So, we used the HeatMaxx and CoolMaxx forms in combination with our BPI processes while participating in the Home Performance with Energy Star program from 2010 to 2014. We would use the program software to rate the building envelope, and the NCI forms to see the other side of the performance story by rating installed HVAC system efficiency.
The turning point in Home Performance occurred when our energy audits led to us selling duct renovation jobs that began making Lakeside real money.
When Lakeside was busy, we sold duct renovations and then scheduled work for the off-season. That leveled out our labor and ultimately led to keeping the field team busy all year. We saw our tech turnover drop significantly. That was a huge win.
Leading the Way
Once our management team saw the economic advantages of airflow diagnostics and duct renovation, they began focusing on building a culture of craftsmanship.
Now our technicians could truly excel at solving customers’ comfort and energy issues. This also opened our minds to investing in that first on-site training in 2012. To quote the late great John Garofalo, “The juice was worth the squeeze.”
Our leadership set expectations and implemented testing and diagnostics into our daily routines, adding testing to all maintenance, service, and installation procedures. At this point we experienced so much positive feedback that we budgeted for at least one NCI onsite per year.
One of the most significant rewards for me was being able to listen to customers share what our techs did that directly affected their comfort, and how no other contractor ever talked about these things.
From our techs’ viewpoint, especially the younger guys right out of school, we were doing things they never learned. For example, no one else was leaving a tune-up or maintenance report with customers. They are doing next-level work, and that was something cool that changed their perspectives. It built excitement in their careers.
The high-performance approach has helped us instill a level of pride that comes with working at Lakeside. It enables our team to create something elegant and high-quality that delivers a lot of value to our customers. And that is something that anyone can go home feeling good about.
Selling Your Value
You deserve to be paid for what you do. High-Performance contracting is for those who want to be the best. Craftsmanship is elite contractor stuff. It’s not the same as running service calls to make a buck.
Be sure to let your team know this when you talk to them. Don’t just say it, make them feel it. Use how you connect with your team on a personal level, and let them feel the pride that should come with performing this level of service. When they feel and express this in their work, the customers who always complain about price seem to disappear.
At Lakeside, we believe you cannot leave testing, measuring, and structured diagnostics out of the equation and solve the real problem. The question is, how do you get your team to sell this for its value? It comes down to your ability to communicate with your team effectively.
John Garofalo often told me “leaders are not born, they are made.” Every leader’s ability to motivate boils down to trust, and trust is earned through consistent action. The consistency of someone’s actions equals their integrity.
Our craftsman approach was born from the intention to be the best we could be. The unintended result is our culture today helps us win awards and build confidence. It makes Lakeside an attractive employer for young people who like our ‘cool factor.’
Success requires our leadership to create a craftsmanship culture with buy-in and passion from the top down. So that is how Lakeside Service crafted our High-Performance HVAC culture and changed our business.