‘This is what Rob Falke and the team at National Comfort Institute (NCI) also teaches,’ he says. ‘To me, this is just the basics, but it is amazing how many HVAC and refrigeration contractors don’t get the importance of this. In fact, when I began seeing some of the promotions for NCI training, I was all on board for that. Rob was talking my language and I hoped to learn new things,’ he adds.

After that class Kent joined NCI and has been a member since 1994.

The NCI training and the subsequent certifications helped Donnelly hone his skills and enabled him to jump into the commercial air conditioning side of the business. He became National Balancing Council (NBC) certified in 2011. None of his other technicians have done the NBC training, but all have taken NCI classes and are certified in several of the disciplines.

Performance-Based Contracting?

Even though Donnelly and his team have been testing and measuring ventilation systems almost from the start of the business, it wasn’t until they began formal training with the NCI organization that they packaged this approach under the concepts of air upgrades and duct system renovations.

‘This is our focus,’ he explains. ‘But it is not easy. We face a lot of resistance from our residential customers. That resistance is based on the cost of this work.

‘We test and measure every system,’ he continues, ‘and then share the data that pinpoints where the system is lacking. The hardest thing is to talk about the dollars because it will cost more than what they are used to. For the consumers, that is a tough pill to swallow.

‘I believe that in our industry a lot of contractors low-ball their prices to close more sales. To make things worse, consumers just don’t understand what they are looking at because contractors have not educated them.

‘We must educate them. And we do it mathematically. We show them how much they will spend as well as how much it will cost them over time if they don’t invest the money in duct renovations and/or air upgrades.’

Donnelly adds, ‘Then we take all our findings and break them down into bite-sized chunks, with the most important and necessary repair at the top of the list. We then list the other repairs based on the cost of NOT doing them over time. Sometimes that means just doing insulation work. Sometimes that means changing out the equipment.’

Tetra service van

He says the long and short of it is that sometimes renovation work can take a year or two because the consumer just doesn’t want to pay for everything all at once.

‘You have to figure out where you can make the most difference and how to help the customer understand the benefits. And you must price it right,’ says Donnelly.

From Kent Donnelly’s perspective, he struggled with pricing for years. ‘One of my biggest problems was not recognizing my value to the customer equation.

‘It took years of training and talking with people like Rob Falke, John Garofalo, David Holt, and others to help me understand that the skills I bring to the marketplace have a great value and I need to charge people what that is worth,’ he says.

Bringing Home the Value

One of the key values Tetra Mechanical brings to the table is how they take the data from their testing and measuring, then put it into a format that helps consumers understand what is happening with their HVAC system and the solutions Tetra is proposing. They do this using the cloud-based software known as ComfortMaxx™ and AirMaxx?.

‘We use ComfortMaxx every single day. It is fantastic at taking all the data and creating easy-to-understand reports that help us show customers what is going on and why the renovation work we propose is necessary.

‘I love it,’ Donnelly says.

‘It allows me to single-handedly take something that can be quite complicated and present it visually and mathematically so they can make the best decisions based on their needs and their budgets.’

Click Below for the Next Page