Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+


More Good News For Growth-Minded HVACR Contractors

Originally published: 07.01.11 by Terry Tanker


In my March column, I told you about an upbeat assessment of the future of the HVACR industry in a report released by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University (see “HVACR Contractors Help Drive Remodeling Rebound,” March 2011, www.hvacrbusiness.com.) This month we received more good news.

According to a survey conducted by Kudzu.com, the highly popular home-improvement website, more than 60% of homeowners are planning to hire a home-service professional in the next year, and HVACR contractors are among the most likely to be hired.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents who are planning to hire a home-service professional will hire a heating-and-cooling expert, placing HVACR professionals among the most sought-after providers. Only carpet cleaners (37%), handymen (37%), and house cleaners (31%) will be in higher demand.

“Heating and cooling systems are going to get a lot of attention from homeowners,” said Rhonda Hills, Kudzu.com vice president and chief marketing officer. “Consumers are savvy and know well-maintained systems last longer, and new systems can pay for themselves with the energy they save. Now that homeowners are willing to spend on home-related projects, it’s no surprise that air conditioners and furnaces are going to be top


priorities.”

The brands being considered most often by those surveyed were Trane (41%), Carrier (38%), Lennox (30%), and Rheem (20%). (Respondents were allowed to choose multiple brands.)

Of study participants, 36% are undecided on the brands they will consider.

“While consumers are considering a number of different brands, nearly 40% don’t know which brands to choose,” Hills said. “This creates a great opportunity for product manufacturers and for [contractors] to market directly to homeowners and establish their products and services as the brands of choice.”

Kudzu.com’s report did not delve into consumer problems/solutions beyond basic heating and cooling. Of course, as we have stressed in many of our articles and columns, contractors can best differentiate themselves by focusing on deeper customer concerns such as health and air quality; whole-house humidification or dehumidification; zoning to eliminate hot/cold spots; advanced thermostats that do more than switch systems off and on; and whole-house diagnostics and servicing for highest energy efficiency.

Additionally, in recent months we have seen an increase in contractors adding services such as plumbing and electrical to expand their businesses and better service customers. (For example, read how Ray Grimm transformed his 100-year-old heating-and-cooling company into a full-service provider for health-conscious homeowners on page 26.) Grimm and other expansion-minded contractors are confident that their investments will pay off with more sales.

Finally, contractors are introducing their customers to alternative products and services that homeowners and building managers probably aren’t aware of, such as Samsung’s stylish wall-mounted units and Spot Cooler’s portable units.

These opportunities are open to any contractor willing to give a critical review of their current business, identify unmet needs in the marketplace, create a common-sense strategic plan, and have enough courage to take a few risks along the way. 

Terry has over 23 years of experience in the advertising and publishing industries. He began his career with a business-to-business advertising agency. Prior to forming Hutchinson Tanker Ltd. and HVACR Business in January 2006, he spent 20 years with large national publishing and media firm where he was the publisher of several titles in the mechanical systems marketplace. 

In addition to his experience in advertising and publishing, Terry has worked closely with numerous industry-related associations over the years including AHRI, AMCA, and ABMA. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the American Boiler Manufactures Association (ABMA) and as chairman, for both the Associates Committee and the Marketing Communications Committee of ABMA.

 


Articles by Terry Tanker

Greg Mericle, president of Hurlburt Heating & Plumbing

Greg Mericle, president of Hurlburt Heating & Plumbing in Durand, Wisc., a 2017 Tops in Trucks Fleet Design Contest winner, discusses branding, buying an HVACR contracting firm, flat rate pricing and more.
View article.

 

Jeff Zuhlsdorf, owner of Tin Man Heating & Cooling

Jeff Zuhlsdorf, owner of Tin Man Heating & Cooling in Bowling Green, Ohio, a 2017 Tops in Trucks Fleet Design Contest winner, discusses rebranding the company, the importance of planning, the keys to growing his business and much more.
View article.

 

Steve Truett, president of Aire Serv

Steve Truett, president of Aire Serv a franchisor with more than 200 locations, discusses customer service, workforce shortages and contractor needs.
View article.

 

Mike Abrashoff, former U.S. Navy Captain

Former U.S. Navy Captain Mike Abrashoff discusses leadership, motivation, organizational transformation, Abrashoff’s best-selling book, “It’s Your Ship” and his training academy, Aegis Performance Group.
View article.

 

Gary Michel, President of Trane Residential Systems

Gary Michel, president of Residential HVAC & Supply, which includes brands like Trane, American Standard, Ameristar and Nexia, discusses product development, leadership, understanding customer needs and building business team for success.
View article.