Ken Cedarquist, Andy Holt, and Jim D’Amico have a few things in common. They all have backgrounds in flat-rate pricing and the hvac trade, and they are all on a mission to make flat-rate pricing the standard bearer of the hvac industry.

It’s one thing to talk about a mission but these three are doing something about it. They formed a company in February 1999 called Profit Strategies, Inc. Their press release calls the company “a national consulting firm that is developing accurate flat-rate pricing data, and marketing the data in the most user-friendly form.”

“We all have extensive backgrounds in flat-rate pricing,” said Cedarquist. Each one learned the pricing trade while working for Callahan-Roach Products and Publications. Each also has roots in the hvac trade.

D’Amico ran his family-owned hvac business in Rochester, NY. Cedarquist worked for Carrier in application engineering, product management, and sales. Holt wore several hats while working for his family’s hvac business in Columbus, GA.

“We are not just flat-rate guys,” said Cedarquist. “We see the benefits of flat-rate pricing.”

30-sec search

Profit Strategies’ breakout product is the Quality Service Pricing™ (QSP) guide, an easy-to-use technician’s guide for hvac service repairs. The book is designed to be used in front of customers and should take technicians less than 30 seconds to locate the necessary repairs.

“A technician shouldn’t take longer than 30 seconds to locate a repair,” said D’Amico. “We incorporate the use of graphics to locate a repair. The book utilizes a lot of visual aids.

“I think we have the best flat-rate system from a usability standpoint.”

One of the benefits of the book is that it raises the level of professionalism in the eyes of consumers, who are often besieged with a multitude of different prices from contractors, some of whom use the term “competitive” to quote unrealistically low prices.

“This promotes fairness to the consumer,” said Cedarquist. “The homeowner knows what their commitment to the job will be ahead of time. No matter what skill set, the price is always the same.”

'Immediate' profits

D’Amico said that by using a flat-rate system, contractors should see immediate, positive results.

“How are you going to raise your rates in order to pay your people a decent wage?” he asked. “Flat rate should immediately raise the profit level, which should raise a contractor’s revenue, which should make it easier to retain employees.”

In the Rochester, NY ACCA Newsletter, one contractor sang the praises of the pricing guide book.

“We have been using flat-rate pricing for a number of years and I am sold on the concept,” said Empire Heating & A/C’s Fred Metzler. “When Jim [D’Amico] showed me his guide and demonstrated how easy it was to use, I wanted to give it a try.”

Customizing is available

Profit Strategies can also take the book concept one step further, by customizing it to a particular business. D’Amico talked about a specialty propane heating version his company developed.

“We developed a customized, totally unique flat-rate system for a large national distributor of propane and propane-fired appliances,” he said. “We will work with anybody to design a pricing system.”

In addition to QSP, Profit Strategies has developed the Quality Replacement Pricing™ (QRP) guide, which is designed to be used by service technicians to offer replacement equipment to their customers. And Quality Selling Strategies™ (QSS) is a sales training aide for service technicians.

The company also offers a dealer development program designed to strengthen the ties between manufacturers, distributors, and contractors, called Profit Partners™.

“We have tried to tie our system in with distributors programs, especially involving parts that are frequently carried in the service vehicles [Truck Stock Program],” said Cedarquist. “We include easy part-ordering procedures for service techs to fill out and fax back to their distributors.”

With all of these programs designed to improve the efficiency and profitability of hvac contractors, one would think that the company has no problem selling them to contractors. But that’s not the case.

“We thought flat-rate pricing would take off right away, but it has been a hard sell to some people,” D’Amico said.

Cedarquist agreed. “Contractors are fixated on what it [a pricing program] will cost rather than what revenues it will generate.”

For more information on Profit Strategies, Inc., contact the company at 888-229-4100.