New Business Strategy
October 13, 2008
Since 2005, Georgia- and South Carolina-based distributor Mingledorff’s Inc. has been offering Aeroseal™ duct sealing service through local dealers to homeowners. In June of this year, that business model changed.
A few months ago, Mingledorff’s began a unique partnership with MediClean Air Duct Cleaning that now includes duct-cleaning services with all Aeroseal services purchased by a homeowner. MediClean is based in Tyrone, Ga.
“We jumped on the opportunity to team up with MediClean Air Duct Cleaning, offering Carrier’s advanced Aeroseal technology,” said Jim Spenello, general manager of Mingledorff’s Georgia North District. “Cleaning before sealing is definitely the way to go. It seems like a natural fit for both our company and MediClean.”
The alliance is a step in the right direction, according to Spenello. Before the new partnership, Mingledorff’s relied upon subcontracted duct sealers to do the job, but discovered that in order to do the job correctly, the first priority should be to clean the air ducts before sealing them. Although duct sealing is no longer offered alone, duct cleaning can still be purchased separately.
HOW IT WORKSIn Spenello’s estimation, Aeroseal duct sealing is considered the best way to prevent leakage. The technology was developed in 1996. In his eyes, Aeroseal is reliable and tested before, during, and after the process.
To start the Aeroseal duct sealing process, all room ceiling or floor registers are replaced with foam plugs. A small access hole is cut into the supply or return air plenum and a temporary collar is attached. The air conditioning indoor coil, fan, and furnace are temporarily blocked with a foam plug to avoid the entrance of any sealing particles into this equipment.
Once the system is properly sealed, the patented injection machine is connected to the air duct system using a flexible plastic tube. The Aeroseal duct sealing system is designed to inject adhesive particles into the air duct system. According to the manufacturer, the particles travel through the air duct system seeking holes and cracks that are located throughout the ductwork. The adhesive duct sealing particles are designed to attach directly onto the edges of any hole and crack, “effectively sealing it without coating the inside of the ductwork,” according to the manufacturer.
The process is lengthy, but well worth the time as it can reduce air duct leakage by 90 percent, claimed Spenello.
CLEAN THOSE DUCTSMingledorff’s does not charge homes for duct cleaning if it is not needed, although this is rare. According to Derrick Rhodes, owner of MediClean Air Duct Cleaning, even new homes usually have drywall dust built up inside the ducts from running the HVAC system while contractors were finishing the home.
“A major problem is that many homes in Atlanta typically run their HVAC systems 11 months a year and have never been cleaned,” said Rhodes. “The Environmental Protection Agency recommends it be done every five to seven years.”
Rhodes said his company has found “almost anything you can imagine from credit cards to animals and toys” in ductwork.
“One homeowner was oblivious that an old submarine sandwich had been stuffed down the duct over a year ago,” he said.
THE NEW BUSINESS MODELIn 2001, Carrier bought Aeroseal as a small company and followed the initial business model of selling equipment franchises to dealers. The dealers would then sell it to homeowners as an additional service like any other.
Three years later, Carrier determined the Aeroseal franchises would be given to local distributors. Distributors then sell Aeroseal at their own discretion.
Mingledorff’s decided to use MediClean to perform the Aeroseal service. The distributor determines a price for the dealers and the dealers sell the service to homeowners. Once a homeowner decides to purchase the service, the dealers fill out and fax an order form to the distributor. The distributor sends the order form to MediClean, who then agree upon a date and time with the homeowner to perform the service. MediClean then relays the date and time to the dealer, who in turn invites the dealer to come to the scheduled cleaning as well. Depending on workload, the dealer may or may not show up with the subcontractor to the home to perform the service.
The business model has been successful for Mingledorff’s, but it does not work this way for all of Carrier’s distributors. Other distributors owning franchises have decided to follow Aeroseal’s old business model and sell equipment franchises directly to the dealers, who perform the service on an individual basis.
Although it is effective for some distributors, it has backfired several times due to maintenance of the equipment. It is easy to clean the equipment because the glue mist will simply wash away with water; solvents are necessary to perform the maintenance. The problem with this lies in cleaning the equipment in a timely manner, roughly within an hour of performing a service.
For more information, visit www.aeroseal.com.
Publication date: 10/13/2008