Of the 2,465 homeowner respondents in the Decision Analyst American Home Comfort Study who recently replaced central HVAC equipment, 49% simply said they were replacing broken equipment. Another 33% said they had planned their replacement and knew more about their pending purchase, while 17% went into the buying process with specific system improvements in mind. The research shows that half of those buying central equipment (53%) will not get a second bid. And there’s the rub for your business. Who would you prefer as a customer?
Our research supports the fact that those who are simply replacing broken units tend to pay less for their new equipment and installation. They replace the units with no research, and they do it quickly. That group is much less satisfied with their purchase. Many won’t be great testimonials for your service, or for the product you install.
Two thirds of those planning a replacement will research their purchase prior to the actual buy. Seven in 10 (71%) who require system improvements will research either the brand, contractor, or both. To maximize your exposure to planned replacements and system improvements your marketing efforts must win you an entry into their home.
THE DATA IN A NUTSHELL*
Planned Replacement Homeowners:
- 42% researched the brand
- 30% researched the contractor
- 25% created a list of contractors
- 21% created a list of brands.
System Improvement Buyers:
- 49% researched the brand
- 30% researched the contractor
- 23% created a list of contractors
- 27% created a list of brands.
* Responses to the question, "When you decided you needed to purchase new central heating and/or cooling equipment for your primary residence, did someone in your household do any of the following?"
Your Moment to Shine
What about you stands out? What is it about your crew that’s worthy of sharing? It could be nothing more than a caring spirit and rapid service, but something must catch these prized buyers’ imaginations and give you and your company a chance to compete for their business.
As business owners, you all want your companies to be “the only one” our clients would consider. We would like for them to let us decide the brand, and the depth and breadth of equipment that will replace their existing system. In this business, if you’ve built a reputation with your homeowner customer, you very much can do just that in many cases.
If you’ve been in business a long time and have many clients who you contact often, you reduce the need your customers have for building a list, but as seen in the table above, a large number of prized homeowners will build lists and will interview more than just one contractor.
If you’re a newbie in the market you hope for customers who will build lists that include you and the brands you sell. Whether new to the trade or been there longer than “Old Salt” if you want the prized customers, who wish the really well constructed systems, you must be easy to find and you must be knowledgeable and ready to respond to their questions in the best way possible. Know your brands, and know your company. Let your pride in what you do show through.
Remember: half the work will come from a homeowner who receives a single bid, and half of those will want or need to go with the least expensive replacement. But, there are those who are more plugged in, more knowledgeable, and more dedicated to finding the best contractor, best system, and best brand. They’re your added marketing heroes who will bring more of the right business your way.
Good luck moving into the 2013 season, in what could be your very best year yet.
Decision Analyst’s American Home Comfort Study of homeowners explores what customers look for in HVAC contractors. To learn more about this study, or to purchase it, contact Garry Upton, at [email protected].