HVACR Field Software: The 'Smarter' The Better

Jan. 8, 2014
Successful HVACR business leaders share uncommon drive, effective customer outreach and a willingness to use technology to build their businesses.
Using Right-J Mobile, a Jon Wayne comfort consultant discusses a load calculation with homeowners.
A house sketch is begun for a home’s heat load calculation. The program communicates accuracy and professionalism.
A comfort consultant from Schebler Heating

The managers of Jon Wayne Heating and Air based in San Antonio, TX, attribute their success to the art of asking questions and building customer relationships. And they’re using the newest technology to help them along. Another HVAC firm in a small Midwestern town has established a record of successfully completing installations at a fish cannery in Alaska, the McCormick Center, and the Trump Tower buildings in Chicago.  

What these firms have in common is uncommon drive, effective customer outreach and a willingness to use technology to build business.

Managers at San Antonio, TX-based Jon Wayne Heating & Air readily acknowledge that, “Sellin’ ain’t tellin’, askin’ is.” This simple homily bubbled from Texas soil some years back and has since been heard ’round the world. It’s a powerful lesson, often trumping masterful education about what it takes to sell and to succeed.  

To succeed in sales, you must master the art of asking questions. David Bucchi, sales manager, has learned the lesson well, and he’s evangelized it among his growing fleet of talented sales pros. To fuel sales and outreach efforts at Jon Wayne, Bucchi and other managers have embraced technology, enabling them to ask questions better and to improve their ability to engage customers skillfully.  

Technology Makes it Possible
“We’ve learned that, with better software, we improve the accuracy of our load calcs and do them with flair,” says Bucci. “We’re also able to better engage customers and can tighten our estimates – making it possible to offer a range of options, accurately. And it gives us a competitive edge. We now use our software for every equipment change-out. It’s never let us down.

“We attend Wrightsoft classes every year and have brought their instructors to our offices, too. All of our comfort advisors, comfort engineers and selling technicians use Wrightsoft’s Right Mobile Consultant loaded on our iPads to calculate loads in the field prior to quoting equipment prices.

“The key value to our firm is that customers have trust and confidence in our recommendations,” says vice president, Brandon Rackler. “We tell our guys that if they’re diligent in their reporting, to trust the results. It hasn’t failed us yet,” offers Don Rackler, the owner of this firm.

“Without a doubt, our use of Wrightsoft has helped separate us from less qualified contractors, and that’s driven sales,” Rackler continues. “In 2011, we had our best year, yet it was the worst economy since the Great Depression. In 2012, we were up over 20%. There are other contractors in our area that use Wrightsoft products, and we’re sure they experience similar results.”

Jim Anderson, president of Schebler Heating and Air, based in Bettendorf, IA estimates that their business this year will set an all-time record in revenue — a great accomplishment in a down economy. Today, Schebler’s key strength is diversification. The company, with 165 full-time employees, has four divisions including an HVAC group that serves a 200-mile radius.

HVAC a Specialty
Schebler’s HVAC excels at Design/Build projects.  

“We get a lot of help from the software that we use,” says Kevin Lesthaeghe, Schebler’s HVAC division director.
Schebler relies on quality software to ensure accurate estimations for new construction and equipment replacements, and quick, efficient heat load calculations.  During sales proposals, they now use the Right Mobile Consultant – a mobile, web-based tool with a presentation app for iPad.

“Our customers are always wowed by the fast, sophisticated approach,” says Charlie Crabb, residential estimator. “With Wrightsoft, we don’t just give them a quote, we can show them how we came up with the numbers. “I just break out my iPad and begin the process of building the quote. As homeowners answer questions about their expectations, and use of the home, there’s usually a level of admiration and surprise at how thorough I can be in building the quote,” he adds. “The graphics are great and give a very nice presentation.

“It’s important that they see and appreciate the level of integrity we bring to the job,” he continues. “It’s professional and shows appreciation for their valuable time.  It’s much better for me to plow through calculations efficiently than to sit down for half an hour with a memo pad, calculator and cheat sheets, only to come up with a semi-accurate quote.”

Schebler’s customers also want to know how much money they can potentially save when swapping-out old, inefficient HVAC systems, or when choosing equipment for a new project.  Wrightsoft Mobile Consultant not only shows the amount of savings they can attain; it also provides pictures, graphics and sound.

“I can import HVAC manufacturer photos, graphics and statistics, show them operational savings, and compare heat pump systems, for example,” Crabb said.

Schebler has won top honors for Carrier high-efficiency sales and a Carrier presidential award. They were the first company to sell R410a air conditioning and heat pump systems in their region, currently selling it three to one over their competitors. Their niche is in selling whole systems rather than single replacements. Using this approach, Schebler is then able to guarantee the entire system.