Quality air circulation and temperature control is a vital aspect of safety and comfort in every home and business across the United States. So, there’s no reason to believe a skilled HVAC technician will ever have trouble finding work. In fact, the latest industry trends indicate the HVAC industry has experienced strong growth for the last several years and is expected to continue that trend in the years to come.
If you’re already an experienced HVAC repair and maintenance professional who’s considering becoming a business owner, this is an excellent time to buy a mechanical services business. But, there are three different ways you can approach ownership:
- Start from scratch with a brand new company
- Buy an existing private mechanical service business
- Buy into a franchise mechanical service business
Each of these options has its own pros and cons you’ll need to consider before making your decision:
Starting your own brand new company offers you the most freedom to create your company to match your personal vision. For many entrepreneurs, it’s what they’ve always dreamed of, and it may be the only option that really feels right. On the other hand, starting a new company requires an even greater commitment of time, effort, and expense than the other two options, and it’s notoriously risky. Most startups fail within their first few years.
Buying an existing electrical service business offers some clear benefits:
Claim up to $26,000 per W2 Employee
- Billions of dollars in funding available
- Funds are available to U.S. Businesses NOW
- This is not a loan. These tax credits do not need to be repaid
- An established brand
- A base of customers
- A staff of experienced employees
On the other hand, doing so ties you down in many ways to how the previous owner set things up and what he or she left behind in terms of brand reputation and other less tangible assets.
Your third option is buying into a franchise mechanical service business. This option can mitigate some of the risks associated with the other two options while maintaining most of their benefits. Since you’re required to operate under the franchisor’s rules, you will need to sacrifice a measure of the independence you would enjoy by starting from scratch. But, this can be counteracted by the support you receive as a franchisee. Additionally, an established franchise operation can offer owners a better chance of success and get them to profitability faster than they otherwise might.
Why consider a franchise mechanical services business
Buying into a franchise is a lot like buying an existing independent company, but with some added benefits independent companies can’t usually offer:
A shorter runway to profit
An established franchise can have everything in order — from where to lease your service vehicles and purchase your supplies to step-by-step instructions — so you can be up and running incredibly fast. If you were starting from scratch, you’d have to handle all those preliminary decisions yourself and there’d likely be a lot of trial and error involved. Even if you were successful, it would likely take you quite a bit longer to reach profitability on your own.
A proven financial plan
Risk is inherent in every business venture. But, working with an established franchise gives you access to a detailed financial strategy that’s been proven successful by franchisees who have already been where you are. Since previous owners have already made the mistakes and learned the ropes, you don’t have to. This means the biggest risks are mitigated and you should be able to predict cash flow more accurately, realize a realistic return on investment, and move more quickly into growing your business.
Another valuable benefit of being part of a franchise is the marketing and advertising power the parent company usually offers. As an independent business owner, you would need to create, distribute, and pay for all your own marketing and advertising, or pay to have someone else do so. This isn’t just a lot of time and expense, it’s also not within the wheelhouse of most business owners.
As a franchisee, you have the opportunity to “plug in” to a marketing program that’s already well established and running smoothly. The parent company is likely making a concerted effort to advertise their established brand to an audience already predisposed to recognize and value it. This powerful aid can help you hit the ground running as you begin marketing your own company.
By Bruce Hakutizwi, Director of North America for BusinessesForSale.com, the world’s largest online marketplace for buying and selling small and medium size businesses.