How To Get The Most Out Of Your Slow Season
As any contractor will tell you, this business is cyclical. Most HVAC companies are inundated with work during the summer and winter months and then projects slow down significantly, and for some can completely cease, during the autumn and spring months. However, bills still filter in, employees still need to be paid, and operational expenses never seem to end.
Being able to maximize efficiency during the off -season for any contractor or company is one of the foundations of a long and prosperous career. Many companies have developed a keen sense of timing and encourage specific services for their customers during these more moderate months. Any residential contractor that wants to help improve their revenue streams during these slow months can find a wealth of opportunities within their existing framework. To be successful year round means, “being in tune with your customers, knowing what they want and need,” says Gary Heath, Project Coordinator, from MM Comfort Systems in Redmond, WA.
After a long, hot summer, many homeowners are enjoying the thrill of being able to open the windows and basking in the cool splendor of natural air drifting through the home. The last thing they’re considering at the moment is upgrading or repairing their existing air conditioning or heating units. Even those homeowners who called for service a number of times, sweating out the hours until help arrived, are merely thinking they’ve survived another heat wave or cold spell and won’t have to worry about it for another six or seven months.
Yet the off -season is the ideal time for customers to upgrade or replace their existing systems. This applies for both heating and air conditioning. The key reason is price.
During the off -season, manufacturers slash prices to help clear out inventory and make room for the next year’s models. Some contractors balk at encouraging or even promoting upgrades during the off -season for the simple fact that they won’t make the same amount of money as they would during the peak season.
Some of these contractors may believe that if more homeowners realize this, they’ll all wait for lower prices in the slower months.
However, that simply isn’t the case, according to a number of larger companies. In fact, unless the company actively advertises specials and educates consumers on the cost-savings they’ll gain by upgrading or replacing their old systems, sales will remain flat. David Oliver, residential sales consultant from Oliver Heating and Cooling in Morton, PA, says, “Selling systems and upgrades during the off –season may bring in less revenue than, say, selling during the height of the season, but it is still revenue. It’s still work for the guys. We’re not going to turn that down.”
The bottom line is that unless a homeowner has no choice, they’ll tend to wait to upgrade or replace until they no longer have a choice, which is usually when the heating or cooling system is in full use.
Promoting upgrades is a great way to help boost an HVAC company’s bottom line during the off -season.
Being proactive for any company is one of the keys to long-term success. For HVAC companies, looking down the road, months ahead, is vital to surviving the slow months. One of the strategies that companies can employ is to offer planned maintenance programs to their customers. Planned maintenance services are bi-annual inspection and cleaning services that can cover both heating and air conditioning, or one or the other. With these plans, the contractor would visit the home and inspect every aspect of the heating and/or cooling system to ensure that it’s working properly and all components are sound.
Any elements that are worn or need replacing can be done at this time. Filters can be inspected, cleaned, or replaced as well. Many homeowners end up calling their HVAC specialist at the beginning or sometime in the middle of the winter or summer season when contractors are busiest. Not only can this place extra strain on the company and its employees, but the customer may wait longer to get the proper maintenance performed on their heating or cooling system.
The Importance of Being Proactive with Planned Maintenance Plans
When a company encourages their customers to purchase planned maintenance programs, they can be scheduled for the off – season. Whether these plans are annual or bi-annual, they can offer each company the opportunity to begin filling their schedule for those slower months.
Whenever a system is installed, repaired, upgraded, or cleaned, regardless of the time of year that it’s being done, this is an ideal time to discuss planned maintenance with the customer. Homeowners may be reluctant to purchase any kind of plan at the moment, depending on how much they’re investing at the time, but encouraging them to consider such a plan and the long-term cost benefit that is coupled with regular maintenance will generally be a strong enough incentive for them to sign up.Planned maintenance is a great way for HVAC companies to add work in the off –season as well as provide them with a better idea of what to expect as far as staffing is concerned when the peak season comes to a close.
Planned maintenance is a great way for HVAC companies to add work in the off –season as well as provide them with a better idea of what to expect as far as staffing is concerned when the peak season comes to a close.
Home Performance Services
With the rising costs of oil, natural gas, and electricity, many homeowners are acutely aware of the importance of being as energy efficient as possible. They pay attention to how many miles per gallon their cars travel, they make sure their windows and doors are closed when the air conditioner or heating system is on, and turn out lights when not in a particular room.
Yet few know or understand about the energy efficiency of their homes. This is a valuable service that contractors can provide for their customers during the off -season.
A Comprehensive Whole House Inspection
A home performance inspection essentially goes through the entire home conducting a number of tests such as whole house air leakage, forced air duct system leakage, the efficiency of the water heater, heating and cooling systems efficiency inspection, and more. Depending on the service technicians within a company and their expertise, these home performance inspections could also include infra-red thermal scans, an analysis of the ventilation systems, and an overall air quality interpretation.
These services can be marketed and sold during any month of the year, but are a great asset for any company to have during the off – season. Newer home constructions tend to be much more energy efficient and have better duct systems than older systems, but this doesn’t mean those homes are without issue.
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