Today in our industry there are many voices clamoring for your attention that promise prosperity and security for your career and companies. “Sell this product, buy this franchise, be our dealer, use this system…” Each voice offers their version of a silver bullet for your success. The simple answer to success for your company and your career however is internal. It’s your own unique product. You build it, and nobody else can sell it to you. Your brand is on it.
When you boil it all down, the single product you can offer that assures your success is your ability to deliver real efficiency and keep your customers genuinely comfortable. Although promised by everyone, it’s rarely delivered. This product is the most tangible thing you can offer and delivering it profitably should be the primary idea driving your business operations.
Comfort and efficiency are unique products that you discover, fabricate and install. They are one-of-a-kind goods created for each unique and individual system. This product costs very little and can sell at the highest margins. It’s not the component-based commodity the industry would have you believe it to be that’s available in a box. The income generated by crafting comfort and efficiency remains in your company, and is not redistributed to any manufacturer.
Comfort and efficiency are invisible. These tangible benefits however can only be felt and measured. Discovering their existence can be done by employing time proven testing methods coupled with today’s advanced technology. Real skills must be learned and practiced to identify if these invisible aspects are present in a system or not. Yellow tags express only laboratory potential; they offer no guarantees to your customers. Make no mistake; real comfort and efficiency is your product and it can be your custom created brand that differentiates you from the rest of your competition.
Few practitioners have invested the time, paid the price and learned the disciplines necessary to effectively test and diagnose an HVAC system to identify if comfort and efficiency have in fact, been delivered. Those that test and diagnose find the reasons few system perform well. Their reward is what many are searching for in their individual professions.
The average operating residential HVAC system has an operating efficiency of less than 60% of its published capacity. With the economic engine of our industry built on the promise of efficiency, your ability to discover field related inefficiencies and improve or eliminate them is a new frontier in our industry today.
Your ability to increase the operating efficiency of a system by 10%, 20%, 30% or more is what your customers really want and have proven they are willing to pay for. Your job is to slow down, and take the time to identify their problems and then offer necessary repairs, adjustments and improvements that can yield the comfort and efficiency that has been lacking in their systems.
Over the last few months this column has offered a series of articles describing six repairs that will improve the performance of almost any HVAC system. Each repair is quite simple to perform, but each repair requires testing and diagnostics in order to discover the invisible defects that prevent many systems from delivering their true potential. After making the repair, testing ensures the promised result was achieved.
This series of articles included:
Judging from your responses to this series of articles, it’s exciting to see your interest in the basic need we all have to improve comfort and efficiency. This is our individual mission. This is what we are all about.
What Repairs are Really Needed?
What I have learned from your emails and phone calls is that quite often a full renovation of the entire HVAC system is not what’s wanted or needed by your customers. Over and over I heard that a single repair or adjustment was all that your customers needed to bring them satisfaction with the comfort or efficiency of their systems.
You matched your customer’s needs and budget and rode off into the sunset at the end of the day the hero. I also heard your customers delighted to pay for the work, even when your margins on the job reached 70% or more! Many of you graduated from being laborers to professionals by selling your services based on your knowledge and the results, not just an hourly fee for using your hands to replace a part. This ability differentiated you from the rest of your competition and could be the beginning of your new profession.
A New Profession
The vision is to create a new industry inside our industry where practitioners move and act as professionals; where you break the bonds of being parts and box changers and exercise creativity offering solutions beyond the box. Don’t get me wrong, you will always need to replace parts and boxes, but that is only the beginning of what’s available to you.
There is an elite group of professionals in this industry. They operate daily in an atmosphere of discovery and creativity. They are in a constant mode of unearthing the causes of hidden inefficiencies and prescribing and making needed repairs. They test and diagnose, uncovering what others have missed for years. They delight their customers with concrete improvements and solve problems weekly that have existed for many years. These same problems will continue to go undetected by mere laborers and parts changers in your area.
So, looking ahead at your career can you see the opportunity to make it a profession? As you look for the next silver bullet to bring prosperity and success to your career or company, is it possible that the change needed is an internal one? This way is not easy. Developing real skills and effective processes takes sustained commitment. History documents that pioneers on a new frontier never had it easy, but the end result is worth the risk and adventure.
Rob “Doc” Falke serves the industry as president of National Comfort Institute an HVAC based training company and membership organization. If you're interested in receiving an email containing links to each of the articles in his recent HotMail repair series, contact Doc at [email protected] or call him at 800-633-7058. Go to NCI’s website at nationalcomfortinstitute.com for free information, articles and downloads.