In this time of social and economic upheaval (yes, an understatement), HVAC business owners are passionate to preserve what they’ve built.
So much is at stake!
Here I’ll mention the top half dozen backup measures that we’ve taken at Centratel, my answering service business. And because there are parallels, you can use just a little bit of imagination to determine if you’ll need to take similar actions in your HVAC operation.
Perhaps the most important backup consideration is your communications between your customers and your on-call staff. We’ll get to that.
Consider the following as you think about your own business. Centratel (which BTW, provides communications backup to hundreds of HVAC’s nationwide), has seen all kinds of internal ups and downs over its four-decade history. But until now I’ve never felt an end-of-the-line blow could come instantly, from the outside: sudden dysfunctions such as mob actions, electricity grid failure, government fiat or safety/mechanical problems with our building. And of course, the perfect illustration of these concerns is the off-the-wall COVID-19 debacle – the social and political nightmare of our age.
It blind-sided all of us.
For an answering service, without an investment in time and money, a head-quarters building evacuation would have ended everything, darn near instantly. For my family and me, what would that have meant?
A lifetime’s work…gone!
And how is it for you at your HVAC business?
As an owner/manager, what would you do if a crisis hit and your office was evacuated? Or if a critical utility was shut down? Do you have redundancy in your equipment, your data…your people?
Could you manage things without being able to answer the phone or be physically in your office?
Do you use an answering service? If so, what if that answering service abruptly shut down?
How tenuous is the literal survival of your business?
Two years ago. I could feel something unexpected could be coming although I had no clue to what it might be. And so my Centratel staff and I started planning, experimenting and investing. What did we do? To be able to continue to process customer calls no matter what, we installed high tech battery, telephone, internet, and cloud-based data backups. Also, of course, we have a super-reliable electric generator that uses multiple fuels.
But our main safety-net is the fact that we can switch our entire hardware and software infrastructure to another location…In short, if our Bend, Oregon HQ building caught fire and burned down, there would be no interruption in the service we provide our 1,300 nationwide clients, wholly due to our redundancy in equipment, software, and utility access points.
Maybe 2% of the 800 or so answering services nationwide have this capability. My guess it’s less than that. But never mind: Centratel will survive and even prosper, as other answering services fold.
If your HVAC operation employs an answering service, that answering service can literally be the on/off switch for your company. If your answering service goes down, you go down too.
Is your answering service thoroughly prepared?
And it’s ironic: for this most-critical-backup, it’s simple to get started if you have never used one.
At Centratel, we’ve even installed redundancy in our staff: every one of our seven managers has an understudy/backup. And for our actual daily protocols and processes for the business, every single one of them is thoroughly documented as I describe in my book, the just-released fourth edition of Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less. (Call us and we’ll send you a hardcover copy, gratis.)
So, what about your HVAC business? What would altogether take-you-out? Are you thinking it’s a long-shot chance that an emergency of this scale could occur? Time to think again, because the outside world is encroaching more than ever before.
You know that’s true….
Are you ready?
Don’t lose what you’ve worked so hard to build!
-Sam Carpenter, Owner/President, Centratel