Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Talented Steve Coscia

Last week, I was a featured speaker at the Mechanical Systems Week conference in Chicago.  Thousands of plumbing, heating and refrigeration professionals were there.

Imagine my surprise when I found a beautiful, white baby grand piano just outside the room in which I’d be speaking.  And the piano was in tune – amazing!

I sat on the bench and started playing the jazz standard, When Sunny Gets Blue by Marvin Fisher. Like magic, a small crowd gathered and everyone was smiling. Music makes people happy!

 

 

What happened later is not to be believed.  Total pandemonium!  Be on the lookout for my next message to learn about the chaos that erupted in the room, just prior to my speech.

On a side note, I want to convey a word of thanks to those who have made this year so exciting.  We have sold a record number of Customer Service Training Systems as a result of word-of-mouth marketing among industry pros.  It’s reassuring to have so many folks saying nice things about our educational materials.

If my travel brings me to a city near you, let’s meet. Call me at 610-853-9836.

Steve Coscia
Coscia Communications Inc.
www.coscia.com

 

STEVE’S TRAVEL SCHEDULE! Near You?
08/22/2012 Nova Scotia, CAN
08/23/2012 Nova Scotia, CAN
08/24/2012 Nova Scotia, CAN
09/12/2012 Oakland, CA
09/13/2012 Concord, CA
09/14/2012 Concord, CA
09/18/2012 Chicago, IL
09/19/2012 Chicago, IL
09/20/2012 Chicago, IL
09/21/2012 Chicago, IL
10/02/2012 Birmingham, AL
10/03/2012 Birmingham, AL
10/05/2012 Philadelphia, PA
10/16/2012 Houston, TX
10/23/2012 Raleigh, NC
10/24/2012 Columbia, SC
10/25/2012 Charlotte, NC
10/30/2012 Knoxville, TN
10/31/2012 Nashville, TN
11/27/2012 Birmingham, AL

 

 

Mechanical Systems Week 2012

Tom, Kurt and Kristie were out of the office last week attending the HVAC event of the year, aka Mechanical Systems Week in Schaumburg, IL. Never heard of Mechanical Systems Week Systems Week? That may be because up until this year, the tradeshow was referred to as HVAC Comfortech. Why the name change? This is the first year that the event included the plumbing and hydronic industries. The new name encompasses all three industries.

 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Comfortech or Mechanical Systems Week, it is one of the largest tradeshow of its kind, devoted to residential and commercial heating, air conditioning, plumbing and hydronics for professional contractors. The event is filled with informational seminars and product displays.

 

This year, Jackson Systems made quite a stir with three booths and two new products: The Fireside Friend and the industry game changer, the Barometric Zone Damper (BZD). Maybe it was the free bats we were giving away to play of the idea of our BZD promo video, but the Jackson Systems booth was swarming with visitors who seemed fascinated and excited by the remarkable new zoning technology.

 

When we weren’t educating the masses at the Fireside Friend, the Barometric Zone Damper or the FilterFetch booths, we were busy attending informational seminars. A major theme in these seminars and keynote presentation was how HVAC contractors need to adapt in order to stay competitive. Like it or not, the world is changing and so it the HVAC industry, so adaption is survival when it comes to your business. Building off this theme was an emphasis on how the marketing landscape is changing especially in the digital arena as well as the continuing emphasis on energy efficiency.

 

Tom attended the Service Roundtable where he heard about the importance of establishing and building an online presence. There was a big push towards amping up search engine rankings through search engine optimization (SEO).

 

Kurt attended the National Comfort Institution (NCI) meeting of contractors. The main focus was the need to think of the HVAC system as not independent of the house, but part of the house’s overall system that works together to fulfill the goal of comfort in the most efficient means possible. This includes everything from duct work, indoor air quality, insulation, windows and so on.

 

Kristie attended the Woman in HVACR seminar that focused on making it in a changing world, personal growth to help grow your business, empowerment and establishing personal goals. Lana Ward, the 2012 Woman Contractor of the year spoke.  An HVAC contractor who bought her father’s business and has since grown it by narrowing the company’s focus to residential HVAC and hiring the right people, Lana was a dynamic speaker who was as fun to listen to as she was empowering.

 

There’s our quick and dirty recap of the HVAC event of the year(trust us there was a lot more to see).  If you couldn’t attend this year, we highly recommend you attend in 2013.

 

 

BZD Virtual Sales Event Podcast with the NEWS

Angela Harris of The NEWS recently interviewed Tom Jackson on the recent BZD virtual sales event Jackson Systems hosted on its Facebook page.

 

Included in this podcast:

 

– Why the social media veteran, Tom Jackson, decided to hold the first Facebook virtual sales event in the the HVAC industry

 

– How Jackson System got the word out about the event

 

– The story behind the event’s main attraction: the Barometric Zone Damper (BZD)

 

Listen to the podcast to find out if the event was a success:

 

www.achrnews.com/podcasts

Geothermal Heat Pumps on the Rise

Industry experts are expecting the sales of geothermal heat pumps to continue to be on the rise in the next few years. This belief is due in part because of the federal tax incentives that reward installers of geothermal heat pumps with a 30 percent tax credit. This credit is due to expire in 2016. Before then, the geo industry plans to expand as much as possible with the help of the tax credits, which is believed to be the reason geothermal heat pumps have steadily risen in recent years.  

 

With the tax credits still available, it is a good idea for to discuss the option of geothermal heat pumps to customers. Although it is a high upfront cost, the long term benefits may be attractive to certain customers.

 

High initial costs stemming from the expense of well drilling are keeping the installation of geothermal heat pumps out of the main stream. Clear communication about the long term benefits such as return on investment and total cost of ownership should be the focus of your conversation when introducing the topic. There are many misconceptions out there about geothermal technology and the key to clearing these up is strong, clear communication of the innovations and advancements in the industry.  We recommend that contractors learn as much as they can about geothermal in order to provide their customers with valuable information.

 

While the tax credits have helped counteract current economic pressures, their expiration may be offset by the fact that some states are now implementing incentives of their own. States are beginning to see geothermal energy as a tool for alleviating power constraints. Geothermal is the only renewable energy that performs no matter what the weather is doing.

 

Still, the industry is anticipating a decline in the growth of geothermal heat pumps once the federal tax incentives expire. They are preparing for this by devising a strategy to expand the geothermal market so that the sales level is greater than it would have been if the tax credits had never taken place. Their goal is to expand the geothermal market by building on the current popularity of geothermal. 

Managing Your HVAC Business in a Tough Economy

The economic climate is making it tough for any business to thrive, and businesses in the HVAC industry are no exception. The decline in the housing market is no doubt affecting the demand for new installations, and the weak economy means many people are putting upgrades and even maintenance to the bottom of their priority lists. As an HVAC contractor, how are you coping with the tough economy? How are you managing to keep your HVAC  business afloat?

 

Here are some strategies to keep your HVAC business out of the red:

 

1. Learn from buyer behavior

Pay attention to the habits of your customers and watch for changes in their buying behavior. These can be vital clues as to what to expect from the coming months or years. For example, if you see a trend towards cheaper installations, take note. This may be a signal that the construction companies are feeling strapped, which will likely bleed into your profit margin. The sooner you see the trends the better you will be able to adjust. Do your homework by turning to trusted companies who follow and predict trends that can impact your HVAC business.

 

 2. Take action

As soon as you notice a change in buyer behavior, take action. If, for example, you know that the residential construction market is down, adapt your focus to something more resilient. There is always a silver lining in any situation, and when it comes to a down economy, that silver lining presents itself in the form of alternative opportunities such as growing interest in higher-end, energy-efficient solutions. 

 

 3. Find ways to be cost-effective

Make a habit of reviewing your overhead costs no matter what the economic climate is. This way you won’t be making a large amount of drastic, reactionary changes when the profits start dwindling.  Always be on the lookout for ways to improve your efficiency and cut down on costs.

 

Even in the best of times, these three strategies are important to keep in mind. Remember, with every up there must be a down. Be prepared by being on the lookout for changes in buying behavior and industry trends and remember the old adage, “When one door closes, a window opens.”

Thermostat Recycling Program at Jackson Systems

As a participant in the Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC), Jackson Systems is committed to helping contractors and homeowners dispose of old mercury thermostats properly. TRC facilitates and manages the collection and proper disposal of mercury-containing thermostats. The Thermostat Recycling Corporation is an industry-funded non-profit corporation supported by 31 manufacturers who historically branded and sold mercury thermostats in the United States.

 

HOW DOES IT WORK?

We want to make it easy for contractors to properly dispose of mercury thermostats, so we set up a thermostat collection program. Whenever you replace a mercury-containing thermostat, keep the old ones and ship or bring them to Jackson Systems. We store them in a safe crate and then ship them to the TRC who then recycles the mercury. There are no fees for contractors or homeowners to discard thermostats in TRC recycling containers. TRC assumes all costs to transport and properly dispose of mercury-switch thermostats recovered from service.

 

WHY SHOULD I DO IT?

The goal of the program is to recycle all mercury-containing thermostats that are taken out of use. By participating in the program you are helping to keep mercury out of the waste stream. Participating also lets you demonstrate your commitment to the environment. TRC has a promotional tool kit that you can use to communicate your association with the program to your customers.

 

Many states regulate the disposal of products that contain mercury and have recycling requirements for mercury thermostats. And participating in our program is the simplest way to comply with the law. But regardless of state mandates, being environmentally responsible just makes good sense.

 

Since its inception, TRC has recovered more than 1.4 million thermostats, diverting over 6.4 tons of mercury from solid waste. Nationally, TRC has placed more than 7,000 recycling containers in 48 states.

5 Reasons Why Zoning Is Good for Your Bottom Line

Anyone who has ever shared their home or office space knows the great thermostat debate. We all have different ideas of what comfort means, and so does your customer. One of the best things about being in the HVAC business is providing people solutions to make their lives more comfortable. Zoning is one of the most efficient ways to achieve this.

 

Zoning gives your customers the ability to control the temperature in different parts of the house or business using a single unit. Every zone has its own thermostat, so the temperature can be adjusted according to the preferences of the person using the space.

 

Zoning isn’t just a win for comfort. It is a win for your bottom line. And you will be a hero to clients who no longer have to fight over thermostat settings.

 

Here are the top 5 reasons that zoning is good for your bottom line:

 

1. ADDED REVENUE

 

Zoning provides your business with another profit channel outside the day to day maintenance needs of clients. Next time you are servicing a client, especially those with larger homes or businesses, mention the benefits of zoning. You may be surprised that they did not know that zoning was an option. There is a wide margin between the cost of buying the zoning equipment and selling it to your customer. You will make a good profit and the customer will still be getting value that exceeds the price.

 

 2. LESS TIME=MORE MONEY

 

Installing a zoning system is relatively easy compared to installing other pieces of equipment. With less labor, the job can be completed faster than more labor intensive jobs. This means you are making more money in less time.

 

 3. KEEP BUSY DURING THE OFF SEASON

 

Zoning is a great product to offer clients during the off season. Many contracting businesses have to cut hours during periods of less extreme temperatures when demand is down. The demand for zoning does not depend on the time of year. Zoning can help keep your employees working on a regular basis year round.

 

 4. DIFFERENTIATION

 

Stay competitive without cutting your prices. When a consumer is considering which contractor to hire, they want to know how well the contractor understands their needs and how qualified the contractor is to complete the job. By proposing solutions such as zoning that other contractors are likely to miss, you stand out as an expert to the consumer. Even if they don’t end up buying zoning, they will likely hire you for the job.

 

 5. PIPELINE FOR FUTURE BUSINESS

 

Few people know that zoning is an option, and therefore don’t expect the level of comfort zoning provides. The benefits of zoning often exceed customer expectations. Happy customers love to spread the word to friends, neighbors and families and when they do- there is a good chance they will mention the name of the contractor that brought them the solution.

 

Warning Watchdog: Cooper Theft Prevention

Cooper thefts are steadily increasing across the nation. As cooper prices rise, so do the number of metal thefts. Thieves are willing to go to almost any length to steal cooper, including ripping apart air conditioners for their copper coils.

 

Jackson Systems is proud to offer the Warning Watchdog™, an alarm system that monitors individual condensing units and immediately detects voltage interruption, tampering or refrigerant loss. When activated, the Warning Watchdog™ sounds an extremely loud siren and can also be tied in with a phone dialer or any other security device. The Warning Watchdog™ works with split systems and packaged units.

 

Use the Warning Watchdog™ for retrofit or new installations and give your customers peace of mind by protecting their investment.

 

Watch our video to find out more: Warning Watchdog

How to Upsell a Fireplace Add-On

These days, we have remotes for everything, so why not have a remote control for fireplaces? FiresideFriend™ from Jackson Systems is a family of remote controls for gas fireplaces HVAC contractors who work with gas and controls daily will find that these similar products can be easily offered to their customers. FiresideFriend™ remote controls provide convenience and comfort, along with safety and increased energy savings for homeowners.

 

Millions of homes in the Unites States have gas fireplaces which are not serviced. FiresideFriend™ creates new opportunities for contractors each time they visit a customer’s home, and they also make a great add-on to annual service agreements. The FiresideFriend™ family of remote controls is easy to install, taking only minutes, and allow for high profit margins.

 

Here’s how to up sell a FiresideFriend™:

 

  1. When you go to service a client, take a quick look at the fireplace and see if it is gas or wood-burning.

  2. If it is gas, ask the homeowner if they can control their fireplace with a remote control.

  3. If they can’t, explain that the FiresideFriend™ only takes a couple minutes to install and use and are very affordable.

 

Watch our videos to see how simple the Fireside Friend is to install.