There’s an often-quoted saying that goes, “You have to spend money to make money.” It’s a piece of business wisdom that is sometimes correct, but so widely quoted that people think it’s the only way. So, when air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration (ACHR) business owners want to make more money, their first step is to figure out how much they have to spend to hire new people and equipment.

Or, there’s the other problem: When ACHR business owners want to increase revenues, one of their first reactions is to raise prices. They know they’ll lose some customers in the process but it’s another “knee-jerk reaction” to the desire for more money.

But what if there was a way to make more money in your ACHR business without having to spend money or raise prices? What if you could stack more money onto your bottom lines with a simple switch to how you’re doing business today? And, what if you could do it immediately and even see a significant income boost as early as this week?


The answer is surprisingly simple, and it already exists in your business: Go out to your team right now and ask your techs, “What are customers asking for that we don’t already do?”

Some of your techs might scratch their heads and not think of anything. But, give them time. Soon, you’ll get a list. Maybe it’s another home-service trade line you don’t offer, such as plumbing; maybe it’s some other home-improvement service, like new windows or roofing; maybe customers are looking for a source for heating oil; maybe they want generators to ensure their ACHR systems continue functioning during a power outage.

Start collecting this list, and even keep a whiteboard outside of your office and have people list on it every time a customer asks for something.

When you start hearing the same things over and over, you know it’s a popular request. This is where the magic is. After all, customers already associate your company with that solution —even if you don’t currently provide it — so why not make some money off of it?

With your prioritized list in hand, go out and find a service provider that delivers those answers with excellence that serves a similar customer to you.

Approach them and tell them that you have customers asking for their services, and can you work out a referral arrangement to get paid to send your customers to them. A one-sided agreement like this can work well but, chances are, they may have a similar situation and would be open to a mutual agreement where they send customers to you for a referral fee, as well. (Every quarter, just compare notes of people you’ve sent to the other company and cut a check for any amount owing in referral fees.)

Then, continue doing the work you’ve always done — you don’t have to change anything you do or spend another cent on marketing or new equipment or new teams. When a customer asks you for that related service, you can say, “Mrs. Customer, we do offer that service. We have partnered with another company in the area that we respect. They offer the same level of quality and service as we do, and I know they’d be happy to help you.”

You can even take this to another level by having your techs proactively offer the service to the customer, by saying something like, “Mrs. Customer, when we work with customers like you, we’re often asked if we know someone who can also do plumbing. Do you have any plumbing needs right now? I can have our partner company send out a plumbing expert to serve you right away.”

Just a simple sentence like that can add more orders for your partner company, and, ultimately, add more money for you without any additional shift or expense in your company.


Your customers are already asking for it. Your techs will find it easier to say “Yes” to a customer. You already serve the same customers as the other company who refers business to you. You earn more money without spending anything extra. It’s so simple to implement. And, there’s no limit to how often you can do this.

It’s win, win, win, all the way around, and you can implement this immediately for a cash injection into your business every quarter with the right referral partnerships. 

Publication date: 12/26/2016

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