Service Tips

Selling the UV Light Add-on

How to build a value added add-on into each job

Building the Value Part III

So here we are in the third part of our “Building the Value” series. So far we have covered Electrostatic Filters and Decontamination Treatments. You may be asking yourself what’s left; well I saved the best for last. At least that’s my opinion.

Everyone lately seems to be more germ conscious. People that never had allergy issues now see a doctor because symptoms are apparent and affecting the quality of their life. Everyone worries about mold and the transmission of airborne illnesses. It’s almost like when we were children and the Boogie Man was under the bed, except this Boogie Man is real and living in all of our homes.

Keeping your client’s air duct systems clean, decontaminating the systems when cleaning it and using Electrostatic filters to ensure they stay clean are all important steps. However, the nature of air ducts is this – the moment after we clean them, they begin to become dirty again. Dust is something we can vacuum out but what about the things we do not see?

This is where the installation of a UV Light comes into play. Air-Care offers an affordable, reliable and well made UV Light that is easy to install and provides a recurring revenue stream for your business.

In the past, UV lights were large and challenging to install in residential applications, not to mention very expensive. All that has changed and this is something that has immediate benefits for the health conscious customer. Air-Care UV Lights use a UVCC light so there is no ozone produced – a major selling point in our ever-growing green world.

The Air-Care UVC Max36 emits a powerful ultraviolet light which sterilizes and reduces airborne microorganisms as they pass through the system. They operate 24 hours a day to continuously sanitize the air in the home. They are easy to install and each year you should return to replace the bulb. This is also a great time to schedule an annual dryer vent cleaning, but we will talk more about that next month.

Air-Care has marketing material available that can be given to each customer so you can leave them with some printed material. You will be surprised how many people will call you back with questions and orders. This is a product that offers 24 hour advantages, 365 days a year.

With an average retail price ranging from $250 to $600, think of what selling just three of these each month could do for your bottom line…now you knew I was going to find a way to fit some math in here, didn’t you?

Contact Cleaning vs Negative Air Cleaning: Pros and Cons

by Buddy Rigotti

Here’s my thoughts on Contact Cleaning vs Negative Air Cleaning Pros and Cons

Contact Cleaning:

  • Pros: You don’t have to block off the openings; you can do dryer vent cleaning with the DuctMaster and TruckMaster (although you’ll need to purchase some minor tools if you only have the TruckMaster)
  • Cons: You have to take the machine around to every room/vent instead of just a cleaning tool; the big con is that you can’t truly fog the air system properly because there is no airflow to take the fog mist down the duct line. You can only usually get several feet down each duct line

Negative Air Cleaning (aka Push-Pull Cleaning)

  • Pros: It’s easier to get a more thorough cleaning, especially with air powered tools because you don’t have to physically touch every square inch of the interior surface of the duct in order to clean it; you can do fogging the correct way; this was the original standard way to do duct cleaning until contact cleaning came around
  • Cons: It take a bit more time because you have to block off the openings; you can’t do dryer vent cleaning with negative air equipment

Commercial Air Handlers

Sub Heading Goes Here
by Wayne Tracy, Operations Manager

Wayne TracyWhen looking at commercial projects you will find many different styles of air handlers.  They’ll be located on rooftops, in ceilings, closets, basements, virtually anywhere.

Regardless of where they are, you have to get access to them and clean any accessible areas in them.  These areas include the evaporator coil, blower, and all other accessible surfaces.

As I’ve discussed in earlier articles, a full service duct cleaning project includes cleaning of all system components from the point air enters the system (return ducting) to the point air exits a system (supply system).  To do less work would be a disservice to your customer. Debris left behind in un-cleaned components and areas of a system will soon migrate to areas you may have cleaned thoroughly.

While some commercial air handlers can be very large and complex, for the most part they all have the same components, just larger in size.  Don’t be intimidated by the size of the air handler – just approach it the same way you would a smaller unit – it will just take more time.  After all, the more hours a project takes, the more profitable it will be.

Another common setup you find in commercial properties is multiple air handlers.  We’ve been involved in projects with 70 or more air handlers on one roof top.  Again, it’s not a challenge, just more billable hours and profit potential.  If you think about it, what’s easier, driving to 60 or 70 houses or cleaning 70 systems all under one roof.

Cleaning evaporator coils on commercial air handlers can be as easy as a residential project if a building has multiple air handlers.  Larger walk-in style units will have large banks of coils – substantially larger and thicker than a simple package unit and will require some special handling.  However, it will usually require the purchase of a pressure washer for a few hundred dollars, or you can usually rent them as well.

Pressure washing a coil is not a major task; you simply back-flush the coils in the direction opposite air flow.  Be careful to wash in a direction that will not bend the coil fins. Cover and protect any areas of the air-handler that you do not want the overspray of water from the pressure washer to come in contact with.

Afterwards, thoroughly vacuum and wipe down the inside of the air handler surfaces and the blower wheel.  Typically you do not have a lot of access to the blower but be sure you clean any accessible part of it.

After cleaning the inside of the air handler, be sure you clean the outside of the cabinet as well. You don’t have to make it shiny and new looking, but get the built up grime on the cabinet cleaned up as best you can.  You want the building owner or manager to see that you are conscientious about your work by paying attention to all the details of your cleaning project.

How To Clean Dryer Vents

Follow These Simple Steps
by Paul Clark, Service Manager

Paul ClarkA few simple steps:

  • First, test the dryer to make sure it is working properly before you do anything else.
  • Then, unplug the power. If it is a gas dryer, you need to turn off the gas.
  • Pull the dryer out away from the wall.
  • Use a screwdriver to loosen the clamp on the back of the dryer and pull of the flex dryer vent duct.
  • Next, reach in the back of the dryer and pull out any lint or debris.
  • Then, reach into the duct going into the wall and pull out any lint or debris.
  • Attach your  Vent Vac to the dryer duct and suck out lint and debris
  • Then you should use your Vent Vac in combination with your Cobra or Drill Powered Cable and brush that helps remove any type of blockage in the duct.
  • Also you should check both ends on the dryer duct to make sure there is no blockage left in the dryer duct line.
  • Clean up any mess that you may have made during the cleaning.
  • Then re-attach the flex dryer vent & re-tighten the clamp with your screwdriver.
  • Plug in the power to the dryer; if it is a gas dryer turn the gas back on.
  • Push the dryer back where you found it and double check to make sure all work you performed was done properly and your work area is clean.
  • Finally, test the dryer to make sure it is working properly.

It is recommended that homeowners should have their dryer vents cleaned every year. It is the number one cause of home fires. The Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates that there are an estimated 15,500 fires annually, including 10 deaths and 310 injuries associated with clothes dryers.

This also produces over $84,000,000 in property damage every year. Cleaning the dryer vent will also help with the dryer’s performance and could save the customer money on their energy bills.

How To Find Good Partners To Help Build Your Business

Networking is Key
by Paul Clark, Service Manager

Paul ClarkPotential good partners and customers are:

  1. Networking Groups- BNI, Chamber Of Commerce, Toastmasters, BBB
  2. Mechanical Contractors
  3. HVAC Companies
  4. Restoration Companies- Water, Fire and Disaster Clean Up
  5. Construction Companies
  6. Property Inspectors
  7. Property Management Companies
  8. Commercial & Residential Brokers
  9. Maintenance & Janitorial Companies
  10. Carpet Cleaning Companies
  11. Architects And Engineers
  12. Industrial Hygienists, Mold & Air Quality Testing Companies
  13. Building Maintenance Groups

These companies can help build your business quickly & are a great networking team to help you gain more business.

A list of potential customers that could use your services is anyone that has air ducts, but here are some examples:

  1. Hospitals
  2. Office Buildings
  3. Restaurants
  4. Banks
  5. Casinos
  6. Laundromats
  7. Malls & Strip Malls
  8. Manufacturing Facilities
  9. Homes, Condos & Apartment Complexes
  10. Car Dealerships

Those are just a few of the businesses that you should target.

How to contact these potential customers and referral partners:

  • Join the BBB
  • Join the Chamber Of Commerce
  • Join Networking Groups like BNI
  • Become Preferred Vendors Or Contractors
  • Purchase Email Lists of Commercial Businesses
  • Purchase Phone lists and Telemarketing
  • Purchase Mailing Lists for Mailers or Post Cards
  • Advertise on Radio, TV, Print or Billboards

These are just a few ways to reach out to potential customers and networking groups. Remember, hard work and becoming an active member of networking groups and organizations are some easy ways to get solid leads and build your business.

Always follow up with customers in a timely manner. I would also recommend that you follow up or return calls the same business day. I try to always under-promise and over-deliver and to treat people’s homes like my own.

Selling Value Over Price

How to overcome pricing objections
by Paul Clark, Service Manager

Paul ClarkAir duct cleaners know that they need to sell their service’s quality to their prospects over price. When a potential customer asks what the price will be, it’s important to answer this question with confidence, which will give your prospect peace of mind.

“How much will this cost?” Every prospect is going to ask this question. They will go back and forth with this. This is where the decision is made and when the prospect will either give you the go ahead to move forward with the sale or say no.

Don’t feel uncomfortable talking about price with prospects and be scared that the price you quote may be too high for their liking. You can unknowingly lose confidence in your communication with the prospect. At this point the prospect will often pick up on this.

I have learned that you need to explain your services confidently before revealing the price. When you have not determined your prospect’s pain or found a resolution to their need, how can your services help them? The price will always be a problem to overcome unless you have the least expensive quote.

The way to respond to this is to show the value before you discuss price. The problem is that most air duct cleaners do not get this across to the customer which means that they lose the sale. The most common mistake in sales is to be in a hurry. Take your time explain your services with confidence and when you give your prospect the quote – be confident.

Be patient when explaining the value to your prospect because it may take some time for them to understand. You need to be able to show the services that you are offering are worth the cost.
Do not discuss price too soon because everything you explain will seem like you are trying to justify the cost. When you explain how your services will help your prospects, then your price will be justified.

Always remember, there is a big difference between cost and value. Selling to commercial prospects is no different. Show your prospect the value and worth of your company and services and price will not be an issue.

Subcontracting Opportunities

Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity
by Wayne Tracy, Operations Manager

Wayne TracyWhat if you could have a sales force selling your services with no payroll or employee costs?  There’s a golden opportunity in your market just waiting to be tapped.  This opportunity exists with existing contractors in your market, many of which you may already know.

These contractors are in businesses and homes everyday selling their products and/or services and are always looking for a way to add additional revenue to their bottom line.  If you could offer them an opportunity to create additional income with little or no expense, they will probably listen.

There are a few approaches to consider; one is to seek referrals for your company or the more beneficial to the contractor and you is to offer your services at a slight discount to the contractor.  He can then sell your service and make a profit for his company.  You could also consider a referral fee if a referral results in a sale.  If you’re going to pay referral fees you have to be careful that you do not overpay and you must keep an accurate record of sales.

I’ve found the easiest and most profitable way is to offer residential services to the contractor at a reduced price, do the job, and bill the contractor.  He then bills his customer; this keeps the transaction accurate and simple.

For commercial jobs I’ll usually ask the subcontractor to turn the whole project over to us, so we have full control of the project.  When I quote the work I’ll negotiate a referral fee with the subcontracting company and pay him when the job is completed and we’re paid.

Whatever option you choose, start searching out these contractors and get the additional business. There is very little expense involved in obtaining this type of work.  Once you build a relationship, be sure you take good care of their customer so you’re sure to get the continued business from this contractor.
Below is a list of contractors to start contacting right away:

  • REMEDIATION COMPANIES:  Fire, Smoke, &  Water Damage – Mold & Other
  • HVAC SERVICE COMPANIES
  • MECHANICAL CONTRACTORS
  • PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
  • CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTORS
  • ARCHITECTS & ENGINEERS
  • JANITORIAL COMPANIES
  • REAL ESTATE AGENCIES

Click here to view a sample letter you may want to use.  Also keep in mind we have several brochures available in either a generic form or with private labeling.

How to Sell Products and Services

Add big to your bottom line
by Paul Clark, Service Manager

Paul ClarkFirst, we need to get our product information out to the customers. After establishing contact, find out what your customer’s needs and wants are. After finding out the customers needs and wants, then recommend your service and products. Explain not only that you are an air duct cleaning company, but that you also offer many other services and products.

If you do not talk to the customer about all that you offer you will be doing a disservice to yourself and the customer – always educate your customers. You will never know if they or someone they know has a need or want for your services or products. An easy way of showing a need to a customer is when you are at the customer’s home or business. Take and extra 10 or 15 minutes to show them and explain the services and benefits to your customer.

A couple quick up-sells could be:

  • (1) The Dryer Vent – Show and explain the need to have it cleaned and why it should be cleaned out every year.
  • (2) Electrostatic Air Filter – When cleaning the air handler, show the customer the air filter and explain to them how our electrostatic filters are better and why. If you do not show the customer the need, then they have no reason to buy.

Never Ever Assume. Show the customer the need and sell, sell, sell!

Services

  • Air Handler/Furnace Cleaning
  • Condenser Coil Cleaning
  • Dryer Vent Cleaning
  • Air Filter Maintenance Service
  • Duct Leakage Testing
  • Soot Sealing, Deodorizing & Sanitizing
  • Mold, Smoke or Fire Cleaning

Products

  • Quite Breeze Ionic
  • Air Purifier
  • Clean Breeze Products
  • Electrostatic Air Filters
  • UVC Max36 Air Purifier
  • Kool-Wrap A/C Unit Filter

Commercial Quoting – Several Factors to Consider

by Wayne Tracy, Operations Manager

Wayne TracyWhen quoting commercial work there are several factors you have to consider.  These can vary from job to job, but must be considered and investigated when providing a quote.  Listed below are some of the major things to look into.

Special Insurance Requirements:   Be sure when quoting commercial work you ask what the insurance requirements for the job are.  Special coverages such as Employee Liability, Umbrella policies, bonding, and even special wording can be very expensive.  If there are special requirements, send them to your agent and they’ll provide you with pricing for these coverages.  I always add the cost of these special requirements as a line item in my quote.  Often times the building owner/project manager may waive this requirement when he’s made aware of the added costs he may incur.

Special Equipment:   Are the ceilings high and will you need a scissor lift or boom to gain access?  Or maybe it may be a special ladder or staging.  Like other requirements, list it as a line item. The owner may have this equipment already and let you use it to avoid the added cost.

Grills and Registers:   There are several different types and you have to determine if they are removable and how they are removed from the register pan.   Some styles are unibody construction or tack welded and may not be removable at all.  If this is the case you need to allow extra time for getting access to the duct for cleaning.  In some cases you may have to disconnect the flex hose from the register pan, then reconnect it.  This can be very time consuming and you must allow for this extra work in your quote.

Volume Dampers, Fire & Smoke Dampers:   These are very common in large commercial duct systems and can be very difficult, if not impossible to clean through.  If you have blueprints they can be located on the print.  If you do not have prints you’ll have to spend some time at the site locating them – again, a time consuming task and you have to allow for it in your quote.  You may be able to clean through a volume damper with an air whisk, but Fire & Smoke Dampers are virtually impossible to clean through.  You’ll have to clean up to them; then make cuts in the sheet metal to continue cleaning on the other side of the damper.

Turning Vanes:   These are located in square ducting when the duct is making a 90 degree turn to help steer the air through the corners of the duct.  It is impossible to get a cleaning tool  through these dampers and you’ll have to make sheet metal cuts to get around them.

VAV Boxes & Reheat Coils:   These are located in large commercial duct systems and like other obstacles you cannot clean through them – you’ll need to make access cuts before and after them for cleaning.

These are the more common obstacles I encounter in quoting commercial work.  Always be on the lookout for potential problems or obstacles that may confront you on the job.  A missed obstacle can be very costly and have a direct impact on the profitability of a job.

Who Are My Potential Commercial Customers? Part 2

How to find commercial prospects in your market
by Wayne Tracy, Operations Manager

Wayne TracyLast fall we started offering a one day training class on commercial duct cleaning.  We also introduced a training DVD on commercial duct cleaning.  We have had a huge response to both the classroom training and DVD training.  Listed below are topics covered in both the live training and DVD training.

  • Commercial Air Handlers
  • Commercial Air System Components
  • Commercial System Designs
  • Who Are Your Commercial Customers
  • Evaporative and Swamp Coolers
  • Commercial Duct Cleaning Procedures & Steps
  • Duct Cleaning Equipment
  • Blueprint Reading
  • Quoting & Estimating Commercial Jobs
  • Many more topics

Over the next several issues of our newsletter I’ll discuss in detail some of the topics included in the DVD and live training.  This month I’ll discuss a common question I’m asked about commercial work:

HOW DO I REACH COMMERCIAL CUSTOMERS?
Reaching commercial customers will be different then the way you attempt to attract residential customers.  I’ve detailed below different approaches for reaching out to potential commercial customers.

PRINT ADVERTISING:  There are several options available for this approach, be sure whatever you try is a publication directed towards the commercial property owner or manager.  Depending on the size of the market you serve, your options will vary.  The following types of publications may work well for you if they exist in your market:

  • Chamber of Commerce Magazine or Newsletters
  • Chamber Annual Business Directories
  • Trade Magazines, newspapers, newsletters for specific industries in your market
  • Civic Organization Newsletters or Magazines (i.e. Lions Club, Rotary Club, etc.)
  • The Business Section of your local daily or weekly newspaper

DIRECT MAIL:  This option can work for you, but you have to be careful that the cost of it does not get too far out of hand and exceed any chance for a reasonable return on your investment in it.  You’ll first have to come up with an ad design.  Usually a direct mail postcard will get better results than a letter someone has to open.  There are several companies available to purchase mailing addresses from.  Some companies will print and mail your postcard for you.  We have a few companies we work with for our mailings that offer accurate lists and reasonably priced services.  Please contact me by e-mail if you want the contact information for these companies.

YELLOW PAGES:  It wasn’t too many years ago that this was everyone’s most relied on way to reach customers.  That is not so today, with the internet being the most popular way for people to find services.  However, I feel it is still important to maintain a presence in the yellow pages with at least a small ad.  Prices will vary depending on the size of market you are servicing.

Three weeks ago the environmental engineer for a local hospital contacted me for a quote in the operating room and ICU unit of his facility; I was surprised when I asked how he heard of us and he stated “The Yellow Pages”.  We start an $11,000 job for them this week.

WEBSITE:  If you don’t already have a web site; it’s time to think about it and get one set up.  Costs for setup and hosting of a site are now very reasonable.  We even offer a service of setting up a website and hosting it for you – just contact our Web Marketing Manager, Buddy, for details.

E-MAIL:  If you are not already gathering e-mail addresses for all of your customers, you should start immediately.  Contacting existing customers or contacts by e-mail is free and takes very little time to maintain contact with your customer base.

The next option to consider is to buy e-mail lists for businesses in your area and e-mail offers and information to them.  Many companies that sell lists will also send the e-mails for you.  A word of caution when e-mailing is to be sure you are not tagged as a spammer.  Use of a mailing house will eliminate this risk.

PERSONAL CONTACT:  This method will have very little cost associated with it and could provide immediate and very positive results.  Be sure you have a handout developed, that could be as simple as a company data sheet you prepare yourself and print in color.  The following is a list of ways to contact commercial customers.

  • A telephone campaign to set appointments to meet commercial customers.
  • Personal visits to targeted commercial customers.
  • Join and attend meetings of your local Chamber of Commerce.
  • Join and attend meetings of civic organizations (i.e. Rotary Club, Lions Club, Eagles Club, etc.)
  • Contact civic groups about speaking at their meetings about your services.
  • Visit construction/remodeling sites of commercial properties and speak to contractors (specifically HVAC companies, architects, & general contractors.)

Regardless of the type of contact program you choose – YOU NEED TO HAVE A PLAN – to be productive.  Set up a schedule for the next 30 days of what you intend to do and follow it.  Without a plan, it will be hard to have positive results.  Once you do set up your plan be sure you work it diligently.

If you have a subject area related to commercial duct cleaning you’d like to see covered; call or send me an e-mail and I’ll try to cover it in future issues of our newsletter.  Until the next issue “HAPPY SELLING” and go chase those commercial accounts, that $5,000 or $10,000 job may be just around the corner.