HVAC contractors can easily add duct cleaning services to their company by following a few tried and true steps, as explained by cleaning and restoration contractor David Hart.
So you’re an HVAC contractor and you’ve decided to reap the enormous benefits of providing duct cleaning services to your roster of clients. Congratulations! Time and time again, HVAC contractors tell me that adding duct cleaning services to their business is the smartest move they’ve made since launching their company.
Since HVAC contractors install and regularly service residential and commercial HVAC units, it only makes sense that those same HVAC contractors should be the ones to make sure that the HVAC duct systems are clean and free of debris. Now the real question becomes, What do I need to add duct cleaning services to my HVAC contracting company?
Adding duct cleaning services to your existing HVAC company can be an extremely simple, inexpensive and very rewarding process. Follow these following steps, and I guarantee the hardest question you will have to ask is why didn’t you add duct cleaning sooner.
I. Choose What Duct Cleaning Method to Use
There are three main types of duct cleaning methods: negative air method, portable brush method and positive air method. And, you guessed it, each duct cleaning method comes with its own set of equipment and pros and cons. Let’s review.
Negative Air Method - This requires the use high CFM machines, either portable or mounted to a trailer or truck. The machine is attached to the duct system by way of cutting an (approximately) 8 to 12 inch access hole into the HVAC system. The HVAC air handler is switched off, and the machine is turned on, pulling air from the ducts, creating negative pressure within the HVAC system.
Ducts are agitated via skipper ball, whips and/or brushes which are fed into the duct system via smaller holes that are cut into the ducts. The loosened, airborne debris is pulled into the portable machine, trailer or truck.
Pros: Excellent dust removing efficacy.
Cons: Expensive, high maintenance, requires cutting into ducts, time consuming, often doesn’t remove larger debris from ducts, can cause ducts to collapse under the negative pressure.
Portable Brush Method – This duct cleaning method involves inserting a spinning brush into the vents; the brush agitates dust off of the duct walls, but is unable to remove larger debris (anything beyond dust) from the ductwork. There is a tendency to cause damage to flex ducts if construction debris such as nails, screws, razor blades, etc. are spun around inside the duct via the brush.
Pros: Portable, all in one piece of equipment.
Cons: Doesn’t remove debris other than dust, clogs easily, high maintenance, potential damage to flex ducts.
Positive Air Method – A similar principle to the negative air method, it uses the air handler for airflow, negating the need to cut into the duct system and hook up an auxiliary, high CFM air mover. Blasting balls and/or whips are inserted into the ducts via the register openings to agitate debris from the ducts.
As the debris exits the ducts, it passes through a clear viewing box (illuminated with LEDs), positioned at the register opening, to which is attached a portable vacuum. In order to remove large debris such as chunks of sheetrock and other construction garbage, the vacuum hose is then disconnected from the viewing box and inserted directly into and through the ducts via the register opening.
Pros: Portable, removes all kinds/sizes of debris, safe on flex ducts, time efficient, visual wow factor.
Cons: When compared to the other two duct cleaning methods, this method definitely has fewer cons. Yet “fewer” isn’t completely zero. The truth is, in my experience and with those whom I’ve spoken to, I couldn’t come up with anything worth mentioning. But I am always open for a discussion.
II. Identifying Who On Your Team Will Perform Duct Cleaning
Duct cleaning is not rocket science, it is simply turning dirty tubes into clean tubes. If you have a system that requires minimal space in your existing vehicles, your existing HVAC technicians can become your duct cleaners. They can do routine maintenance, and perform the duct cleaning on the same call.
The other option is to hire and train technicians specifically for duct cleaning. A duct cleaning technician with the right equipment can clean two to three average-sized homes per day. At $400-$600 (for an average 2,000-2,500 square-foot home), your bottom line is going to see a dramatic increase. The revenue per hour for commercial duct cleaning is typically double that of residential. If you decide to get into disaster/forensic restoration duct cleaning, the revenue is considerably more beyond that.
III. How to Market Your New Duct Cleaning Services
Guess what? You already own a successful HVAC contracting company. You have an entire database of satisfied customers inviting you into their homes and businesses to perform installs and service on their equipment. When your technicians are already there addressing the HVAC system, they can do an inspection on the customers’ ducts and suggest cleaning if needed.
Marketing duct cleaning can be as simple as adding “Now offering duct cleaning” to all of your existing marketing materials. Advertise it on the side of your vans. Add it to your mailers. Insert it into your TV and radio advertisements.
Use your database of existing contact information and do an email blast announcing that you’ve added duct cleaning to your suite of services. Run a social media ad campaign via Facebook that you now offer the service. This is a great way to get into new customers’ homes and businesses. Once they’re impressed by your duct cleaning, they will trust you with their routine maintenance as well. Maintenance customers become duct cleaning customers, and duct cleaning customers become maintenance customers. It’s a win/win for you and for your customers.
As alluded to in the beginning, why haven’t you offered duct cleaning until now? It’s, without a doubt, one of the easiest and most profitable service add-ons available. Indoor air quality has never been more at the forefront of the public’s mind. Never in history has there ever been the kind of demand for duct cleaning we are now experiencing, and this trend is here to stay, and will only continue to exponentially increase.
There’s money in those ducts — lots of it. It’s been accumulating there for years. All you have to do is go get it! If you don’t, your competitors will; they already are. And they’re making a killing. Now it’s your turn.