The takeaway is that we always emphasize testing and balancing (TAB). Some TAB is embedded in the general work we do and some is part of our duct renovation work. We average around $500,000 a year in commissioning work.
Good Communication Is Vital
One of the best practices is the ability to communicate to customers in a way that educates them so they can make the right purchase decisions. Communication starts with testing and measuring, then being able to interpret the results, so customers know what you are talking about.
The NCI mantra, “If You Don’t Measure, You’re Just Guessing™,” is the basis of our communications. For those of us who do measure, this is a tremendous opportunity.
And it’s not all technical. You have to be able to walk customers through the process to help them buy. This means being more consultative.
In other words, static pressure testing and airflow issues themselves are just part of the puzzle in discussing issues with the customer. How do you explain and advise them on optimizing or retro-commissioning their system? Most customers have no idea what any of this means.
For example, you can say, Mrs. Jones, we just finished testing and measuring your system and found that you have a great base. The only issue is that all the different parts aren’t dialed in correctly. Your heating and air conditioning equipment is built to produce 30 miles per gallon, but you are only getting 18. So here are a few things we recommend you do to go from 18 to 26 mph.
You can get better energy efficiency, better comfort throughout your home, better indoor air quality, and fewer breakdowns.
Part of communications is doing what I call show-and-tell. In addition to explaining things in laymen’s terms, having a way to physically show customers what we mean is even better.
So we are renovating and changing our laboratory showroom. We have working systems that we can show customers. Our guys can train on this same equipment, plus this is the equipment that heats and cools our buildings. This showroom laboratory is like a car dealership. It lets customers see what we are talking about.
Cheerleaders Are Required
One of the best practices we use at DiMarco and Associates is having dedicated cheerleaders. Cheerleaders help inspire and drive the team toward High-Performance HVAC contracting success. They help remind technicians about the importance of taking the time to test and measure, balance systems, and present the facts to customers in ways they will easily understand.
And cheerleaders help keep the message consistent. Cheerleaders don’t have to be management (though our two cheerleaders are). And this works.
Twenty years ago, when I first started on the path to performance, the HVAC Industry was so different than it is now. Today the industry recognizes the importance of testing and measuring, and more people are aware of high performance than ever. People talk about the importance of proper airflow today, whereas 20 years ago, that wasn’t even part of the conversation.
And NCI is the driving force behind this. Talk about cheerleaders!
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