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Creating Maintenance Contracts that Actually Work

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Most HVAC companies offer maintenance contracts, but few are as successful in implementing them, particularly for individuals, but also for commercial units.

Selling a maintenance contract seems like a no brainer. Taking proper care of a heating and cooling unit means that unit will last longer, run more efficiently, and help with savings on energy costs. However, if you don’t connect the dots and make the maintenance a priority for your customers, then they may see the money spent as wasted and refuse to renew the contract.

Implement an Automated Reminder System
One of the first things you can do to increase the follow-through on maintenance work is to implement an automated reminder system. As soon as a customer signs on for a contract to maintain their unit, go ahead and enter him into the reminder system, such as Appointment Reminder.

As you enter customers into your reminder system, it’s a good idea to stagger the reminder dates so you don’t get bombarded with telephone calls of people wanting to schedule their maintenance all at one time. If you stagger the reminders, you can get everyone scheduled without overloading your technicians or your customer service staff.

The reminders can be sent via telephone, SMS, or email.

Stress the Money Saving Aspect to Companies
When it comes to reminding busy executives that it’s time to maintain their units, it’s important to stress some of the money saving features of regular HVAC maintenance.

For example, during the summer in California, HVAC units can use as much as 70% of the energy a commercial building consumes. A simple semiannual checkup can keep the units working efficiently and help reduce these costs.
Stressing these numbers to your business clients when reminding them it is time for maintenance can lend a sense of urgency to the reminder and help improve call backs for scheduling.

You may also want to check with local utility companies to see what incentives are currently being offered. Many utility companies realize that the business sector is creating a large demand for energy and that even little things, such as regular maintenance, can have a huge impact on overall energy consumption.

Automate Scheduling
Even though companies such as Thornton & Grooms in Farmington Hills, Michigan have utilized online scheduling options for several years, in the last year or two, the demand has increased considerably.

RazorSync is one example of a cloud-based software that can allow customers to schedule their own service requests. This can save your staff time and is an easy and efficient way for customers to set up an appointment when they think of it, even if it is at two in the morning.

Jobber also offers similar options within its software and may be a platform you’re already using. Of course, there are other platforms that will create a similar environment for your customers. These are just two of the most popular and each has strong support to talk you through any glitches you may encounter.

With this increase in demand, you should consider adding the ability for your customers to schedule their own service dates. Otherwise, you risk customers switching to a company for maintenance that does allow for the ease of online scheduling.

Maintenance Technicians versus Jack of All HVAC Trades
If you truly want to secure more maintenance contracts and develop a reputation for following through on those maintenance plans, then it’s important to have technicians who are dedicated specifically to your customers’ servicing needs.

Consider breaking your technicians into separate teams. You should have replacement/installation teams and maintenance teams. While these technicians will be versed in all aspects of HVAC and could perform either task, having technicians specifically for the sole purpose of service calls will reduce customer wait time on service calls and allow technicians to offer comfort care solutions without feeling rushed for time.

The Contract
Now that you have an idea of what goes into running a successful maintenance program, it should be much easier to write a maintenance contract that works.

Be sure to include how often the unit will be serviced and what types of services are included (cleaning, inspection, coils, etc.). Outline the customer’s role as well so if the maintenance doesn’t go well you can pinpoint where it failed and improve the process for next time.

Lori Soard

Posted In: Management, Money

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