How to Start a Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Engineer Business
Starting a refrigeration and air-conditioning business to handle the installation and repairs of equipment for clients requires courage, capital and common sense. You need capital to finance the licensing and registration of your business, the purchase of tools and equipment and the initial marketing. You also need to have enough money to live on until the business starts generating an income, and for this type of business venture, you need a qualification or you will have to employ a qualified engineer to do the actual work.
Get certified. A formal refrigeration and air-conditioning apprenticeship takes between three and five years to complete, and you may find one through a local chapter of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America () or the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers ( ).
Identify the legal structure you want for your business. You can choose from a sole proprietorship, a corporation, a limited liability company or a partnership. Register your business name through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s () website.
Get a business license and permit. Check the SBA’s database of permits to find out what type of federal, state and local license or permit you need for an independent contracting business and the area in which you plan to operate.
Obtain your tax identification number. If you are self-employed as a one-man engineering business, you will need to pay business taxes against your income. If you intend to employ refrigeration and air-conditioning engineers and technicians, you will need an employer identification number.
Contact suppliers for referrals. Clients buying refrigeration or air-conditioning equipment directly from the suppliers may need the contact details of a reliable installer. Offer a finder’s fee for any solid customers the salespeople refer to you.
Join the associations. Both the ACCA and the ASHRAE offer directory listings of contract installers and engineers/technicians that are members of their association. Make sure to list your business on their sites to get maximum value from the advertising.
Market your business. Create a website that shows the services you offer and the area in which you operate. List your credentials and include testimonials from satisfied clients as you get them, to help promote your company.
Advertise in your local newspaper classifieds, and print flyers and business cards with your services and contact information. Approach your local hardware store, real estate agencies and other businesses to place your marketing material on their counters for homeowners to see.
Offer free assessments. Homeowners will welcome the opportunity to have their air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment checked by a professional. This will give you an opportunity to sell your services to the client without having to wait for him to find you.
Provide honest opinions and quote accurately for any work the client needs done. Submit your quotation in writing and include basic terms and conditions regarding payment and deliverables. Do the best work you can and always ask for a written referral.