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A Changing Market Can Be Positive For Your Business

Originally published: 1/1/10 by Greg McAfee


A Changing Market Can Be Positive For Your Business

Paying attention to industry trends helps you better educate your customers, leading to loyalty and a heftier bottom line.

A fad, by definition, is a shortterm event — some might say, “a flash in the pan”. A trend, on the other hand, has the potential of becoming a long-term influence on the future of a market. The two may resemble each other, but a fad usually can be characterized as having an absolute beginning and a definitive end.

The distinguishing factor between a fad and a trend is its duration. For instance, air duct cleaning was once thought to be a fad. Over the years, a need for air duct cleaning evolved. According to National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems have been shown to act as a collection source for a variety of contaminants that have the potential to affect health, such as mold, fungi, bacteria, and very small particles of dust. The removal of such contaminants from the hvacr system and home should be considered as one component in an overall plan to improve indoor air quality, and one which allows for industry growth.

Some of us remember when the cold beer method of charging an air conditioner was used. In other words, by holding your hand on the suction refrigerant line, you could tell if a unit was properly charged. Ideally, the


line should be as cold as a can of beer just out of the refrigerator. If it didn’t feel cold, the unit was considered to be low on refrigerant. If frost appeared on the suction line, it was now over charged or had restricted airflow. Fortunately, for the sake of professionalism, this method was just a fad.

As times change, technology advances. We learn better methods for servicing equipment and our customers, and the customers expect more. We must meet their needs and exceed their expectations.

Accuracy, Updated Equipment

Technicians must carry the newest tools and equipment in servicing and monitoring. What was used ten years ago is no longer adequate for the precise degree of measurement needed today.

Looking back a decade or two, can you imagine technicians needing a meter that measured DC Micro Amps, ohms, AC and DC voltage and amperage, microfarad, temperature, and continuity? Probably not, however today, these are required for efficient and accurate diagnosis. Strict charging methods, proper metering devices, and stringent leak tests all work together to ensure peak system performance.

Accuracy should never be construed as a fad in our industry, but must be considered a trend-setting staple in the very core of business!

Technology

Most dispatching and scheduling systems are now about 90 percent paperless. Technicians receive and acknowledge all service calls via digital phones.

In addition, this software allows communication back to a server, notifying the dispatcher when they are traveling, starting, and completing a service call. Less than a decade ago, we used a daily planner for all of our scheduling. We actually passed the book around the office depending on who answered the phone. This improvement in technology has provided a quicker response time for our customers and has improved the overall business operation.

Green Awareness

If you’re tired of hearing the term, “Going Green” you may want to change your thinking. In the hvacr industry, there are many ways of going green that can be very lucrative for your company.

Our profession gives us the opportunity to share our knowledge of improving the indoor air quality for our customers. We can better our environment by not only encouraging environmentally sound equipment purchases, but by also performing combustion tests on furnaces.

Fine-tuning can decrease or eliminate certain emissions from being exhausted into the atmosphere. Riding your bike to work every day in Alaska may not be a widespread option, but properly sizing a system or sealing the ductwork can and will conserve energy in any part of the country.

Industry Standards

By now, most of us are on board with switching to R410-A, but regardless, the date for the HCFC phase out still stands. It’s time we get beyond yesterday’s thinking and begin taking advantage of the opportunities we have today. The consumer has more information available via the Internet than ever before, and if we don’t give them what they want or expect, someone else will.

We can take charge of the message our consumers receive and ensure that the messages they hear are accurate. For example, a few months ago, McAfee Heating and Air Conditioning Co, Inc., partnered with a waste management recycling company and a water purifying company. We produced an hour-long infomercial on conserving energy and going green in our area. It was a great educational tool for consumers, it helped create awareness about green issues, and shape our relationship with our community. We received a lot of positive feedback. By shifting our thinking about how we receive changes in our industry, we impact our performance and our bottom line.

Education

With our economy limping along, now is not the time to lay off people and reduce marketing and advertising. Now is your opportunity to help consumers save money through providing them more education about efficient alternatives to comfort. You already know this, but cleaning coils, tuning up furnaces, and installing programmable thermostats can and will save money. In some cases, these pay for themselves the very first year. You also know that performing preventative maintenance on hvacr systems once, twice or for some companies, three times a year, will not only save the customer money, but will prevent problems from arising in the critical seasons. And, you know that if you fail to spend $30 on an oil change for your trucks every four thousand miles or so, it could cost you a $4000 engine. It works the same way for your customers hvacr system, but if we don’t educate them they won’t know.

The trend of having to compete with big box stores and utility companies is real and here to stay. However, most consumers still want personal, face-to-face service with a company they can trust. By continuing to educate your consumers, using the latest tools, offering more service agreements, and maintaining quality and accuracy, you are certain to keep and attract loyal customers.

Greg McAfee founded McAfee Heating & Air Conditioning Co. Inc. in 1990 when he was 27 years old. Today, in addition to running his business, Greg consults and teachers others about successful business management. For more information, visit his Website at www.gregmcafee.com


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