As an HVAC provider, you have 3 money making trends working in your favor. This "perfect storm" is great news for the HVAC industry.
Firstly, as I mentioned in my last post about the powerful use of forms, the HVAC business is a huge industry, and the industry continues to grow larger every year. It is actually growing faster than the US economy. This is great news if you can position your company to take advantage of that growth. That is what I am trying to help you do with this blog.
Secondly, a lot of the installed HVAC systems are aging out. Many of them were installed in the 70s and 80s and are starting to show their age. Thirty to forty years is a lot to ask of equipment that is running every day. Every year we see a record number of service calls on these old systems. Often it is just a repair ticket, but sometimes the whole system needs to be replaced. This trend will only increase as time advances.
The third component of this "perfect storm" is that the baby boomers are aging out of the workforce and selling their homes. These older guys are often the same people who had the HVAC systems installed in the first place. And now, the up and coming managers (or new homeowners) don't have any idea who to reach out to for the service call when their HVAC systems need repair or replacement. They are reduced to playing "Google Search Roulette" and the first guy they call usually gets the work. Who do you think they would call if the original HVAC provider had left their name and contact info affixed to the system? They would obviously call the name they read printed on the system. The perfect way to get your name on the HVAC system is to apply a service sticker with your info on it sending the buyer back to you. And the great thing about it is that it doesn't even need to be a system that you installed. You can put your service labels on any system that you encounter in an inspection, repair, or casual encounter.
A Lesson Learned from Florida
Last June, Ricky at LaserLine HVAC in Lakeland FL received a call for emergency service on an older system in his city. A Lakeland furniture manufacturer called on a really hot Florida day because their A/C wasn't putting out cold air. That can spell disaster for a Florida manufacturer at the beginning of Summer. His office people and assemblers were literally dripping with sweat and were about to head home early. Something needed to be done right away. Ricky rushed over to the facility to see what the problem was. This was a large three-story facility, and the HVAC system was also quite sizeable - and it was originally installed in the mid-1980s.
He discovered the problem rather quickly, and it was actually an easy fix. He was able to repair it quickly. The flustered manager was very relieved and appreciative. And since Ricky was already there, he told the plant manager that he could do a free systemwide inspection to see if there were any other pending problems. The plant manager was entirely in favor of that idea and gave an enthusiastic go-ahead.
Ricky started on the HVAC unit. He inspected it inside and out and continued the inspection of their entire system on all three floors. He visually checked all his ductwork and individual controls in each zone. And as he did, he went along and applied LaserLine HVAC labels on the unit. He didn't do it in secret, but he made a little show of it, marking the "date inspected" on every label. His rule is to make sure that you could see one of these labels from any spot in the system. LaserLine HVAC offers a "free system inspection," and he made sure that during his inspection, he left his contact info throughout the facility for when they needed a follow up service call. Remember this wasn't "his" system. It actually was the first time he'd seen it. Another HVAC company had done the installation years ago. And by applying his service labels, he wasn't claiming it to be his unit. He was simply letting them know where to call for maintenance next time the need arose.
At the conclusion of any inspection, he always tells the customer that he had put contact information stickers in different locations throughout the system with the current date, so they will know what has been inspected and when he was there. The customer actually appreciates that - they like it. It saves them time the next time they run into a problem. It is a very inexpensive but effective marketing effort for Ricky, all of his contact info is spread throughout their entire HVAC entire system. The next time they're going to need service, they won't be spinning the "Google Search Roulette" wheel but will instead be calling his number.
Different Kind of Service Labels
At VALUE PRINTING, we know the marketing power of HVAC service stickers. We provide several different types of service labels, and each has a different application. Some are considered to be "marketing" stickers, and others are more like "service" stickers. Our view is that the best kind of marketing is excellent service combined with professional labels and forms which allow you to provide that high level of service.
These are the most common types of stickers:
• Full-Color Vinyl Service Stickers - very professional looking sticker and they should go on every box or package that leaves your facility. Not just for boxes and packages that you ship out with UPS but even when your service reps are carrying the box out by hand. Always put a full-color vinyl sticker on it. It is the least expensive, professional marketing that you can purchase.
• Vinyl Service Stickers - these are usually printed in 1 or 2 ink colors with your logo. All individual parts inside the boxes should have one of these affixed to them. You never know where these parts are going to travel and having your name on them might give you inexpensive marketing in a place you never expected.
• Economy Vinyl Service Labels - these are a smaller sticker, usually printed in single color ink. More of a utility sticker (part numbers, part description, or date manufactured, etc.) these should always have your name and contact info. They are great when used as "a piece of tape" to affix a note, seal an envelope closed, or "taping" a bag shut.
• Weatherproof Labels and Decals - Is there a place that is going to be exposed to the outdoors? These weatherproof service labels have an extra "top coat" laminate so they will last a long time. You can't beat the long-term, low cost of this kind of marketing.
• Economy Service labels - these are the traditional "workhorse" labels. The base of these are made out of paper, and you have your options for the surface composition. For some applications, you would be best served by a flat (non-glossy) surface - easier to write on using a pen or pencil but not designed to last a long time. Definitely not appropriate for "heavy service" use. There are also gloss and high-gloss finishes available.
Presenting a variety of sticker formats to your customer will give the impression that you are organized and in total control of your inventory and other systems.
HVAC Providers Have an Unusual Marketing Position
As an HVAC provider, you have a marketing opportunity that not many industries have.
• Your product is made up of many individual parts that are spread across a facility or home.
• They are always custom installed and assembled by a professional installer.
• When the system is working well, it operates quietly in the background without anyone noticing. But, when it breaks it's an emergency situation needing immediate attention.
• Putting advertising stickers throughout the system is considered helpful and is welcomed.
Combined with Forms
In my previous post, we discussed the utility and marketing value of forms. Combining these forms with the liberal use of service labels is a winning combination. Then it's time to deliver an invoice, or any paperwork (inspection report, invoice, engineering proposal, or quote) makes sure there is a label on the form - with the date of inspection. Include 2 or 3 unused stickers for the customer to apply where they want them.
It's a very inexpensive but very effective marketing habit. Choosing the right kind of label or decal to go along with the forms you are using is a "nearly free" form of advertising. The customer will appreciate you using them. And because they remain in place, sometimes for years, stickers will outlast almost any other kind of marketing - jumping out right at the moment of need.
So here is…
Your New " Service Label " Checklist
Rule #1 - All correspondence that leaves your facility has a service sticker on it.
Rule #2 - All boxes or bags that leave your facility have a service label.
Rule #3 - All hand-delivered forms are accompanied by at least 2 unused stickers.
Rule #4 - All parts have at least a small service label on them.
Rule #5 - When you are inspecting a system, apply stickers to various parts of it.
Rule #6 - Use small labels with your company name instead of tape.