Several years ago, when I owned my HVAC company, my son Matt, who also served as my lead technician at the time, was on a service call. Prior to calling, the homeowner had already received five quotes regarding a faulty heat exchanger. Matt went out anyway.
The call could have easily equaled no profit if Matt had simply offered a low-price bid to beat out the other five bids. That’s a great way to begin hating the business you’re in. No profit equals giving away your expertise for free, and that is not why you got into this business. Instead, Matt decided to think outside the box by diagnosing the real problem while addressing the customer’s poor IAQ. In the customer’s mind, Matt’s skill level far outweighed the other five technicians who quoted the job because he took his visit one step farther and addressed a greater issue. He showed concern for the customer’s initial pain and concern for the customer’s future health.
THE COST OF GREEN
Nowadays, people are more and more aware of the frailty of the environment. The general population takes a conscious approach at being green by making less of a carbon footprint and more of a positive footprint on planet Earth. In our effort to protect our resources, my question is this: Are we just pretending to be green? Because, truth be told, if being green affected the average American’s bank account on a large scale, I believe fewer people would participate. When it comes to being green, people will give a piece of their paychecks to support the cause, but will rarely bend over backwards to see that mission accomplished.
OUR HEALTH IS THE NEW GREEN
With health care being so expensive, one would think it wouldn’t be a billion dollar industry. Health-related debt has become one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in America. What does that tell us? People are willing to spend money that doesn’t exist on behalf of their health.
This is where the importance of IAQ enters the room. IAQ is saving lives. In my company at the time, it was our priority to address health issues every time we entered a home. When the top diseases in America are respiratory related, a faulty HVAC system is a probable cause. And, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests the air inside the average home is five times more polluted than the air outside, again, even a brand-new, perfectly tuned HVAC system is not enough.
IAQ presents an opportunity that our industry has not fully been explored. The focus is going green, when really it should be going white — white for clean air and good health in the spaces we live and work. This is a billion dollar industry opportunity. In some cases, it is being maximized, but in most cases, the surface is not even being scratched. As a whole, our industry’s contractors and technicians are not seeing the true value and potential optimization this addition can have on their menu of services. It’s a goldmine, and it should be considered. Because, people will give a piece of their paychecks to go green, save the whales, save the environment, and save the trees, but they will trade all of their wealth for the health of those they love.
White truly is the new green and not just for the opportunist but for contractors too. Contractors willing to change the game in their companies by offering solutions for these IAQ issues can surely make a worthwhile profit if they take the right approach.
DIAGNOSE THE IAQ
Matt did a thorough inspection of the customer’s whole system and found that raccoons had torn into the ductwork as well as a few other concerns. Matt looked at the age of the unit and thought he could get a new heat exchanger under warranty, so with the homeowner’s consent, he repaired the unit. The other five contractors had only offered a new unit as a solution. Only one of the other technicians had found the raccoon destruction and offered to repair only that section. After addressing the customer’s initial concern, Matt simply asked, “Is anyone having breathing problems in your house?” The answer was yes, so he proposed adding filtration and a permanent solution to air duct leaks for about the same cost as the highest bid. The unit started running more efficiently, and the client’s respiratory health began to improve drastically.
ONE QUESTION IS ALL IT TAKES
An IAQ introduction doesn’t have to be a detailed presentation. You can start with a simple conversation by asking one easy question, “Does anyone in the home have respiratory issues?” The answer the homeowner chooses to give is what you follow. They will either want to have the IAQ conversation with you or not. My bet is that most will want to talk. On this service call, Matt added value and won loyalty, because he knew there was more he could do.
Choosing to not only offer multiple services but form a genuine concern for more than just the system will set you above the rest of your competitors.
We were paid well for the services rendered and able to make more profit than we would have had we sold the customer a new unit. Matt took a step forward in legitimizing the competency of the service technician and provided a level of service that addressed the single largest pain point for those living in the home — their health.
Publication date: 8/7/2017