INDIANAPOLIS - Matt Michel is well known in the HVACR industry as the founder of Comanche Marketing and president and CEO of the Service Roundtable, the private HVACR contractor group.

Michel put on his marketing hat to discuss ways that members of the Indiana chapter of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (Indiana ACCA) could market their businesses in a highly competitive market.

He provided a list of 101 marketing ideas and asked each contractor to pick five that they liked the best - and choose one to implement right away.

The first idea on this list - price for profits - has a direct bearing on a company's survival, according to Michel. "The No. 1 reason contractors fail is that they don't charge enough," he said.

He explained that the costs of buying and keeping a customer should be considered when establishing a pricing structure.

"It costs $200 to $300 on average to get a customer," he said. "And you don't make money on them unless they become a repeat customer."

Some of the other ideas on his list include:

  • Use service agreements for relationship marketing.

  • Offer options customers cannot get elsewhere.

  • Arm technicians with the latest technical tools and gadgets.

  • Market through kids.

  • Cross-market with noncompetitive service businesses.

  • Help your business by helping others.

  • Seek partnership with vendors.

    For the complete list of marketing tips, visit For information on the Service Roundtable, visit

    Publication date: 02/14/2005