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Residential Or Commercial Air Duct Cleaning Services?

Posted by Peter Haugen on Tue, Jan 12, 2016 @ 09:46 AM

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Residential Or Commercial Air Duct Cleaning?

Residential and Commercial air duct cleaning are both great business opportunities.  They both deliver the customer benefits of improved indoor air quality and improved HVAC system efficiencies.  Some contractors serve both markets while others specialize in one or the other.  There are differences however that you should be aware of as you examine these opportunities: 

  • Work Time: Residential projects are typically done during the daytime while the majority of commercial projects are done during 2nd shift. (4:00pm to midnight).
  • HVAC Systems: Residential HVAC systems are relatively simple to understand and are modest in size while commercial HVAC systems are larger and more complex. You’ll deal with many more components like: inline fire dampers, turning vanes, internal insulation, ductboard, etc.  
  • Average Revenues: Residential project revenues, depending on the services provided, will range from $300.00 to $700.00 while commercial project revenues will range from $1,000.00 to $1,000,000.00 or more, with an average of $4,000.00 to $5,000.00. 
  • Payment Terms: Residential is great for cash flow because you typically get paid at the end of the project while payment on commercial projects can be out 30 – 60 – 90 days or more. A good line of operating credit with the bank is needed to meet payroll and other expenses while you wait for payment.  You also might need higher liability insurance and bonding capability. 
  • Project Cleaning Specifications: Residential projects typically don’t have a cleaning specification; the contractor must satisfy the homeowner while most commercial projects have a cleaning specification. This cleaning specification tells the contractor what requirements have to be met (experience, certification, insurance, bonding capability, cleanliness verification, etc.) and what HVAC system(s) have to be cleaned.
  • Certification: None is required for residential projects but certification can be a good marketing tool to separate you from your competition.   More and more commercial project specifications are requiring the contractor to be a member of National Air Duct Cleaners association (NADCA) and have at least one Air Systems Cleaning Specialist (ASCS) to even bid on the project.    In these cases certification is vital for success in the commercial air duct cleaning market. 
  • Equipment: Commercial HVAC systems are larger and more complex.  They require additional and larger equipment so the contractor can be productive and profitable.   Labor is the single biggest cost in commercial air duct cleaning so maximizing productivity and cleaning quality is very important.        
  • Marketing: In the residential marketplace the contractor is marketing to the homeowner while in the commercial marketplace the contractor is marketing to a wide variety of audiences: mechanical contractors, fire/water/mold restoration contractors, engineers/architects, indoor environmental professionals  etc.

For a more information on the differences between Residential and Commercial air duct cleaning, request our “Going from Residential to Commercial Air Duct Cleaning Guide.” And for more information on the different types of air duct cleaning tools and where they work the best, request our “Selecting the Right Tool for the Job Guide.” Also you can contact Peter Haugen at 855-Vac-Systems, or 952-808-1619 or phaugen@vacsysint.com with any questions.