This new economy, with all the advancements in technology, can certainly be exciting and full of opportunities for businesses today. However, I don’t have to tell HVAC contractors that it can also be scary and confusing. The advantages that some companies enjoyed in the old economy are no longer available.
Everywhere you turn, businesses are getting squeezed. Uber and Lyft are squeezing the taxi cab industry. The Yellow Pages has been squeezed by internet search engines.
Even your friends at The NEWS are getting squeezed by other websites, e-newsletters, etc. That’s why we are so grateful that our subscribers still find value in the information that we provide.
ACCA is another industry organization that is needing to constantly reinvent in order to hold their place in the market and serve their customers — which in their case is HVAC contractors.
I recently talked to Barton James, who had the interim label taken off his title of ACCA president and CEO. The latest change ACCA made was bringing Sean Robertson in as the new vice president of membership and business operations while promoting Todd Washam to vice president of public policy and industry relations.
The organization is also making a concerted effort to work better with the state contractor associations.
“We want to make sure our products and the business offerings align with the needs of our members and also the direction of our corporate sponsors,” James said. “That might have gotten lost in the past. The changes are about putting our members first.”
ACCA is always in recruiting mode. Of course, there are multiple reasons for that. If a company goes out of business, ACCA loses a member. If companies consolidate, ACCA loses a member if both companies were already ACCA members. It is a constant battle for the organization.
“We need our members to be our best advocates,” James said. “We don’t want to be the industry’s best kept secret. We have restructured our organization, so everyone in the office is thinking about recruiting.”
But it is what James said next that resonated with me. He pointed out that many HVAC contractors — including some ACCA members — don’t even know all that ACCA does or offers.
“The biggest thing is the advocacy work,” James said. “We have a presence in D.C. on a daily basis. That is making a huge investment. That would be reason enough to be part of the trade association. That is key work that they do. Of course, we offer all the other stuff at a price point that is unbelievable.”
But what ACCA is currently doing is what HVAC contractors should be sure they are accomplishing. That is making your customers aware of all that you provide.
We are doing the same thing at The NEWS, making sure our loyal audience realizes how many places we can provide them with superior HVAC information. It is not just the print magazine anymore. The NEWS is so much more than that. We have daily updates on achrnews.com, multiple e-newsletters, and a podcast series on iTunes.
What does your HVAC contracting company offer that might surprise your customers? Maybe it is items they are unfamiliar with, like zoning or duct sealing. Are they familiar with the benefits of a smart home and, more specifically, a smart thermostat? If not, be sure to get them up to speed.
And as most good contractors will tell you, service agreements are the lifeblood of a residential HVAC business. Sure, your staff is trying to sell them, but are they pointing out all the benefits of being a member? Items like reduced prices on products, first priority on service calls, and whatever else you include for members should be mentioned at the kitchen table.
As HVAC contractors, you no doubt offer homeowners a ton of products and services. Make sure they know exactly what you offer, so they can start buying.
Publication date: 6/10/2019