How to Price HVAC Jobs? (7 Steps to Maximize Profit)

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📝Key Takeaways:

  • A useful read for HVAC contractors, technicians, small HVAC business owners, individuals considering starting an HVAC business, and homeowners seeking insights into HVAC pricing.
  • Learn how to accurately price HVAC jobs to remain competitive and profitable.
  • Understand different pricing strategies (hourly rate vs. flat rate)
  • Acknowledge the factors influencing HVAC pricing and how to effectively communicate pricing to clients.
  • Identify the ideal profit margin for HVAC companies.

We understand that as an HVAC technician or an HVAC business owner, it is difficult to juggle competitive pricing, unpredictable jobs, and the need to deliver top-notch service all the time. 

Also acknowledging the fact that the HVAC industry has grown at a 13% rate in the past few years. The worldwide market size of the HVAC market is estimated at $367.5 billion by 2030.

With the rising demand, the competition is rising, making it difficult for an HVAC contractor to sustain and earn good profits.

But what if there solution to set your HVAC service prices precisely in a way that covers your costs, keeps you competitive, and fuels your business growth?

Here is the comprehensive HVAC pricing guide on, how we have presented a practical framework for developing an effective pricing strategy that aligns with your HVAC business goals and ensures long-term sustainability. 

We assure you that by the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped to price your HVAC services like a pro.

1. Calculate Your Costs

Getting a clear picture of your overall cost is essential before you set profitable HVAC prices for all your jobs. By conducting a thorough analysis of your expenses, you can ensure that your pricing strategy is both competitive and profitable. 

Once you know your total HVAC cost expenditure, you can add your profit margin and then quote the accurate HVAC estimate before clients. 

So, without any further ado, let’s go through the breakdown of the key cost factors you need to consider:

know your cost

1.1 Material cost

HVAC jobs involve a significant amount of materials. The quantity and type of material that your client requires may vary. 

For instance, a replacement part like a drain pan or a fuse will have different pricing than a new thermostat installation. Try to keep the same selling price of the products as compared to the retail sector and calculate a selling price multiplier for better pricing of the products.

So, you must dive deep into understanding the scope of the work and covering your total project material expenses. There are two types of material costs associated with an HVAC job. Have a look:

  • Direct materials: Parts like air filters, coils, thermostats, refrigerant, etc. (specific to each job).
  • Indirect materials: Consumables like cleaning supplies, safety gear, drop cloths, etc. (used across various jobs).

You need to calculate the overall material pricing that can help you enhance the HVAC load estimation process.

1.2 Labor costs

Labor costs mean the costs or payments made considering how much time the HVAC technician spent on delivering a job. Also, it includes the overall payment made to laborers like technician hourly wages, benefits, payroll, and HVAC tech salaries. 

Here’s a detailed breakdown of what labor costs include:

  • Hourly wages: Your base pay rate or the rate you pay your technicians.
  • Benefits: Employee health insurance, paid time off, etc. These are expressed as a percentage of your base wages.
  • Overhead burden rate: This hidden cost factor includes expenses like payroll taxes, workers’ compensation insurance, and office supplies. It’s expressed as a percentage of your base wages.

Let’s calculate the effective labor rate with an example:

To get a true picture of your labor cost per hour, you need to factor in all the above.

Here’s a formula:

Effective Labor Rate = Hourly Wage + (Benefits % * Hourly Wage) + (Overhead Burden Rate % * Hourly Wage)

Hourly Wage: $30

Benefits: 20%

Overhead Burden Rate: 35%

Effective Labor Rate = $30 + (0.20 * $30) + (0.35 * $30) = $51

FREE TOOL ALERT: Ditch the manual ways of calculating labor costs. InvoiceOwl has a free labor cost calculator using which you can get automated and error-free labor rates. Check now!

1.3 Overhead costs

The combination of all the additional costs except material and labor and the expenses related to managing, promoting, and operating your HVAC system are considered overhead costs.

Since overhead costs are likely to be charged on a monthly or annual basis, it is hard to calculate what your overhead will be for one specific job. Estimate overhead costs for one specific job by finding your hourly overhead rate

Overhead costs usually include costs relating to

  • Business tools and equipment
  • Utility costs and rent
  • Permits and HVAC licenses
  • Fuel and maintenance costs
  • Taxes
  • Business Insurance
  • HVAC marketing and advertising
  • Compensation and benefits to employees

Give this article a good read. It is based on how to calculate overhead costs.

Let’s understand practically how will you calculate the overhead cost or what is the overhead rate formula:

  • Total overhead expense in a month is $3000
  • Billable hours to be charged are 40 hours per week 

Overhead Cost per Billable Hour = $3,000 (Total Monthly Overhead)  / 40 hours (Billable Hours per Week)

Overhead Cost per Billable Hour = $75 per hour

1.4 Subcontractor pricing

If you subcontract the HVAC job to an agency, you need to ask for the total price to accomplish the required task.

You must clearly describe the requirement to help them price the task effectively and avoid future troubles.

Once the subcontractors provide the estimate, you can add your commission or profits to the final pricing and quote the HVAC estimate to your client.

1.5 Taxes

You don’t want to pay business taxes from your net income, right? You need to consider the overall business taxes in your pricing while quoting the price to your customers.

There are two options to charge your customers for HVAC jobs: 

  • You can include taxes when setting up the price. 
  • Charge taxes for individual invoices separately.

2. Choosing the Right Pricing Model

Now that you have determined your total HVAC job costs, it’s time to select the appropriate pricing model that best aligns with your business goals and target audience. 

Here’s a breakdown of the three most common models in the HVAC industry:

2.1 Hourly rate pricing: 

You charge a set hourly rate for your time (or your technician’s time) spent on the job. This rate should factor in your effective labor rate (including wages, benefits, and overhead).

Pros Cons
  • Simple to implement and understand.
  • Offers flexibility for jobs with unpredictable timelines.
  • Allows you to capture additional revenue for complex or time-consuming repairs.
  • Customers may be hesitant if they lack a clear idea of the total cost beforehand.
  • This may discourage preventative maintenance services due to perceived cost uncertainty.

2.2 Flat rate pricing:

You charge a fixed price for a specific service, regardless of the actual time it takes to complete. This price should be based on your average time for similar jobs and your desired profit margin.

Pros Cons
  • Provides greater transparency and predictability for customers.
  • Encourages preventative maintenance by offering fixed-cost packages.
  • Streamlines your sales process by eliminating estimates.
  • Requires accurate time estimations to avoid underpricing complex jobs.
  • Less flexibility for unforeseen complications or extended repairs.

2.3 Value-based pricing:

You focus on the value you deliver to the customer (e.g., increased comfort, energy savings) and set your price accordingly. This model often involves bundled services or long-term maintenance contracts.

Pros Cons
  • Allows you to capture the full value you provide, not just the cost of labor and materials.
  • Builds stronger customer relationships through ongoing service and value focus.
  • Attracts customers who prioritize long-term benefits over just price.
  • Requires effective communication to clearly demonstrate the value proposition.
  • May not be suitable for all customers, especially those primarily price-driven.

How to choose the right pricing model?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to pricing models. The best option for you depends on several factors:

  • Your target customer: Are they budget-conscious or willing to pay for value and convenience?
  • Job type: Do you specialize in quick repairs or complex installations?
  • Business goals: Do you prioritize attracting new customers or building long-term relationships?

Here are some additional tips:

  • Start with a baseline model: Choose one model as your primary approach (e.g., hourly or flat rate pricing).
  • Offer a mix of options: Consider providing both hourly and flat-rate pricing for different service levels.
  • Track your results: Monitor your profit margins and customer satisfaction based on your chosen model.
  • Be flexible: Be prepared to adjust your pricing model over time as your business evolves.

By carefully considering your options and aligning your respective pricing models with your business goals, you can attract the right customers and ensure long-term profitability for your HVAC business.

3. Perform Thorough Market Research

Once you are done calculating and estimating your pricing factors, you can add an extra edge to your HVAC job prices by determining the average HVAC prices in your town or city.

market research

3.1 Check competitors’ prices

You can conduct thorough market research and check your competitors’ prices. Only focus on competitors that target the same segment, cover the same size of operations and align with your HVAC contracting business.

If you target residential-focused HVAC requirements, you don’t want to look for commercial-focused HVAC contractors because of the huge difference in HVAC fundamentals.

3.2 Cross-check your prices

Once you have an average of competitor pricing for your target segments, you need to cross-check with your prices.

If it’s on the extremely high side, you might risk losing your target audience, and if it’s on the shallow side, you might lose out on profit-making opportunities.

You need to balance your pricing and align it closer to the average side. It can work if it’s slightly higher or lower, but you don’t want your prices to be at the extremes.

3.3 Essential market research elements

In addition to your competitor’s price, you should also research the following elements:

  • Your target market
  • Client’s interest
  • The most typical service inquiries
  • The most widely used services
  • Elements that give some HVAC companies a competitive edge

When working on your HVAC pricing strategy, having precise information regarding the above elements might help you succeed.

4. Add Markup on Your Total HVAC Cost

Markups are the percentage added after you arrive at your total cost to be incurred. Total cost is the addition of material, labor, and overhead costs. Markups are specifically added to arrive at your determined profit margin for the targeted job. 

It is closely related to your profits and can be charged separately for services and materials.

Access a free markup calculator to ensure you earn reasonable overall profits for your job. 

5. Upselling (Up-Servicing) can Help Generate More Revenue

Offering consumers more expensive services or add-ons is known as “upselling” and is a sales practice used to increase revenue.

market for upsells

This might be promoting more lucrative services or just educating clients about the various service levels you provide.

Multiple HVAC business contractors have base services that cover the bills and add on different upsells to increase their profit margins.

Sometimes, the customers don’t realize that they require different HVAC services. Training your HVAC technicians to upsell the services can help you grow your business and solve the customers’ problems they were unaware of.

The clients have more trust in the HVAC technicians than a salesperson. They can agree to the additional services when the upsell comes from a professional in the industry.

  • You need to offer the best options for upselling. 
  • Add higher-end products like luxury cooling systems, warranties, and other HVAC products and services based on the client’s budget and needs.
  • Don’t try to sell hard, as it can increase the chances of clients limiting your HVAC services and choosing your competitors in the future. One bad experience can result in you losing a recurring client.

6. Offer Discounts

You can offer discounts on different repair and installation products required in your HVAC business. But you need to purchase your products in bulk to help you maintain profits and deliver a quality customer experience.

Ensure that you don’t discount deeply on total project materials cost and maintain reasonable pricing to secure profits and deliver an excellent customer experience.

Once you offer a discounted price, you can attract recurring service opportunities because of the happy and satisfied clientele that can help you sustain the service business.

If you don’t want to invest and purchase bulk orders for multiple HVAC products, you can filter down the list for specific commonly used products in the daily HVAC servicing business that can help to operate within your budget limits.

7. Deal with Customers Wisely

You’ll come across multiple clients in your HVAC service business who will request discounted prices for different HVAC jobs. Although pricing varies based on experience and expertise in the industry, you can’t compromise below a set estimation cost.

You can’t afford to lose that client because of growing competition, so you need to figure out an alternative way to handle the negotiation of HVAC job prices.

  • Before you agree to offer discounts, you need to consider the profits margin, any upsell opportunity, the long-term scope of the project, or an alternative service within their limited budget.

Exploring these options can help you make informed and calculated decisions that won’t harm your profits or client relationships.

  • If you don’t find an alternative and are restricted with your prices, you can consider downsizing your job to help the client. Cut down some services or lower the material costs using different strategies.
  • You can offer discounted rates on the upsells and maintain profit margins in the base services. This can help you increase the overall project requirement and make the customer happy about the discounted prices and the services offered.

Considering these factors can help you price HVAC jobs for maximum profits and ensure you can provide the right estimates to your clients.

Once the clients consider your HVAC estimates genuine and within their budget, you can deliver your HVAC services based on the initial requirements and demand.

But calculating your estimates can be a hassle if you choose the manual process. You might skip a few important elements, or there are chances of human errors that can hinder your profits.

You need a professional HVAC estimating and invoicing tool, like InvoiceOwl, to help you streamline your estimating and invoicing process and remove the inefficiency and errors from the process.

Say Hello to Error-Free Digital Estimates & Invoices!

Using InvoiceOwl, save time and increase profits by creating error-free estimates & invoices in a zap.

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Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Is the HVAC business profitable?

    Yes. Because of the increase in residential and commercial buildings, the demand for quality HVAC service providers is increasing, and there are a lot of opportunities to make great profits.

  2. How to calculate the HVAC job price?

    The price of the HVAC jobs can be calculated considering multiple factors like labor, overhead, material, and taxes. These factors enable you to estimate your expenses for the job and give you an idea of how much markup to add to earn decent profits.

  3. What is the markup in the HVAC industry?

    The markup is the additional cost increase you do in the overall cost of the HVAC task. You can add markup for products and services separately, which can help you to increase your overall profits.

  4. How do you charge HVAC parts?

    You need to calculate the tool procuration cost of the HVAC products and add your profit margins to quote the estimate to the customer.

    Consider purchasing the item in bulk to lower the purchase price. This can help you offer a decent discount to the customer to increase the conversion rate and delivery quality.

  5. How can estimation software help the HVAC business?

    An hvac heat load calculation software can help you improve your service pricing process and accurately set the HVAC price. Based on your HVAC pricing model, you can set the initial setting in the software and remove the manual management of the estimation process.


In essence, pricing HVAC jobs profitably requires striking a perfect balance between knowing the cost of materials, figuring out labor costs, and taking other considerations into account. Success in the HVAC market depends on developing a pricing strategy and informing clients of your competitive prices. 

Although it might be a time-consuming process, it can be made into a more efficient procedure with the use of the best apps for hvac contractors, like InvoiceOwl. With the software, you can simplify your workflow and boost earnings by quickly estimating and printable hvac invoice template projects. It is a strong piece of software that can provide you with a competitive edge in the market and assist in growing your business.

Author Bio
Jeel Patel
Jeel Patel

Jeel Patel is the founder of InvoiceOwl, a top-rated estimating and invoicing software that simplifies the invoicing and estimating processes for contractor businesses. Jeel holds a degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Toronto, which has provided him with a strong foundation in business principles and practices. With understanding of the challenges faced by contractors, he conducted extensive research and developed a tool to streamline the invoicing and estimating processes for contractors. Read More