Feb. 1, 2010
Over the course of 2010, this space will identify opportunities within customers' homes that you may not have observed in the past. The opportunities are based on a recent homeowner survey conducted by Decision Analyst, Inc.

What are some of the dynamics at work in an emergency winter furnace replacement? Do customers act any differently regarding bids?

Winter is upon us. I know this because I've been snowed in on the farm, with temperatures at below 0F for a week straight. With weather like this, the calls for furnace repair or replacement will come pouring in.

Furnace replacement in the winter often calls for emergency measures. Many HVAC contractors do all they can to help those who are unprepared for furnace failure, and many do all they can to help keep costs down.

Whether they have an emergency replacement ahead of them, or have planned to upgrade their system, many will tell you they have gotten or are getting other bids, and never do.

Don't lose the heart you have for your customers, but also don't let them keep you from building the right system for them, and charging what you must to be a profitable business. There are many real issues to discuss and agree on without letting their competitive bid tactic keep you from your professional task.

  • In an emergency replacement, 6 in 10 customers will not get a competitive bid.

  • Just under 5 in 10 (46%) of those planning their furnace purchase will make their decision with just your bid.

  • 4 in 10 of the customers who spend time and energy checking out all of the upgrades for their home buy with just one contractor calling on them.

If your customers are average, you and your sales staff should get 6 out of 10 emergency jobs, 5 in 10 planned replacements and 4 in 10 upgrade sales.

By the way, the more homeowners use the Internet for their research, the more likely they are to obtain multiple bids. Does your company have a website? Just asking.

I hope this information helps you with your winter sales success.

Garry Upton, of Decision Analyst, Inc., shares his interpretations of its American Home Comfort Study of homeowners, and explores what customers look for in HVAC contractors. To learn more about this study, or to purchase it, contact Garry at