A lot of people will tell you the Christmas holiday season is the best time of the year. It is not. The best time of the year is the fall, when football makes its triumphant return. And while I might lose a few bucks along the way in my gambling endeavors, the joy the game brings me far outweighs the potential losses.

I think back to my brief playing career and the words of my former football coach. In addition to saying, “Gargaro, you are not fast,” repeatedly, he was also fond of explaining that football always comes down to the fundamentals — blocking and tackling.

The same can be said for the contracting business. Businesses today are in a strange, new world. It is the era of big data where owners — if they want — can access a plethora of statistics that will give them insight into items like customer preferences, company marketing results, and employee efficiency. Throw in items like social media, online review sites, and the management of millennials, and HVAC contractors are thinking a lot these days about variables that were not on their radars five years ago.

These are all important issues owners should be thinking about. However, at the end of the day, it is imperative that contractors do not lose focus of the fundamentals, which, in the HVAC world, include performing a correct installation while providing superior customer service.


This occurred to me recently when I had a few contractors provide quotes for a home improvement project I needed done. I am no do-it-yourself homeowner. It came down to two companies that impressed me with their knowledge, offerings, and impeccable standing with Yelp and Angie’s List. Their final prices were also in the same ballpark. What made the difference was the attention and follow-up that one company showed.

The business I passed on simply gave me a quote via email, and I never heard from its rep again. The company I selected was the direct opposite. Right after the company’s rep emailed the quote, I received a phone call to ensure the quote arrived safely. A couple of days went by before the wife and I discussed the project since we were both busy and this fix is not a pressing issue. I then received another phone call from the salesman asking if we had any questions. The other company remained silent.

Like any normal homeowner, the quote was more than we were anticipating to spend on the project. When I relayed this to the salesman, he helped us get the cost down a bit by eliminating some of the items that were not deal breakers for us. This is an important point. The company did not simply lower the price to gain the business. Instead, the rep worked with me on what was important, what was optional, and came up with a new proposal. This allowed the company to gain me as a customer and also maintain the margin necessary to run a profitable business.

This is what my old football coach would call a fundamental. This is not a great marketing plan or some new technology a contractor is bringing to the customer. It is simply having a process in place to make sure customers do not slip through the cracks. Focus on the fundamentals, and you will see a good return on their investment.

Publication date: 9/19/2016

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