5 Things to Do (And One Thing to Look Out For) During the Tweener Months

Feb. 27, 2015
Winter is nearly gone. Hot weather is still in the distance. People are less apt to buy since homeowners who have made it this deep into winter without replacing their furnaces will do almost anything to stretch the product a few more weeks. What will you do?

Winter is nearly gone.  Hot weather is still in the distance.  People are less apt to buy since homeowners who have made it this deep into winter without replacing their furnaces will do almost anything to stretch the product a few more weeks.  What will you do?

1. Perform Annual Maintenance

If you have been diligent about building your service agreement base, you have stocked piled maintenance work.  Now is the time to fulfill it. 

It is also time to remind people lacking service agreements about the benefits of annual service, which are seasonal breakdown prevention, restored capacity and comfort, restored efficiency and sufficient operating cost savings to pay for the cost of the tune-up, extended equipment life, and for homeowners who are concerned with sustainability, a minimized carbon footprint.

Do not assume your customers know they should call you because even if they know, they get busy.  Remind them.  Mail to them.  Email them.  Call them.

2. Run Early Season Specials

This is the time many contractors dust off their free furnace letters.  They use them because they work.  It makes sense to consumers that they can save money during periods of low demand.  Those with old equipment, a proactive nature, and wherewithal can be persuaded to act now to save.

If you did not create your own free furnace letter, make sure you have the right to use it.  If you are in doubt, hire a copywriter to create one or join a contractor group that provides them.

3. Sell Wi-Fi Thermostats

Pads, tablets, and phones are getting old hat.  The consumer electronics market is so saturated, drones are considered a hot new product.  Well, drones and thermostats.  Thermostats?  Yes, thanks to Nest’s PR campaign.  People are interested in Wi-Fi thermostats and not necessarily the one that lets Google peak at their home’s energy use.  Fortunately, as HVAC contractors you have an array of cool, easy-to-use, app enabled, Wi-Fi thermostats to offer homeowners.

4. Create Affinity Programs

This is a great time of the year to kick start affinity marketing.  Talk to local homeowners associations.  Offer to pay the HOA $10 for every service or maintenance call your company makes in their neighborhood, provided the HOA promotes the company.  Use the same approach for any charity that is supported by prospective customers of yours (e.g., churches, private schools, public school booster clubs and PTAs, VFWs, humane societies, etc.). 

The beauty of affinity marketing, is the charity implicitly endorses you.  The charitable aspect gives homeowners lacking a relationship with a contractor a reason to select you over the guy down the street.  This is leveraged word-of-mouth.

5. Work “On” the Business and Yourself

Spring is a great time to improve your business, your people, and yourself.  Make a list of the things you want to accomplish during the slow period before the chaos of summer heat arrives.  Find a third party financing company.  Look for new products and system enhancements you can offer.  Detail your business processes, identifying step-by-step, for example, how you want an incoming call handled, dispatched, and the service delivered.  Take an objective look at your image, your truck wraps, your logo, your collateral, your uniforms, and your shop.

Get additional training.  Hire mechanically inclined, friendly people with great attitudes and send them to one of the training programs that can turn them into a technician in a remarkably short period of time.  Start now so you will have the bodies you need when summer arrives.

Don’t forget yourself.  Attend the International Roundtable in Phoenix during mid-April.  Learn from and mix with the best contractors in the industry.  Remember, “if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.”  Tweener months give you time to do something different.

Lookout for Stings

Remind your call takers, dispatchers, and technicians that this is sting season.  Somewhere this spring a good contracting company is going to get zapped by an overzealous reporter working with a brother contractor who sees the sting as an opportunity appear saintly while hurting the competition.  Treat every service call as though there’s a hidden camera, which is not a bad approach year round. 

Fix disconnected wires and other repairs that seem too easy as part of the diagnostic.  Yes, you may leave some money on the table, but you will be sure you walk out with your reputation intact.

For a FREE, no-strings guide to affinity marketing, call 877.262.3341 and ask for a Success Consultant.  To learn more about the International Roundtable, click the link, visit, or call 877.262.3341.

About the Author

Matt Michel | Chief Executive Officer

Matt Michel was a co-founder and CEO of the Service Roundtable ( The Service Roundtable is an organization founded to help contractors improve their sales, marketing, operations, and profitability. The Service Nation Alliance is a part of this overall organization. Matt was inducted into the Contracting Business HVAC Hall of Fame in 2015. He is now an author and rancher.