Embrace innovation and stay ahead of competitors by learning about the top 15 HVAC industry trends and how to incorporate them into your business model.
15 Important HVAC Industry Trends
The HVAC industry has changed a lot in 10 years. Whether you've been working in the trade and just opened your HVAC business or you're a veteran service provider, you've likely already witnessed significant transformation. As consumer expectations shift and technology continues to advance faster than ever, the demands on contractors to continually raise their game are only set to increase.
Learn about 15 HVAC trends shaping the industry and how to leverage them for continued success.
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Why Is It Important to Keep Up with HVAC Industry Trends?
Keeping up with HVAC industry trends helps you attract and retain more customers and makes your company more sustainable, profitable, and attractive to potential investors.
The HVAC industry is ever-changing, thanks to a range of social and economic factors impacting the world. From environmental concerns to rapid technological advances, it's imperative that business owners offer customers an up-to-date HVAC service or they risk losing their competitive edge. Below, we take an in-depth look at why you should keep abreast of industry trends as an HVAC business owner.
Staying on top of trends means conducting regular market research and understanding consumer expectations and pain points. These days, homeowners can use the internet to search for current trends and will expect you and your team to know more than they do. Being able to proactively offer the most cutting-edge HVAC solutions, you inspire trust from customers, which in turn engenders loyalty.
Being able to align your offering with demand in your area — whether locals prioritize high-tech smart devices or energy-efficient HVAC solutions — you can stay relevant in the local market.
Innovation is at the heart of the HVAC industry, and strategically expanding your service offering is one of the best ways to reach more customers and make more money. Offering new, high-performance HVAC systems before anyone else in your area is an excellent way to stand out from competitors. By developing a reputation as a future-forward leader with your finger on the pulse, you can differentiate yourself and win more HVAC jobs.
As the cost of raw materials continues to rise, you'll need to keep finding innovative ways to cut costs without impacting customer experience. On top of that, society's growing awareness of how our overreliance on nonrenewable energy impacts the environment is driving the increased demand for energy-efficient HVAC services.
Customers might be looking to save money or help save the planet, but there's a strong chance every household or company you work with will state energy efficiency as a priority. Knowing this can help you create marketing messaging that signals your dedication to sustainability and helps you resonate with prospective clients.
If the past decade is anything to go by, changes to the HVAC industry are only set to speed up. Don't worry; that doesn't mean robots are likely to take your job any time soon. But it does mean there'll likely be more innovative software available to take care of menial work so you can get on with developing strategies to grow your HVAC business.
By always keeping up with HVAC trends, you won't encounter surprises down the line and you'll be positioned ready to pivot and adapt as necessary — before your competitors have the chance.
While consumer demands impact HVAC industry trends, environmental regulations and efficiency standards are even more influential. Maintaining HVAC compliance isn't just good for business; it's a legal requirement, and the costs associated with legal repercussions could put you out of business. But even if they don't, the damage to your reputation could seriously damage profits. As such, keeping up with HVAC industry requirements and trends is nonnegotiable.
What's Influencing HVAC Industry Trends?
Let's delve into the factors influencing HVAC trends:
- Policy changes: Government policy plays a critical role in shaping HVAC industry trends, and HVAC operators must be compliant at all times. Whether it's changes to energy efficiency standards, building codes, or emission regulations, make sure you're up to date at all times.
- Climate change: As our understanding of how we impact the environment grows, consumers are increasingly demanding environmentally friendly HVAC solutions. Companies that understand this shift and know how to appeal to an eco-friendly audience can capitalize on this trend — all while making the world a better place.
- Technology: Technology offers HVAC contractors new opportunities for growth every year — and it has a pivotal role in shaping the industry. Smart technology and automation provide customers with superior HVAC products and make it easier for you to run your business.
- Economics: Economic factors, such as fluctuations in the price of raw materials, the increasing cost of living, and changes to the housing market, can influence the HVAC industry. It's important to monitor the economic landscape so you can forecast economic downturns and put the necessary provisions and protections in place.
- Consumers: Consumers are just as influential as policymakers when it comes to HVAC trends. Understanding the unique demands of different customer segments can help you align your service offering with customer expectations and make more money.
- R&D: As collaboration between scientists, manufacturers, and tech providers becomes the norm, more advanced and integrated HVAC systems are being developed. Staying connected to the latest research can help you discover breakthroughs before competitors so you can offer an elevated service to customers.
- Customer feedback: At the granular level, you should allow customer feedback to shape your HVAC company. That doesn't mean changing your business model based on every point laid out in a customer review. Instead, take note when you get the same feedback from multiple customers and make changes after careful consideration.
15 HVAC Industry Trends Shaping Your Business
Here are the 15 most important HVAC industry trends with the potential to shape your businesses' future success.
1. Environmental Impact
Energy efficiency is perhaps the most notable current HVAC trend shaping the industry. Green initiatives and environmental impact are front and center in consumers' minds, and HVAC business owners will notice the shift if they haven't already. The beauty of sustainability is that it often brings long-term cost savings with it, even if there's an increased up-front investment. That means you can charge customers a little more for HVAC systems that save them money in the long term, and everyone — including the planet — wins.
Where possible, partner with suppliers offering high SEER-rated equipment, and be sure to promote your use of energy-efficient products and educate customers about their benefits.
2. Smart HVAC Systems
Smart systems provide customers with enhanced control over their HVAC appliances, helping them feel more comfortable and placing more power in their hands. Being able to monitor and change heating and cooling systems remotely from an app is pretty much a standard expectation for a new HVAC installation, so it's crucial you're fully stocked with the latest smart devices. Not only can you use advanced tech to reach a wealthy demographic, but you can also gain customer insights and optimize performance using these innovative HVAC systems.
Don't forget to train your HVAC technicians to troubleshoot and maintain smart devices effectively and efficiently. Every member of your team should be able to masterfully speak about the features and benefits of each item of HVAC tech you sell.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is disrupting every industry, including HVAC — but that isn't a bad thing. It's unlikely AI will replace HVAC jobs, but business operators who leverage AI will win more work and make more money. AI-powered HVAC tech can optimize energy consumption, predict servicing and maintenance needs, and offer in-depth data-based insights to help you improve and refine your HVAC company's offering.
Don't hesitate to reach out to HVAC suppliers that harness AI so you can incorporate specialized services such as predictive maintenance and energy-efficiency optimization. Incorporate your use of HVAC AI into your sales and marketing materials, and train technicians to upsell these systems by telling them about the benefits. For business owners, they can help prevent resource-draining system breakdowns and eliminate downtime. Homeowners benefit from lower utility bills and the knowledge that their air conditioning system won't stop working.
4. Indoor Air Quality
As science uncovers the impact indoor air quality (IAQ) has on health — especially for older populations — IAQ is becoming increasingly important to HVAC customers. Advanced filtration systems, sufficient ventilation, air purifiers, and air filtration systems are getting more popular as customers look to improve the comfort and livability of their homes. Educate customers about how important IAQ is and offer them comprehensive air quality assessments so you can recommend products to enhance their quality of life and health.
5. Renewable Energy
Pressure from government policies and consumer demands means the HVAC industry is making efforts to explore how it can incorporate the use of more renewable energy. Geothermal solutions and solar power are just two examples of sustainable HVAC solutions that benefit the environment and customers' pockets long-term.
Consult with renewable energy experts and partner with suppliers that provide renewable HVAC systems. Let customers know about the long-term savings offered by renewable systems and make it clear if you can help them afford up-front costs by offering financing options or packages.
6. Ductless HVAC Systems
Ductwork has been one of an HVAC business owner's biggest problem in the past. Not only can it contribute to unfavorable noise levels, but it also tends to degrade faster than the rest of the HVAC unit. Ductless HVAC systems are one of the most beloved HVAC innovations from recent years, and more homes and businesses are opting for the additional control afforded by zoned heating and cooling.
Including ductless HVAC systems in your product list is a no-brainer, but don't forget to educate customers on what makes them better than traditional systems. By investing in training and development for you and your team, you can sell more specialty products and improve the quality of life for your customers.
7. Predictive Maintenance
If you work with industrial or commercial HVAC clients, predictive maintenance is one of the most transformative trends you can explore. Combining the power of AI and data analytics enables HVAC professionals to predict equipment failures and downtime before they have a chance to impact operations.
Being able to offer customers enhanced system reliability and breakdown prevention is a major selling point for clients who rely on HVAC systems to operate. Restaurants, manufacturing plants, and oil and gas are especially lucrative markets for preventive maintenance.
One of the reasons the economy has burgeoned in recent decades is the increased demand for customized solutions. Consumers expect to be treated as individuals — and they expect their products and services to cater to their unique needs. Offering a more personalized service is an HVAC trend that will continue to grow and permeate your entire operation, from communication channels to product offerings.
Use customer feedback to shape your service according to your customers' preferences. This can be as simple as using a CRM system to capture and remember important information. Or it could be as complex as creating targeted marketing campaigns that highlight how new technology affords customers more control over the comfort of their homes.
9. Geothermal HVAC Systems
Geothermal systems are HVAC solutions that use renewable energy to provide heating and cooling for homes and businesses. These systems rely on the earth's stable temperature to transfer heat and can save customers money in the long term.
Keep in mind that offering innovative, eco-friendly technology is an excellent way to upsell to customers. When someone comes to you for a heat pump, you can offer them a standard one for a basic price — but also provide the additional option of a geothermal heat pump for a higher price, with a higher markup. As long as you and your team can confidently and thoroughly explain the benefits, you'll sell more geothermal heat pumps and increase profits.
10. HVAC Augmented Reality
When it comes to HVAC repair and maintenance, augmented reality, or AR, can be a game-changer for HVAC contractors — making it one of the industry's hottest trends. It enables you to access real-time data from your clients' appliances, which streamlines troubleshooting and improves customer experience. Adopting AR can help you minimize downtime for customers and shape training initiatives for staff.
11. Data Analytics
Analytics have been around for a while, but their potential to enable you to level up customer experience and your service offering continues to grow. By collecting and analyzing data, your HVAC company gains indispensable insights into customer intention, behavior, and system performance. Consider investing in software that helps you gather data from all your communication channels, offers insights into that data, and makes recommendations on an easy-to-use dashboard.
12. HVAC Business Management Automation
As an HVAC service provider, there's no doubt you have a ton of work to do each day. Managing a business requires you to be able to act as an accountant, salesperson, marketer, technician, and customer service executive and take on many other roles. Many contractors have the necessary skills to take on all that work, but finding the time can be extremely challenging when you're working alone.
Business management software has revolutionized the HVAC industry by facilitating growth. CRM, payroll, scheduling, compliance, and maintenance software can significantly reduce the amount of paperwork and manual tasks you need to perform each day. Once you're free to put more focus on business strategy service delivery, you'll be on the path to growth in no time.
13. Prioritizing Ultimate Comfort
If you're able to improve customers' quality of life by making them more comfortable, positive reviews and repeat customers will come rolling in. Modern HVAC users expect to be able to personalize the temperature of their home from their phone so they can enjoy maximum comfort there. It's important for HVAC providers to incorporate this knowledge into their customer service and marketing materials so they can stay relevant in such a competitive market.
14. Digital Marketing and E-Commerce
One of the trends continuing to impact how HVAC contractors operate their business is the shift toward digital marketing and e-commerce. Not only can you easily sell products directly on your website as an additional revenue stream, but you can also use the internet to expand your reach and attract more customers.
15. Industry Standards
As technology continues to proliferate and environmental concerns become more pressing, HVAC industry standards are becoming increasingly stringent. As a business operator, it's crucial you stay up to date with the latest changes so you can remain compliant. Examples of regulations and standards that have tightened up in recent years include:
- Energy Efficiency Standards: SEER and EER
- Refrigerant Phase-Out: R-22 and Hydrochlorofluorocarbon
- IAQ: ASHRAE Standard 62.1Regional and National Building Codes Emission Reduction Initiatives
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