What is in this article?:
It's time to make integrating performance-based contracting into your residnetial HVAC contracting firm a priority. Here are some tips that can help you "eat the elephant" one bite at a time.
Home performance is the science and art of measuring and getting accurate comfort and energy efficiency in residential homes. Pictured here is a technician from Advanced Energy Auditor (National Comfort Institute Certified) looking for heat leakage using an infra-red instrument. A blower door for testing air leakage in a home is in the background.
This month marks 20 years since National Comfort Institute began teaching how to test and correct the air side of HVAC systems. Over the past two decades as we learned more about the properties of the air delivered by the system, we began to understand the process of measuring delivered BTUs in real time. We started to hone better methods of testing duct systems with pressure, air flow, and temperature instruments.
With the help of thousands of HVAC contracting companies, we began to systematize the processes to make testing, diagnosing, and correcting performance issues faster and more accurate. We found that most contractors we worked with were able to assimilate the technical knowledge and develop their skills in performing this work.
While working with all these contractors, we began to notice some patterns. Only roughly 10% of the companies we trained were able to fully integrate delivered performance into their offerings. These companies have been regularly delivering profitable system renovations to their customers, and have become known in their markets as true solutions providers.
Of the remaining 90%, some are somewhat able to sell and deliver system renovations, mostly when a customer “really wants” their systems fixed. Most of the others only perform testing and some fixes when in a pinch.
When we asked these folks why they weren’t able to fully integrate delivered performance into their businesses, the top six reasons given were:
- We just can’t find the time to make it work
- Customers don’t care — they just want the lowest price
- Can’t get my guys to test on a regular basis
- My sales people just want to sell equipment — they tell me this stuff is just too hard to do
- We can’t figure out how to make this part of what we do
- It’s too labor intensive. We don’t think we can make money at it.
Let’s review and address each of these issues.