United We Sell

I was running through the TV channels this weekend, and my eyes and ears tuned into the paid commercial by Sharper Image, selling their electronic air cleaner. Being in the HVAC business and selling electronic air cleaners for the last 20-plus years, I was quite impressed how well this stand-alone cleaner was marketed and how this product was the answer in solving the consumers' problems to indoor air quality. The product was put up against a HEPA filter. The commercial did not let the consumer know the benefits to the HEPA over their product, but pointed out how noisy the stand-alone HEPA was and how much more energy it consumes over their unit.

Interestingly, the product was not compared to our industry's electronic air cleaners or air purification systems installed on central heating and cooling systems.

I wonder how much revenue our industry is losing out on by not getting on the same page as the Sharper Image and marketing in unity all the benefits that we can provide - and not to just one room of a home. The entire home could be cleaned and purified with a central cleaner with much more of an impact in indoor air quality through the system they own already.

The cost for the Sharper Image electronic air cleaner was not that cheap; the unit cost was over $350. The warranty was pretty good, a five-year unit replacement, not a repair. I'm sure there are some hidden costs they didn't mention, and it is somewhere in the fine print after you buy one of these units.

I'm writing you with the hope that through The News, you could wake up some contractors or manufacturers, and maybe we can increase our sales, through some unity, in promoting our products. I would think Honeywell, with their electronic air cleaners, or Lennox, with the PureAir cleaner, would spend some of their advertising money in the same vein.

If they marketed their products the same way, we, as contractors, would have a better closing rate when we offer add-on products to the sale of a new system or replacement. Everyone would benefit - the manufacturer, the contractor, the end user. Educate the consumer - show them that we offer a better product and a better indoor air quality home.

I am a Lennox dealer and have been for the last 20-plus years. We do offer the Lennox PureAir cleaner with each sale; we don't make the sale to everyone. We always call the customer back and try to get some feedback as to the improvement of their indoor air quality. Each one has felt the overall improvement and was happy in making the choice to install the cleaner.

Zack Cecemski
Southern Comfort Air LLC
Marco Island, Fla.

Nuts To That

In the Dec. 22, 2003, article ["Profits Are There For The Taking"] by Barb Checket-Hanks, research analyst Jerry Davis stated that in foreign manufacturing, quality control can be an issue.

The article reads as follows: "‘Mexican quality control just isn't there,' he said. ‘It's a problem in a lot of industries.' Better products seem to come from Asian outsourcing, he said."

As a refrigeration contractor, I agree with Jeff and want to ask two questions to all the heads of American corporations who feel they must make products on the cheap.

1. Why should we, as contractors selling your products, have to sell our clients the second best? Made in the U.S.A. in the HVACR industry was and still is something we look for because the products work, and they last longer.

2. Outsourcing to Mexico and China - how can you do that to your fellow countrymen? D.O.A. parts cost us a lot of money. They also make us look bad. They make you [the manufacturer] look real bad.

Someone once told me, "You pay peanuts, you get monkeys." Maybe she was right; it's like using a cap tube as opposed to an expansion valve.

Dean Slowik
Slowik Refrigeration
Benton Harbor, Mich.

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Publication date: 02/02/2004