It all started with a personal install. Don Ham, Vice President of Business Development at Refresh in Mt. Kisco, NY was curious about the new Nest Learning Thermostat. ‘I installed Nest for myself,’ Ham said. ‘I figured, who doesn’t like a device that saves you money and that you can control with your phone?’
At the start, Refresh was an indoor air quality testing and inspection company, primarily focused on promoting the benefits of installing air purifiers in their customers’ homes. As the Refresh team visited more homes, they noticed a trend: at many of the homes they serviced, the homeowner was still relying on an antiquated thermostat.
‘A bell rang,’ Ham began. ‘Why don’t we offer an opportunity to install a smart thermostat as part of our air quality testing?’ In the summer of 2015, Ham and the Refresh team reached out to Nest and joined the Nest Pro program.
The Nest Pro Program is a network of over 20K professional HVAC, Electrical and Security installers. Professionals who join the Nest Pro program receive benefits such as Pro pricing and an extended 5-year warranty on the Nest Thermostat and Nest Protect smoke and CO alarm. Professionals who join the program also gain access to free customer referrals and can leverage the Nest brand to attract new customers.
‘Customers interested in smart home technology typically ask for Nest,’ said Ham. ‘We advertise as a Nest Pro and that’s how so many customers find us.’
And it’s not just about the thermostat. ‘The breakthrough moment for us was when we were able to integrate the air purifier we install, IQAir Perfect 16® Whole House Air Purifier, with connected WiFi air quality monitors like Foobot and Awair. We are proud to be the first company to automate whole house indoor air quality based on the pollution levels from the monitors. We firmly believe that a smart home is a healthy home.’
Ham and the team at Refresh leveraged the trainings available through the Nest Pro program and learned how they could create incremental revenue in their business by looking beyond air purifiers and incorporating smart and connected home solutions to their customers. In addition to offering IQ Air filters and Nest products, Refresh’s portfolio now includes other smart and connected products from Hue, Ring, Wink and Sonos.
‘A lot of our Nest customers are repeat loyal customers who are requesting new air filters for the systems we installed and then we get the opportunity to introduce them to additional smart home solutions’ Ham explained.
The opportunity to sell smart and connected technology is growing at a rapid pace. According to a 2016 survey of 1250 adults, Coldwell Banker found that home buyers overwhelmingly want move-in ready homes, and nearly 1 in 2 people now define ‘move-in ready’ to include smart home technology.
In early 2016, the Refresh team entered The Ultimate Nest Pro Van contest. Refresh’s creative installations, commitment to their customers, and their full embrace of this new smart trade pushed their contest submission to the top of the pack. They were named the winner and in December, they received their own Nest Pro Van.
‘Partnering with Nest took us from a niche business of home air quality solutions providers to a team who could provide complete smart/connected home solutions to our customers that not only focused on health but also expanded into the realm of safety, security, home audio and energy efficiency,’ said Ham.
 44 Percent of Americans Who Want Move-In Ready Say Smart Home Technology is a Must, Coldwell Banker Real Estate Smart Home Survey, August 2016