How I Quit My High-Paying Job To Start An HVAC Business

The Journey Begins.
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You ever get tired of the rat race? I did at one point and decided to change direction. In the facilities maintenance world, I was waking up at four, or five a.m., leaving before my newborn son was awake, and returning home after he was already in bed. This routine made me realize that I didn't want to live a life where I never saw my kids. This realization was a significant driver behind my decision to change careers and learn how to start an HVAC business.

The Decision to Leave

A large part of my decision to leave my stable job was driven by the needs of my new family and the desire for a different lifestyle. My hour-long drive to work each morning gave me time to listen to podcasts, and one of the first ones I listened to was "Buy Then Build."

This led me to Brent Bashorn on Twitter and introduced me to the concept of acquisition entrepreneurship.

However, the real push came from my dissatisfaction with my current lifestyle. I wanted to be more present for my family and not miss out on precious moments with my children. Time moves too fast to not take action, honestly.

At the same time, I was running a bitcoin mining farm, which I ended up selling for a significant amount of money.

This sale gave me the financial cushion to take a couple of years off and consider what kind of business I wanted to own.

Choosing How To Start an HVAC Business

Rapid Response Heating & Cooling

When deciding what type of business to start, I knew I wanted to be in the home services industry because it seemed recession-resistant. I considered various options but ultimately chose HVAC because of my background in facilities maintenance at wineries.

We had extensive cooling needs for the wine, and I always had to subcontract the refrigeration work because I didn't understand the theory and systems behind it.

This gap in my knowledge made me realize that if I found refrigeration challenging, others probably did too. I saw this as a potential moat for the business.

Even today, refrigeration theory is a complex topic for a lot of people, and I believe it was a smart choice.

The Search for the Right Business

I spent time traveling around the country, exploring different opportunities. We visited Texas and Tennessee, looking at various refrigeration companies. I sent out several Letters of Intent (LOIs) but didn't get accepted.

Interestingly, some of the companies I tried to buy are now my competitors. Funny, that.

The Reality of Entrepreneurship

If you're wondering whether the switch to owning an HVAC business was worth it, the answer is yes. Don't get me wrong—I work more hours now than I did before, but I have breakfast with my family every morning.

This was my choice and my sacrifice. I wanted to be present for my family, and I try to have dinner with them most nights as well.

Key Takeaways

Family Time: One of the biggest motivators for starting my own business was to spend more time with my family. The flexibility of being my own boss allows me to have breakfast and often dinner with them, despite working more hours overall.

Recession-Resistant Industry: Choosing an HVAC business because it’s essential and less likely to be affected by economic downturns was a strategic move. People prioritize essential services like heating and cooling over other discretionary services.

Understanding Your Market: My background in facilities maintenance gave me insight into the complexities of HVAC systems. Recognizing that refrigeration theory is difficult for many people helped me see the potential for a business with a strong moat.

Final Thoughts

Starting an HVAC business has been a journey of learning and growth. It began with a desire to change my lifestyle and spend more time with my family, and it has grown into a thriving business.

The challenges are different from those I faced in my previous job, but the rewards are well worth it.

If you're considering how to start an HVAC business, remember that it’s about more than just financial success. It’s about creating a life that aligns with your values and priorities.

For me, that meant more family time and the satisfaction of building something meaningful from the ground up. I wouldn’t trade that change for the world.

Jack Carr, CEO of Rapid HVAC

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