Are You Prepared for the Slow HVAC Season?

Are You Prepared for the Slow HVAC Season?

The good news is if your service techs are worth their salt they are already collecting much of the needed system performance information including temperature drop across the coil and outdoor/indoor temperatures.

This is the right time to begin addressing the seasonal lull around Labor Day when summer heat is waning and it’s still too early in most climates to schedule furnace maintenance. As most contractors know, this is one of two low seasons in our industry, with the second usually starting in early January, right after the holidays.
Most companies wait until summer is almost over to reach out to their maintenance agreement customers with offers for early replacement, add-on products, and services. While you may have some success, it’s often hard to get people’s attention as they are bombarded with so many similar offers.

What if you used your service team as your marketing arm? They could collect valuable “intelligence” about your customers’ HVAC systems while performing summer maintenance and demand service work.

A Different Approach
What if you used your service team as your marketing arm? They could collect valuable “intelligence” about your customers’ HVAC systems while performing summer maintenance and demand service work.
The dichotomy of our industry is that in summer your field people are running the wheels off their trucks and working overtime just to keep up with “emergency” service, so you try not to generate additional labor-intensive work. What if your techs spent just a few extra minutes collecting some key information? You could “bank” the gathered data for marketing purposes. What if this data could be used once summer winds down, and you’re trying to fill your schedule?

Banking Performance Information
The good news is if your service techs are worth their salt they are already collecting much of the needed system performance information including temperature drop across the coil and outdoor/indoor temperatures. In addition, to the temperature data above, they would record four key pressure measurements, before and after the filter, and before and after the coil. This information allows you to create an initial system performance profile. The data can then be sent back to the office where it can be reviewed and analyzed.

Home Performance Information can be turned into reports that include an easy-to-understand review of the customer’s system in non-technical language.

This key information can help prioritize your follow-ups. It can be turned into reports that include an easy-to-understand review of the customer’s system in non-technical language, along with recommendations for next steps. These communications can be sent as the summer season begins to wind down.

Since this “marketing” is specific to your customer’s system, it will generate a higher response than traditional marketing. If followed up properly, a large percentage of customers should be interested in how they can have improved comfort, better air quality, and/or reduced energy bills, based specifically on your findings in their homes or buildings.

Contrast this approach with shot-gun marketing which can cost thousands of dollars with low returns as customers are already bombarded with generic messages parroted by most of the companies in your market.
The key is to keep the message simple and understandable. For example, “During our routine maintenance (or service call) this summer, we uncovered issues that could be improved to give you better control of your home’s (building’s) comfort (indoor air quality, utility costs… fill in the blank). We have attached a report based on our findings ...”

Golden Opportunities
As you start measuring system performance you’ll soon discover most of your customers’ systems aren’t performing anywhere near where they should be. You’ll uncover incredible opportunities to improve them. Incidentally you will also likely find equipment replacement opportunities.

Seek out training that helps your team find and fix the causes of poor system performance. Make sure they have the right tools and processes. This means arming everyone in your company, including field techs, sales people, and installers with what they need to address the repairs necessary for optimized delivered performance. Software that helps you collect system data and translate it into consumer-friendly reports is a definite plus. Measurement tools and instruments have vastly improved in the last five years, while prices have come down significantly, making them more affordable.

Contractors taking this approach are reporting highly profitable add-on, off-season sales. These range from $2,000 to as much as $15,000 using this low-key, educational approach to marketing and selling performance improvements to customers. This same approach, with some minor adjustments, can be used in your winter-to-spring low season as well. The most important step is to get started today!

Dominick Guarino is CEO of National Comfort Institute (NCI), (www.nationalcomfortinstitute.com), one of the nation’s premier Performance-Based™ training, certification, and membership organizations, focused on helping contractors grow and become more profitable. His e-mail is [email protected] For more info on Performance-Based Contracting™, go to WhyPBC.com or call NCI at 800/633-7058.

 

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