In March, we talked about how the winter was like those of years gone by. Long days, longer nights, getting home in time to go to bed and get up to do it all over again.
Since that conversation I have been contacted by a few technicians who tell me that I am crazy. It seems that they were not very busy at all. In fact, one told me that he had trouble making ends meet on less than 30 hours a week. Could this be the norm?
Are we finally getting to the point where technicians are going to a job and spending a smaller amount of time correctly diagnosing the problem? I hope that after all the conversations we have had over the years this is so, but I wonder. I know many have earned the NORA certifications in either Silver or Gold. NORA makes it so easy to better oneself by putting the videos and the testing right on the computer, so maybe this is so. The manufacturers also put training on their websites for you. Could this be the answer?
Also, is the replacement market doing so well that we are finally getting those old clunkers out of the basement and replacing them with higher-efficiency units? I know many of those old units made us very busy and sometimes kept us up all night. Did we finally convince our customers that the time is right to replace that old boiler or water heater? If so, that could be the reason.
Has the price of fuel caused this drop in service? Could it be that people are starting to upgrade because of the rising cost of fuel? Could it be that the customers are lowering the thermostat setting and putting on a sweater? It could be, but I think not. Sure, our customers are lowering the temperature setting and wearing a sweater, but I see that as a reason why the fuel delivery has dropped off (along with new equipment) not why service has dropped off.
But my biggest fear why the service has dropped off is the possibility that we losing our customers to another fuel source. I hope we have not only done a good job of informing our customers of the advantages of updating their heating appliance, but also spent a lot of time informing them of the advantages of staying with No. 2 fuel oil as the ‘fuel of choice” for their heating comfort.
My fear is that we have not. If you are losing customers to the other fuel, I hope you are in the position to keep them as a customer in your company family. In other words, are you ready, willing, and able to service them if they decide to make the move?
Well, if you are ready, you can rest assured you will be in a good position to keep your customer in case they do make the jump. If you are not ready, then now may be a good time to get started.
May is the month new life comes to all things. The flowers start to come back from their long winter rest, the animals come out of hibernation, new leaves on the trees replace those that fell away, and the tradeshows come alive. After months of preparation, the tradeshows are here, and the Northeast is the place to be.
If you weren’t able to get to the Atlantic Regional Energy Expo in Atlantic City on May 3-5, hopefully, you were able to make it to FW Webb’s All-State Expo on May 5 in Seminary Hill, Vt. And if you really want to see it all or you were not able to attend the other shows, get to the NAOHSM’s 58th Annual Convention and Trade Show on May 22-26 in Hershey, Pa. (www.naohsm.org). Heck, bring the whole family and make it a vacation in the Hershey area. These shows will jump start your business as well as increasing your bottom line.
O.K., enough of my babbling for now. Remember to e-mail me with your comments and war stories. Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be waiting to hear from you. See ya at the show!