Monthly Archives: May 2011

Greg McAfee

Contractor Greg McAfee: Problem solver, HVACR coach

After two decades in the business, Greg McAfee from McAfee Air Repair in Kettering, Ohio, wakes up every morning looking forward to going to work. As a consultant to small business owners, he knows a thing or two about getting the job done – and he has learned from experience that showing up late could be costly. Find McAfee Air Repair on Facebook!

What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened on a job?
We’ve had many interesting things happen in 20 years, from finding a live duck to a pound of marijuana and a shoe box full of cash inside of duct work, but probably the most valuable lesson took place in 1994, when we arrived at a customer’s home 10 minutes late. He almost cancelled the installation job and told us if we were in the restaurant business, we’d be out of business. He owned a local cafeteria and reiterated how important it is to arrive on time! Since then, unless there was an act of God, we’ve never been late for a scheduled call.

What do you like about working in the HVAC industry?
There is always work and plenty of opportunity. I like being able to solve people’s problems, make them comfortable again as quickly as possible along with saving energy and cleaning the air.

What is the best thing about working with Jackson Systems?
When it comes to serving the customer… Jackson Systems gets it! They have quality products, great customer support and a quick turnaround. Jackson Systems can serve a small or large outfit. Since we private label 100% of our products, the speed and accuracy of placing our logo on thermostats benefits us greatly! Jackson Systems thinks outside the box and they’re a great team to hook up with; I’m glad we did!

What do you love about your job?
Twenty years ago, I started with $274 and a used truck. Today, I still wake up every day looking forward to coming in. Small business is what keeps America moving! Where else can you sit at a small round table and discuss ideas to make your company better and then implement a plan that starts tomorrow? It’s rewarding and fun for me; every day is a new challenge. I love serving people, from customers to members of our team.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
I stay pretty busy… I’ve been married to Naomi for over 20 years and have two children, Travis (16) and Tiffany (7). I spend my off time with them, attending sporting events, riding four-wheelers or something to that nature. We attend church regularly and I teach an adult bible fellowship class. I enjoy reading and attending business classes. For the past few years, I’ve written articles for HVACR Business and DucTales magazine. This has led to consulting and coaching other small business owners around the nation (www.gregmcafee.com).

What is your motto?
One motto I use in our TV and radio commercials is, “You can count on my company because you can count on me!” And that is very true, but if you were to follow me around all day, you’d hear me say quite often, “Everything matters,” and “Let’s make it happen!”

Hottest Profits for Warm Weather Marketing

By Adams Hudson

Many HVAC contractors make the bulk of their yearly profits during the burst of warm weather months. Why? Because they can sell more expensive air systems, offer maintenance agreements, and benefit from higher traffic of service and demand calls.

But if you sit around and wait on the weather, your competition will be closing the sales you never even had a shot at. Get busy with warm weather marketing to make the phone and cash registers ring. There are exactly three ways for you to make more money:

1.   Sell more often;

2.   Sell for more money; and/or

3.   Sell to more people.

That’s it. Sorry to not have anything more complicated to share with you, but if you take your eyes off simplicity, you’ll probably just bury yourself in lengthy to-do lists that don’t get done — and quite frankly don’t need to be done. Simple is best.

For your fast track to greater warm weather profits, consider these five top warm weather lead generators:

1.   Maintenance agreements (MA) toward equipment upsales. The smartest contractors have maintenance agreement customers to serve all spring, and that’s fantastic. On average, one in 24 MA customers (according to our research) will need additional repairs or equipment. Advice: Train your techs exactly what to look for, what to say, and how to present the upsale. If your techs don’t sell equipment, train them on what to look out for before they call your salesperson: older equipment, repairs over $500, problematic leaks, or other red flags for replacement.

2.   Maintenance agreements toward IAQ. This is another huge yet untapped opportunity for techs. While performing the tune up, a cursory view inside the return air will lay the most important foundation for an IAQ sale. Have techs introduce the need and either call the IAQ salesperson, try to sell it themselves, or present a “leave behind” that tells the homeowners the ills of impure ductwork. This is a free marketing opportunity, and if you’re missing it, you are walking by wads of money in the street.

3.   New customer newspaper ads. Finance ads do well in warm months. If you’ve got a “Six Month No Payment” ad, you can push payments until well after your customer has saved a ton of money on utility bills throughout the summer. This single focus for sales and marketing is among the strongest of the seven basic direct response-type ads that I have for spring. I also like validated rebate ads. (Validated just means you’re not saying “$500 back” without justification. Give a reason and you’ll get more response.)

4.   Your Yellow Pages ad. If yours renews this season, have it redesigned for leads. Don’t mess around with pictures of all your vans or your company name dominating the top of the ad (bad idea). Get it to pull leads since that’s presumably why you’re paying through your nostrils for it in the first place. Hey, it’s your most expensive ad, and it lasts a year! Make it pay you back.

5.   Customer retention program. If you scoff, “Ha! I don’t have a retention program, and I don’t need one,” then I say your attitude means you don’t care too much about customer relationships. Your customer translates feelings toward the relationship into loyalty, or the lack thereof. No relationship equals no loyalty. Your competition is excited about your hopelessly shallow customer assessment. Why? Because 55 percent of your customer turnover is walking out for someone who doesn’t share your attitude.

Here’s to wishing you a profitable spring!

 

Check out jacksonsystems.com for more information about products that will save you time and money this busy season.

Garrett

Contractor Garrett Cook: prank-pulling golfer

Installing a new system in an old house can be tricky – escpecially if the house is haunted. Even when the worksite is a little creepy, Garrett Cook of Cook Heating & Air in Crawfordsville, Indiana and his team get the job done. Find Cook Heating & Air on Facebook and be sure to check out their website.

What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened on a job?
A number of years ago we were working at an old house installing a new system. When the two technicians working at the old home were finished, they made comments to all of us at the office about how uncomfortable the home was. There was just something about the home that made the hair on the back of their necks stand. All of us like to have fun at the office so we started joking around and playing pranks on the two technicians. A few years later the old home had turned into an antique store and there was a story in the local newspaper about how the house was haunted. Even to this day it makes us laugh when we think about the jokes and pranks we pulled!

What is your favorite thing about zone control?
What I love most about zone control is the gratitude our clients have after the system is installed and they become familiar with it! When we first start relationships with our clients, a vast majority of them have no idea what zoning is or that it’s even possible for their home. After we discuss what zoning is and how it will benefit their lifestyle, there is still a “leap of faith” for our clients who have never experienced zoning. Our company helps this “leap of faith” by providing a 12-page reference list of just our past zoning projects. Most new clients are absolutely amazed just by the amount of our other clients who now have zoning. Then we invite our new clients to visit our facility where we have our entire office complex zoned with just about every type of thermostat available on the market (which they get to play with) and we show them how the system sounds and operates. Once we get a client to walk into our office we know they’ll want zoning by the time they leave!

What is the best thing about working with Jackson Systems?
Jackson Systems is great to work with. We’ve been doing zoning for almost 20 years and for the last five years we’ve worked solely with them!  I wish we had started a relationship with them years earlier because their support level is top notch. As a company we have in-house technical training every two weeks for our team and at least two to three times per year we have one of the great guys at Jackson Systems run these training sessions. The whole team knows if we need help with a technical issue, the guys at Jackson Systems are just a phone call away. Thanks again to Tom, Kurt, Phil, Ray, Mike and Ryan who have helped make our team great at zone control!

What do you love about your job?
This is a tough question for me… I love a lot of things about my job. From the pure satisfaction of building strong relationships with clients, to helping grow and lead our company.  I love it all and I’m thankful to be in this great industry! When I was first starting out what I loved most was the rush of getting a new sale or new client but now I love it more when I’m able to make a real difference in developing one of my team members. Making them better, not only with serving our clients but also in their personal life, is very gratifying.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
I spend the majority of time with my girlfriend Rene. She is absolutely amazing and I don’t know how I became so lucky! I really enjoy golfing and playing volleyball; it seems to be the only two activities I do to get some exercise! With little time that’s left, Rene and I both have great families and friends so we tend to relax around them.

What is your motto?
My motto is to always be learning! I preach to my technicians to learn as much as possible about each client’s situation. To learn and understand why they do or don’t do something. The more we know and understand our clients, the better we can serve them and exceed their expectations! In our industry, to be the best I feel you have to keep improving, we are always learning new and better ways!

LCS-TR_BW

Contractor Renee Lucas: outdoor enthusiast

Renee Lucas of LCS Heating and Cooling, LLC in Indianapolis knows from experience that a little patience and a little prodding is sometimes needed to get the job done. Visit their website and find LCS Heating and Cooling on Facebook!

What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened on a job?
We once found a raccoon in the flex duct in the attic. I think the raccoon was as startled as we were! With a little prodding, he made it out and went on his way.

What is your favorite thing about zone control?
Hearing a customer say, “Wow, we should have had this done a long time ago!”

What is the best thing about working with Jackson Systems?
Jackson Systems has the easiest controls to work with. They are very technician-friendly.  Tom, Kurt, Ashley and the entire Jackson Systems team are an added bonus! We enjoy working with local companies.

What do you love about your job?
We love making people comfortable in their own home! People often assume that a new furnace and air conditioner is the answer to their heating and cooling problems. We love the opportunity to present options that will really make a difference in their home such as zoning, programmable thermostats, humidifiers and UV lights.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
Is there supposed to be time outside of work!? We both love the outdoors… traveling, hiking, backpacking and cycling.

What is your motto?
Honesty is the best way to not only earn a customer’s business, but to earn their respect and referrals as well. At LCS Heating and Cooling, our tagline is “Comfort Solutions for Any Season.”

Corey Hickmann

Contractor Corey Hickmann: hunter and family man

Have you ever felt like you were trapped at the office, under a mountain of work? Even after the job was complete, Corey Hickmann of Comfort Matters Heating & Cooling, Inc. in Hanover, Minnesota had trouble finding an escape. Be sure to check out his hilarious story! Follow Corey on Facebook and check out the Comfort Matters website.

What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened on a job?
One night, I was checking a ventilation system in a room for an Alzheimer’s nursing home at about 9 p.m. I was in the secure lock down section of the facility alone and not able to get out while a nice elderly lady kept following me around because she thought I was her grandson. After wandering long enough, security saw me on the cameras and came to let me out.

What is your favorite thing about zone control?
Fixing the problem for customers when they complain about 2nd level bedrooms being hot and basements being cold.

What is the best thing about working with Jackson Systems?
They have a very flexible thermostat logo program that uses our logo instead of basic block letters. Jackson Systems does a great job supporting so many industry groups like Service Roundtable, ACCA and much more. Also, because they engineer and build their own products they have a great knowledge of how items work.

What do you love about your job?
We provide so many safety solutions for customers it is hard to pick, but one of the best parts is being able to get a family’s heat back on a cold, sub-zero January night.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
Most of the time is spent with my two daughters or hunting and fishing.

What is your motto?
“Creating Clean Comfortable Environments, One Customer at a Time”

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