How to Get Hired in Outside Plumbing Sales: Is it Right for You?

Sep 30, 2019

HVAC and plumbing is a fast-growing market. It seems unbelievable to many people that such a basic necessity for the past 100 years is growing, but multiple factors contribute to the rise of HVAC and plumbing outside sales.

During the 2008-2011 recession, people couldn’t afford to update their outdated units and plumbing. The housing industry also screeched to a halt. However, all of this has changed as everyone has mostly recovered and now have a steady income again.

A typical problem for HVAC and plumbing outside sales is that it isn’t as obvious as other industries as say, remodeling a kitchen or getting a new roof. Customers might not be as happy, then, to shell out a lot of money for it. However, this changed as people struggle with their old units during the record-setting hot summers and cold winters. The first thing that most people will pay for is a new unit as soon as they can afford it. In addition, the housing industry is picking up again as well.

Now that the industry is exploding, it’s an ideal time to start working in HVAC and plumbing outside sales.

But how do you know if it’s right for you? And how can you start working in outside sales?

We’re going to break down what you need to know about HVAC and plumbing outside sales, including salary, skills, and challenges for the industry.

About HVAC Outside Plumbing Sales

First off, let’s discuss a little about outside sales for the plumbing industry. It’s useful to get to know the industry and find out if it’s right for you before diving into a career.

What Does Outside Sales Mean?

Inside sales have been getting a lot of attention and for a good reason. It’s on the rise as the internet, social media, and mobile phones have become indispensable to our daily lives and the way we shop.

However, there is still a need for outside sales reps, and the HVAC industry is an excellent example of that. Outside sales entail meeting with the customer base face-to-face. It means getting outside of the office to sell.

Outside sales are required for plumbing because it requires actual demonstrations and dealing with equipment directly. Sales reps can put a face to the business and helps put the customer at ease.

Love sales but not staying cooped up in an office all day? Outside sales might be the right career move for you.

What is the Average HVAC/Plumbing Salary?

Although you may love your job, it still might not be ideal if it’s not paying the bills. Thankfully, HVAC sales can be a lucrative career.

The average salary for HVAC outside sales is $95,000 a year, according to Neuvoo. The base salary is an average of $59,019, but commission tends to be more lucrative. Experienced and talented sales reps can expect to make up to $161,000 a year.

This salary is even more impressive, considering that the average outside sales rep earns about $49,335 a year. If you’re willing to work hard, develop your selling skills, and gain in-depth insight into your product, HVAC and plumbing sales could be right for you.

Keep in mind, though, that these are averages. As stated above, the industry was not immune to the recession a decade ago. Also, work is very seasonal and tends to peak in the heat of summer and cold of winter. Money management skills, then, are critical for a job in the industry.

For some people, the seasonal nature of the job is a strength, though. Some people prefer slow seasons so they can concentrate on other aspects of their lives, such as vacations, time spent with family, side hustles, etc. Depending on your career goals, you may want a seasonal career.

What Does HVAC/Plumbing Outside Sales Entail?

Although it might be easy to get excited about a lucrative income in sales, it’s essential to understand what the job entails first. You don’t want to waste time on a career that isn’t right for your skillset or personality type.

HVAC/Plumbing pays well for a reason: it takes a particular, and somewhat rare, personality type. Sales reps have an excellent mix of customer service and technical skills that help them be successful in the industry.

Plumbing and HVAC are precise and take a lot of technical knowledge. Often sales reps are former technicians themselves, although that is not necessarily required. What is required, though, is understanding the equipment and services thoroughly in order to explain it clearly to customers.

Sales reps need to establish their expertise and credibility early on in their client relationships. In fact, 70% already think that they know more than sales reps, so any sales reps need to prove themselves to potential customers.

It also takes technical computer skills. Although outside sales spend time meeting with customers face-to-face, 68% of their customers prefer to research online first. Sales reps need to capture these leads with a solid sales strategy. Mediums such as social media, blogs, and message boards are all necessary for sales reps to utilize.

In addition to a solid internet selling strategy, outside sales do require a hefty amount of traveling. About 1/3 of a sales rep’s time in HVAC requires traveling. Travel is needed for everything from meeting contractors, going to trade shows, and meeting with clients. If you’re unsure about traveling or hate spending time in the car, it might not be the right career for you.

However, if you have the right skill set and don’t mind some time driving, HVAC and plumbing sales could be the ideal career for you.

Get Hired in Outside Plumbing Sales

Outside HVAC and plumbing sales is a promising career. It takes more expertise and hard work to learn the product and demonstrate it to customers, though. With the right preparation, organization, and grit, you can earn a great living with a rewarding job!