Monthly Archives: July 2010

High Temperature Thermostats

Residential and commercial thermostats come in all shapes and sizes.  These thermostats also have many different features and benefits.  A question we sometimes get is “which thermostat can be used in high temperature applications or hot temperatures”.  Two things must be considered for high temperature applications: Control range (or setpoint range) and operating ambient temperature range.

 

The control range or setpoint range is the range that you can adjust the thermostat to hold a certain temperature.  Depending on the manufacturer (such as Honeywell, White-Rodgers, or Jackson Systems) and the type of thermostat, these ranges might be anywhere from 45°F to 99°F, 40°F to 90°F , or in the case of Jackson Systems’ T-32-P™, 41°F to 122°F.

 

The operating ambient temperature range is the range of temperature that the thermostat can be physically located in.  Depending on the manufacturer (such as Braeburn, Aprilaire, or Jackson Systems) and the type of thermostat, these ranges might be anywhere from 32°F to 105°F, 0°F to 120°F, or in the case of Jackson Systems’ T-32-P™, 32°F to 122°F.

 

Jackson Systems’ T-32-P™ has one of the highest temperatures in the control range when dealing with residential and commercial thermostats.  The T-32-P™ thermostat is ideal for jobs that require a heating setpoint greater than 100°F.   With a heating setpoint up to 122°F, (which is one of the highest in the industry) the T-32-P™ is a fantastic thermostat for high temperature applications.

 

For more information on Jackson Systems' T-32-P™, please visit us at www.jacksonsystems.com or call 888-652-9663

Jackson Systems wins ACHR NEWS Dealer Design Award

Jackson Systems, LLC was recognized for excellence in product design in the 6th annual Dealer Design Awards Program sponsored by The Air Conditioning Heating & Refrigeration News magazine. An independent panel of 30 contractors acted as judges in the contest that had 114 entries from different industry brands. The company’s Z-2000-T Zone Control Thermostat was the Bronze Winner in the Commercial Controls category. The ACHR News is the leading trade magazine in the heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigeration industries.

News Publisher John Conrad stated, “These awards give us a unique opportunity to recognize the outstanding research and development efforts that go into many of the products serving the HVACR industry and the awards issue gives our readers an opportunity to read about innovative installation and service solutions.”

“Our team here at Jackson Systems is extremely excited to win another Dealer Design Award this year”, says Tom Jackson, C.E.O. of Jackson Systems. “This honor confirms our commitment to the contractor by manufacturing quality controls that are simple to install and service. The Z-2000-T and the complete Z-2000 commercial zone control system is a great alternative to expensive and complex VAV systems, with the best part being there is no setup or laptop required.”

Winning entries in the Dealer Design Awards were featured in the July 12, 2010 issue of The ACHR News, which is distributed nationally to over 33,000 HVACR contractors, wholesalers, and other industry professionals.

 

New JSU tests are now available

Jackson Systems has expanded the Jackson Systems University online education program. JSU Certifications are now available for the T-32-P Universal Thermostat and the WCT-32 Wireless Thermostat.

As previously posted, the JSU certifications work in the same function as the Zone Control Certifications. Simply visit http://jsu.jacksonsystems.com/ to begin the coursework. Once you have reviewed the course material, you are ready to take the test. The exams are all multiple choice questions and a passing score of 80% is required to become certified.

Remember, being JSU certified is just another simple way for you to set yourself apart from the competition. Become certified on the T-32-P Universal Thermostat, Zoning or all of JSU programs – It's your choice!

Hot Yoga and the T-32-P

Birkram Yoga, commonly know as hot yoga, is becoming more popular in the fitness world.  Hot Yoga incorporates yoga in a room heated to 105°F with a humidity of 40%. Most standard thermostats out in the market place can not heat and control a room to 105°F.  Jackson Systems’ T-32-P is a great thermostat for Hot Yoga facilities.  The T-32-P has an operating temperature up to 122°F.  This is one of the highest operating ranges available without incorporating expensive DDC Systems.  A separate humidifier with its own controller to add RH (relative humidity) will optimize your Hot Yoga experience.  The T-32-P is a low cost, fantastic thermostat with many great features and can be your thermostat of choice for HOT Yoga rooms.

 

For more information on Jackson Systems' T-32-P™, please visit us at www.jacksonsystems.com or call 888-652-9663

 

“The Look” for HVAC Service Managers by Steve Coscia

For months, I have been traveling across the United States speaking at HVAC Conferences and conducting training sessions. While business travel can be fun, the luster soon wears down due to the myriad of uncontrollable events which can arise.

 

During a recent return trip from the west coast, I boarded an airplane which was filled to capacity. Feeling exhausted and tired after a day on my feet, having conducted a six-hour HVAC training session, I sought an overhead compartment for my carry-on luggage. The only available compartment had a garment bag laid horizontally across the entire length. This careless use of an entire overhead compartment for one piece of luggage seemed excessive to me, so with a conspicuously puzzled look on my face, I glanced around to see if anyone would speak up about their garment bag. I made eye contact with all the passengers in near proximity and no one owned up to this wastefulness. Seeking a resolution, I loudly asked “Is this anyone’s garment bag?” A coy, thirty-something man who averted my eye contact earlier spoke in an indignant and condescending tone and said, “Don’t screw up my clothes.” So I gave him “the look.” Not a word was uttered and none was needed because my facial expression said it all. He meekly looked away as I carefully rearranged the overhead compartment to fit more baggage without disturbing his precious cargo.

 

Perhaps my early lessons about “the look” go back to childhood. My father knew exactly how to convey a warning without saying a word. He did it with “the look.”

 

As a service management veteran, I learned early about the importance of knowing how to drill home a message with the appropriate non-verbal expression. When reprimanding an employee for bad behavior, I learned to ask a question such as “Help me understand what happened?” and then I would stop talking, lean in and wait for the reply all the time maintaining a serious facial expression. I’d wait and stay quiet no matter how long it took to hear an answer. The deafening silence created an atmosphere whereas the employee knew they were in trouble and my expression conveyed a more serious message than anything I could say at the moment.

An HVAC Service manager’ facial expression can convey a variety of emotions. Non-verbal behavior need not always be serious and negative. A positive and enthusiastic glance along with a thumb up gesture conveys a message of “a job well done.” Employees need to know when they are performing well.

In Ken Blanchard’s little and profound book, The One Minute Manager, he reinforces the management practice of catching people doing things right. It’s a brilliant strategy of positive reinforcement based on the belief that good behavior that is acknowledged will also be repeated by the employee. Blanchard advises managers to leverage their non-verbal, facial expressions when praising or reprimanding employees.

Sensible use of non-verbal behavior can be a powerful tactic for HVAC Service Managers.

 

Steve Coscia helps HVACR companies make more money through increased customer retention, improved upselling and reduced on-the-job stress. He is the author of the HVAC Customer Service Handbook. A best selling author, columnist, 20-year customer service practitioner and customer service specialist, Steve presents keynote speeches and facilitates HVACR customer service workshops. To learn more about Coscia Communications go to www.coscia.com or contact Steve Coscia at 610-853-9836 or steve@coscia.com.

It’s All About Value by Jack Tester

The current recession has shaken some longstanding beliefs among many contractors, chief among them is, “The Price is the Price.” That is a mantra I have heard hundreds of times from our founder, Frank Blau. It is a founding principle of Nexstar. It is Frank’s way of saying, numbers don’t lie. If your costs equal X, your selling price has to equal X plus your desired profit percentage. Stick to your guns and charge the price you need.

Another founding principle of Nexstar is to set up a business built around quality and value, not trying to be the low-price leader. One-truck, barnyard operators, will never go anyway, so stay above it. Offer quality service and products in a professional manner. These two founding principles are the foundation Nexstar used to build a professional organization of member contractors who combined quality and value with a selling price high enough to cover costs.

Then, along came 2009. “Long-time customers, who always bought from me, are now getting three or four quotes. All they want is lowest price. Loyalty means nothing anymore.” Does that quote sound familiar? Have you thought that? Overheard employees say it? Perhaps even uttered it yourself? Hold that thought for a moment.

Just the day before writing this article, I fielded a well-intended question from a member company. It had to do with tankless water heaters. His company was having a hard time selling these products. He felt the problem was his price was too high. So his question was, if he dropped his price, should he still give his technicians five sold hours for doing the job (he pays using a sold hour incentive plan) even though his selling price does not include five sold hours? Yikes! (The answer is no, by the way.) He essentially asked the wrong question.

So we went back to the root of the question which had nothing to do with sold hours but everything to do with value. Further probing revealed that his technicians were not familiar with tax rebate incentives that apply to tankless water heaters. The technicians did not perform a “cost of ownership” analysis for the customer where the cost of tankless should be compared to traditional water heaters. The analysis should have included; the purchase price, energy usage, repair costs, savings from potential damages and the life comparison of the two water heaters over a ten year period.

His technicians are great. They look the part, wear foot covers, use floor mats, ask if the truck is parked OK; much of the Nexstar Service System process. I’m sure they were selling emergency repairs, but when it comes to more discretionary, bigger ticket products, they were quoting a price saying a few cool things about “all work is done to code,” or “we are insured,” and other stuff; then leaving with an estimate only.

There had been no training around fully describing the features and benefits of a tankless water heater. No wonder their conversion rate was so low! No wonder their price so high.

Now, I gave the example above on a particular product because I think it speaks to the larger issue every member is facing today, which is creating enough value in the minds of customers to get them to part with their hard-earned money. The brutal reality is, meeting customer service expectations today is harder to do than it was two years ago. Because of a general decline in call counts, meeting every customer’s expectations has never been more important.

Wouldn’t It Be Easier to Just Cut Prices, Than Train?

I know it’s tempting to take a more common path, which is to just cut expenses and selling price so you can sell more jobs. In theory it works. But let’s get real. What would you have to do to significantly cut expenses in order to allow your company to dramatically cut selling prices 25% or more? There are five key expense categories in any service company that comprise 85% or more of all expenses. Those top five are; direct labor, materials, office wages, advertising and vehicle expenses. Forget about; cell phones, landscaping fees or office supplies. Those top five are major thoroughfares where the big money flows and from where your savings would have to come.

Material expenses are a function of two components—stuff you buy and how you manage it after the purchase. Contractors are good at shopping wholesalers for deals – especially in the last couple of years. If you haven’t looked for savings here – get after it. You likely already have. The next area is the management of what you’ve bought. There is always waste, shrinkage, etc. To gain savings here you normally have to throw people (office salaries) at the problem. Essentially, you raise costs to save money. Unless you are a very large company, it may cost more to manage your inventory than you are losing in waste. You may find, “The juice may not be worth the squeeze.”

Let’s look at vehicle expense next. Well run companies have total vehicle expense around 5% of sales. Expenses for companies with saving opportunities may run 7%. So by tightening that expense, you could drop it by 2%, tops. Not exactly a huge cost-cutting opportunity.

Let’s look at advertising next. There has been a tectonic shift in advertising spending habits in the last few years. It has walked away from strictly yellow pages to an advertising mix, with internet marketing catching most of the shifting dollars. So you may have some savings opportunities if you have not been actively managing this expense. Get it in line. Advertising should run 5-11% of sales, depending on your business mix. Purely plumbing and electrical service companies lean toward the higher end of the scale, HVAC shops should be on the lower quartile of the spectrum. One important point to remember is cuts in advertising, just to save overhead, could easily result in reduced revenue.

Now let’s look at the biggest bucket – direct labor and office wages. Here is your greatest opportunity for expense reduction. These two categories combined represent a total of 50%, or more, of sales in the average service company—a little less if strictly HVAC or construction. Sure, you can carve out 3-4% and go from 50% to 46% in total payroll. But cut overall company expenses by 25%, as an example, you would have to get the bulk of the savings from here, which means cutting half your payroll. Have fun with that one.

What is the Point?

Here is where I am going. It is not easier to sell on price. Gouging enough expenses for a meaningful reduction in selling price is painful, and in many cases, just not possible. Job-one should be a commitment to train all service and sales personnel to deliver top value. It’s easier, as you can see, than the alternative. And training is more than wearing foot covers and a clean uniform.

Creating value in your selling price is harder today that it was two years ago. Each customer must be thoroughly educated and impressed before they will part with their hard-earned money. Remember, when you walk in the door, the customer, has no idea what the job is going to cost. All they want to know is that they are getting good value for their money. To expand on this point, ask yourself a few questions:

· What training and customer service processes have you introduced in your company to create more value with customers? (Hint: Nexstar has tremendous resources—ask us!)

· If you are training, are you, as the owner, 100% sure your employees are using those trained skills in the field with every customer? Are you inspecting what you expect?

· Have you upgraded company employees who are unwilling or unable to provide value in excess of price?

· In short, are you doing all you can as a company to create value far in excess of your selling prices?

If you answered “No” to any of the above, start there before you print new price sheets, flat rate books and succumb to the siren call of “a price cut.”

Jack Tester is Coaching Manager for Nexstar Network®, a world class business development and best practices organization that provides business training, systems and support to independent home service providers in the plumbing, electrical and HVAC trades. Nexstar members get rapid results, guided by experienced coaches, surefire systems and incredible peer connections. For more information, visit www.nexstarnetwork.com

Videos now available on Jackson Systems Interactive Catalog

A few weeks ago, we posted information about Jackson Systems Interactive Catalog. This condensed catalog is a great tool to keep up to date on the latest products from Jackson Systems. Now, as an additional bonus, you can watch product videos straight from our interactive catalog. We will continue to make product videos and post them to the product pages. And of course, we will keep you up to date on when a new video is posted. So keep your eyes open for upcoming blog posts from us!

This month's videos: Z-600 and Z-2000 Zone Control Systems

Also, we are currently working on Volume 13 of our catalog. There are a lot of new and exciting products that will be announced in the upcoming volume. So to keep up to date of the catalog release date, subscribe to our blog today and be one of the first customers to see what Jackson Systems production team has been up to!

We want to hear from you!

At Jackson Systems, our clients are our most important asset. Therefore, we are always interested in hearing what you have to say about what we do well so we can make it even better. However, we understand that your busy schedules don’t always allow you to give us that feedback. So, now we have come up with a quick and easy way to let us know what you think is good about us and/or our products.

Simply call, 877-399-0525, and let us know what is on your mind. This will be a great way for us to collect your positive thoughts and feelings. We may, with your permission, even post your comments on our website.

So please, let us know what you think of Jackson Systems. We have a need to know.

 

Click here to listen to what our customers say about Jackson Systems’ Free Imprinting Program

 

Jackson Systems’ Free Imprinting Program

A couple weeks ago, we shared a post with you about the benefits of Jackson Systems' Free Imprinting Program. Not only does it help with brand awareness, it leads to years of service revenue and customer loyalty. We have many customers who currently participate in the program and wanted to share their thoughts with you.

Listen to what our customers have to say about Jackson Systems' Free Imprinting Program.

If you are interested in the Free Imprinting Program, please give us a call at 888-652-9663 or visit us online to get started today!

Comfort System 6-Zone Universal Zone Control Panel

The Comfort System™ Z-600™ is a versatile 6 zone control board for residential and commercial zoning applications.  The system can be expanded to as many as 12 zones by adding 3-zone expansion panels.  The Z-600™ can be used with single stage, multi-stage or heat pump equipment up to 3 stages of heat and 2 stages of cool.  The panel also has a built in duel capability to handle your challenging heat pump with fossil fuel auxiliary heat applications.  Simple slide switch configuration allows a wide range of system setup and control options best suited for each zoning application.  The Z-600™ is a position zone control system that can accommodate two wire or 3 wire dampers.  Additional features include fuse protected inputs and outputs, easy-to-read and access wiring terminals, LED status indication of all system functions, time delay override, adjustable on-board limits, outdoor balance point control for duel fuel applications, and selectable ventilation and purge modes.  Capacity control can also stage equipment based on the number of zones calling.

For more inforamation on Jackson Systems' Z-600™, please visit us at www.jacksonsystems.com or call 888-652-9663

Get to know Tom Jackson!

Thomas Jackson, Chief Executive Officer of Jackson Systems, sat down with Raquel Richardson of Silver Square to participate their weekly Proust Questionnaire. Connect with Tom on LinkedIn and follow Tom on Twitter.

1. What is your most marked characteristic? My organizational skills and the number of 3-ring binders I own.  Many of my friends and family tell me to seek help.

2. What is the quality you most like in a man? Integrity.  Additionally, I am a huge believer in the Golden Rule – treat others as you would like to be treated.

3. What is the quality you most like in a woman? Loving.  My business life is pretty much black and white, so I truly appreciate the nurturing and caring qualities of women.

4. What do you most value in your friends? Sense of humor.  I love to laugh and friends are the best way to ensure this happens.  Plus my laugh (another marked characteristic) seems to make others happy.

5. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I let things get to me.  Most things I can do nothing about, but I still let them negatively affect my mood.

6. What is your idea of perfect happiness? Hiking in a national park with my wife Jane.

7. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Loss / death of a family member.

8. Who are your favorite writers? Dave Ramsey (the financial guy) and Seth Godin.  I wish I enjoyed reading more, I think it has to do with the fact that I am not a strong reader.

9. What is your current state of mind? Excited that summer is almost here, which means the annual family pilgrimage to Cedar Point to ride roller coasters.

10. What is your motto? Be Prepared.  What can I say?  I have been involved with Boy Scouts for over 30 years and it has worked well for them.

11. What is your greatest fear?

 Not being successful with my business.

12. What is your greatest extravagance? Hiking boots and electronic toys (iPhone, computers, televisions, etc.)

13. On what occasion do you lie? When I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.

14. What do you dislike most about your appearance? My weight

15. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Truly” – see number 3 where I used the word. Unbelievable” – said in an extremely sarcastic way and I cuss too much.

Proust Questionnaire by Raquel Richardson of Silver Square