To say that the HVAC industry is in a state of flux, would be a dramatic understatement. From dramatic shifts in customer buying behaviors and workforce shortages; to rapid evolution in systems and cutting-edge products. You name it, it’s changing!
The key to making this state of transition profitable for you and your company is staying at the forefront of the trends.
We’ve seen a consistent pattern of growth since 2011 which is projected to increase through next year perhaps even surpassing the levels this year is projected to close at. This growth will be fueled in significant part by the legacy systems of the 1990 coming to the end of their lifecycles.
This level of growth is a good thing but comes with challenges.
Where’s the Talent?
One of the most pressing that owners have been coming face-to-face with is the labor shortage. Baby boomers are phasing into retirement and millennials aren’t as active in the skilled trade sectors with HVAC being one of the hardest hit industries.
Gone are the days of help wanted ads attracting more attention than need. Today’s market requires creative and strategic approaches to hiring and employee retention. Partnering with a vocational college either through instruction or support has been an especially effective solution but, in many cases, doesn’t address the whole problem.
In a lot of regions, the demand for techs far exceeds the availability creating quite the challenge when it comes to finding quality, experienced individuals. This coupled with the millennial exodus from blue collar trades has created severe immediate shortage of capable talent. Including bonuses or employee appreciation programs go a long way towards not only keeping current talent but can be used to incentivize their focus on increased professional development.
In today’s market effectively cultivating new industry workers by keeping them loyal while inspiring them to increase their skill base while providing them with the opportunity to do it, can go a long way to helping your company avoid this current industry challenge.
Which Growth Segments?
According to the 2019 Economic Outlook Survey, there will be huge opportunities in the HVAC industry for 2020 but they will not be seen in all markets or segments. Certain areas of the country are experiencing more significant economic downturns than others, but even within the more anemic regions there are still opportunities.
With a potential global recession looming as a backdrop, really understanding your market and their needs is going to be key in making your decisions over the next couple years. There should be a definite focus on market research and brand positioning taking place within organizations ahead of the potential economic tightening.Which technology?
We’re seeing the face of HVAC technology options shift almost overnight with the advancement and permeation of smart home technology. These new gadgets not only change the industry but also change the consumer trends. What was hot yesterday is quickly becoming obsolete in the new environment. People are more and more viewing their homes as a system and are becoming more trusting as well as dependent on technology that allows them to integrate that system.
While significant advancement has been made with thermostats, humidifiers, and environmental sensors; we’re also seeing ground being made on the mechanical side with products like Cold-Plus a refrigerant additive which has been proven to significantly reduce the energy consumption of HVAC/refrigeration systems and dramatically extend the lifespan of the unit.
Aeroseal is another technology that although has been around a while, has seen significant advancements in application and system efficiency. The patented technology is connected the heating and air systems to distribute sealing formula throughout the entire system sealing all holes in the air ducts and vents.
Staying knowledgeable and abreast of these types of advancements allows you to have the most appropriate and valuable options available to you to ensure your business stays profitable while others might not be as well equipped to weather the storm.
What’s up with the customers?
Any business owner today knows the challenges of dealing with the most educated, pampered, and option driven customer base in history. Todays customers can be extremely demanding and price driven.
One of the most significant contributing factors to the change in customer buying behavior transforming today’s business world is that everyone is connected and sharing their experiences. This means your customers are not only researching and seeing what your previous customers are saying about their experience, but they also trust these what they say.
Meaning it is essential that you are staying on top of what people are saying about you and where they are saying it. If you are not present in the digital realm in a proactive way then you are not even hitting the radar of a majority of your market.
But there’s good news.
While these challenges can seem daunting and definitely pose a threat to the continued health of any business that isn’t responsive to the changes, they also present dramatic opportunities for growth for those who do. Understanding the shift in technology and customer behavior then will allow you to position your business to take advantage of the wave. With transformation comes new opportunities for those who choose to take them.