My Two Cents: Everybody Wins with Maintenance Agreements
Contracts Ensure Constant Comfort, Help Keep Service Techs Busy
As we come to the end of one of the coldest winters in memory, it’s time to revisit an old friend: maintenance agreements. Maintenance agreements have always provided a number of benefits to both the contractor and his customer; however, with the conditions this winter, a story can be told that makes it even more important for your customer to consider a maintenance agreement. This is an opportunity that we as contractors should utilize and capitalize upon.
Brush off the Snow
Your customers’ air conditioning units have undergone extremely harsh conditions this winter, and the need to check all of the components is greater than ever. Besides the interior components, even some of the exterior cabinets have sustained potential damage due to the low temperatures and mounds of snow. In addition, since your maintenance agreement should include a fall check on the furnace system as well, it offers you another selling feature.
Your customer’s furnace undoubtedly worked harder and longer this winter than it has in many years. If that furnace was near the end of its life cycle at the beginning of this past season, then it’s certainly beyond it now. Therefore, it is more important than ever for that customer to have his or her furnace checked and inspected prior to the start of the next heating season.
For a long time, maintenance agreements have been an important part of our business. They are an advantage to the customer, because the customer is provided with the peace of mind that his or her unit has been cleaned, checked, and is in the best condition possible to serve them through the season. In addition, most contractors provide other incentives to their maintenance agreement customers, such as a parts discount, priority service in case of an emergency, and special pricing on media filters and/or humidifier pads. Since the pricing that most contractors use for their maintenance agreements is modest, it does prove to be a winning proposition for the customer.
The good thing about maintenance agreements is, besides being a benefit to your customers, they also benefit you, the contractor. These agreements provide work for your service technicians during the spring and fall, when work is traditionally slow. If the agreements are properly managed — that is, grouped so that drive time is at a minimum — they can actually be somewhat profitable. We have a grid showing the subdivisions and zip codes where we are going to be performing maintenance each day over a two-month period. This allows us to say to the customer, “We are going to be in your area on such and such dates,” and, in most cases, they are able to choose a date that is convenient for them. In arranging the matrix and calls, we take into consideration which service technician normally covers each particular area. We are happy to say that our service techs are very possessive about their customers and want to make sure they are the ones maintaining their customers’ systems.
Another contracting benefit of maintenance agreements is that a maintenance agreement ties the customer to you. This is obviously an extremely important benefit for you. If you are the contractor that is performing maintenance and you have regular contact with that customer, it is nearly a sure thing that if that customer requires service on his or her system for some type of breakdown, you will be the one he or she calls. Additionally, because they are familiar with your company, your name, and what you do, if they need additional work for something like an addition or a finished lower level, it is likely you will have the first chance of performing that work for them.
If you are interested in receiving copies of our maintenance agreement forms and brochure, just email me at the address listed in the “Author Notes” box. There is a great opportunity out there for us right now. Remember, the good thing about this opportunity is that it benefits both you and your customers. Don’t wait until things get busy; get to work now increasing your maintenance agreement customer base.
Publication date: 4/7/2014