HVAC systems only work efficiently and properly when all of their parts are in good working order. Such is the case with your HVAC business—you aren’t going to be able to do business well, let alone grow and succeed, if you are not equipped with all of the right people to help you along the way. One of the best resources, and one that’s often overlooked by small businesses and startups, is a receptionist.
Often, new business owners or managers stick to fielding their own calls, letting their own reps return messages and make follow-up appointments. Excuse us for stating the obvious, but this is not only a lot of hassle, but it’s inefficient as a way to run your business. Every successful business needs a receptionist on the front lines.
Imagine if you’re out on a call, doing some routine maintenance in a crawl space. You certainly can’t get to your phone when it rings, let alone answer and talk to someone about the services that you provide. And yet, if you don’t, they’ll have plenty of time to call your competition about the HVAC services they seek. You’re caught in a tight spot, and we’re not just talking about the crawl space.
When it comes to communications and being available, your audience today demands it. They don’t want to have to wait, and thanks to the Internet, they usually don’t have to. Therefore, if you don’t have a receptionist in place, and the right one at that, you’re going to put your HVAC business at risk of losing valuable clients simply because someone else got to them faster.
Before you hire a receptionist, of course, there are some things that you need to consider. We’ll talk about a little of everything in this blog, including the costs and what you’re getting for your money, as well as how to narrow down your options. Also, we’ll make sure that you have a good understanding of what a receptionist can do so that you can make the right investment for your company.
We know everyone’s first concern is the money—it’s not easy (or cheap) to start and build a business. The first step is to keep in mind is that this is an investment in your business, not an expense. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get down to the details.
How much you spend depends on how you source your receptionist. What you pay an employee will be vastly different than what you pay a professional receptionist service or third-party contractor that works remotely, for example. In the vein of hiring employees, expect to spend around $10-$14 per hour for a receptionist for your HVAC business, based on the current average salary in the U.S.
You’ll also have to spend about $4,000 on training and hiring that employee so that they’re ready to work independently, as well as the time required to train them accordingly. This could take a few weeks, so add that to the budget, too. It’s all getting very expensive and for some companies, that’s always a bad sign.
What you can do, of course, is to consider outsourcing and look to see what those services provide. Often, you can get a lot more for your money when you hire a third-party service or work with someone on a contract basis. These prices aren’t as quotable, but we can tell you that it’s generally the more affordable option. Be sure to get a few estimates from a few places before you commit, and remember that this is an investment, not an expense.
Sure, you could just keep fielding the calls, returning the missed ones, and trying to juggle it all and still keep the jobs moving. Or, you could give the work to the people who are trained to do it. Receptionists can offer a lot for your HVAC business, no matter how you hire them. You have other tasks that require your attention, like furnaces and air conditioning units that are worn out, in need of repair, or have other issues.
Plus, then there are all those new installations you’ve been getting lately—business is booming and you cannot handle the boom single-handedly. That’s why a receptionist can help. In addition to fielding and routing phone calls and taking messages, they can also:
As you can see, the list grows quite quickly when you start counting all the ways that you can put a receptionist to work. And then, imagine what you could do if you hired an entire team of them to help—it’s going to help you become the hottest furnace installer in town (or coolest A/C pro?—you choose).
We’ll skip the reminder that no two businesses are the same—you get that by now. What we will explain, however, is how to choose a receptionist based on the features and qualities that they offer when it comes to filling the role. There are several qualities that could make a good receptionist, but some are more generally useful than others.
When you are in the market for the best receptionist for your HVAC company, any heating and cooling industry knowledge is a plus, but you’ll ideally focus on skills and qualities like:
These are all characteristics that people generally have, or can develop, or they simply will never get there. However, when you focus on them instead of the hard skills of a receptionist, you’ll generally find better talent, no matter what you seek. The exact features and qualities you find will vary depending on how you source your receptionist, but this is a sampling of what types of skills you want on your list.
The final question here is whether you should outsource or hire an employee in the traditional sense. Unfortunately, we’re here to tell you this is another factor that you’ll have to decide for yourself. The good news is that we’ve got some considerations to help:
No one can tell you exactly where to find your receptionist. However, now that you’re aware of the options and how to narrow things down, it should be much simpler to get the assistance that your HVAC business needs. Remember to focus on the services and/or skills that you’re getting more than the costs and other factors because the solutions are ultimately what matters the most.
So, now you know the basics of finding a great receptionist for your HVAC company. Where to next? Well, before we let you in on the impressive capabilities of the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, let’s wrap up with some common questions and the answers to them that can further help you in making your decision. Some are recaps while others are new information, but they’re all important, so take note.
As we discussed above, there’s not a single rate you can expect to pay. The average ranges from $10 to $14 per hour, with those who have more experience earning more than those who are at the entry level. You may also spend more on someone who has HVAC experience or training, or who offers some additional service or feature. If you outsource, you could spend a fraction of that on the same (or better) services.
If you’re thinking about it, it’s probably time. It’s not like you’re going to find a checklist that shows you the exact right moment to hire help. However, if you’re tired of having to stop in the middle of jobs or pull your head out of a duct to take a phone call, it could be good to invest in help sooner than later.
There isn’t one specific quality that stands out among the rest since this is a diverse role that requires a lot of skills and qualities. However, it’s always better to choose based on personality and attitude more than anything because those factors can allow the rest to fall into place. Plus, even when things aren’t falling into place, someone with a good attitude will still deliver that professional image your audience deserves.
A virtual receptionist can be a great choice for some companies. You essentially get everything that you want and need from this role, but you don’t have to pay an employee or manage them. You also won’t have to worry about onboarding or where the employee will work because virtual receptionists work from their own offices (or home offices) and deliver the top-quality solutions that you need. Thanks to the Internet and technology, they can handle all the same tasks, no matter where they may be located.
Communications are an integral part of every business. And yet, if you’re out there handling HVAC jobs and taking care of clients, you probably don’t have a lot of extra time to field phone calls, return messages, or handle filing, scheduling, and other tasks. Fortunately, the receptionist is a role that can be filled so that all these things are handled for you.
And, if hiring an employee doesn’t suit you, ask about partnering with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai. Our agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to deliver top-rate phone answering, live chat support, Facebook and SMS message answering, lead intake, scheduling and follow-up, and so much more. Plus, we’ll help craft the ideal strategy for managing it all with ease, and all while you’re taking care of your business.
To learn more, schedule a consultation to find out what the 24/7 virtual receptionists from Smith.ai can do for your HVAC business when it comes to communications and making a great impression. You’ll also find us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (650) 727-6484.
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Contact us at (650) 727-6484 or schedule a call.