Heading into the busy season looks a little different for the HVAC industry this year in more ways than one. Not only has social distancing affected the way we do business physically, but also the weather has given us an unusually cool and wet spring. Here are our thoughts on how the next several months might play out as we navigate a new normal heading into the busy cooling season.
HVAC Will Be OK
HVAC is essential. Those in the industry have always known this, but now the rest of the population is in agreement because they’ve been confined to their homes for several months, some for both work and play. No other time in recent history has home comfort and indoor air quality been more prominent on people’s minds. Plus, with the heat of summer coming, this will only increase as homeowners may not yet be able or comfortable to go out (to the mall or movies, or even to Starbucks for a few hours!) in order to fight through hot days with a broken A/C.
As a small business owner, juggling between getting paid and making payments can be challenging, particularly lately, given the uncertain state of the economy. However, if your business has struggled due to the pandemic, you may be one scorching summer away from getting right back on track financially.
Consumer Financing Is Key
Speaking of money, 75% of homeowners live paycheck to paycheck and due to the COVID-19 crisis, that paycheck could be significantly less than it was just 6 months ago. Due to budget concerns, homeowners may opt for a repair and some IAQ instead of the full system replacement that they really need. That’s why it’s more important now than ever to offer financing options for your clients.
Financing is a win-win for both your business and your customer’s budget. You will absolutely close more deals and create happier customer experiences because it will lift their financial stress of having to fork over thousands of dollars at once to make the HVAC purchase they need.
Now is a great time to start offering financing because many entities are running special programs to allow homeowners to afford their needed home improvements while making sure dealers have minimal (or no) fees and get paid ASAP for jobs.
Be diligent in your research of entities offering to finance your customers’ HVAC purchases. There are a lot of scammers out there whose paydays come from targeting vulnerable populations in times of crisis. We recommend going with a federally regulated institution such as EGIA or FTL Finance. Watch out also for scammers who impersonate banks and federal institutions – even copying their logo and email addresses.
Some New Procedures Will Outlast the Current Crisis
No one had heard of the phrase “social distancing” prior to 6 months ago and now it has become the basis for everything people do (or more accurately – don’t do)! How do HVAC technicians keep working when their jobs require them to enter people’s homes? There’s no way around it - service calls involve at least some form of interaction.
To minimize physical contact, some dealers have incorporated digital tools and technology into their processes and are finding that homeowners are responding well to them overall. For example, a tech might Facetime with a homeowner to show them the issue that needs repair and then provide a digital quote straight to their device so that no one needs to touch the same surface. In addition, any forms that require signatures, such as financing or invoices, can be sent and signed digitally.
There is absolutely no doubt that some of these contact-less procedures will outlast the current pandemic, especially if it saves time and money while also making the customer experience better. However, we still believe in the power of a good handshake, so here’s to hoping we can get back to that eventually!