Financing Can Boost HVAC Summer Sales
June 25, 2007
Jim and Billie Thompson are the owners of Thompson Services
Unlimited, a residential HVACR-plumbing-electrical contractor in Rockvale,
Tenn. The family-owned and -operated company “was a dream that started over 20
years ago” by mechanically minded Jim Thompson.
Part of the company’s reality is to offer affordable,
sensible comfort solutions to customers. It’s part of the reason why the
contractor is offering financing through its Maytag (Nordyne) HVAC lines.
The Heating and Air Department also is part of the
Mitsubishi Diamond Dealer Club - the contractor offers ductless HVAC products,
which increases its flexibility still more. “This group of guys are surely to
be able to come up with a sensible solution to making your home comfortable,”
HVAC FINANCING“The consumer financing program is working very well for
us,” he said. “It has done wonders for us.
“I would say that since we offered it, 50 percent of our
customers take us up on financing of some sort.” The company has been offering
it approximately 90 days.
“It’s roughly a 50-50 combination of new and repeat
customers,” he said. With the ability to get financing, customers seem to feel
better about buying better equipment than they might have without financing.
“About 70 percent of our customers will upgrade their equipment if financing is
available,” Thompson said.
Roughly one out of 25 customers will not qualify for the
main financing. A second level of financing is available for those customers
with a higher interest rate; “but we have found that if they don’t qualify for
the first level, they probably won’t qualify on any level.”
When the program was first offered through Thompson Service
Unlimited, the offer was for 12 months same as cash, with zero cost to the
“Now it goes 90 days same as cash,” Thompson said. The
initial offer primed the pumps, so to speak. “They primed us well!
“We have not advertised the financing except through word of
mouth in the field, and on our billboard,” he continued. “I credit all the
customer interest to the service techs. They get a commission on every sale.
They don’t get any different spiff if it’s a financed sale or if the customer’s
paying. The advantage is, a lot of customers will make a quicker decision.”
They also tend to spend more if it’s financed.
GAS AND ELECTRIC TOOThompson’s background includes a lot of work in the gas
industry, which resulted in his input in area code books, plus work in
Operational Management for the state of Georgia (“the largest single supplier
of natural gas in North America,” the contractor pointed out).
It’s no surprise, then, that the contractor’s natural gas
and propane work is the cornerstone of the business. “Our shop is designed to
allow customers to come and see live burns of our many selections of Empire and
Vanguard logs.” The company is looking to expand into propane delivery.
On the electrical side, the company has experience in “heavy
residential” (high-tech), commercial, and industrial work. “No job is too large
or too small,” Thompson said.
The company runs four trucks and subcontracts some of its
installation work. “We cater primarily to changeout customers,” Thompson said.
“Five percent of the work is new construction.”
SELLING MADE SIMPLERWhen Complete Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning,
Cleveland, Ga., finally started using the finance program Nordyne offers,
“within six to eight weeks we sold five jobs that we might not have gotten
without consumer financing,” said Dennis Wiley. “I’m using the deferred
“A lot of the time, homeowners don’t have the money to fork
out for a new system,” he said. Financing gives them the money and time to pay
it off. Even with “a little bit higher interest rate, I still get the job
because of the financing.
“I’m a very honest person,” Wiley continued. “I try to do
everything like I’m doing it for myself. I have a Spacegard filtration system
at home. I mainly sell Ultravation now,” he said. “It has this box that I
really, really like. The furnace sits on top of the box, and it makes a really
Wiley has been in HVAC contracting two years - “not long” -
primarily in the residential market. “I have three employees, two installers
and a secretary. I am the service technician-estimator-do it all.”
For most homeowners, air quality is a big issue. “IAQ is
probably their No. 1 concern,” he said. “It’s becoming a bigger issue, too.”
Financing helps them get the solutions they are looking for.
Sidebar: Starting Up the BusinessJim Thompson, his wife Billie, and son Lucas started on the
journey of company ownership just a few years ago in a room above their home’s
garage, though it had been a dream of Jim’s for more than 20 years.
The business plan was to develop the site in Rockvale,
Tenn., as a showroom for gas products such as logs and grilles, while also
leasing out ministorages through five different buildings on the 5 acre site.
In addition to his roots in the gas industry, electrical,
plumbing, and HVAC were also fields that Jim Thompson had worked in during his
career. It seemed to fit in the business plan perfectly.
“In just three years, our business plan has quadrupled from
what was originally expected, from the number of employees to the amount of
work we are doing,” said Thompson. “We would like to think that it is our
stellar service that has allowed us to be so blessed.”
Publication date: 06/25/2007