The state of HVAC is constantly changing. As energy markets fluctuate and client needs evolve, demand for technologies like ductless HVAC, radiant floor heating, and ice-powered air conditioning grows.
HVAC companies running thin margins face a difficult Catch-22: without the resources to invest in their business, they can’t afford to compete with industry heavyweights, but a lack of innovation also leaves them out in the cold.
In a competitive marketplace full of large, well-established businesses with deep pockets, how can smaller HVAC companies level the playing field and win more contracts? One key that opens countless doors to leaner budgets, better service, and greater market share is fleet tracking technology.
Today’s fleet tracking solutions offer HVAC companies far more than mere GPS capabilities. They provide HVAC business owners complete visibility into their fleets, custom real-time alerts, and powerful tools to improve customer and employee satisfaction. Here are five ways you can use fleet tracking to rev up your profits:
1. Reduce fuel costs with idling reports, route optimization, and paperless fuel reports.
Fuel is a major cost center for any fleet, and it’s also one of your business’ most volatile expenses. Without a Ph.D. in economics and control over the weather, anticipating gas price fluctuation in your budget is no easy feat. However, fleet tracking solutions can provide a deeper understanding of how much you’re currently spending on fuel, as well as multiple ways to reduce those costs.
One of the biggest ways HVAC contractors waste money, for example, is by idling their engines. Without fleet tracking technology, you have no way of knowing how much money your trucks are burning through while they’re sitting idle. Fleet tracking reports can show you how drivers are using fuel and whether they’re idling excessively, giving you a baseline for improving your fuel efficiency over time.
Are your drivers data-driven?
Fleet tracking also allows you to optimize your routes to find more efficient ways for drivers to reach their destinations. Not only does this make it easier for contractors to arrive on time — another business booster — it also helps avoid the stop-and-go traffic that drives up gas consumption.
Finally, you can use integrated fuel cards to track gas purchases paperlessly (saving the time it takes to collect receipts and reimburse costs), then use that data to find ways to save on fuel. You can see what fill-up stations are charging, identify more affordable options, and encourage drivers to plan their routes accordingly.
2. Delight customers with timely HVAC service, instant rerouting, and additional resource deployment.
You could install the most efficient, comfortable HVAC system in history and still get a terrible review if you show up to the job site late. Sitting in a sweltering house on a hot summer day when your air conditioner breaks down, watching your appointment time come and go, is nobody’s idea of a good time — and it can be dangerous if you’re vulnerable to heat stroke or hypothermia. For HVAC contractors, getting to clients on time isn’t just good business. It’s a safety precaution.
Fleet tracking solutions make it much easier to ensure punctual service, even when traffic congestion and detours throw obstacles in a driver’s way. Using fleet tracking technology, you can automatically reroute drivers when traffic conditions threaten their ETA, or deploy another contractor if the original technician can’t make it.
Rapid resource deployment also comes in handy when an HVAC contractor encounters an issue on-site that requires extra labor or equipment. This helps ensure that the client is satisfied, and improves your chances of a great review or word-of-mouth reference. By improving your relationships with your current customers, you also boost your chances of winning new contracts.
3. Reach more customers in the same amount of time.
Speaking of new contracts, route optimization provides an added benefit: as HVAC contractors spend less time (and budget) driving and more time delivering high-quality service, you free up space on your company schedule to complete more projects. That means less money in your tank, more in your pocket — a pretty huge benefit from one technology solution!
4. Make collaborative, data-driven decisions with two-way messaging.
A contractor is on the highway, heading toward a huge corporate HVAC installation. It’s your company’s first time working with this high-paying client, so performance on this assignment could make or break a lucrative relationship. And then, everything that can go wrong does go wrong.
Two lanes have been closed due to a nearby accident involving a tractor trailer, slowing traffic to a standstill. Worse, the contractor realizes he forgot to load a mission-critical piece of equipment, and the client is calling him to ask a question about the project estimate. Not only is the job off to a terrible start, but the HVAC contractor is so stressed and frustrated, he’s afraid of what he might say to the customer.
Two-way messaging to the rescue!
Thankfully, the contractor has backup. He calls up headquarters to refer the client’s query to his project manager, and briefs dispatch on the situation. The dispatcher identifies the fastest route to the customer, sends an on-call HVAC technician to drive up the missing gear, and guides the first contractor to the fastest detour. The on-call tech gets to the customer on time, begins the project, and leaves when the scheduled contractor arrives — only minutes later than he originally intended.
This type of game-saving throw is made possible by fleet tracking technology with two-way messaging. Coordinate with your team faster, and use fleet tracking data to guide your decisions, to overcome challenges and deliver top-notch service.
5. Save insurance costs by tracking and encouraging safe driving habits.
Without fleet tracking technology and route optimization, HVAC contractors may be tempted to lay on the accelerator for a better chance at getting to the job on time. That’s a risky bet for your business. Not only does speeding put your driver at risk of injury, but it drives up expenses through traffic fines, insurance spikes, and equipment damage.
You can avoid costly traffic violations with real-time speed alerts, an important feature of fleet tracking solutions. In addition to intervening before your driver gets a ticket, you can use driver behavior reports to reward great driving through a safety incentive program.
Stay Tuned for 5 More Ways HVAC Companies Benefit From Fleet Tracking
These fleet tracking best practices are just the tip of the iceberg. If the opportunity to trim your budget, make mission-critical decisions based on real-time data, and keep your drivers and equipment safe on the road inspire you to take a second look at how your HVAC company manages its fleets, stay tuned for Part Two of this series!
In 5 MORE Ways Fleet Tracking Tech Gives HVAC Companies a Competitive Edge, we’ll explore how this technology enables HVAC fleets to invest in products and services customers demand, like ductless HVAC and variable refrigerant flow. We’ll also talk about how you can leverage your fleet management advantages in your marketing, using service guarantees and great customer reviews to win more business.
Follow SkyBitz on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to make sure you don’t miss Part Two — or any of our business-boosting expert tips!
To learn how SkyBitz Local Fleets can provide the best-fit solution for your HVAC company and schedule a free demo, visit skybitz.com/hvac.