hvac contractors can make more money

Top 5 Ways HVAC Contractors Can Make More Money During The Summer

It’s summer, which means that people all over the country are going to be firing up their home air conditioners in an effort to stay cool indoors. This is good news for you, the HVAC contractor. Just as how business was (or should have been) booming with service calls and furnace replacements during the cold winter months, the summer should afford you the same type of opportunity when it comes to air conditioners. Though as you know, meeting your overhead costs and turning a profit isn’t easy — and just because you had a successful summer last year doesn’t mean that this year will follow suit.

With that being said, here’s a look at five ways you can make more money in the summer as an HVAC contractor.

  • Raise Prices: While this might be an unpopular tactic, in many cases, it’s a necessary one — especially if you haven’t done so in several years. Simply raising priceson your service calls can potentially bring in tens of thousands more dollars over the course of just a few months. Demand for HVAC services is high during summer — why not take advantage of the increase in business?
  • Charge More for Same-Day Service: This one should go without saying, yet many HVAC contractors still charge the same rate for a regular service call as they do for an “emergency” service call. Plumbers charge more for emergency service and delivery services charge more for overnight service — why shouldn’t you as well? That isn’t to say that you’ll lose business if someone doesn’t want to pay more of a premium fee, just explain that you can put him/her into your regular scheduling system, which offers standard prices. Think about this, however: When an air conditioner breaks on a 100-degree day, most people are going to want the problem resolved ASAP.
  • Think Add-Ons: Wireless thermostats, smart thermostats, air cleaners, portable generators, surge protectors — these are all popular add-ons that HVAC contractors can also offer to their customers while servicing their HVAC unit in the home. You can even offer a certain percentage discount on these items if the customer were to purchase it on the same day as you’re servicing their HVAC system. Some HVAC contractors have even invested in greater revenue-generating add-on services, such as duct cleaning and electrical work.
  • GPS Tracking: This isn’t so much a money-making tip as it is a money-saving tip. As you know, money saved goes right into your bottom line. Consider equipping vehicles with GPS tracking equipment. Not only can you map routes and service calls to more effectively and efficiently consume gasoline while your techs are on the go, but GPS tracking is also a safety feature. For instance, alerts can be programmed to deliver to managers or owners when a tech is speeding or driving erratically, so corrective action can be administered. You can also set maintenance reminder alerts on GPS units.
  • Run Promos: Finally, running promotions, both while in the customer’s home and through marketing can also be a big boost to business. For instance, techs should be taughthow to up-sell customers while in the home on additional services that are offered (i.e. thermostats, duct cleaning, etc.). It’s worth noting that they should be taught not to be pushy when attempting to sell the customer on these other services. With that said, keep a running list of your techs and the add-ons that they’ve sold in the month, and reward the top sellers at the end of the month. You may even choose to give your techs commission on any add-on sale that they make — it’s up to you how to handle it. Secondly, the summer is a great time to stay at the forefront of your customers’ minds through marketing. Advertise with coupons/discounts on air-conditioning services and educate potential customers about the importance of regular, routine maintenance on their air-conditioning units in your marketing.

Summer isn’t going to last forever, so take advantage of the opportunity to elevate your profits like never before. You may even elect to implement a similar sales-boosting strategy during winter, when servicing on heaters is the most common. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by — your summer should be booming as an HVAC contractor. How much do you intend to profit from it?


Author Bio

Patricia Bonacorda is the President of Spartan Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning , a commercial and residential plumbing and HVAC Company. For 51 years, Spartan Plumbing is a licensed, bonded and insured business that has provided professional plumbing, heating and air conditioning services throughout Maryland and Washington, DC.

 

You Cannot Afford to Pay Too Little

Can’t afford to pay too little? What?

The following is a favorite quote from our founder James Leichter. We have all heard stories about the person that saved some money only to have to do the whole thing over later. As the story goes, the buyer ended up spending more to buy the less expensive thing because he ended up buying the most expensive thing anyway.

Each time James would make an in-home sales presentation, he would include this quote on his proposal. One interesting aspect of this quote is how long ago it was written. Obviously people have been spending more on a lower price for many years. Please feel free to use it in your own business.

John Ruskin

“It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that’s all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”

gps fleet tracking

Why Every Manager Should Consider GPS Tracking for HVAC Vehicles

HVAC company managers have many demands on their attention. In addition to managing customers and ensuring they are happy with the work and service you provide, managers must also manage a fleet of vehicles, ensure your tools are ready at all times, and keep a balanced budget. GPS fleet tracking for HVAC company vehicles can help make a few of these jobs a little easier. Here are a few reasons that every HVAC company needs to invest in GPS fleet tracking.

  1. Improved Response Times and Accurate ETAs

One of the biggest complaints customers have about service providers, including HVAC companies, is poor estimated time of arrivals. The customer does not comprehend all of the demands you have on your time and your drivers, but rather understands that you are not showing up when you say you will. When you use GPS fleet tracking, you can provide a much shorter arrival time window, because you will have an accurate idea of where your vehicles are and how long it will take them to arrive.

In addition, GPS fleet tracking can help improve response times when you have an unexpected need. Instead of simply dispatching someone to the customer’s home, you can check your tracking system and send the closest possible crew. This will give shorter response times for emergency calls, and help you save on fuel costs.

  1. Improved Customer Service

Customers do not like to have to wait for a four-hour arrival window. People have busy lives, and they don’t have a lot of time to wait for service providers. Additionally, many times the service provider is late, and HVAC companies have a serious customer service issue, including the loss of customers. Software Advice, who helps businesses find field service software, did a study on customers and service companies, and 67 percent said they would never do business with a company again if the technician was an hour late. Even a delay between 15 and 30 minutes would cause 25 percent to not re-hire. Accurate response times lead to improved customer service, and better likelihood of being hired again.

  1. Employee Accountability

gps fleet trackingIt’s no surprise that employees are often tempted to take personal trips in company vehicles. This fact drives up fuel costs quickly, as well as wear and tear on vehicles. When you have GPS fleet tracking, you can know where your workers are at all times. This helps you eliminate unwanted side trips and keeps employees accountable for their whereabouts. Also, if a customer claims that your employee arrived late to the job, you will have a way to verify whether or not this is true.

  1. Reducing Fuel Costs

Fuel is one of the biggest expenses for the modern HVAC fleet. GPS fleet tracking can help lower these costs in several ways: First, taking the most efficient route from one job to the next, lessens the amount of fuel you burn. Second, your GPS fleet tracking system can alert management to problems with excessive idling or high driving speeds. This gives you the opportunity to eliminate these behaviors and lower your fuel costs. Finally, cutting down on unwanted personal trips in company vehicles will help minimize fuel costs.

  1. Cut Expenses in Other Ways

Fuel is not the only way that GPS fleet tracking helps HVAC companies save money. If you are routinely paying overtime to your workers because they return late from the job, you may be able to cut this cost by increasing employee accountability for their whereabouts.

GPS fleet tracking can lead to discounts on insurance as well. While the discount will vary depending on the policy, driving record of the fleet and insurance provider, insurance companies have found that fleets with GPS fleet tracking are less risky, and are offering discounts as a result.

Ultimately, GPS fleet tracking helps HVAC companies run more efficiently, lower costs and improve customer service. With all of these benefits, it is an obvious choice for the management professional who wants to run an efficient, effective fleet.


 

Robert J. Hall is president of Track Your Truck, a leader in GPS vehicle tracking systems and software for small and mid-sized companies.

 

Kansas & Missouri Offer Tax Amnesty Periods

August 3 — Taxpayers in Kansas and Missouri who owe back taxes from prior years will be able to take advantage of tax amnesty periods beginning in September.

Kansas

In Kansas, taxpayers who owe business or personal taxes accrued before Jan. 1, 2014, will be able to avoid penalties and interest if they pay the past-due taxes between Sept. 1 and Oct. 15.

The amnesty doesn’t apply to matters that are in appeal, under criminal investigation or at issue in any criminal or civil litigation related to taxes imposed by the state, the Kansas Department of Revenue said.

According to the DOR, the amnesty applies to:

  •  income tax,
  •  privilege tax,
  •  estate tax,
  •  withholding and estimated tax,
  •  sales tax,
  •  compensating use tax,
  •  liquor enforcement tax,
  •  liquor drink tax,
  •  cigarette and tobacco products tax, and
  •  mineral severance tax.

Missouri

In Missouri, taxpayers owing personal or business taxes accrued before Jan. 1, 2015, will be allowed to avoid penalties, additions to tax and interest if they pay the taxes due between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30.

According to the Missouri Department of Revenue, the following tax types are eligible for the amnesty program:

  •  use tax,
  •  corporate franchise tax,
  •  corporate income tax,
  •  employer withholding tax,
  •  fiduciary tax,
  •  individual income tax,
  •  sales tax, and
  •  vendor’s use tax.

The amnesty doesn’t extend to taxpayers who are subject to civil or criminal investigation regarding unpaid Missouri taxes, and taxpayers who participate will become ineligible for future amnesty periods for the same type of tax, the DOR said.

Participants also are required to comply with state tax laws for eight years after the amnesty, the DOR said. Failure to comply will void the amnesty agreement, triggering an immediate requirement to pay any penalties, additions to tax or interest that were waived under the amnesty.

For More Information

Details on the Kansas amnesty period are at http://www.ksrevenue.org/taxamnesty.html.

Details on the Missouri amnesty period are at http://dor.mo.gov/faq/amnesty.php.

iaq products

Be Proactive By Selling IAQ Products

First off you may be thinking what in the world does IAQ mean? IAQ stands for indoor air quality, which is something that is very important to keep at a high level inside your homes. Believe it or not you can actually become a sales representative and sell indoor air quality products. Just by being proactive and selling these products, you can have a great impact on the way many people are living. A lot of people today are unaware of the problems poor indoor air quality can cause both them and their families. IAQ can be a useful selling point when on any service call, however, starting the conversation might be quite difficult. If you are a HVAC contactor or technician and think you would be interested in selling indoor air quality products, below are some important tips that will get you started on the right track.

Tips for HVAC Technicians Selling IAQ Products

When talking to your clients you should start out the conversation by recognizing your role as being more than just a person there to fix the HVAC problem. Inform the homeowners of the solutions your company has to offer them. Most people like to hear the different ways you can repair their problem. You should next, familiarize your customer about IAQ products and the many benefits they have to offer. You should inform them about the features, pricing, and the types of products you have available. Never assume that the price of the products is too expensive and the customer will not buy them. If the product works and you share your personal stories about when you used the IAQ products, they are very likely to purchase them.

iaq productsWhat Tools Can HVAC Contractors Use to Sell IAQ?

Before you ever try to sell indoor air quality products, you need to be an expert and know everything about them yourself. The customers are going to want to hear you tell them about the product, rather than a book or piece of paper. The number one tool you should always have on you while trying to sell IAQ products, is a retail price book. Pricing is usually the number one thing customers want to know about and if you don’t have anything to tell them the price, they are not going to purchase your products.

The Most Common Mistake HVAC Technicians Make When Selling IAQ

Even though you personally think that a product is expensive does not mean that your customers will think the same. This is the number one mistake made by HVAC technicians today just because they think that the product is too expensive, they will think the customers will as well and don’t even bother telling them about their products. You should always let your customer decide for themselves, whether the product is a good value or not.

How Can Technicians Make The Selling Experience More Personal?

Testimonials contain more power than what we think. You should first try the different IAQ products yourself so that you know exactly how they work and how well they work. Next, look at reviews online and see what other customers love about the products. Everyone is going to have their own opinions and usually if it’s a good or bad thing wrong with your product – all customers are going to leave the same review. Customers love for you to tell them real life experiences before they make a purchase. They don’t want to rely solely on what they see on TV or online. Now you know many different tips that will help you start selling IAQ products, so what are you waiting for?

About The Author

Tina is an avid blogger and writes extensively about HVAC, Technology & Business. She works with some leading companies to understand the trends of these modern technologies. She loves reading and home decorating in her own fashion.

Kansas & Missouri State Compliance Alert

Kansas

Equal Employment Opportunity—Effective July 1, 2015, employers can adopt an employment policy that gives hiring preference to veterans who meet job requirements.

Military Leave—Effective July 1, 2015, employees in Kansas are covered by the military leave provisions if they are members of any state’s military force and are called or ordered to active duty by any state.

Missouri

Unemployment Insurance—Effective Jan. 1, 2016, the taxable wage base is $13,000, tax rates for experienced employers that have not implemented a shared-work plan range from zero to 9.75 percent and new employer tax rates range from 1.3 percent to 4.362 percent.

tips for building long term relationships with customers

Tips for Building Long-Term Friendships with Customers

There is an old story about a salesman that’s about to embark on an overnight business trip to a big city. His young son begs to go with him, yearning to take a vacation with his dad and not fully aware of what going away on business actually entails. The man agrees to take his son with him but briefs his son about the trip. The salesman will meet with several clients and his son is welcome to tag along provided that the young boy is courteous and keeps to himself when necessary. The boy agrees, suddenly welcoming the opportunity to see his dad hard at work, one day dreaming of being a salesman like his father.

After a full weekend of successful meetings with clients, the father and son return home. “How was your trip?” the salesman’s wife asks her husband and son, then says to the boy, “Did your dad work hard?”

“He didn’t do any work!” the boy replies. “All Dad does is talk to his friends all day!”

The Importance of Customer Relationships

This charming story is often used to highlight the importance of businesses developing friendly relationships with their clients. Seemingly, the friendly rapport between the salesman and his potential customers is what allows him to win them over.

The importance of these relationships cannot be underestimated. Because a reliable client base separates successful businesses from temporary ones–especially in an industry devoted to repairs, in which you are supposed to represent the solution to people’s problems–it is vital for maintaining and growing a client base in which long-term friendships are nurtured between service provider and customer. Also, do not forget the importance of personal business referrals for your company.

While crossing the threshold between the stoic business-and-customer relationship to a casual, friendly one can seem difficult, or even strange, there are a few simple ways to ease this process. Here are a few tips for developing lasting, friendly relationships with your customers.

Nurture the Relationship

Remember that being professional does not mean being distant. Politeness and mutual respect exists in good friendships, so feel free to nurture this type of relationship with a client. While good, polite service is appreciated, the level of trust in your services skyrockets if you and your client develop a friendship. Who do you trust more, a professional waiter or a close friend? Trust, after all, is one of the most important factors determining whom a client chooses to perform their repairs.

Don’t Be Too Casual

Being friendly with a client does not mean speaking to them the way you speak with friends outside of work. These people are participating in a goods-for-currency exchange with you, after all. Do not curse, discuss lewd subjects, argue, or delve into private matters with your client. Being polite and distant is one extreme, but being strangely casual with clients is the opposite vice. You will still need to thank them, greet them professionally, and maintain your dignity as a businessperson by putting your work first.

Be a Good Listener

tips for building long term relationships with customersThe keys to a good balance of being professional and friendly with clients is smiling, welcoming conversation, and engaging in long conversation with your clients. Everyone is different; be a good listener and follow the path toward friendly interaction your client welcomes. Some people might enjoy talking about their home, travels, spouse, favorite sports teams, or career. As with every new friendship, take this small talk and allow friendly, continuous discussion to sprout.

Be Honest

Be genuine and honest with your clients. If you think one of your coworkers can best handle a certain job, allow them to take over a delicate process. If you have made a mistake, admit it and apologize promptly. If your client asks for a recommendation, give a good and reliable one. This is what friends do.

Stay in Touch

Most importantly, stay in touch with all of your clients. This cannot be stressed enough. Sending letters reminding people to make appointments is one thing, but calling a customer to ask if their appliances are in good shape and if they have any concerns takes things to the next level. Your client will feel that you have a personal commitment to them that goes beyond stale, ordinary business contact.


 

About the Author: Noah Franklin is the owner of AC Pros HVAC, LLC, a professional Austin Air Conditioning and heating company. The business has been up and running for just over four years. Noah is fully experienced in all aspects of the Land business, having previously been a Landman at T. S. Calkins & Associates, Inc., Osage Land, Arrington Oil & Gas Operation, LLC, and Petroleum Landman. He is a very intelligent man known for his diligence and dedication to his clients

Communication Gateways Between HVAC VRV

Daikin, Mitsubishi, Toshiba VRV / VRF / Split Air- Conditioning Systems Seamless Integration and Remote Control Operation

The latest generation in Air-Conditioning Systems incorporates advanced VRV/VRF technology that saves energy and is extremely quiet in operation. These systems are no longer as rare as they were in the past and are now getting the attention they deserve together with increased market share.

The most prominent manufactures of such Air-Conditioning systems are Japanese with companies like: Daikin, Mitsubishi Electric, Mitsubishi Heavy, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Sanyo / Panasonic and Toshiba. Daikin for instance, was the first company to introduce this technology, called ‘VRV’ (Variable Refrigerant Volume). All other HVAC manufacturers followed Daikin with their own version of the technology called ‘VRF’ (Variable Refrigerant Flow). Additional players outside of Japan producing VRF air- Conditioning systems are Koreans with companies like: LG and Samsung with other large players from China as Gree, Midea and Haier.

VRV / VRF Air-Conditioning systems have been distributed and installed all over the   globe for about 35 years. At the start their market penetration was slow but has increased dramatically in recent years once individuals and companies began to understand the significant energy savings of 30% and even higher, these systems may provide.

Countries in Europe, Far- East and South East Asia, with China leading by far, have been world leaders on the number of systems installed and increasing market share compared to those in the U.S. The U.S. started embracing the technology within the last 5 – 7 years with a significant growth in usage every year.

Realizing the benefits of these systems, leading Air-Conditioning companies in N.A have started to use the technology by forming alliances with existing manufacturers from Japan and Korea. For instance, Johnson Control with Sanyo / Panasonic and Hitachi; Carrier has formed a joint operation in the States with Toshiba naming it: Carrier-Toshiba and Trane allied with Samsung to introduce their OEM VRF version.

As the U.S. started its economic recovery following the crisis that hit the U.S. in 2008, it is now possible to notice the growing penetration of VRV/VRF Systems in the U.S market; a fact that was firmly confirmed by Will Scott a Sales Manager for Mitsubishi in the U.S. already in 2010:

” VRF shipments have continued to enjoy double-digit growth throughout the economic downturn. And as more engineers and contractors have successfully applied VRF across a wider spectrum of market segments, we expect their comfort level with VRF to translate into accelerated growth as we begin our economic recovery,” (achrnews: Nov 22 2010).

VRV / VRF / Split Air-Conditioning Systems – Control and Monitoring

VRV and VRF Air-Conditioning systems along with Splits from the same manufacturers are more sophisticated in their control systems incorporating built-in communication means, unlike the traditional Central and Split Air- Conditioning systems that typically incorporate only a basic form of on/off control logic.  The control and monitoring of VRV / VRF and their Split Air – Conditioning Systems is done with solutions provided by the HVAC companies who offer Central Controllers, Communication Gateway / Converters and thermostats to control and monitor outdoor / indoor units on issues like: On /Off Control, Cool, Heat, Fan, Dry Mode selection, Temperature set, Fan speed, Swing, Filter reset, Group operation, (all On all Off), Failure Codes etc.’

Communication protocols of VRV / VRF Air-Conditioning are not published or disclosed by the manufacturers, and each maintains its own unique protocol. This situation limits the supply of control solutions only to those offered by the manufacturers preventing third party suppliers from competing and offer solutions with better design, functionality and pricing to accommodate today’s modern house design and advanced communication means.

 

Integration of Control4, Crestron, Savant etc’ CONTROLLERS  with VRV / VRF and Split Air-Conditioning Systems –  Not an Easy Task!

The world market for Smart Home Systems, also known as Home Automation, has grown dramatically in recent years to reach several billion dollars a year. H/W Systems and applications are designed and built to satisfy the increasing demands of the modern house in areas like electricity, lighting, shades, security (cameras, gates), climate, entertainment and more.

Manufacturers and suppliers in Home Automation are divided according to their expertise where some focus and specialize in a particular area; others provide complete H/W and S/W solutions for control and monitoring of the entire home. Prominent players in this market are Crestron, Control4, Lutron, Vantage, Savant, AMX, RTI, HAI, ElAN and many others.

The controller display unit, usually supplied with the Home Automation system, provides the home owner with the ability to centrally control and monitor almost every peripheral around the house without the need to abandon his couch. This becomes even of a greater necessity when living in large luxury houses having many rooms and big distances to cover.

Nevertheless, one major area that has been overlooked and not properly addressed by the home automation companies is the ability to centrally control and monitor the Air-Conditioning units especially VRV / VRF systems, thus totally ignore the increasing use of these A/C systems.  In the absence of adequate control solutions, the home owner has no choice but to use the cumbersome and expensive control equipment as supplied by the HVAC companies.

integration

Integration – Not an Easy Task!

CoolMasterNet – Seamless Solution Integrating Home Automation / BMS Controllers  & Daikin, Mitsubishi VRV / VRF Split Air- Conditioning Systems

Cool Automation has identified that need for seamless integration and control solutions for such HVAC applications.

Cool Automation, is a company specializing in the development and supply of innovative gateways for the integration of Home Automation Controllers and HVAC Systems in general and VRV / VRF and Splits in particular.

The flagship product of the company is CoolMaster that is successfully distributed and installed in more than 60 countries via distributors, home automation integrators and HVAC installers.

CoolMaster is an innovative communication gateway that by using just a pair of wires may quickly connect to terminals on the VRV / VRF air- conditioning communication line to control and monitor the air- conditioning systems most essential parameters.

From the Home Automation / BMS side CoolMaster provides common RS232 / RS 485 interfaces requiring trivial s/w commands only, for a seamless integration process therefor to avoid the tedious and complex re-programming job that would otherwise be required.

Recently, the company has introduced the successor of CoolMaster, the CoolMasterNet. In addition to the above functionality this new product provides also with IP connectivity, touchscreen panel for control and multiple HVAC brands support along with additional useful features, all at the same cost as the previous CoolMaster.

This hassle-free integration process for home automation Integrators, and HVAC installers, enables the home owner to control and monitor all his HVAC indoor units for Air-Conditioning most essential parameters, all from the Home Automation’s controller,   something he cannot do from his HVAC equipment.

For VRV / VRF air- conditioning systems CoolMasterNet supports most of the existing brands with one H/W platform that can be used for all different HVAC brands.

For Home Automation systems, CoolMasterNet is compatible and may simply integrate with all major brands. This has been well recognized by home automation companies who either purchase CoolMasterNet directly, or recommend it for their distributors and integrators everywhere as an integration solution with their controllers and HVAC.

CoolRemote – A User Friendly Remote Operation for Daikin, Mitsubishi VRV / VRF/ Split Air- Conditioning Systems

Recently, Cool Automation has introduced CoolRemote, a web based control solution that with CoolMasterNet hooked to the Internet enables the remote control and monitoring of HVAC units from mobile or fixed platforms. The operation is user friendly and offers very attractive colored based icons for intuitive selection. If there is no need for Home Automation tasks other than centralized HVAC control, the usage of CoolRemote in conjunction with VRV /VRF HVACs is an ideal cost effective solution well appreciated by home owners that are cautious with their energy spends.

CoolRemote Cloud – In addition to home users, professional service providers and HVAC companies can have access to their customers’ HVAC data for service assessments and operation.

coolmaster

CoolMasterNet + CoolRemote – Easy Integration and Control of VRV / VRF HVACs

About the author: Ofer Ben-Nathan is in the position of a marketing and sales manager for CoolAutomation – HVAC controls and integration experts, a company that specializes in the design, manufacture and supply of integration and control solutions for a seamless connectivity of advanced HVAC systems from companies like Daikin, Mitsubishi, Toshiba, LG etc’ and Home Automation /BMS controllers. Company’s unique solutions sell in more than 80 countries worldwide.