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Tec Daddy Says Residential HVAC Contractors Can Make Money on Pre-Season Tune-Ups

Feb. 26, 2014
Money-making pre-season HVAC system tune-up tips depends on a number of factors: Thorough clean and check of residential equipment Establish what needs to be repaired and when Present options to customers Close the sale

It probably costs you over $200 to generate a pre-season tune-up, and even more to money run it. If your techs are only collecting for the tune-ups and maybe upgrading them to service agreements, you’d be better off financially by not spending the money to advertise for those tune-ups and then spending even more money to run them.

On the other hand, when you run them right, which means to be thorough, establish the need, and present options, they can be very profitable and almost the backbone of your business.

The extra money in this business is in component cleaning and indoor air quality. People interested in keeping their equipment clean and running well are people who know they must spend money on their air conditioners to save on overall cost of ownership. Additionally, people interested in keeping their air conditioner clean also tend to want to keep their indoor air clean.

The Presentation

Arrive at the door, clipboard in hand, with the inspection form clearly visible. Introduce yourself and state what you’re there to do.

Say, “Hello. My name is Charlie Greer and I’m here to do your precision tune-up.  As a point of clarification, Mr(s).  (customer name), for $ (price of inspection) , I’ll do a complete inspection of your air conditioning system. That means I’ll be going over it with a fine-tooth comb. When I’m done, I’ll provide you with a full written report.

Before heading off to start your tune-up and inspection say, “Should I find any deficiencies in your system, and I’m not saying I will, would you like me to call them to your attention?"

Price Conditioning

One problem we run into is that our technicians are very thorough and aren’t afraid to present someone with a list that’s well over $5,000 in repairs. That’s actually a blessing and took years to cultivate that kind of culture. The problem is the technicians weren’t doing any price conditioning before presenting the list and customers often went into sticker shock when they saw the price.

So here's how to price condition customers. After completing your inspection, write down a list of deficiencies, along with their respective prices, both the standard and service agreement prices, on a piece of paper. List the things that are absolutely mandatory, including the service agreement, at the top of the list, and strike a subtotal.

List the things they don’t necessarily have to do today, but will have to do in the future, and another subtotal. Finally, list system enhancements, such as surge protection, an upgraded filtration system, and/or a PCO UV light system, and strike a final total.

Approach the customer and ask, “Do you remember when I asked you if I find any deficiencies in your system, do you want me to call them to your attention?

When you get a yes, say, “I did find some deficiencies. Do you want to know what they are?

You’ll get a yes on that as well.

Say, “Your system still runs, but nowhere near as well as it could. A lot of people think that if they’re air conditioner still runs, there’s no reason to put any money into it, but what they don’t realize is that they ARE spending money on it.

“I’ve compiled a list for you. There are three categories on this list:”

  • Mandatory repairs
  • Repairs that can be put off until later
  • System enhancements that would be nice to have.

If you were to do every single thing on my list, you could spend over $______, and you’d have a really sweet system that would be as close to its original factory-fresh condition as possible. It would smell good, you’d have a lower utility bill, you’ll move a lot more air, and it will last a lot longer.

Don’t pull the list out just yet. Take your customers to their equipment and go over your findings, in order of priority. Don’t talk about money. All that matters at this point is that they agree with you that they do have needs, and that sooner or later, most of what you point out will have to be done. If they start asking about money, just say, “We’ll get to that.”

Presenting the Price and Closing

After you’ve gone over your findings, ask the customer, “So, do you want to know how much all this will cost?

When you get a yes, say, “As far as the pricing goes, everything comes out of our standardized price guide. This is your assurance that I’m not making prices up as I go along, or charging different prices by the neighborhood. With the exception of our service agreement customers, everyone pays the same rate. Service agreement customers get a discount.

I’ll be happy to show you all the prices straight out of the book, but what I normally do is write them down on a sheet of paper to make it easier for you to read."

At this point, pull out your list.

As you can see, there are two prices for everything. That’s because we do have a service agreement, and service agreement customers get a discount. You pay for the agreement, but the discounts offset its price.

Put your finger next to the price of the service agreement.

As a courtesy, and with your permission, I can go ahead and make you a service agreement customer as if you were already one before I got here. That way I can give you all the discounts and keep your bill as low as possible.”

Don't go over each line in this list. Just run your finger down it to the first subtotal and say, “These are the things that are mandatory. You don’t really get a choice on them, so that’s a done deal.”

Then run your finger down to the second subtotal and say, “These are things that don’t need to be done today, but will need to be done soon, and because of the way our pricing structure works, where the more we do for you on each trip, the more discounts you get, it would be a good idea for you to have me do them for you today.

Run your finger down to the final total and say, “And these are the system enhancements I mentioned to you earlier, that again, because of the way our pricing structure works, if you think you might want to get them some at time in the future, and you’ve got the money, they’ll never be any cheaper than they are today.

So, what do you want to do? You want to go with the bare minimum, go half-way, or go all the way?

Charlie Greer, HVAC Profit Boosters
Charlie Greer can help you actually turn a profit this tune-up season by training your technicians via DVD or Skype, or by having his associate, Dale Mincks, actually run calls with them. For more information, go to, or call 1-800-963-4822. Email Charlie at [email protected].