Summer Season Marketing

June 15, 2011
Summer is the time most contractors back off from marketing for new customers. The reason is the phone rings on its own when the mercury spikes north.

Summer is the time most contractors back off from marketing for new customers. The reason is the phone rings on its own when the mercury spikes north. During heat waves the need to market doesn’t go away, the focus changes. The focus is increasing the average ticket.

It’s not uncommon for the average ticket (i.e., revenue per service call) to fall during the summer. If this happens with your company, you’re leaving money on the table. Here’s how to boost your average ticket during the summer…

Leave Aheads

Most brochures are designed to be left behind. The homeowner is supposed to read and review the brochure and decide to call after the technician has left. Why? Create a series of brochures for the technician to pass out at the start of a service call. Each brochure should focus on one add-on accessory or service in an informative manner. The idea is to give the homeowner enough information to arouse curiosity.

Temporary Air

When an air conditioner is DOA and your installation crews are backed up, the use of temporary air conditioners might save the installation. Save old units from planned replacements that are still functioning or buy dry charge condensing units. Be sure to stencil “temporary air conditioning” in large bold letters on the condensing unit to keep homeowners from trying to turn temporary to permanent.

Service Agreements

A service call is an excellent opportunity to sell a service agreement. While the service agreement revenue should be credited against the maintenance, it still represents an add-on sale.

No Breakdown Guarantee

Offer customers a no breakdown guarantee through the rest of the season for an extra $50 to $100, provided you perform a full tune-up. A comprehensive tune-up will identify additional repairs for some homeowners, generating more business and will ensure that a breakdown over the remainder of the season is unlikely. While you will inevitably need to make some free repairs under this program, your costs will be a fraction of the added revenue.

Simplify Your Spiff Program

Many contractors offer technicians spiffs or incentives to sell add-ons, service agreements, and so on. Spiffs have a tendency to multiply, eventually making the program disjointed, unfocused, and confusing. Simplify it. Focus on service agreements, leads, and one or two accessories. Your spiffs will be more effective and your add-ons will increase.

Increase the Amount of Your Spiffs

In the 1980s, the average spiff for a service agreement was $10. A quarter of a century later, most contractors still pay $10. Bump your spiff to $20 or $30, increasing the price if necessary. You’ll be surprised how many sales will result.

Production Pay

When you switch to production pay (think flat rate pay), you will also see your average ticket increase. Technicians will have an incentive to perform more comprehensive diagnostic and seek the root cause of a problem, rather than treating the symptom and moving on in a scramble to complete as many calls as possible.

Production pay offers additional efficiency benefits since techs and paid to produce, not to make a parts run. They tend to be more organized. Since technicians are compensated more like entrepreneurs with production pay, they tend to start thinking and acting in an entrepreneurial manner. Both the technicians and you tend to make more money.

Matt Michel is the CEO of the Service Roundtable, HVAC’s largest contractor business alliance. Learn more at For a free tour of the members only site, call toll free 877.262.3341.