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Making Home Performance Work For You

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If you watch HBO’s Game of Thrones, you are familiar with the phrase “Winter is coming.” This continual theme was repeated for 7 seasons (7 years of broadcasting shows) before it finally came. That is pretty much how I felt about Home Performance, and those in our industry that touted its soon-to-be arrival over the last decade. That time has passed, it has arrived.

Side note, if your business is still operating as if Home Performance hasn’t arrived, you need to change.

Change is a scary thought, and as many of the early adopters will agree, it wasn’t a smooth road. Years ago, we proudly opened a “Home Performance Division” and wrapped a vehicle with those letters. Years of work, lots of equipment, some very happy customers, but not so much profit to tout, here we are. Like so many others, we got the science, but didn’t know how to build a business around it.

Turns out, we had built a Home Performance (HP) business almost by accident, while trying to build a HP business. Let me explain.

We thought that home performance, and all the services and unique products that could be sold, were its own profit channel. This might work for some businesses. Those in the market that are built up and down as a HP contractor might find success with this mindset. However, we are at our core an HVAC contractor, and we didn’t realize what we were really doing. By working so hard at creating the HP profit channel, we were backfilling the knowledge and skills necessary to make our HVAC business a truly Home Performance powerhouse. We are better equipped now than ever before to provide solutions to the problems our customers have. It was like being that kid in the back-facing seat of an old station wagon. They’re on the same road as everyone else, but they’re having a completely different vacation experience. None of that effort was wasted, even though we were facing the wrong direction for most of the journey.

If you are struggling to implement home performance into your business, you may not realize how much progress you have already made. The true value of HP for some of us HVAC contractors is the wealth of information we have access to, and can now utilize to serve our customers. Every aspect of our HVAC business is now saturated in HP. During our Preventative Maintenance check-ups, the techs are able to answer bigger questions, and direct them to solutions. Our sales staff can explain the effects of too many air changes, and make sure our (previously equipment focused) solution doesn’t leave the customer with just a slightly more efficient waste of air-conditioning.

We have successfully built relationships with sub-contractors to provide the products and solutions that we cannot complete profitably in-house. This wasn’t easy. For me personally, there was a lot of blood, sweat, and effort put into some equipment and solutions that simply weren’t equipped to profitably offer.

I saw a fantastic quote recently, “don’t cling to a mistake, just because you spent a lot of time making it.” Make that quote your mantra. Good, strong businesses can go under, simply because they continue to do unprofitable work. Our goal must be to provide the best and most applicable solution to our customer, but it can’t put us out of business. Even if we can’t offer the solution in house, we now know exactly what the solution is.

That is where we have found success, education. From the person that answers the phone, to the crew that completes the installation, they understand that we don’t just heat and cool spaces. We view the home as an interwoven system, and provide whole home solutions. Turns out the whole time we just needed one more change. We needed to add “Whole.” This means in our technical training, in our application and solutions, but most importantly in our mindset. Every customer we interact with, we must deal with the “Whole Home.” We need to ask questions that don’t narrow our focus, and provide the correct whole home solutions.

This mindset change will help you solidify your future, your whole future.

Dave Schmidt

Posted In: ACCA Now, Building Performance, Residential Buildings

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