You’re studying to become an HVAC technician because you don’t want to work a normal nine to five job. You want to make your own hours and, if possible, start your own business one day.
However, as a recently graduated HVAC professional, it’s likely that you will need to pay your dues and take contract positions. You may need to hire yourself out as a contractor to different companies, giving yourself the chance to build work experience and freelance for more than one HVAC employer.
If you choose this route, you’re not only an HVAC technician but also an entrepreneur. You’ll need to be responsible for marketing yourself, regulating your schedule, keeping your books, and managing your business operations.
To help you stay ahead of the curve, we’ve outlined the four most important business practices that contract HVAC technicians should be aware of before they get started. Read on to learn more.
- You Need to Know What’s in the Fine Print of Your Contracts
When you get your first contract, carefully look at the terms. Are you at-will or a fixed term employee? If you’re a contractor with the company, it should say the latter. Next, look for the beginning and the end dates. Make sure they line up with your schedule and that that fixed term is precisely what you discussed with your employer.
Then, check to see if there’s a non-compete clause and non-solicitation agreement. These legal protections will prevent you from working for or soliciting your services to other employers for a specific period of time. Depending on how much of a deal breaker those protections are for you as a contract worker, you may want to renegotiate those terms.
- You Need to Keep Your Own Books and Track Your Own Expenses
As an independent contractor, you will need to keep an eye on how much money you’re earning and how much money you’re spending. Use a cost-effective, web-based application like QuickBooks Online, which tracks your income, expenses, and bills.
Also, consider using an app like Hours Tracker or Harvest to keep track of your time on the job. A periodic review of how much money you earn versus the hours you putting in will help you decide which companies and clients you want to work for again.
You also can utilize InvoiceASAP, which syncs with QuickBooks Online, to review information about each job, send an itemized invoice to your clients, and receive payments electronically.
To monitor your expenses and mileage, use an app like Xpense Tracker, which also helps you create expense reports.
- You Need to Stay on Top of Your Schedule
Create a long-term schedule that holds all of your appointments and jobs. For some people, a Google Calendar is a great option. Others prefer an old-fashioned appointment book. Choose a method that works for you and stick with it.
Set up business hours for yourself, and be ready to work before and after those hours to handle your administrative tasks such as invoicing and answering emails.
- You Need to Market Yourself and Manage Your Own Communications
When you work for yourself, you are your own administrative assistant and marketing manager. As a result, you need to respond to work-related emails in a timely and professional manner.
You should have a basic website for your HVAC services and a Facebook page with your contact information. While online pages might not be your forte, they will help current and future clients reach you. Over time, this exposure will translate into more jobs and steadier income.
If the life of an entrepreneurial HVAC technician sounds ideal to you, then contact HVAC Technical Institute. Based in Chicago, IL, we provide an elite trade school education to motivated professionals. Ask our team for more information about how you can apply and jumpstart your career as an HVAC technician today.