Thanksgiving is right around the corner. The day I carb up and then sit around and watch football so not a single carb is burned. It’s great. Of course, the day is not just about football and food. It is about giving thanks for all the items, big and small, in our lives.
With all the negativity in the news, I thought it might be time for a positive column. This year, the HVAC industry has much to be thankful for, including:
1. A return to in-person industry events. I still vividly remember ACCA needing to cancel their annual meeting a few days before the event in March of 2020 due to local COVID rules in St. Louis. At that point, I thought things would go back to normal in a month or two. Well, it took well over a year, so my prediction was just a bit off.
The industry has already had some successful events in the recent months. Service Roundtable, EGIA, and ACCA have all returned to productive in-person events. Of course, in January will be the big test. The granddaddy of them all — the AHR Expo — will be coming back. It will be great to see the entire industry being under one roof again … even if people are wearing masks and I can only see their eyes. If you have not gotten back to in-person events, I would suggest you look into it. There is nothing like networking with your peers face-to-face.
2. Prices going up. You read that right, and I do realize it is a bit counterintuitive. Price is always a dicey issue for contractors as they try to close the deal while keeping healthy profit margins. The good news is that prices are going up on everything. Gas, food, and anything else you can think of is spiking in price. What does that mean? It means that consumers are expecting prices to be higher — and HVAC contractors can certainly make sure that is happening. I would suggest raising prices even higher than you normally do.
Of course, there are some other legitimate reasons for the price increase. Manufacturers are raising their prices, putting gas in your trucks is costing more, and with the tight job market, contractors might need to raise compensation. I could keep going, but this column is supposed to be about thanks and positivity.
And let’s not forget those natural gas prices. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy has predicted that households that use heating oil can expect to spend 43% more this winter, while those that use propane should see costs increase 54%.
Again, what does that mean for HVAC contractors? It might be a little easier to sell a replacement instead of just a repair this winter. If you can show the homeowner that their return on investment will come back quicker this year with a high-efficiency furnace, it might be enough to make the sale.
The current shape of the economy is not all bad.
3. The diversity of HVAC. There is no denying the HVAC industry is aging and tends to be male-dominated. Of course, there is nothing wrong with getting quality men to be a part of the industry. And older technicians certainly have a lot of experience that you can’t put a price tag on in your business.
But we also all realize that the HVAC workforce labor shortage needs to be solved — and fast. This can be done by recruiting females, minorities, and the younger generation. This industry has room for everybody.
If you want to take a look at the achievements of some of these individuals, check out The ACHR NEWS’ recent Top 40 Under 40 list and Top Women of HVAC list.
4. IAQ. I can’t ever remember a time where people were more concerned about the air that they breathe. What a perfect time to be in a business that can directly impact the indoor air quality of a home or building. Be thankful for that.
I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and a profitable holiday season.