Service Leads to High-End Sale
June 22, 2009
Every contractor loves the routine maintenance call that ends in a significant sale. The scenario goes something like this: The technician performs the scheduled service on an aging furnace and/or air conditioner and informs the homeowners that the equipment is reaching the end of its life, and they should consider buying a new system. The homeowners, appreciating the honesty of the technician, whip out their checkbook and say, “Please don’t wait - replace my units with the best heating and cooling system that money can buy today.”
While this situation may not occur often enough to suit contractors, it did recently happen to Chad and Randall Scott, owners, Scott Brothers Heating and Air, Fleetwood, N.C. The only difference in their situation is that comfort consultant Chris Young first sat down and explained several different heating and cooling options before the homeowners wrote a check for the best system in the line-up.
NO TIME TO WASTELocated in the mountainous region of northwestern North Carolina, Scott Brothers Heating and Air specializes in residential/light commercial service and replacement for existing homes and new construction. With limited natural gas in the area, most homeowners rely on oil furnaces or LP gas to heat their homes. Last year’s dramatic increase in the price of heating oil led many homeowners in the area to look for other ways to keep their homes comfortable.
That fact, plus the advice that the technician Gardner Anderson gave to look at new systems, spurred the aforementioned homeowners to immediately replace their mid-1990s air conditioner and oil furnace. Chris Young met with the couple, performed the heat load calculations, then spent time talking with the homeowners about their needs.
“The homeowners’ main concerns were about energy efficiency and reliability,” said Young. “They said they were getting older, and they wanted something that was reliable and efficient. They also both suffered from allergies, so some kind of indoor air cleaning equipment was needed.”
Young presented the couple with several options that included a heat pump and furnace combination coupled with an indoor air cleaning system. The final package chosen by the homeowners included Trane’s XL20i heat pump, XC95 three-stage communicating furnace, and CleanEffects air cleaning system.
Randall noted that these types of dual-fuel systems have become more popular in his area, so the homeowners were aware of this configuration. “It’s getting to be pretty typical for this area. Some still think heat pumps don’t work here, but that isn’t the case. It does get cold here, but that’s why the gas furnace is there instead of having back-up heat strips.”
DUCT REDO NECESSARYThe existing oil furnace was installed on the bare floor of a small crawl space, so it was a little tricky to disassemble it and remove it from its cramped quarters. Then the new furnace was properly hung to keep it off the floor. Duct modifications were also necessary, due to the fact that the return duct was made of ductboard. The return duct was removed and replaced with metal, while the existing supply duct was deemed adequate for the new installation.
“We always make sure the ductwork fits the application,” said Randall. “If it’s too small, if it’s leaky, whatever the situation, we’re going to fix it. If a customer has bad ductwork and does not want to fix it, we’re not going to install a system. We’ll just walk away, because our name and reputation are riding on that job.”
The entire system took approximately a day to install, and start-up was a breeze, said Chad. “The charge assist feature on the XL20i is a really terrific feature, because it takes out the human error that often occurs when charging a system. This unit will literally charge itself, and it also sets the airflow, so that makes installation pretty simple.”
The homeowners are thrilled with their new $13,500 heating and cooling system, which makes Chad and Randall very happy. “It is true that profit margins are better with the higher-end equipment, but we’re more concerned with customer satisfaction,” said Randall. “It’s all about the customer. We’re a 100 percent referral-based business, so the happier we can make our customers, the more referrals we’re going to get.”
Publication date: 06/22/2009