How to Effectively Schedule HVAC Jobs During the Busy Season
As the busy season approaches, it seems like your time starts to shrink. Making the most of your limited time is key to maximizing the number of jobs you can perform through the season and thereby maximizing your profit. While you can do many things to save time, efficient scheduling is one of the most important. Here’s how you can schedule more effectively, maximizing the HVAC jobs you can complete.
Ideally, you’d have jobs that are close to one another scheduled back-to-back. Otherwise, you or your technicians spend more time in transit than they need to. It’s not always possible but avoid scheduling calls back-to-back that are a large drive from one another. Plus, consider where your headquarters or suppliers are when you’re scheduling. If you or your technicians need to resupply or head back to the office at a certain time of the day, try to schedule calls that are nearby for around those times.
Consider Technician Skill
Some technicians are faster or provide better service for certain kinds of jobs. Typically, it’s ideal to send technicians to the jobs they are best at, as long as it doesn’t undermine the experience and training of other technicians.
Your new employees may need more supervision and may need to call supervisors out to their location. If so, it’s ideal to schedule these employees for calls near their supervisor.
Schedule for the Mornings
If you offer same-day service in emergency situations or for certain customers, it is wise to pack your schedule in the mornings and leave some gaps in the afternoon. That way, you have room to handle the emergency calls in the afternoon, but don’t leave unnecessary gaps in your schedule in the morning that don’t get filled. If a customer calls in at 9 am, they can wait for your gap at 1pm.
Use Real-Time Tracking
Your schedule likely changes throughout the day as people cancel or call in. If you know where your employees are in real-time, you can make better decisions about which you should send to the call. If you rely only on the schedule, you miss out on noticing employees who are running behind or who are ahead of their schedule and might be in completely different parts of town than you’d otherwise expect them to be.
Harness Other Technology
There are many different kinds of scheduling software that can make scheduling simpler. Many can automatically sort the call based on the kind of call it is and the kind of time you expect it to take. You can also add notes in some of these systems that allow you to forward important information to technicians simply, which can also help them save time.
Keep Staff on Call
One common strategy is to book in a lot of work and then have staff on call to handle unusual influxes of calls. This is a great strategy because it allows you to fill your schedule more than you would otherwise and still not worry about missing emergency calls or having to reschedule something.
A digital receptionist can help you use these strategies and more to maximize your schedule this busy season.
Bonus Strategy: Shift Demand
It’s no secret that the demand for HVAC services spikes in late spring, as people are turning on their air conditioners for the first time, and in late fall, as they’re turning on their furnaces. But that doesn’t mean your technicians have to sit around for the rest of the year.
One of the best ways to handle high demand is to spread that demand out throughout the year. And you actually have a few options for doing that:
- Prioritize HVAC maintenance packages. Preventative HVAC maintenance can be sold at any time of year, provided you’re willing to offer a good discount. Pushing clients to sign up for annual HVAC tune-ups is a great way to shift big repairs from your busy season to your off season. Monthly recurring revenue can also help you sell your business, if the time ever comes.
- Prioritize commercial HVAC services. While there is still some seasonality to commercial services, they tend to be much less seasonal than residential services. Installation is a good service for any time of year.
- Expand into other trades. Offering plumbing services, in addition to HVAC services, is a great way to create more business year round.
- Develop other non-seasonal HVAC services. Offering services like air duct cleaning might not be as lucrative as AC repairs, but it’s a great way to keep your techs producing during the off season, and takes minimal training to get them up to speed.