An HVAC consultant inspects some machinery.

Your Guide to Plumbing and HVAC Consultants

As an HVAC consultant, you have industry knowledge in heating, ventilation, and AC, except you won’t have to do the work. The consultant job leans towards the business end and dealing with customers rather than doing the actual fixing. Here is your complete guide to heating and plumbing consultants and all the information you’ll need when you need to hire one.

The Role

It’s a type of HVAC job that involves using your specialized knowledge to give advice to homeowners and business owners for their indoor air quality needs. To put it simply, when you need to have work done on your residential or commercial property, you need help throughout the process. You probably don’t know where to begin in the process of upgrading your air systems. Or when to begin. Sometimes you need someone to help you find a budget-friendly solution. In such cases you can hire a consultant, a person who knows all the ins and outs of the industry and can provide you the answers to your questions on cost-saving methods to high-efficiency solutions that help the customer understand what they’re putting their money into.

What You Need as an HVAC Consultant

1. Proven Industry Knowledge

When you’re assessing a customer’s home or building, you need to know how everything works and be able to offer solutions to a customer’s problem. Sometimes you’re a heating consultant, other times a plumbing consultant. Therefore, it’s necessary to have a broad knowledge. While it’s technically not required that you have experience with hands-on technician work, you need to be able to understand what repairs and installations can entail. It’s recommended that you have industry and HVAC design knowledge, a branch of the field that deals with the engineering aspect of HVAC. Also, you’ll need to be aware of building codes to provide comprehensive advice.

2. Product Knowledge

Your knowledge of products needs to be thorough and current. First, you must have comprehensive knowledge of product use, product vendors, and pricing to help give your customer a budget-friendly solution. Second, your knowledge must be up-to-date. Delivering exceptional service to your customer depends on giving them information on the latest and most effective technologies as your customer’s goal is often upgrading.

3. Business Acumen

Don’t let this part scare you. Having a good business acumen does not mean you need a business degree. This simply means that in order to succeed with your customers, you need to develop a good understanding of problem-solving because half of your customers will be businesses and large institutions like schools and hospitals. To impress your customers, you will need to approach solutions and methods from the perspective of a business owner. For instance, you will take into account budget, efficiency, and environmental factors.

4. Customer Skills

This is one of the types of HVAC jobs that focuses on the customer. While a technician focuses on the labour, as a consultant you will have to have people skills. It is key to be clear and informative with the customer. Also, you may need to “sell” the solution to the customer when you present it to them. For this reason, a lot of HVAC consultants have a background in sales, because a large part of the job involves communicating with customers. Overall, maintaining a good rapport with customers is a priority, so that they come back to you for work in the future.

5. Being Up-to-Date

One of the main reasons people hire a plumbing or heating consultant is the knowledge that your customer doesn’t have. They will be aware of what systems they currently have, but will come to you when it’s time for an update. Also, a lot of institutions are opting for energy-saving and environmentally-friendly solutions. Therefore, it’s necessary to know the latest environmentally-friendly technologies, methods, and trends.

6. Network within the Plumbing & HVAC community

One of the ways you will help your customer is setting them up with an HVAC technician or company who will do the installation, repair, or upgrade. In order to keep a good reputation, it’s essential to know the best HVAC companies for referrals. Also, you eventually want people to come to you for consultations, so to get your name out there, it’s important to impress your customers and keep a good relationship with them.

Specific Responsibilities of an Plumbing/HVAC Consultant

  • Meetings with customers: This job involves a lot of meetings with the customer. It is essential to establish at the first conversation, before the in-person meeting, the customer’s goals, needs, and problems. Throughout the entire consulting process, you will ask a lot of questions from the customer and inform them on solutions, products, and more
  • In-person consultation: One of the first things you’ll need to do is meet with the customer to do an assessment. This includes examining the current system and facilities and asking questions to gather as much knowledge as you can of what you’re working with.
  • Assessment: As a consultant, assessing the situation will lead you to a solution. Whether it’s an installation, repair, or upgrade, assessing is what you need to determine how to move forward in the process.
  • Creating solutions: Planning a solution requires organization and good analysis. The role entails preparing a solution proposal and presenting it in a way your customer will understand. Planning involves anticipating the various factors that come with a solution: building codes, noise, budget, environment, etc.
  • Implementing plans: You will also be responsible for implementing plans, because customers come to you for help in this area. Therefore, you need to set them up with technicians and to purchase the products and materials.

How to Prepare for your HVAC Consultation

If you’re a business owner or homeowner who called for consulting services, there are several things you can prepare for so that your meeting is effective and smooth. Here are some things to expect at your in-person consultation.

  1. Prepare a list of problems or goals. It is important that you can clearly outline your current problem or goals for updating. This is to help the consultant give you the best help, and focus their assessment for the specific goals.
  2. Consider your budget ahead of time. Your consultant will work around your budget, and it will be an important subject that will come up at your meetings.
  3. Expect a lot of questions. Be prepared to answer questions about the rooms or areas which are difficult to heat or cool, the ducts, your energy history, etc. It is even recommended to have previous energy bills ready to show the usage.
  4. Reserve time to be there at the meeting. Even if you’re at home, you need to make sure that you can be available to accompany your consultant around the house, answer all questions, show them problem areas, and have the conversation.
  5. If there’s a specific area of the ducts or a heater which needs to be shown to the consultant, make sure it’s easy to access. If something you need to show is blocked off, it may take too much time to unblock the area and makes it harder for the consultant to assess the situation properly.