Winning estimates is an important part of every HVAC business’s success. They are key to driving revenue and establishing long lasting customer relationships. Of course, not all estimates will look the same, and there is no one size fits all. Nevertheless, your bids should be consistent and error free to ensure the highest chance of success–which is why so many businesses have turned to HVAC proposal software.
Below, we’ll cover the ins and outs of HVAC proposal software and dive into all the ways it can help you increase your sales and conversion rates!
Prefer to listen? Tersh Blissett has taken his HVAC business to the heights of success and he shared how he did it on our podcast, Take Stock! Presented by Commusoft
1. What is HVAC estimating software?
The goal of sales software is relatively straightforward–it should help you create proposals that stand out from the competition. However, these systems can be quite complex, and it’s important to know what type of software will best fit your needs.
An HVAC proposal software should have hard-coded formulas and data structures built into it. This means it will automatically do calculations for you—like how much you should markup parts. It also allows you to store information in the system, meaning if you do the same types of jobs often, the data can easily be pulled and added to the proposal.
A great estimating software should let you send price requests to vendors. Once your vendor sends the information back, the software will automatically save the pricing for future jobs. This enables companies to be confident they have up-to-date and accurate HVAC price books while eliminating the back and forth.
When presenting these options to customers as an estimate, it’s also important that the system enables you to present a good, better, best HVAC proposal. This will ultimately help increase your acceptance rate and drive revenue growth. If your company doesn’t offer this type of pricing yet, read about the benefits of good, better, best here.
Ultimately, HVAC sales software should reduce the majority of manual work involved in creating proposals and help you win more business. If you’re struggling with this, we’ve also put together a downloadable guide with templates which you can access below:
2. The benefits of using it over manual methods.
Moving your business from paper or spreadsheets to a dedicated sales system can feel overwhelming, but it shouldn’t stop you! It will take time to adjust to a new tool and properly train your team on how to use it, but the benefits of using HVAC proposal software are well worth the investment.
To explain how, we’ve broken down the areas in which estimating software will have the biggest impacts on your business:
HVAC proposal software gives you back valuable time
Manually creating an estimate–whether that’s in a spreadsheet or with pen and paper–is no easy task. It can be time consuming even for the most seasoned of pros, and as the saying goes, time is money. Therefore, if you can get back even one hour in your busy day, every day, it’ll be extremely valuable.
For example, if the average estimate takes you 45 minutes to complete, and you typically send out 2 estimates a day, that’s an hour and a half you are losing daily. If you could create your proposals in 10 minutes with HVAC estimate software, then you’ve regained over an hour back per day, and up to 7 hours a week.
What could you do with that additional time? Take on more jobs? Dedicate it to marketing efforts you’ve been neglecting? Or even just make it home to dinner on time?
Ultimately, when you manually create a proposal, it often requires a lot of back and forth and consulting multiple resources. Not to mention if a price sheet gets misplaced or an estimate template gets deleted, you need to spend hours hunting those files down, or even resort to completely remaking them.
With a dedicated HVAC proposal software, the majority of this work will be automated for you. The system will pull accurate prices for parts, calculate labor rates, and even let you edit and customize ready made templates.
Not only will this improve your own efficiency and revenue, but it will also…
Increase customer satisfaction
In our customer focused world, dominated by the likes of Amazon and Uber, people have come to want things quickly. This means sending an estimate to a customer three days after they requested it just won’t cut it anymore. It needs to be instant.
This is especially true if you do emergency work. If a customer calls because their air conditioning has failed in the peak of summer, they’ll need your estimate ASAP. If your turnaround is longer than a day, you’ll likely lose that job to the competition.
Not only that, but if you leave them hanging for days, it can leave a bitter taste in their mouth. They might even take to the web and leave you a bad review, telling everyone how unresponsive you were in their time of need.
On the other hand, if you can get them their estimate within hours–or even create it while onsite–they’re far more likely to be pleased. And that’s where HVAC sales software comes in.
Ready to create estimates customers will love and win more business? Then be sure to check out expert Aaron McLeish’s tips in the video above!
If you choose a cloud based option, your team can simply create the estimate while on the job and even have the customer sign off on it there and then. This eliminates any need to run back to the office to consult your documents, or having to call your vendors to check for pricing.
By providing an accurate and timely estimate to the customer, you’re much more likely to win the job. In fact, 35-50% of sales go to the business that responds first. This means you have up to a 50% chance of winning more work there and then, if you’re able to provide an estimate on the spot!
And once you start winning more proposals, you can begin to benefit from…
Using HVAC sales software for superior reporting
An essential part of winning more proposals is to analyze data. It’s important that you have detailed reporting on which estimates are the most and least successful. This way you can replicate your wins, and be sure to avoid the mistakes that led to your losses.
When using manual methods, it can be challenging to generate this information. It requires businesses to be extremely organized, and have a solid understanding of profit margins, vendor pricing, labor costs, and any special discounts applied to certain projects.
It is ultimately very time consuming, which is why many paper based field service companies struggle with reporting.
The good news? With HVAC proposal software, it’s not nearly as difficult. Many of these systems integrate with, or will already be a part of, an all-in-one job management system. This means data can automatically be pulled from your sales tool and factored into the entirety of the job.
This is valuable because from this information you can learn how to create the ultimate estimate–and even automate it. Not only will it make your business more successful, but it will also enable you to save time to work on even more bids.
3. How to use HVAC proposal software to sell more.
If you’ve made it this far, it’s a strong indicator that a sales software will be beneficial for your business. Now that you know all the benefits, how exactly can you use HVAC estimating software to your advantage when it comes to sales?
A key part of it will be leveraging the automation features.
Instead of having to manually track your lead opportunities, the system should streamline your sales funnel for you. Be sure to set up sequences with reminders on when to call and email prospects. This way, a lead will never get lost in the pipeline, and you’ll never lose an opportunity because of poor communication.
In fact, just by sending an additional follow up email after providing a lead with an estimate, you can increase your chances of hearing back by 25%!
This means your HVAC sales software should also enable you to automate emails. This will eliminate the time you and your team spend on typing out every communication. If you’re unsure what to say in these communications, we have you covered. Check out our complete selling guide below!
Also, be sure to leverage the proposal builder in your sales software. If you can create a standout estimate, it will really separate you from the competition. Provide detailed information in a simple format so customers can easily understand what you are offering.
For example, a typical estimate will consist of about seven parts:
Terms and conditions
With HVAC sales software, the majority of this information can be automatically imported into your proposals as well. Once you have a standard template set up, most systems will enable you to drag-and-drop fields and populate smart pricing options.
By presenting your customers with professional and comprehensive estimates, you’re sure to increase the amount of business you convert.
The takeaway on HVAC proposal software.
Automating your estimating process with HVAC sales software is a great way to regain valuable time and increase your profitability. These systems are built to do the hard work for you–meaning less time on calculations and more time focused on creating exceptional customer experiences.
Switching to any new software comes with a learning curve, but the benefits always outway the disadvantages. With HVAC proposal software you can ensure your estimates are both accurate and successful. Not to mention, the system will provide you with valuable data on how to win even more estimates and scale your business exponentially.
If you’re ready to streamline your estimating process and sell with greater confidence, check out our sales guide, Stop Quoting, Start Selling, below. It has everything you need to level up your HVAC sales and win more business!
Hi! I'm Ashley Tortorelli
When I'm not researching industry trends and writing about business strategies, I spend time with friends and family, travelling, and searching for the world's best chocolate chip cookie.