Plagiarism copying the work of others and presenting as your own is the sign of the intellectually lazy and dishonest  iStock

Plagiarism: copying the work of others and presenting as your own is the sign of the intellectually lazy and dishonest. iStock

'Mysteries' of the HVAC Industry & Nation

Matt Michel ponders a series of HVAC business and life 'mysteries.' If more people took the time to think like this, businesses would grow faster, and customers would be happier.

Much of the world is mysterious to me. I don’t understand, for example, why people repeat poor behavior and expect different results. This isn’t the business equivalent of learning how to ride a bike, but running into a brick wall. It’s going to hurt every time it’s tried.

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Other 'mysteries:

Why isn’t every contractor flat rate? Customers prefer it by an overwhelming margin. It’s easier on the technicians. It’s more straightforward. It eliminates customer complaints about the amount of time spent on a repair. It gives contractors an upfront way to charge what’s needed.

Why do people think a higher minimum wage helps the downtrodden? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 2.6% of hourly wage earners get the minimum wage, most are part-time employees, and half are young. In 1979, when the minimum wage was $2.90/hour, 13.4% of hourly workers earned it. So by raising it, fewer youth get an opportunity to learn first time job skills. Fewer part-time employees get to supplement household incomes. The very people the minimum wage is supposed to help, get hurt.

Why do so many contractors drive white trucks? There no ordinance requiring contractors to drive non-descript, unmemorable service vehicles. Why not wrap trucks to stand out, build the brand, and market?

Why isn’t everyone focused on an exit strategy? Every contractor should be thinking about how he will sell or hand off the business in the future. Working on an exit strategy results in a better run, more robust company prior to the exit and a salable one in the future. Yet, most contractors wait until six months before they want to retire, when it’s too late.

Why doesn’t every contractor read Contracting Business? It features industry focused business and technical advice from the top minds in the business. Plus, it’s free!

Why do so many resent successful people? There was a day when Americans looked up to successful people as positive role models to emulate, not envy. You cannot build yourself up by tearing someone else down.

Why do some think incentive pay corrupts people? Performance pay is no more inherently corrupting than business ownership. After all, every business owner is ultimately paid on performance. All performance pay does is encourage people to act like business owners.

Why don’t HVAC salespeople self-generate more leads? Many act like it’s the company’s obligation to supply every lead. Maybe, but since salespeople are compensated on their personal sales, it seems it is in their interest to make an effort to generate extra business on their own. Sales are one of the few professions where people can give themselves a raise anytime they want.

Why won’t contractors network? People do business with people they know and companies referred by people they know. The way to get to know more people is networking, in-person and online. Connected contractors network in their communities through leads clubs, service clubs, and local special interest groups. They build online networks with Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, and Pinterest. They network in the industry through Comfortech, the Service Roundtable’s International Roundtable, HVAC-Talk, and the Service Roundtable.

Why do people plagiarize? Copying the work of others and presenting as your own is the sign of the intellectually lazy and dishonest. Ultimately, it becomes revealed and carries substantial hidden costs in lost opportunities when people distrust and shun the plagiarist.

Why doesn’t everyone submit entries to the Quality Home Comfort Awards and other business awards? Maybe you win. Maybe you don’t. This much is certain, you will never win if you never enter. If you do win, you will forevermore be known as an award-winning contractor. All it takes to enter most awards and contests is a little time.

Why don’t contractors charge enough? Price resistance can be overcome. Charging less than is needed to earn a profit is subsidizing customers and a guarantee of eventual failure.

Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable. The Service Roundtable is an organization founded to help contractors improve their sales, marketing, operations, and profitability. Call toll free: 877/262-3341 for more information about how to join. Read more columns by Matt Michel — a PentonMedia IdeaXChange™ Xpert by visiting contractingbusiness.com/ideaxchange.
Learn more about HVAC’s largest and most affordable business alliance, the Service Roundtable at Service Roundtable.com or by calling 877-262-3341.

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