How to Get more Business out of your Current HVAC Customers

As an HVAC industry pro, you know the importance of building a customer base. Tips and tricks and marketing tools abound, and you likely have a good idea what works and what doesn’t in your market. But what if there is an untapped market for your business, one that doesn’t require additional work making contacts and building a base? In other words, what can you do to increase profitability among the customers you already have? Many residential customers may go years without a specific complaint serious enough to warrant a service call. Here are some tips and tactics for you to consider that can help you get more business.

Before we get started, here’s one important caveat: let’s operate under the assumption that dishonest tactics might make money in the short term but are bad business in the long term. The tips you’ll find below do NOT include anything intentionally shady or deceptive. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get started.

Tips for Getting More Business from your Current Customers

1. Offer a Service Agreement (Retainer Service)

If you don’t yet, consider setting up a service agreement (i.e., a subscription or retainer service). Some customers will pay monthly or yearly for the peace of mind of knowing that if something goes wrong, they will get priority service. This is also a good way to make money on regular AC unit service and maintenance. Customers are very likely to forget to schedule this manually, and it’s a hassle for your company to have to call customers to remind them to get this done. So if it’s built into your service contract or subscription service, not only will the units be better cared for, you’ll make regular money from these customers. It’s a win-win. The level of service you offer in this may need to scale with the size of your business. If you’re a one man show, you may not be able to promise 12- or 24-hour service in these contracts. But you can still monetize and make consistent your customers’ maintenance needs.

2. Stay Social All Year

If the only time your customers think of you is when their HVAC is broken, you’re doing it wrong! Use technology to your advantage. These days it’s incredibly easy to build an email database and you can also build a following on social media. Whenever you leave a satisfied customer, make sure you’re reaching them electronically. And then email and post regularly! If you live in a region with a definite slow season, use this time to build up a list of short posts and tidbits that you could send to your customer list via email. These electronic touches remind customers about you and can also include calls to action about potentially needed services.

3. Check In with Them

Let me illustrate: I know there’s something off with my home plumbing. It doesn’t seem to affect anything else, so I’ve just been ignoring it and haven’t called my plumber. But if he called me to check in, I would certainly mention it, and he might make some money off me.

The point? When business is slow, pick up the phone and start calling your customers. Ask them how they are and how their system is doing. You might be surprised to hear, “Well, you know, it’s doing this thing…” There you go; you’re in business.

4. Always Be Available (via Virtual Receptionist)

Unless your company is large enough to have an office with multiple people answering phones, it’s likely that at some point a customer will get sent to voicemail. And if you’re a one-man operation you certainly can’t interrupt the customer you’re currently with to answer the phone. But if a customer is having a crisis and you’re unreachable, he or she may reach for the phone book and start calling down the list until they find someone that answers. When this happens, best case, you lost some business; worst case, you lost a customer!

Hiring a virtual receptionist fixes this completely. You can rest assured that your customers will reach a live human, and you can focus on what you do best rather than on answering the phone.

5. Diversify

Consider whether there are any add-on services you don’t currently offer, but with a little extra study or training you could. One popular area is air duct and dryer vent cleaning. Another option is offering an HVAC efficiency check-up, which allows you to identify ways to improve the customer’s home or business. And if you can offer to procure and install efficiency upgrades, that could become another revenue stream. The “free system inspection” is far from a new idea, but it can go a long way. You can find problems before they become crises, and most low- or average-information customers will be grateful to spend the money now to avoid the crisis later.

If you’ve yet to implement one or more of these 5 methods, consider making the change today.

 

Mr. HVAC wants to thank our guest contributor – JC Heating & Cooling.

JC Heating & Cooling, Inc is here to help with the heating and cooling systems in your home or office. Our combination of skills and services make us your best choice. All JC Heating & Cooling, Inc technicians are factory trained and certified, and we offer flat rate pricing that lets you know up front how much your HVAC installation will cost. We serve the North and South West Suburb areas and can provide same-day or next-day service in most cases. We also offer hvac emergency service and free estimates on heating & cooling equipment.

Understanding your Burdened Labor Costs (BLC)

Your People Your Profit

There are articles out there on a daily basis about how society has been pushing bachelor’s degrees; leaving the United States with a shortage of tradespeople. A report published by NAHB shows increasing labor shortages over the last 5 years. In those areas showing the greatest growth companies are struggling to find and hire good tradespeople. This causes employers to pay more to find and retain better workers, which in turn drives up costs and cuts into profits.

So how do you deal with this? Well we know that cloning is not an option, so the path becomes clear. We need to become extremely diligent in labor productivity and efficiency. This is not something that has had to be a priority in the past. So where do you begin?

Understanding your Burdened Labor Costs (BLC) is a must. Calculating the hourly cost and responsibility for each direct labor employee creates an intricate labor tool to allow for better labor allocation on jobs. You may be thinking that all of this sounds like a lot of work and why would you bother doing it? To understand the cost differences for direct labor employees as a comparison between them and your subcontractors in regards to hourly rates. Who costs you more per hour? In some cases you might be surprised. Then there is the question “Am I having my top craftsperson doing tasks because they are there; instead of a lesser paid individual and move the higher paid employee to a task that pays more?”

Let’s look at an example:

Employee A has a BLC of $110 an hour. Employee B has a BLC of $61. Employee A has the skillset to deliver more productivity per hour than Employee B. Employee B is a good steady worker and does installs well with some guidance. Do you have them chasing materials or cleaning up? You not only want them but you need them to be as efficient as they can be. In fact it may be worth your time to hire a $35 BLC employee to feed them materials or clean up giving you the ability to move them off the project as soon as possible; saving on job costs.

Let’s put all of that into dollars and cents. At $110 BLC per hour Employee A will cost the company $4400 for 40 hours. Employee B at $61 BLC will cost $2440. That’s $1960 a week difference; multiplied by 4 weeks that’s $7840. Let’s take that one step further, the difference between Employee A and a $35 BLC employee is $3000 a week and $12,000 per month. If that doesn’t seem like much look at how many employees you have. Take a look at your last 6 bid jobs and the costs – ask yourself was the profit margin where I wanted it to be? Could you have been more efficient with your labor costs?

Many of you will say that while you might be more efficient with labor it takes too much time. And how does this have anything to do with hiring and retaining employees? What about setting cost benchmarks for each employee based on their BLC and productivity. If you could increase the profitability of a job by 15 to 20% and share some of that profit as a bonus to direct labor employees? Starting to reward them for profitability instead of them just doing what you hired them to do.

As a subcontractor, how often are you asked by the General Contractor to step up or make exceptions? By knowing your BLC you can truly understand what that will cost you; allowing you to make the right call for your business. Do you step up or will the cost be too great? Right now you make a gut decision based on rough numbers and hope that you can make payroll at the end. You need to know, right down to the penny!

Let’s take a look at what Burdened Labor Costing is and why it is such a great management tool. Most of you are familiar with loaded labor (hourly wages + taxes + benefits). Burdened Labor Costing goes further and applies responsibility for indirect labor (those employees in support positions to your direct labor), a percentage of your overhead costs, and vehicle or equipment costs (if applicable). By assigning portions of overhead and indirect labor costs you create a true responsibility for the portion of revenue generation that you’ve hired this employee to provide. Now you can compare true cost responsibilities to revenue generation to develop profitability benchmarks based on performance instead of tasks.

Other reasons for having an accurate BLC rate is hiring and training, providing you with the ability to create what-if scenarios for cost evaluations. Developing onboarding and training budgets, and creating competitive wage packages with realistic revenue numbers. And the list continues on.

While all this seems like a good idea and certainly worth considering you may still be asking – why waste time to do all this? In my experience I have seen not only the creation of usable profitability benchmarks but increased profit numbers in excess of 24% above current levels. If that isn’t enough, think of accurate job costing or proposals. You can create targeted labor efficiencies with results that can be tracked on a daily basis.

By now you understand the need to develop BLC business metrics. The last piece of advice I can give you is don’t waste your time trying to create an excel spreadsheet or having your CPA do one. The time is better spent applying the results. There are several programs available such as the Apex eSuite Burdened Labor Costing SaaS www.apexesuite.com that give you the reports you need quickly and accurately. Remember to update your numbers on a regular basis to ensure up to date metrics.

About Kelcey Thompson

Kelcey Thompson is a burdened labor costing expert, along with business mentor and trainer with a focus on accounting and customer service. She is the creator of the Apex eSuite (www.apexesuite.com) Burdened Labor Costing SaaS and blogs regularly on management accounting at Applied Management Group (www.appliedmg.com). She has more than two decades of experience in the service industries, where she has held many strategic positions and responsibilities. She has been successful in a diverse set of projects, including economic impact studies, ROI analysis, operation reviews and development of management accounting programs for service oriented businesses. If you have any questions about creating and implementing your BLC numbers Thompson would be happy to help. Feel free to reach out to her at info@appliedmg.com .

 

 

5 Ways to Generate Leads in the HVAC Business

As the owner of an HVAC business, generating leads should be your single most important objective. The more quality leads you are able to get, the more likely you are to get long-term customers. There are so many ways that have been proven to work effectively in lead generation. You should combine several strategies to generate leads from various sources, while your sales team employs effective strategies to convert those leads into sales.  Below are some tips to get more leads for your HVAC business.

Search Engine Optimization

When setting up your website, you should use the SEO tool to give your page presence in search engines. This marketing effort helps you the reach the greatest number of people.  There are a number of ways you can use to rank your pages higher for organic search.

  • Geo-Targeted Pages for Local Listings – search engines rank individual pages rather than whole websites. If your business offers services to multiple cities, it is necessary to create individual web pages for each city in order to generate more specific listings in many cities.
  • Writing Content for Your Geo-Pages – you should write unique content for each page to boost your page ranking.  Your content should be simple and natural.
  • Using Keywords – be sure to include keywords in your content to increase rankings. There are tools that can help you identify the most searched words which you can add to your page content, Meta descriptions, title tags and headings.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

In addition to SEO, you can use PPC advertising for better and faster results. PPC is a paid ad, targeted to a specific search term that appears alongside your organic result, either at the bottom of the search result page or at the top, that helps to boost your SERP visibility. Google AdWords is a platform where you can advertise your website in search results and when someone searches for a specific keyword, you “pay per click” on your advertisement. The click leads the user to your website where they can get more information about your company.

To use PPC advertising you should have a clear budget on how much you are willing to pay for each lead you receive and keywords that you want your HVAC ad to show.

Social Media Marketing for HVAC Companies

Marketing your HVAC business on Social media is irrefutably a great way to maximize your visibility to potential clients.

Your business should leverage on all social media platforms, used by your target audience, as a marketing strategy. Create a Facebook page for your HVAC business and post compelling content for your target customers. Make it useful and resourceful by providing valuable information on HVAC and how tips on how to save time and money. The idea is to present your company as experts in HVAC. Remember to include a call to action in your posts.

You should invest in Facebook ads campaigns and boosted posts to maximize your presence and to get more likes and followers on the platform. Facebook ads are less expensive compared to PPC ads. It is also very important to positively engage your customers. Avoid negative or rude comments that might ruin the image of your HVAC business. Always respond promptly, engage the social media users in a friendly manner and be willing to help. You should explore other social media platforms as well such as Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Yelp and leverage on them to build a brand for your HVAC business.

Email Marketing for HVAC Business

Make use of email marketing to generate business leads and sales for your HVAC business.

Your website should have a subscription link that is easy and quick to sign up, requiring less information, for instance, name and email. Create email newsletters that are consistent with the look and feel of your HVAC brand. When designing your email newsletters, make sure the content is engaging and easy to digest. Divide the content into sections to make it easy to skim through. Remember to optimize your newsletter for mobile devices and test it on different devices for user experience, to ensure its effectiveness, before sending it out. Always include an accessible unsubscribe button in the email for those who opts-out.

Great Customer Service

Providing exemplary customer service is a long-term growth strategy that your HVAC company should invest in. your advertising campaigns are geared towards engaging target audience to get them interested with an aim of converting them into customers. Remarkable customer service is the best strategy that you can use to achieve these goals.

 

Mr. HVAC wants to thank our guest contributor – JC Heating & Cooling.

JC Heating & Cooling, Inc is here to help with the heating and cooling systems in your home or office. Our combination of skills and services make us your best choice. All JC Heating & Cooling, Inc technicians are factory trained and certified, and we offer flat rate pricing that lets you know up front how much your HVAC installation will cost. We serve the North and South West Suburb areas and can provide same-day or next-day service in most cases. We also offer hvac emergency service and free estimates on heating & cooling equipment.

Ventilation Systems and their Role in Home Comfort

Ventilation is an important component of any home or business and is often tied into home heating and cooling systems. Improper ventilation can be and often is a major cause of indoor air quality problems. In fact, OSHA health standards include ventilation requirements in the work place.

Ventilation is, simply put: the exchange of air to the outside as well as the circulation of air within a room or space.

Throwing open that window in your home or office on a nice spring day is a form of ventilation aptly called ‘natural ventilation’. Typically used more in a residence or small office simply following good natural ventilation procedures can greatly improve indoor air quality. Many people feel better and wake more refreshed if they ‘ventilate’ at night by leaving a window open.

Ventilation through mechanical means is known as ‘forced ventilation’. Kitchen ventilation and bathroom ventilation typically use electric fans and are good examples of this mechanical or forced ventilation and cannot only help control air quality – including odors – but also control humidity as well. In some tropical/humid climates, dual direction fans can be used to pump air out or into a structure depending on the time of year and the need for humidity control. Industrial ventilation in large office buildings can be a large component and cost of the overall building plan and design.

Properly installed ventilation systems can remove water vapor, airborne chemicals and pollutants such as carbon dioxide. Then in turn they can bring in air from outside and distribute it throughout the office or home.

Ventilation is also critical for spaces such as attics or unused rooms at the top of a house or building. During the hotter months, excess heat can build up in attics resulting in abnormally high cooling costs – using ventilation in conjunction with good air conditioning systems can help with this problem. Additionally, moisture can build up and if not properly expelled from the attic it can condense and cause potential problems such as breaking down of construction materials and insulation.

Furthermore, today’s energy efficient homes that are ‘tightly’ built can have a negative effect when it comes to ventilation – believe it or not! Quality, well built houses are fine but they lack the naturally occurring ventilation of houses from years past where leaks around doors and windows served the purpose of ventilating. Of course houses today are better and we certainly don’t want to go back to Grandma’s single pain windows and weather stripping that turned to dust when you touched it! We do however have to make sure and include a good ventilation plan that includes proper size and amount of fans, especially in rooms with no windows.

Plan your ventilation needs at the same time as your heating and cooling and allocate the correct amount of your budget that results in a quality indoor environment you feel good about living in day after day. And remember just like a scene from your favorite romantic movie, there is still no substitution for opening that window, leaning on the ledge and breathing some good old fashioned fresh air!

 

About the author:

Ryan Holden is an HVAC Technician for Progressive Heating & Air who are based in San Diego.

 

How to Grow Your HVAC Business in a Very Challenging Market

Small-to-mid size HVAC business owners know that the best customers are those who keep coming back. After all, customer retention is what makes family owned businesses successful. However, keeping the status quo isn’t enough to keep customers coming back for more. Business owners and heating & air conditioning contractors need to perform way above minimum expectations and go the extra mile continuously. Let’s go over some ways to evolve your business in this very competitive market.

Look at the numbers first.

First off, assess your financial goals. Experts recommend HVAC owners to fill out a Dealer Needs Analysis. The Dealer Needs Analysis compares your HVAC business to similar businesses with double-digit profits. The outcomes of the analysis is the stepping stone needed to assess your strength and weakness’s, which opens new doors to either maintain a triumphant industry position or take your business to new heights.

Use downtime wisely.

When you’re busy servicing your customers, the growth of your business can be pushed to the side. Use your downtime wisely by getting involved in community eventsand looking for growth opportunities such as increased training for your staff, new product offerings, and additional locations.

Train well.

HVAC business owners really have to dedicateserious thought on how their technicians respond to customers. One bad experience could lose a potential long-term customer or business relationship. This is why a well-trained staff is paramount for every HVAC business.  Focus on training your heating & air conditioning contractors and you will be able to achieve great heights for your business growth.

Have good time management.

Time management can make or break your relationship with your clients. When you have good time and calendar management, you know where your company staff is, what they’re actually doing, and how well they interact with customers. As a result, you can provide your customers with a more accurate arrival time of your tech or service person.

Look neat, organized and sharp.

An HVAC customer service appointment shouldn’t be as formal as a board meeting, but there should still be consistency in place when it comes to presentation. Your heating & air conditioning contractors could be the best in the world at their job, but showing up disorganized, wearing old, dirty shirts, can create a negative impression among your customers. First impressions count.

Explain the job to your customers.

Encourage heating & air conditioning contractorsto share what they know in a customer-friendly manner. For instance, most customers probably don’t have any idea about certain HVAC terms like condenser coil and load calculation. Your technicians can spend a few minutes explaining how they work to their customers. Improved communication reinforces honesty and competency, which paves the way to better customer service.

Follow up.

When the job is completed, a follow up call to the customer shows that you care about the job performed and their satisfaction. Your customers will understand that your company is concerned about its services, which also provides more opportunities for customer outreach. You can consider including an advertising sale or a discount offer when you follow up.

Simplify your customer feedback and billing process.

After a service call, customers may dread dealing with a pile of time consuming paperwork. After the job is completed, you should know that your customers will most likely just want to pay their bill and get on with their day.This is made easier with mobile technologies that allow online payments and simplify customer feedback acquisition.

Generate leads.

Upon completing a major heating or cooling service, you may consider sending other homeowners within your service area information about the particular HVAC services your business provides. It makes sense if a previous customer in your service area has provided positive customer feedback showing how satisfied they are with your team.

Get involved on social media.

Engage your audience on popular social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube. The keyword here is ‘engaging’. Interact with them by providing meaningful content. Be sure that all your social media profiles are not just user-focused, but should also be search engine friendly. Social media has been documented as a powerful tool in marketing HVAC businesses.

With every marketing tactic you implement to grow your HVAC business, having a clear goal and dynamic strategy will help you take your business to greater heights. That’s where successful HVAC business growth starts!

 

Author Bio(Automatic Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing)

Automatic  Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing is a highly reputed air conditioning, heating and plumbing company servicing Memphis and surrounding areas. They take pride of their strong commitment to excellent customer service, allowing them to deliver top-notch heating, cooling and plumbing solutions for residential and commercial customers. At Automatic Air Conditioning and Heating, they value your comfort more than anything else”. http://itsautomatic.com/

Key Time Management Tips to Help Improve Employee Productivity for More Sales

In business as in life, time is not just money – time is everything. Effective time management is the difference between a contract delivered on time or a lost client, a bill paid or missed, and the overall success or failure of a business.

Helping employees to manage their time effectively is a necessity for any business, but adoption of any new habits or guidelines always starts at the top. To help increase your employee productivity and drive sales, consider the following starting points:

1. Divide and conquer. Everyone has a role to play in the sales process. To some extent, customers like to deal with a familiar face – someone who manages their relationship with the company. However, not everyone can be good at every part of the sales process. Some employees are better at generating leads, some are closers, some execute, and some are great at offering additional add-ons after the fact. The key here as a manager is to find out where people excel and allow them to utilize their strengths.
People in HVAC Business Talking
2. Always incentivize success. It is important to align an employee’s interest with those of your company as closely as possible. This will provide employees strong motivation to use their time wisely in pursuit of their goals, which will also be your goals. Employees need to be rewarded for success in achieving objectives that have been very carefully selected by you as a manager.

For instance, your goals for an employee may not just be more sales; instead it might be a greater number of sales with high profit margins, which will help your company’s profitability. In the short-term, your goal for employees may be limited to getting more leads. You can always change the objective later to converting more of those leads to sales.

3. Avoid punishing failure. As helpful as positive reinforcement can be in the form of proper incentives, negative reinforcement has shown to be every bit as harmful to employee morale. First, employees can become embarrassed or even resentful of your company. Moreover, punishing mistakes almost inevitably distracts employees from putting their best effort into generating sales.

If mistakes are made – which they inevitably will be – it is best to help an employee understand what was done wrong and what corrections they can make for the future. However, try to let the employee figure out why what they did was wrong. This way they will come to better understand your company’s process and why things are done a certain way. They may even come up with ways to improve the company’s process or develop new best practices.

4. Train, train, train. To really boost productivity in sales or any other area of business, employees need to be given the tools they need to succeed. They need to be empowered with the ability to achieve. That can mean having the flexibility that they need to meet varying customer needs, or the ability to make each sales call count. General George Patton is credited with saying, “don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” Other historical figures from Winston Churchill to Franklin Roosevelt have quotes to the same effect – micromanaging is counter-productive. The best managers are those that help set goals for employees, give them access to superior tools and training, and step back to let the employee determine how best to achieve their objectives.

Helping employees to improve their productivity is almost a full-time job. Many large companies have entire divisions built around employee training and empowerment, developing best practices and exploring new ways to apply ever-increasing knowledge about employee and customer behavior. For smaller firms, even a few areas of improvement can go a long way.

To help the productivity of your employees, try exploring the points above; and be sure to keep an eye out for other areas that you come across as potential sources of improvement. Your company will change over time, and with it will change your staff, customer base, your goals and your needs for employee productivity. Setting your mind early on to developing not only ways to improve productivity, but ways of determining your short-, mid-, and long-term needs will put your business on the right track for long-term success.

About Our Guest Author – Una Lawlor
Una Lawlor is Content Marketing Manager at Advance Systems, a company that provides world-class enterprise HR software. Una has over 10 years’ sales and marketing experience in retail, media, finance and technology. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin with a degree in English & French, Una has extensive content writing experience and specialises in the field of people operations and HR management. You can find Una on Twitter (@lawloru) and Linkedin.

Looking for a Competitive Edge? Check out EGIA

You Need to Know About EGIA – The Energy Gas Industry Association

As contractors in the field service management industry, one trap we fall in to is a tendency to get laser focused on the day to day operations of our own businesses.  Oftentimes this can come at the expense of opportunities to learn more about our industries, network with others, and gain valuable insight in to industry trends.

One thing you can do to make sure this doesn’t happen is to get involved with an organization that understands the field service management business.  One such organization that everyone should be familiar with is the Electric & Gas Industries Association (EGIA).  They are a non-profit organization dedicated to helping contracting businesses thrive and increase their competitive edge.

EGIA offers multiple services to contractors including industry studies, a contractor marketplace and numerous educational opportunities.  One of the things we are particularly proud of is the EGIA Contractor University, where our CEO James Leichter is a founding faculty member.  The EGIA Contractor University focuses on courses for contractors to help them drive revenue, increase profits and develop a successful, efficient field service management business.  They offer Industry Best Practices courses and even an HVAC Sales Academy.

We encourage all of our partners and customers to check EGIA out and see if membership is right for your business.  https://www.egia.org/join

Providing Great Customer Service in the HVAC Industry

The Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Industry has been a thriving industry for some time. And with the influx of newer and more efficient central systems, the growth is projected to continue the upward climb. When was the last time that you walked in a home or business office and they didn’t have some sort of temperature controlled system? I’m sure that if you had, it would probably be the last time that you back to that commercial or residential property.

Becoming an HVAC technician is not an easy task. There are many certifications and training programs that HVAC servicemen have to complete in order to becoming a practicing technicians. This training curriculum has been great for producing highly skilled HVAC repairmen/installers. Their training will be great understanding problem solving techniques that can be used for solving multiple issues with HVAC Repairs/Installation. So, why is it that you, as a business owner have skilled technicians, but your business is showing little growth? Maybe additional technical courses or additional experience is not the answer to your problem. Your focus maybe better served in training your employees on providing the best customer service experience available instead.

Hearing the words “customer service” probably causes you to think about the shopping or food industry. These are probably two of the most well-known industries that religiously focus on the customer service experience. But, similar to these industries, one bad experience can destroy a potentially long lasting relationship with your customers. I’m sure however, that if you provide great technical service, as well as great customer service, your business will grow dramatically. Now, the question now is, what are the strategies that you can use that will increase your customer’s experience?

Making sure that you hire the right people.

What does it mean to hire the right people? Should you go and hire the most technically skilled service man that has very little communication/people skills. Or, should you hire someone with great communication skills, but that possesses little technical skills. Believe it or not it might be more beneficial to choose the latter candidate. Technical skills and knowledge can be taught from on the job training or additional technical courses. Having great communication skills however, is something that is harder to learn, and if your employees aren’t sold on your vision, than they probably won’t buy in. During the interviewing process, it is important to note how the person is communicating with us. Do they practice eye contact while answering questions? Are they confident in their answers? Are they answering questions with a positive attitude? Do they leave a great lasting impression on you? Although these questions can seem very tedious, it is important that you realize that the people that you hire represent your business.

Training to promote the great customer service.

Now that you have hopefully hired the right person, the next questions should be, what additional training is needed and how to train the people that you already have? It is important that you realize that providing great customer service is a habitual process. Setting up a good training program is very important for continued growing success. An example of training new people would be to complete 2 months of a “Ride Along” period. During this time, the new person will be matched with a more experienced person that may already have great customer service skills. They can complete the tasks together and afterwards provide the customer or client with a survey. This survey will be used gather information about the interaction between your employee and the customer. Calling customers after providing services for them can also be a great tactic in gauging the level of customer satisfaction. Even if you have to entice your customers with special offers or rebates for their feedback, it will be worth it in the end, because now you have a satisfied customer. Satisfied customers continue to conduct business with you as well as refer other people to your business. I also recommend implanting a bi-monthly or quarterly customer service training class. This goes along with the continuing to ensure that your employees remember and practice great customer service practices.

What next?

Customer service is an important part of your business’s growth. Although it may be true that great customer service doesn’t always warrant rave reviews, bad reviews can most always take away from your business. By understanding the importance of this additional service, you can implement it and ensure that your employees practice theses services. I’m sure that over time your business will dramatically grow and you will dominate your local market, by understanding that the most important asset of your business is your customers.

About Author

Jaki Redden is a Web Designer and Content Writer that enjoys writing for local business owners in order to provide them with all the tools that they need of their market.

Performance Based Compensation. Example HVAC Bonuses

Looking for Performance Based Compensation Examples?

Did you read my article about Performance Based Compensation in Contracting Business Magazine? If not, please see the article here.

HVAC Installation Department Compensation Plan

Simplified Compensation Chart – Residential HVAC Installation Department

Many contractors have found that it is relatively easy to pay service technicians based on performance but far more difficult paying installers. This document outlines how to pay installers. The key behind this policy is to calculate labors times for various installation tasks (you do not have to share these labor times with your installers). You then must create an hourly wage that you will pay your installers based on their skill level, time within the company, etc. Once you have created labor times and hourly wages, you may then easily calculate “flat rate” pay for your installers.

We have created a simplified list of common installation tasks for you to consider. This list uses just one hourly wage rate. In other words, no consideration is given for their skill level, time within the company, etc.

Item Fee
Complete 80% Heating System $ 168.00
Complete 90% Heating System $ 200.00
Complete Cooling System Replacement $ 205.00
Complete Cooling System Add On $ 325.00
Complete Heat Pump System Replacement $ 220.00
Complete Heat Pump System Add On $ 340.00
Complete 80% Heating & Cooling System $ 264.00
Complete 90% Heating & Cooling System $ 296.00
Condensing Unit (all efficiencies) $   80.00
Heat Pump (all efficiencies) $   95.00
Evaporator Coil $   60.00
Evaporator Coil (with TXV) $   75.00
Humidifier (power and by-pass type) $   24.00
Electronic Air Cleaner (with installation) $   40.00
Space-Gard Air-Cleaner $   32.00
Flue Vent Stack Replacement (up to 25’) $   52.00
Flue Vent Stack Replacement (each additional 5’) $     8.00
Chimney Liner (up to 25’) $   52.00
Chimney Liner (each additional 5’) $     8.00
Dual Fuel Kit (add to installation) $   15.00
Refrigerant Line Set (liquid line, insulated suction line, and drier) $   60.00
Pull Thermostat Wire $   28.00
Plenum $   50.00
Complete Return Drop and Boot $   48.00
Return Boot Only $   30.00
Offsetting Transition $   30.00
Move Hot Water Heater up to 24” $   30.00
Remove and Replace Existing Hot Water Heater $   40.00

*All equipment must be installed to applicable code.

Company Wide Profit Sharing

Company Wide Profit Sharing through Performance Based Compensation

In addition to technician compensation, sales commissions, and spiffs, a Companywide profit sharing should be established when the company can afford to do it. This plan allows all employees to receive a bonus under rules and guidelines established by management. An ideal plan will assure that the company is making sufficient profit before any profit sharing is distributed.

Employees will be rewarded for helping to achieve company financial goals. Our minimum sales goal for the 4th quarter of 2004 is $308,000.00 (last year was $307,540). Our minimum gross profit margin goal is 46% (last year it was 40.58). If we meet this goal, everyone will receive a quarterly bonus equal to 20 cents times the number of hours they worked during the that quarter.

  • Example: Let’s say we have sales of $312,000 and a gross profit margin of 47% and you work 520 hours for the quarter. Your bonus will be $332.80 (520 hours x 64 cents).

Image of Performance Based Compensation Table for HVAC Contractors

Employees will be rewarded for helping to achieve company financial goals. Our minimum sales goal for the 4th quarter of 2003 is $308,000.00 (last year was $307,540). Our minimum gross profit margin goal is 46% (last year it was 40.58). If we meet this goal, everyone will receive a quarterly bonus equal to 20 cents times the number of hours they worked during the first quarter.

Example: Let’s say we have sales of $312,000 and a gross profit margin of 47% and you work 520 hours for the quarter. Your bonus will be $332.80 (520 hours x 64 cents).

What are your R22 Refrigerant Replacement Options?

Since the 1st January 2015 it has been against the law use R22 refrigerant in refrigeration, heat pump and air conditioning units. This ban made a big impact on the maintenance and repairs of air conditioning units. At the start the only other option was to completely replace your unit, however, over the year’s major manufacturers such as Mitsubishi and Daikin have developed a variety of solutions to help meet the individual needs. The main R22 replacement options that are available for you are:

  • Total system replacement
  • Replace outdoor and indoor units
  • Use a “drop-in” refrigerant

These replacements have been put in place to help businesses, such as contractors with finding a solution that suits their needs. Each option is designed for certain people and businesses, below we will discuss the options and how they can help you.

Total System Replacement

A total system replacement is pretty much what it sounds like, replace everything! This includes pipework, electrical wiring and both outdoor and indoor units. Although this might seem like a bit of a waste of time and a fuss, it ensures that you have the most up to date equipment and hopefully the lowest running costs. Replacing your whole air conditioning unit can be very time consuming and might be quite expensive in terms of replacement time. However, in the long run it is worth it as you will then have the most energy efficient air conditioning unit and won’t have to worry for a while about replacing any of it again.

Replace Outdoor and Indoor Units

If you own a big business, then maybe the last thing you want to be doing is having to close down for a period of time whilst your air conditioning unit gets replaced. This is where one of the main R22 replacement options come into place, the replacement of outdoor and indoor units. By reusing some of your existing infrastructure, you could cut your installation costs by up to 55% whilst also minimising the impact on your business.

Most major manufacturers will offer partial R22 replacement solutions, so you don’t need to worry about not being able to find a company. Another major benefit of this option, is instead of just scrapping your unit and getting a new one, you can upgrade your current system allowing your old infrastructure to be bought up to speed with your company’s current needs.

Use a “Drop-in” Refrigerant

There are a lot of mixed opinions on using a drop-in refrigerant but overall the most important thing to remember is that this option should only be used for short periods of time. This approach can cause damage to your systems reliability and performance which can leave you at a risk of failure or even downtime for your company. If you are continuously maintaining your ageing system will eventually become a very expensive hobby for you and you might find that most manufacturers don’t support this option due to the complications.

Drop-in refrigerants will reduce your immediate costs, but unfortunately as time goes by you will find that you are spending way too much on fixing the unit. Therefore, it is so important if you are going to use this method that you don’t use it for a long period, and whilst you are using it you need to be coming up with a suitable replacement plan.

If you have considered the cost and the impact it will have on your business, it doesn’t really matter which R22 replacement option you choose. At All Seasons Climate Control, we ensure the very highest standards are met for all our installation and maintenance services, so if you think you need help with your air conditioning unit then get in touch with the experts now.