern HVAC company.

Reduce the Risk of Theft

Your company has invested thousands of dollars in your vehicles and other mobile equipment. Yet all it takes is one unscrupulous thief for that money to go down the drain. Since every job your company takes is at a mobile job site, you give potential thieves an excellent opportunity to take what you have invested in every time someone leaves your facility to go to a job.

Tracking your assets will ensure this does not happen, because it gives you the ability to know — at all times — where your vehicles and other mobile assets are with one quick glance at your tracking map. Should someone take them, you can provide the last-known GPS coordinates of your stolen equipment to law enforcement professionals who are helping you, thus improving your chances of getting the assets back.


Decrease Unauthorized Use

HVAC companies have a unique risk of unauthorized use, because HVAC professionals are constantly getting calls from friends and family asking them to take a look at their systems as a side job. Unauthorized use of your company’s equipment, which does not bring in any money to your company, is wasted money. The equipment will get more wear and tear, without any benefit to report. GPS tracking for assets ensures you know where your assets are 24/7, so you can put a stop to this common practice. Your employees, who know that the assets are tracked, will have an easier time saying no to these off-the-books requests.

Track Equipment Deliveries

If your HVAC company does not deliver equipment with the service providers, you can improve the efficiency of your operations by tracking equipment that is being delivered. This allows you to accurately predict the timing of your installation crew, while also providing improved customer service and delivery estimates.

Match Equipment to Employees

If your equipment is constantly rotating between employees, you need a way to know who has what and where your assets are located. Asset tracking provides this data. Depending on the system you choose and the way in which you use it, you can get details about who checked out a piece of equipment and where they took it, so you can better direct the use of your tools, installation equipment and retail products. This will streamline many aspects of your business, helping it run smoothly even during busy seasons — when equipment is leaving your facility at all times of the day.

Keeping tabs on equipment, employees, and vehicles can be a full-time occupation for the busy HVAC crew. Asset tracking can make that job easier. You’ve invested in this equipment to make your business successful. Now it’s time to invest a little more and ensure that you are able to protect that equipment to serve you well for years to come.


Robert J. Hall is President of Track Your Truck, a leader in vehicle satellite tracking for small and mid-sized companies. 

air conditioner

Why HVAC Maintenance Should Be Carefully Timed

Just like any other machine, HVAC systems need maintaining. Whilst reactive maintenance can be necessary when component parts finally bite the dust, it shouldn’t be your only form of defense against inefficient performance. Improving the quality of your HVAC systems can be as easy as scheduling regular building maintenance every few months.

Routine tune ups and expert cleaning can prolong the life of your air conditioning and heating unit, ensuring that costly repairs are rarely needed. But maintenance, like everything else, needs to be carefully timed.

Why Is Preventative Maintenance So Important?

HVAC units that are left unchecked are more likely to suffer burnouts than those that are maintained regularly. Once a ventilation fan or a heat pump becomes worn, it can become incredibly difficult to rectify the problem without completely replacing the affected part.

Scheduled maintenance prevents this from occurring. Rather than waiting for a HVAC unit to breakdown, you can make small improvements to keep it running for longer.

Reactive repairs take a long time to complete and can be particularly disruptive in areas of heavy traffic such as office blocks. They can also be relatively expensive, even when compared to the cumulative cost of preventative maintenance.

When Is The Best Time To Schedule Preventative Maintenance?

Preventative maintenance should be scheduled on a routine basis for the entire HVAC system. However, certain factors should also influence when building maintenance targets specific parts of the system. For example, as summer approaches, contractors should be more concerned with the performance of the air conditioning and ventilation than the heating.

Performance checks should be pencilled in for the months before temperatures begin to soar, so there is plenty of time to carry out maintenance should it be needed. Many building maintenance companies get called out in the very first days of the summer, because poorly maintained air conditioners can’t cope with the sudden strain.

If an issue is discovered, it’s important that the source is unearthed as quickly as possible. Busy buildings might restrict the times you can easily carry out repairs, so it’s prudent to develop a strong idea of how long any work will take. If maintenance requires the HVAC unit to be shut down for an extended period of time, then this will affect the time of day you are able to work. Building occupants can’t be expected to work in offices without ventilation or temperature control, so you need to find a way around this. Making repairs at night might be one option, especially if the job will only take a few days to complete.

You may also feel obliged to check the heating during the same timeframe. But, bear in mind, this system will be idle in the months that follow. Over this period of inactivity, problems are prone to surface. Component parts that were working in spring may not be operational in the winter. Checking heating in the autumn, as temperatures begin to plummet again, will give you a much better indicator of performance.

If you have kept up routine tune ups throughout the year (replacing air filters, sealing ducts etc.) then you should be able to identify any key problems immediately. Seasonal preventative maintenance can be the most effective form of maintenance because it means systems are checked at optimum times. As long as you keep a record of performance and when each part was tested, you should rarely have to undertake any major or reactive repairs.

Author Bio: Tony Ellerker has worked in the building services and construction industry for over twenty years. He is currently the director of Blakes M&E Building Services, who provide pre-planned maintenance, reactive repairs and installations of all mechanical and electrical systems throughout London and the South East of England.

hvac business website

Is it Essential For HVAC Companies to Have A Website In 2016?

We all know that starting up a business is never easy, especially an HVAC business. It requires expertise and at the same time, a huge amount of effort to constantly be searching for new clients in order to sustain the business. One of the key challenges faced by HVAC contractors is business administrative problems that constantly need to be dealt with. We know that it is extremely tough to set up a brand new business from scratch, but with constant hard work, it’s possible to succeed. We have experienced all the hardship that could be faced during our start-up, some of you may have already experienced it, while some may not, but we hope that it can inspire and motivate the like-minded HVAC contractors out there.

In the past, when internet wasn’t as prevalent, everyone would just pick up their thick yellow pages directory or pick up the newspaper and search for their HVAC contractor whenever their air-conditioner quit working or required cleaning. However, several decades have passed and people no longer use their yellow pages directory or search their HVAC contractor via the newspaper. Advancement in technology has changed our ways of life in doing things. Nowadays, people will pick up their phones and simply enter “HVAC Contractor” into the search engines such as Google or Bing. In less than one second, there will be plenty of HVAC contractors appearing on the phone and all we need to do is just a simple click and call.

Over the recent years, technology advancement has changed the industry drastically. It is no surprise that the HVAC industry has also changed over the years, what seems to work in the past may not work now. So we are in 2016, what is considered essential for an HVAC contractor? We believe that all HVAC contractors must have an HVAC business website. The website must be informative and provide all the services that you are providing. Most importantly, it must target your clients that are residing in your city in order to attract sales.

Hence, at the very least, you should have a company website and at least have several social media pages. If you can only choose one, create a Facebook business page.  However, just having a website is not enough. Your website should be well designed and be able to leave a good first impression for your potential clients to contact you for air-conditioning services.

hvac business websiteCreating a website for your company is just one of the steps towards success. The next step will be promoting your website to potential customers in your city. There are many ways to promote it, such as advertising through online ads and forums which can bring you potential leads. However, another hard way will be getting your website “Search Engine Optimized”, also called “SEO”. It may sound confusing or strange to you, but it is actually a great way to get potential clients into your website when they are searching for something such as “HVAC Contractor”. Hence, if your website is the first page on the search query, there is a high chance potential customers will call you for your services.

So you may be thinking about how to create a website for your HVAC business. You should search for a reliable and experienced web development or digital marketing company in your city or country and arrange an interview with them. From the interview, you can find out more about their company and their web development services and how they are able to help you in increasing your sales.

There is another benefit from having a website, which is the ability to advertise your website through Google Adwords. With Google Adwords, your HVAC website will be able to list among the first few pages on the Google search result immediately. However, the only disadvantage is the costly ads expense which could accumulate if there is no quality leads.

There are many great benefits of creating a website for your HVAC business in 2016. Thus, the most optimal strategy to improve your sales in 2016 will be to hire a local web development company to create your HVAC website and get started on the website optimization. I am sure you will see an increase in your sales when your website is created and fully optimized. If you would like to see even quicker results, you can try Google Ad words campaign while your website is being optimized.


 

About the author: John Beth is the web development director of Aircon Servicing Singapore, a leading air-conditioning servicing and repair company in Singapore.

hvac tips for success

The 5 Things Successful HVAC Professionals Need To Do In 2016

Success as a contractor is always a moving target. As a business owner, you need to keep marketing, legal and safety regulations straight as well as stay on top of managing employees – and someone has to answer the phones and do the books.  Other keys to success include maintaining ways to work safely, keeping up your customer service and staying up-to-date with industry trends.

1. Contractors License Bonds and Other Bonds to Know

The formula to success starts by making sure your licensing and other legal paperwork is in order. Still wondering what is a surety bond and why do you need it? HVAC professionals are required to be licensed, and in certain states, with this, may come a license bond obligation.

Contractor bonds are a type of surety bond that ensures your clients are protected if you break the law. If your work is deficient or negligent, your customer can make a claim against your bond. A bond essentially provides a form of insurance for your client and a claim against your bond is detrimental to you and your business. Brush up on your knowledge with a contractor license bond guide.

Other bond types you should know about are contract bonds such as performance bonds and fidelity bonds. Performance bonds are necessary for public contracts of more than $100,000 and may also be a prerequisite on some private projects. A performance bond promises that you will carry out the work according to the contract. Unlike contractor license bonds, if you don’t complete the job, the bonding company can put the job out to bid. As with all bonds, if a claim is made and substantiated, you’ll be required to pay it back.

By contrast, fidelity bonds are a means of protection for you or your clients. They are a safeguard against deceitful employees who might commit crimes such as forgery or embezzlement. Fidelity bonds have several categories including business services and employee dishonesty bonds. Learning about bonds is a must for any HVAC business owner or contractor.

2. Stay on Top of Safety

Any seasoned technician knows you should wear appropriate gear for the job and be aware of possible hazards around you, but staying up to date on safety best practices will keep you prosperous and healthy.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) governs occupational safety and updates rules often. You should know both current and updated rules and regulations – not knowing could cost you. Professional organizations, state and federal websites and industry publications can all be helpful to ensure you know all of the latest safety standards and laws.

3. Keeping Up Your Skills

You went to school once, but that doesn’t mean your education ends there. It’s necessary to keep up with trends, technology and business skills; it’s all part of the big picture. Becoming a member of an organization like the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) or the Indoor Environment and Energy Efficiency Association (ACCA) will enable you to learn all you need to know to be a top contractor in your field. Falling behind isn’t an option in today’s competitive market.

4. Perfect Your Customer Service Skills

Customer service skills are vital to any industry. HVAC is no different. Every person within the company that a customer may come in contact with should be fully trained in customer service. Anyone who meets clients becomes the face of your company.

Happy customers leave good reviews. They also tell their friends and even become repeat business. Employees require training to assure any situation can be handled with skill and finesse. You wouldn’t spend your money at a restaurant with sub-par customer service, so why would you hire a contractor with poor service skills to work in your home? This one should be a no-brainer.

5. Trends, Technology and Your Business

As an HVAC professional, you should know all of the trends and changes going on in your industry. Customers are interested in having the newest and most efficient products, so you should know about and carry what is currently in demand. Going to trade shows, reading industry publications and visiting product sites are all great places to gain insight into what’s going on, such as changes and trends in 2016.

hvac tips for success

Accomplishments are achieved by planning, hard work and continuous learning. If you want to be a successful HVAC professional in 2016, you need to know about and understand contractor bonding, promote safety, keep up with training, learn and practice customer service skills, and stay up-to-date on technology and trends. These are just some of the many skills that go into a business that will aid you in being successful.


Shire Lyon is a news and media writer with an interest in business and surety bonds. She writes on a variety of topics and loves sharing her knowledge of law changes, blogging in contractor related magazines, and explaining the surety bonding process to small businesses. She’s also a regular contributor for JW Surety Bonds.

how to market hvac business online

How To Market Your HVAC Business Online

Nowadays people are getting more technologically advanced from the web to smartphones. If they have any questions, they just search the web and resolve their issues. But why are HVAC businesses falling behind online? Many times, potential customers have issues finding HVAC service companies quickly and efficiently. Sometimes they will contact the nearest one and sometimes they go to a directory, but they forget that they are living in the smart time and they have strong weapon i.e. smartphones and the web where they can easily get the details according to your demands. To make it online is not as difficult as its sound. Make your HAVC business contact information readily available online and learn how to market your business.

Here are some tips to help market your HVAC business online:

List of business directories

how to market hvac business onlineIt’s quite simple getting started, you just need to list your HVAC business in local business directories. This is the easiest way to connect your business with potential customers. People generally don’t have much time to explore details about each and every business so make sure your website is short and to the point. It should also be inviting and very user-friendly. Listing your company is a great way to connect with people who are in need of heating and cooling services. Usually, your details are per demand and make it area specified so that people can contact you in a straightforward manner.

It is also very important to have a business profile on “Google My Business”, “Bring places For Business”, and “Yahoo Small Business” as these three have great potential to increase your ranking in search engines and bring more traffic to your site.

How to market hvac business onlineSocial Media Platforms

Facebook and YouTube are the most viral social media in which you can link with your customers. It is important that your website is accessible to your potential customers, and having it on social media platforms is a simple way for users to access it. You can create a Facebook page of your business and upload all the necessary things regarding your websites and services. Facebook is also a great way to easily interact with your customers. For a YouTube profile it is important to make videos of your services and put out updates and new videos regularly. This makes it easier for potential customers to see your work and call you at their service.

Ask For Feedback

Feedback from your customers is extremely important. Many times, users view services on your website and then look at reviews or comments to decide whether or not to call your business. Do not worry too much about the unhappy customers. If you provide great service, the happy customers will provide feedback too which can really help in expanding your business.


 

About The Author

gassco heating and coolingGASSCO Heating and Cooling has been providing the best service for more than 20 years. We are a team of expertise who give our customers 100% satisfaction with our services.

hvac business advice

Owning an HVAC Business: It’s Not That Easy!

The myth of the megalomaniac business owner is old as time itself, but perceptions have spun so far out of control that they mirror Saturday morning cartoon fare than anything grounded in reality. The most over-the-top imagining of this figure usually goes something like this: a callous, heartless boss sitting with their feet propped up and hands behind their head, cackling amidst the piles of cash stacked atop their desk as their employees work feverishly and painstakingly to further the success of the business. The boss then, presumably, goes on to fight James Bond in their plan for world domination.

We’ve seen this type of character presented in countless books, movies, television shows, and even political debates. Even though it goes without saying—or at least we hope!—it couldn’t be any farther from the truth. Real business owners need to dig deep and work hard, which is especially true if they own an HVAC business. Contrary to the service they provide, owning an HVAC business is anything but a breeze, but that has never stopped misconceptions about this line of work from fostering.

hvac business adviceMany people just think as the technicians are hard at work going from service area to service area to provide homeowners with heating and cooling, the owner really is sitting behind a desk and counting the money. But don’t let that misinformation fool you; like owning any small business, the HVAC field presents its own unique set of challenges. We’re not just talking about dealing with some customer grouching over their air conditioning! The average small HVAC business owner deals with all sorts of trouble, including:

The Costs of Ownership

Firstly, let’s put an end to the idea of an HVAC business owner drowning in cash. Mostly because it’s wildly inaccurate, but also due to the fact that real HVAC business owners are practically putting their finances on the line in a game of high-stakes poker. For starters, the initial investment of the business is costly, which includes investing in specialized equipment, service trucks, and software for diagnostic testing. There is also the part where the HVAC technicians need to, you know, get paid. The average wage of an HVAC technician currently sits at $19.87 per hour, a fairly high wage compared to other professions. That is also not including the additional elements of payroll taxes, medical insurance, liability insurance, and worker’s compensation.  Adding onto the pressure, it may take the business years after the initial investment to start making a profit. If the business goes too long without turning a profit, an HVAC business owner may just have to call their own bluff and fold.

Climate Changes

Perhaps more than any other home services field, HVAC business owners see their success reliant on circumstances beyond their control. Most HVAC business see their peak activity when weather conditions are either scorching hot or blisteringly cold. An otherwise intense heatwave or blizzard is a sign of good business for people in the HVAC field. While this may result in cash flowing to the business, it can also mean dealing with more calls than any other time of the year, putting stress on both equipment and technicians. And what happens once that peak business period is over? Unless an HVAC business has some magical weather-controlling abilities, the owner will have to think strategically in terms of how finances are managed when the calls aren’t coming.

Varying Customer Base

While we’ve gone in-depth of about the myth of the cold, greedy business owner, the myth of the grouchy, angry customer is just as prevalent in any service job. Again, this isn’t exactly rooted in truth. Considering the average HVAC business operates in several service areas, the customer base tends to be a cross section of different backgrounds, HVAC needs, and of course, temperaments. While a diverse customer base can only make the business grow in both scope and knowledge, trying to meet the unique needs of each and every customer isn’t just a stroll down an easy street. Providing high-quality work on heating and cooling systems isn’t enough. Customer service must be on point as well. If a customer doesn’t feel like they’re getting the right treatment or the right price, the reputation of an HVAC business may take a tumble.

Intense Competition

Just because you’re the proud owner of a small HVAC business doesn’t mean you’re the only HVAC business owner in the area. Competition abounds, and it’s a never-ending game to see who can stand tall among the rest.  It influences every decision the business owner makes, from setting prices to how the business presents itself. Heating and cooling are an essential need in order for people to live comfortably on their residential or commercial property. While customers want their needs met soon as possible, they want an HVAC business who can provide who can provide exceptional, one-of-a-kind service not found anywhere else. Many HVAC business owners will first need to focus on advertising and marketing to make them truly stand out and for many, it’s an ongoing identity crisis.

If you want to learn more on the ins and outs of an HVAC business, you should call Custom Climate Heating and Air Conditioning today.  We’re South Carolina’s number-one service for heating, cooling, and indoor air quality. Owning an HVAC business may not be easy, but our team always guarantees quick, high-quality service!

 

 

recruitment software

How easy is it for start-ups to save money by using recruitment software?

How To Use recruitment software to overcome the top four challenges that can throttle success for your organization.

Entrepreneurship is a buzzing word today. We find start-ups rising up from every nook and corner with passion to exceed the levels of success and calibre to gobble down the bitterness of the market and be even more competitive and successful. With the advent of the start-up organizations, many sectors have seen great growth. However, it can’t be ignored that to be able to start new business and to be able to survive in today’s fierce market, requires great dedication and financial assistance. Monetary issues will arise but how you overcome these issues is the most important factor.

One way to reach goals in business is hiring the best talent. Yes, when you have the right people working with you at the organization, success is sure to come running towards you. If the selection goes wrong, then this might prove to be highly detrimental. For start-ups, this could mean the end as well because they may not have enough resources or money to invest and continue on with the new changes. Therefore, it is imperative to be right from the start. Recruiting the best professionals for the progress of the company is always a primary task and needs to be managed effectively. However, we can’t deny the fact that finding and recruiting the expert professionals is not an easy task. Besides, being that it is a difficult task, it also encompasses a lot of money and time which can escalate problems for the enthusiastic entrepreneurs.

So, what can be the best solution for the start-ups to hire smartly and achieve the goals they desire?

Putting in a lot of money in hiring and managing the HR process is always difficult. Even well-established enterprises face problems when it comes to managing a Human Resources Department, this is not something new. But, it can be tackled by making use of the recruitment software which is certainly a boon today in the recruitment market.

recruitment softwareOnline Recruitment Software is the right tool for managing all Human Resources activities. It can automate the recruitment process for the organization. It is cost-effective, more beneficial, and is sure to cut down extra expenses for the start-ups struggling to establish their identity in the market. Here are the top four reasons recruiting software can help business and reduce the expenditure for the start-ups.

  1. No need to ask for help from recruitment agencies

Start-ups are organizations with one HR or in some cases 2 or 3 members in the team of HR. Generally, the manager of the company focus more on recruitment, taking care of the hiring process or at least guide HR to get the interviews done and then select the best out of the group of candidates applied. Unfortunately, this consumes a lot of time of the CEO, managers, or decision-makers. They are expected to cater enough time to other crucial areas of their business too, areas which require utmost attention from them. Therefore, managers or CEOs who find it difficult to take care of the HR activities or processes look for an alternative source. They hire the recruitment agency or a consultancy which work on their behalf. But, you see, this brings new investment. They will have to pay for their services, and investing money in anything can be challenging for new entrepreneurs. Therefore, the use of software is the right choice. It is cost-effective and all you have to do is invest once and be free for a lifetime.

  1. Curtailing database management costs

Managing the database of the candidates is again something that is not easy. Often, start-ups take the help of database management companies or hire an expert in database management at their organization to effectively manage the databases. This extra expenditure can prove to be not-so-good as this expense could have been used to increase efficiency of other business processes. Recruitment software can manage huge databases. The desktop-based or cloud-based software that you’ve selected can help manage the database of the candidates – resumes, contract details and the databases of the clients too. It offers 100% security for the data.

  1. Reducing Manpower / Scaling down HR Team

There is certainly no need to have a big HR team if you are using the recruitment software for management of recruitment processes. Since it can automate almost all of the important HR tasks (such as job postings, scheduling interviews, managing interview processes, reporting candidate’s performance in interviews, resume search, candidate search, database management and many others), the HR team will not have to work as much. This is one of the best benefits for tech start-ups as they can save a lot of their money and use those savings to bring new improvements to their organization.

  1. Competitive Advantage

Start-ups do not have to pay more for using the latest technology, which was once restricted to only big enterprises. Using this latest recruitment technology solution, start-ups can survive in their new business market and be able to beat the competition as well and do so without spending more for the same.

hvac website tips

How Ready Is Your HVAC Company Website For Business In 2016?

Being a start-up HVAC contractor is never easy; with many business administrative issues to deal with, yet the most challenging of all is the sourcing for new business leads, “the lifeline of the company”. We have pretty much gone through the “business birth pains” like everyone else and would like to share our journey and hope it inspires and pushes all LIKE-MINDED HVAC contractors on, from good to great!

Long gone are the days where by one will pick up the newspaper in search for a HVAC contractor when the air conditioning or heating unit breakdown. The first thing one would do would be to pick up their phones, hop on to Google or yahoo and enter “HVAC Repair Contractor” and boom, scroll through the first page with what is eye catching to them and “Click – Call Now” and it’s done.

Marking your business in the HVAC industry or with any industry has changed drastically over the recent century. The bottom line is that if you are not on the search engine’s first page, then the amount of organic “new business leads” that you are going to receive is going to be much less than the competition.

At minimum what is required of you is to have a company website setup and a Facebook business page setup. Next, your company website should be well designed, pleasing to the eye and also contain all the necessary business information a potential customer would be looking for.

Next, here comes the really important part. Your company website should be “Search Engine
Optimized – SEO”. The term SEO might sound strange to you, but the long and short of it is that when a potential client/customer goes onto the search engine to look for example “HVAC Repair Contractor”, your company website will appear at least on the first or second page of the search engine results. Human Behavioral studies have shown that most people do not navigate further than the second page of the search result to look for what they require.

How can you get your company website optimized? Search for a good and reputable web development/ digital marketing company in your area and have a chat with them. With that said, you should understand that optimizing your company website is not a quick and instant thing. Typically the entire optimization process takes around 3- 6 months based on the difficulty of the keywords as well as the competition in that local area.

In the meantime a quick and instant digital marketing method to get things going for your business would be to go for the Google ad words option. With Google Ad words you will be able to list your HVAC business out there on Google search results instantly. The only downside to this method of marketing is that the ads expense spent can easily mount up to a significant cost real soon if no quality business leads comes in.

So generally the most optimal strategy would be to get in touch with your local digital marketing company to get started on your website optimization. Then, at the same time, have your business advertise on Google Ad words. In time, when your website catches up in the search rankings, you may start to scale back on your advertisement spends.


About the author: Jane Hendricks is the digital marketing director of Aircon Service Singapore, a leading air conditioner servicing and repairs company in Singapore.

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.