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Indoor Air Quality - Myth or Money Generator

Dec. 1, 2008
IAQ is a two-step sale, generally from one of four sources.

If you’re in the HVAC industry and you’ve heard anything about Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), you know it’s important. You know that energy efficient homes seal in and recirculate the same germs, allergens, and chemicals. You know this can cause health issues for occupants within the home. You know that indoor air can be 12 times more polluted that the air outside.

That’s the point. You know, but your customers don’t. Hence one of the largest issues facing IAQ in HVAC—credibility. No one wakes up and says, “Man, what a beautiful day to have my ducts cleaned.” Unlike preventative maintenance (which people at least understand and recognize as a plausible need), IAQ has both the specter of skepticism and the lack of evidentiary need to go along with it.

You can open up a return air duct and unless there is a family of ferrets waving back at the homeowners, your “believability” factor will be in question.

You can say “Your ducts need cleaning” all day long and still have a degree of difficulty convincing anyone this side of acute sinus problem, smoke/dust/pet allergies, or other health issues that this is a viably valuable service.

It’s less about “being able to do it with the proper equipment” and more about convincing someone they actually need it enough to pay what it’s worth to do it right.

Regardless, IAQ is a two-step sale, generally from one of four sources:

1. Incoming repair, using IAQ ‘test’ or ‘survey’ as the first step, free with the repair OR evidence that the repair was caused by the dirt in the system. (You can alternatively get a “warranty waiver” as long as the warranty would’ve been from you if the dirt is not extracted and thus may re-cause the problem. This is powerful.)

2. Replacement sale upsell. You can use this to separate the ‘better’ from the ‘best’. DO NOT include this with your quote where you’ll get killed against your non-IAQ competition.

3. Marketing generated service lead (i.e. tune up) with the IAQ test or survey included in the price of the higher priced tune up. This gives a low-cost, high-perceived value distinction for your tune-ups.

4. IAQ stand alone generated lead, generally a ‘no cost’ test or survey. There is occasionally a cost if you’re testing out a large market.

The second step of course is the IAQ recommendation of the proposed service. The average ticket we see is $440-$720. (Filtration, UV, duct cleaning, etc.)

However – and this is big - you still haven’t overcome the credibility issue. All the above are the ways to sell/propose IAQ, none of them assert credible evidence to purchase.

The credibility issue has now been solved by technology. There’s a company called Air Advice that has built a product to “read” the homeowner’s indoor air, measure what’s in it, print out a report, and let you make recommendations accordingly. The third party expert has now stepped in, taking YOU and your credibility out of the equation.

Anyway, check ‘em out. We’ve studied this issue pretty hard from the marketing and sales side; do not ask me a single question about the technical side or how much the machines cost because I don’t know. All we know is how to make you different from the rest and outsell your competition, almost irrespective of whatever cleaning equipment you choose.

This is THE coming wave in Contractor sales by the way. If all you plumbers lament having been “skipped” over in the filtration issue by the bottled water industry, here’s the HVAC equivalent right here. So don’t cheat yourself out of leads, sales, and new customers. Find out all you can about IAQ service and get busy!

Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a creative marketing firm for contractors. For more information about the IAQ Power Pack, call 1-800 489-9099 or fax the request on your letterhead to 334-262-1115. See for many great, free marketing and sales reports.