MT. PLEASANT, MI — At its annual convention from the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, the Michigan chapter of ACCA (MIACCA) brought together members for casino fun, golfing, and yes, some important business meetings and seminars.

The keynote speaker for the convention seminars was Charlie Greer, a top hvacr salesperson and president of hvac consulting firm HVAC Profit Boosters, Ft. Myers, FL. Seminars also included a presentation from Dick Shaw, technical education consultant for the national ACCA, and a panel discussion from members of MIACCA concerning industry topics.

Charlie Greer

Greer spoke with attendees about sales subjects, including “Using Customer Files to Generate Replacement Sales.” He asserted that the easiest prospects to sell to are active customers who have a problem.

“I went through the pink slips [the form that is usually thrown away] of customers who I knew would have a complaint or have a problem that probably couldn’t be fixed,” he said. “One way of knowing this is to have a numbering system for service people to use. For example, in the upper right corner of the invoice, they could write ‘1’ for newly installed equipment down to ‘5’ for barely working.”

Greer said the second step after securing the right customers for a replacement sales job is to determine how to price the job. Determining the break-even point before pricing a job is what Greer calls “the most important thing you will ever do.”

“If you don’t do anything else, go back to your office and figure out your break-even point,” he stated. “You add up all of your costs for the year that are not directly costed against jobs and divide it by the number of billable hours during normal business hours.

“Everything will change. When you figure your break-even point, you quit guessing!”

For information on Greer’s other presentations, visit www.hvac

Dick Shaw

Shaw’s topic was “Recruiting Young People into the Hvacr Industry.” He introduced the subject by saying that since the late 80s, the trade has had very little help and few resources to go out and recruit technicians.

“The high school graduation rate is up and we are in the midst of the largest student enrollment in history,” said Shaw. “Business is good, the economy is good, and the stock market is up.”

Shaw said these are leading reasons why competition for jobs is so intense. He noted a recruiting sign in a McDonald’s window that was offering workers $8/hour jobs.

Shaw said it is important to use traditional methods to recruit young people. “The majority of techs got started through contacts with family, friends, and relatives. We need to look to these people first for recruiting.”

Shaw added that young people are good salespeople when selling products to other young people. He thinks it is a good idea to encourage the young people in the hvacr trade to sell hvacr careers to other people — often because people in leadership roles have failed to do so.

“I wrote off high school counselors very early,” Shaw added. “Those people are so tied up with day-to-day bureaucracy that they don’t have time to talk with students.

“Math and science teachers are the best resources for recruiting. They are always looking for ways to promote their ‘star’ students.

“My advice is to also find someone within the contracting company to act as a liaison with schools in the area.”

Industry Panel

MIACCA members heard from panel members John Sedine, president of MIACCA, Pete Reckinger, president-elect, Frank Mamat, legal counsel, Phil Forner, past president, and Lynn Briggs, executive director.

Mamat spoke of an issue involving the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and a recent ruling involving a worker who was fired for refusing to answer disciplinary questions without having a co-worker present.

“The NLRB said that another worker can be present at a meeting between a co-worker and their employer if that co-worker is being questioned about any wrongdoing,” Mamat said. “It must be a worker who is physically in the building at the time and a full employee of the company.”

Briggs addressed the issue of statewide code uniformity, citing an upcoming Michigan ballot issue which would require a two-thirds vote by the legislature to overturn local building codes, possibly eliminating “home rule.” He urged attendees to reject the proposal, thus keeping codes uniform.

Reckinger agreed that passage of the ballot proposal would go a long way toward eliminating a uniform code in Michigan. But he also noted some flaws in the existing code enforcement system.

“Some communities have not set up appeals boards for code questions,” he added. “And the cost of filing an appeal is very high, as much as $700.”

The code discussion spawned a lively exchange over inspections and fees. After one member cited a re-inspection fee he was assessed after an inspector showed up on a jobsite at 8:30 P.M., panelists urged MIACCA members to challenge fees they think are unfair.

Publication date: 10/02/2000