First Call has a growing Indoor Environment Department that, just a few years ago, was strictly a duct-cleaning business. Today the department focuses on all IAQ issues and sees itself as a proactive business pushing the company and its customers towards environmentally conscious heating and cooling options. The Indoor Environment Department, along with its original duct cleaning capabilities, is certified by Oregon’s Energy Trust program, which provides incentives to homeowners and businesses for energy-efficient, sustainable living and partners with contractors and other businesses to encourage green initiatives.
PLANNED SERVICE AGREEMENTSFirst Call currently uses HomeAdvice™ exclusively as an offering of its planned maintenance agreement program, titled Guardian Gold, which currently has about 4,000 customers enrolled. First Call provides the test free of charge to these planned maintenance customers as one aspect of its service agreements, and plans to expand the use of HomeAdvice to the rest of its customer base of around 35,000 homeowners as they become more comfortable with the system.
The contractor sees the HomeAdvice product as an educational tool for its customers that is a great fit for both the company’s strongest commitment - service - and the Portland market - healthy indoor air and efficient energy use. Many of its customers are simply curious about the health of their indoor environment and ask for the IAQ assessment. First Call is taking an approach to maintenance that has grown from simply keeping machinery running to becoming a proactive, knowledgeable source of information for its customers.
Most of the problems First Call technicians find in homes when running HomeAdvice IAQ tests originate in filtration systems. In the Portland area, there are pockets of homes with high levels of radon, and this is important information for a homeowner to know when considering the health of their family.
Jonathon Moscatello, indoor environmental advisor with First Call, says that many of the tests implemented in its planned maintenance contract homes have acted as catalysts for the homeowner, inspiring decisions to install new heating and cooling equipment. One recent customer was a mild allergy sufferer that had heard about the HomeAdvice product offering and asked for a test out of curiosity. After seeing the HomeAdvice report, the customer ended up purchasing the highest quality furnace that First Call sells and installs, as well as an air-conditioning unit and a PCO-type air cleaner. This complete retrofit project resulted not from any equipment breakdown or problem, but from one simple IAQ test for a planned maintenance customer.
“A lot of our customers use the HomeAdvice test to help them make decisions about retrofits,” Moscatello said. “They don’t know what is really going on with their existing equipment until they see the results from the report, but once they do, the opportunities for cost and energy savings and healthier air tend to get people excited.” In the six months that First Call has been using the HomeAdvice system, they have already built up success with their large network of planned maintenance contract customers, and are looking to the future.
FUTURE FOR FIRST CALL“HomeAdvice is just the beginning,” Moscatello said. “We have a great and long-standing track record with customers in Portland and, as such, our customers are willing to hear a lot of new ideas from us. HomeAdvice has become a great channel for spreading new concepts about better energy systems to our customers, and in the future we plan to build on this spirit of progressive education with other service offerings.”
First Call plans to add services for their customers that will take the contractor from strictly an HVAC maintenance firm to a proactive, full-service consultant with expertise in energy-efficient building management, sales, and installation - all adding to a strong commitment to service for which First Call is known.
For more information, visit www.airadvice.com.