Running a One Man HVAC Business (Is it Worth It?)

Consider the pros & cons to going solo in HVAC

George Leon | Updated February 11, 2023

You’ve decided to start an HVAC business — that’s exciting news! With your neverending list of to-dos before you can get your business off the ground, you’re probably wondering if you’ll be able to run a successful HVAC company on your own.

Deciding between being a one-man HVAC business and hiring employees or subcontractors can be a tricky decision. While each option provides its fair share of benefits, it’s important to consider all aspects and understand what is most important to you.

To help you hit the ground running with your new HVAC business, we’ve broken down the benefits of running a one-man HVAC business and the disadvantages, so you have a well-rounded perspective.

Understanding both the pros and cons will help you navigate being an HVAC business owner more successfully.

The Benefits of Running a One-Man HVAC Business

There are countless benefits to running a one-man HVAC business, especially when you’re just starting an HVAC business. From only having to manage your own time to cushioning your bottom line, there are many factors to consider.

Here are a few of the many advantages of being the sole employee of your own HVAC business:

  • You get to enjoy higher HVAC profit margins – As a business owner, one of your top priorities is bringing in revenue. When you run the entire show on your own, there are no employee paychecks that will cut into those earned profits.
  • You can keep your prices more competitive – When your team grows, you might need to raise your prices slightly to account for the HVAC tech salary owed to your team. As a one-man HVAC business, you can keep your prices competitive in your local market since you’re the only one that needs to be paid from the profits. Your customers are likely getting estimates from multiple companies, and having one of the lower estimates will win you some extra business!
  • You can get all the leads you need with a simple marketing strategy such as HVAC Facebook Ads.
  • You don’t have to manage a team – Although it can be rewarding sometimes, it can also be a major headache. From dealing with employees who aren’t performing as well as you’d hoped to manage the admin and payroll aspects, you might find yourself in the back office instead of out in the field.
  • You can keep a better pulse on the business – When you’re the only one involved in the day-to-day operations, you will have a better pulse on what’s going on with the business — from customer relations to equipment stock to revenue growth.

If you’re considering venturing into the HVAC trade as a solo operator, you’ll experience plenty of advantages.

The Disadvantages of a One-Man HVAC Company

While there are major benefits to operating a one-man HVAC company, there are certain scenarios where it might make more sense to hire an employee or subcontractor to help.

Without the additional hands and man-hours, you could be doing a disservice to your business by stifling your growth.

As a business owner, your goal is to bring in as many qualified leads as possible. The more leads you have, the more likely you are to convert them into customers.

But what happens when there isn’t enough time in the day for you to take on those jobs? Your customers aren’t going to want to wait a week for service if they’re dealing with an HVAC emergency.

If you’re the only one handling HVAC service calls, you will eventually hit a cap on the number of jobs you can take on. You don’t want to lose out on sales because you have too many leads for one man to handle.

When you hit the point that you have too many leads to take on in an efficient timeframe, it’s time to consider bringing in some additional help. While you will be paying an employee or subcontractor for their services, you will be able to double the amount of revenue coming in (which is a pretty fair trade-off!).

Be mindful of how many employees you take on and when they join the team. Ramping up the number of employees too quickly can dip into your HVAC profit margins, but adding team members one at a time will allow you to scale your team successfully.

Some customers may also not feel confident hiring a one-person business because of the risk of it being a fly-by-night contractor that will disappear when problems arise. Employees serve as proof of your business’s long term outlook and experience.

When to Hire Employees for Your HVAC Business

As your business begins to ramp up and you’re getting more HVAC leads than you can handle, you might decide to add help to your team. This help can come in two forms — an administrative assistant who can handle all the backend operations or an additional skilled HVAC technician to help take on more jobs.

Evaluate your situation and determine what is eating into your time. If it’s the admin side of things, hire help to field phone calls and schedule appointments.

With someone handling your appointments, you have more time to spend in the field taking on more jobs. However, if most of your time is spent in the field and you aren’t able to handle most of the leads coming in, it might be time to hire an HVAC technician to handle service calls as well.

The Verdict: You Can Run a One-Man HVAC Business

To answer your question, yes, you can successfully run a one-man HVAC company. But before doing so, you should consider your growth goals and if they are attainable with one person handling every aspect of the job.

You can be a one-man show when starting out, but you may need to re-evaluate as your leads pick up. As the brain behind the business, you will need to weigh both the pros and cons and determine if a one-man HVAC company is the right choice for you.

Written by George Leon

George Leon

George Leon is a Managing Partner at Scalebloom. He used to be a partner at a painting company in Charlotte NC. George loves to help business owners scale their business with modern marketing strategies and branding.