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The Home Performance Journey

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Do you ever wonder what your life might be like had you not made certain choices and likewise made ones you wish you had? This was an all too often thought for me just over 1 year ago when I graduated with a Bachelor of Sciences in Marketing from The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. I was unsure if the last 4 years I had spent reading, studying, presenting, stressing (maybe some partying) were going to pay off when I received my diploma and walked across that stage and officially entered the adult chapter of my life. Unfortunately, the jobs which I felt I qualified for were few and far between and I wasn’t about to settle for 6×6 cubicle that I knew would make me miserable day in and day out. I had worked as a carpenter’s apprentice throughout my entire college career and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. There was something extremely rewarding about getting my hands dirty and receiving the instant gratification that comes with knowing exactly what your day consisted of just by looking at what was built in front of you. However, with a diploma and loan payments burning a hole in my back pocket, a career in carpentry probably wasn’t my best option at the time. I knew there had to be something out there that would still let me do the things I loved about building, but still allow me the opportunities to financially and professionally advance. Then there it was, like a bundle of shingles falling from a third story roof it landed right in my lap, well actually my foot, but you get the idea.

I had never heard of Home Performance Contracting (HPC) until my then future, and now current employer Manny Chaves of Chaves Heating and Air Conditioning proposed the idea to me and the other two carpenters who I had been working with for 4 years. Once we had all discussed it and had a solid grasp on what exactly HPC is all about I knew I had the answer to all of my uncertainties right in front of me and there was no way I was going to pass it up. This was the first of those decisions and choices we all have to make that directly affect how the rest of our lives play out, so I signed on the dotted line and haven’t looked back since.

Once the numerous weeks of training were completed and the BPI Certifications received, I was finally able to audit my first home, which belonged to none other than my new boss. Naturally, I was very intimidated by my first audit and all of the new responsibilities and expectations that came with it. However, if there is one thing I have learned, it’s that you cannot let outside opinions and pressures affect the quality and integrity of what you need to do as an Energy Specialist. That first audit was a major learning experience for me and I immediately noticed what I was doing wrong and how I needed to improve my overall audit routine. Needless to say, I made plenty of mistakes my first couple of weeks, but I never looked at them negatively, but more as a blueprint for what not to do in the future. Eventually I determined what worked best for me. Once I stepped through the door and greeted the homeowner with a smile and a firm handshake, two very simple things that are noticed more than most realize. My Marketing degree has also benefitted me more than I had expected in terms of being able to read people’s buying behaviors. In other words, what they perceive as the most important wants/needs in their lives. Making that type of connection with a homeowner is the first and biggest step in making them comfortable with not only you, but also the ideas and concepts you introduce to them.

Home Performance is a name that not just describes one idea or product, but an entire concept with hundreds of potential solutions to hundreds of everyday problems dealt with by millions of homeowners nationwide. This industry is constantly changing and improving, forcing people like me to learn continually new things and strive to be the best at what I do. I wouldn’t recommend this type of work to someone with the “good enough for me” mentality, because in the long run it’s not about what is good for you but what is the best possible solution for the homeowner. This job forces you to do so many different things on a daily basis that it is almost impossible to keep up with it all, but that’s the reason why I like it. I have learned an immense amount sitting at dozens of kitchen tables, not only about myself, but also about this industry and people’s perceptions of the work we do. Once you really break it down for most people, it becomes more than just insulation and air sealing. It becomes the best investment they have made in a long time. After all a person’s home is his or her biggest financial asset and the opportunity to improve upon it and make its value increase is something not everyone gets to do. At the end of the day, this job brings you a strong sense of satisfaction knowing you educated a person you just met hours before on a subject most of them know nothing about. In fact, you made a connection with them that allowed them to truly listen to what you were talking about and you saved them money while making their home more comfortable.

I am far from perfect at what I do and that’s what I like most about my job, every day is like going to school, you walk through the door, take plenty of notes, and apply what you learn to the questions and problems that each day presents to you. At the end of the day, this job forces you to improve continually upon numerous abilities and skills that not only apply to work, but also to your personal life. It is the little things like this that make me realize getting into the Home Performance industry was definitely one of the best choices I have ever made.

Chris Boule
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Posted In: Building Performance, Residential Buildings

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