[Editor’s note: The following two letters are in response to John R. Hall’s editorial “Why Service Techs Shouldn’t Sell” and Mike Murphy’s editorial “Why Service Techs Should Sell,” both in the Dec. 11 issue.]

As if Techs Don't Have Enough to Do

In my opinion, service technicians should not sell new equipment. In Florida (as I’m sure is the case in many other parts of the country) most homes have undersized ductwork and occasionally have the wrong-size equipment. We perform a heat load calculation and ductwork evaluation on every house where we are quoting a system replacement.

There is no way that service technicians have the time to do this, especially when we are expecting $150,000 to $200,000 annually in repair sales from each tech. I have to believe that companies that use their service techs as salespeople are not taking proper sizing techniques into consideration, that is, unless they charge the customer to perform a heat load calculation.

If you want to sell high-efficiency systems, it takes approximately 1½-2 hours between the heat load, duct evaluation, and talking to the customer in order to quote the proper system. I have never lost a job because the customer could not wait a couple of hours for a salesperson to get to the house. When a tech has a system that should be replaced, we have him call the office and schedule a sales call. After our salesperson makes the presentation, we reward the tech with a $35 spiff (sold or not).

We have found that most true service techs don’t want to sell new systems. They have a hard enough time selling service contracts (just because they are not sales-oriented). Service technicians should be limited to selling: service contracts, programmable thermostats, filters, and equipment accessories, period. If you have a tech that can sell these items and effectively troubleshoot and repair today’s systems, what more can you ask for?

Rick Caldevilla, President
Caldeco Mechanical Services Inc.
Tampa, Fla.

Commissions May Be Tempting to Techs

John Hall is right [that service techs shouldn’t sell], but he left out the most important reason.

Many companies use flat-rate pricing, in addition to having selling techs that are paid commissions based upon sales/service revenue generated per call.

The “tech temptation” is to ramp up repair costs to justify selling replacement equipment because they get paid a commission on dollars generated.

Would you honestly expect a tech to make a repair for $300 and pass on the commission paid for replacement equipment? I don’t think they will, but that is only my opinion.

Chuck Meyer
Engineered Air, LLC
Margate, Fla.

Only in Dreamland Are Customers NATE-Concerned

[Editor’s note: This letter is in response to Mike Murphy’s editorial “NATE Is on the Move,” Dec. 18.]

The whole theory behind NATE certification is great. However, when it comes to the real world, it really does not matter to customers. There are some manufacturers that give you an “atta boy,” but that does not help you get jobs. Joe Homeowner still doesn’t have a clue what NATE is, and when they find out, most don’t care.

When NATE was getting up and running, people said it would be like the auto industry’s mechanic certification. Most people don’t even know that exists. Until Joe Homeowner is made aware of NATE, and believes in NATE, it is just another dream.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great idea and I am NATE certified, but customers are not going to embrace it until it’s a mandatory requirement. I really think, I’m sorry to say, you guys are dreaming.

Lou Torsello, Vice-President
O’Neill Contracting
Bergenfield, N.J.

Send correspondence via e-mail to letters@achrnews.com.

Publication date:02/12/2007