Play the Rebate Wild Card

          I know the title of this article may seem like I’m suggesting you head to your local casino to strike it rich. I’m not, so please keep on reading.

I believe we can all agree that our economy is still in a state of recession and the unemployment numbers are continuing to climb in many states and I’m not sure when we will experience a renewed economy. We are now experiencing what I call tight money stress and the plain fact is many of your customers are just not spending their hard-earned cash. Perhaps they are following some advice gather from media reports to ‘hunker down.” What this message does to our business environment is beyond my imagination.

Over the past several months I’ve had the opportunity to listen to many decision makers in the oil business, mechanical companies and manufacturers’ representatives tell me that their business is off by several percentage points, and they are struggling to keep going.

Many companies, as a means of survival, have cut staff, inventory and in some cases put their businesses up for sale. I guess for those who have decided to sell, you may be fortunate based on the recent ‘Call us”-type ads that seem to appear in several monthly trade magazines.

The sad part is that many of these same companies have been in business for several decades and passed through many generations. I remember not many years ago being involved with a family-owned oil company that was sold, and what a shocker that was even though the economy was strong at the time. The reason was too many costly environmental issues and the fact that oil became a traded commodity, which changed the scope of business.

Now back to the subject of playing the wild card. Many of you in an effort to try to get business have readjusted your pricing by lowering your GP dollars for installations, labor and have even experienced a small business increase. But you’re probably finding it necessary to work twice as hard with less people to make the money you need to survive. Believe me I applaud anyone with an idea that leads to business survival.
There is a wild card, as I call it, that you may have not used or even thought of.  Rebates! As an example, in the state of Rhode Island, I noticed they have a rebate program presently in place that will rebate a customer 25 percent up to $2,200 dollars for new Energy Star-rated equipment installed. Many RI companies have found this to be their answer when it comes to getting that needed business. I would be very surprised if the word rebate isn’t part of any customer-to-sales-person dialogue these days, and it should.

Most everyone I talk with will ask me what, where and how can they get the rebates. Regardless if they come from your individual state government, federal government ($1,500) or a manufacturer, it’s all money. It seems that the word rebate is becoming as popular as FaceBook.

             My suggestion is, regardless of where your business is, find out more about the rebates available and do the math.  Local and federal rebates and better efficiency equals dollars for both you and your customer’s pocket, which in turn can mean a sale. You may also find that by playing the rebate card it may keep you profitable while we wait for the economy to rebound, and it will rebound.  Keep in mind that the Home Energy Tax Credit will expire on December 31st of this year, but the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit does not expire until 2016.

            To learn more about energy rebates, go to as well as your state’s energy website.

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