top of page

FEBRUARY 2024 EDITION

Welcome to the February edition of our newsletter, where we explore the vital traits of adaptability and resourcefulness in the HVAC industry. From the critical distinction between identifying problems and actively solving them to exclusive insights from Julian at the AHR Expo, we'll uncover the latest trends and innovations driving our sector forward. Additionally, we'll discuss the transition to a paperless HVAC business, highlighting the benefits and practical steps toward embracing sustainability. 

Adaptability & Resourcefulness: Finding Problems vs Solving Problems

Problem Solving.png

An HVAC technician named Bob responds to a service call where it is reported the heat pump is not heating. Upon arriving, he warmly greets the customer. Before entering the home, Bob makes sure he puts on shoe covers so as not to track in dirt. Before heading to look at the heat pump, he engages the customer, listening intently to the explanation of the HVAC system's symptoms. 

Bob thoroughly inspects the system and finds that the issue is the control board. When looking for the part at a local supplier, he finds out that the control board is not available and is on backorder for over a month. Bob explains the diagnosis and the situation to the customer before leaving. He says he will send the invoice for the diagnosis. 

What did Bob do wrong?

Let's first take a look at what he did well. 

 

  • Bob is friendly and respectful.

  • He actively listens to the customer.

  • He correctly diagnosed the issue.

  • He looked for a solution.

Bob got a lot of things right on this call. But he failed to do one major step: provide the customer with a solution. How is the customer going to feel when Bob leaves? He now knows what's wrong with the unit, but he is still in the same situation as before the technician came out... without a functioning heat pump.

When customers call our HVAC company to come out and service their units, what are they looking for? Solutions. Yes, for us, that starts with figuring out what the problem is by diagnosing the issue. But our job doesn't end after the diagnosis is made. We need to be in the habit of solving our customers' problems. 

Be Adaptable and Resourceful

In the field, we come across countless brands and types of equipment. While they all share some similarities, each unit is slightly different and requires us to be resourceful in our approach. It would be impossible to list every possible diagnosis and solution that we may encounter in the field. While learning about new equipment can be beneficial for technicians, adaptability and resourcefulness are traits that will help us find solutions to the majority of problems we encounter. 

Tap Into Your Network: Connect with other HVAC technicians, professionals from related industries, and suppliers. Building a network can provide you with a valuable pool of resources, ideas, and solutions to draw from.

Don't hesitate to collaborate with other technicians or professionals on complex projects. Multiple perspectives can lead to more comprehensive solutions.

Practice Creative Thinking: When faced with a challenge, try to think creatively and consider unconventional solutions. Sometimes, a unique approach can lead to more efficient and effective results.

Use Available Resources: Make the most of the resources at your disposal. First and foremost, check the manual. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found the best help there. Other good resources include online forums and manufacturer resources.

Familiarize yourself with the tools of the trade and explore new tools that can make your work more efficient. 

Try This: Practice solving hypothetical or real HVAC problems by breaking down troubleshooting scenarios or case studies to specifically work on finding solutions for the customer. Take it a step further and begin to note and stock items that you can keep on hand as temporary fix like used thermostats, used motors, generic control boards, etc.

Looking for the Problem AND the Solution

Let's put adaptability and resourcefulness into practice using the above example of Bob. What would that look like?

After learning that there is no control board at the local supplier, how could Bob prove to be adaptable? Are there any other local stores that may carry the same brand? Is there anywhere else the part can be sourced? Some brands use cross-compatible parts but have different part numbers, is that the case with this furnace? Would a universal part work here?

If the answer to all the above questions is still no, how can Bob use resourcefulness? Some equipment can be temporarily rewired to bypass the control board and restore the heating function. Can that be done in this instance until the OEM board arrives? Perhaps the part itself can be repaired instead of completely replaced? Maybe he can consult with a colleague about the issue? After exhausting all technical options, is there anything more that can be done for the customer? Perhaps Bob's company provides temporary space heaters for customers in this situation so as not to leave the customer completely without heat.

The Customer's Experience

The customer comes to us when there is a problem they can't solve. As HVAC technicians and business owners, we are in the problem-solving business. We are the "experts". Once we have found the issue, we need to work equally as hard, if not harder to find the solution. 

Customers recognize and appreciate this type of problem-solving service. Notice what one customer had to say about their experience with JD Air: 

 "Julian was very supportive. He showed up right on time, spoke plainly in a way that I could actually understand and offered to provide information that would include options for replacing a part all the way through replacing the actual unit. I appreciated the education as it will definitely help make our decision."-M.B., Washington, DC

By cultivating adaptability and resourcefulness, we can uncover solutions in situations where others might struggle. This ability will distinguish our business from competitors, fostering customer appreciation that naturally translates into lasting customer satisfaction. Ultimately, that becomes a driving force behind the growth of our business.
 

Adaptability

Interview with Julian at the AHR Expo

IMG_2300_edited.jpg

Which sessions or products, in particular, captured your attention, and how do you plan to incorporate this newfound knowledge or technology into JD Air’s operations?
 

"One of the things that stood out to me the most at the expo was the air-to-water heat pumps. There's a lot of practical application in our area where a lot of our customers can benefit from the efficiency of those systems. But at the same time, because of the major push for electrification, bringing down the carbon footprint, especially when it comes to running our systems on home comfort, then these systems allow for the best of both worlds: efficiency but yet still contributing toward decarbonization and bringing down the effect of really the HVAC for the home comfort industry.

I'm very excited about the efforts that are happening toward decarbonization. We're seeing that the quality of equipment is increasing because of the amount of focus that's on efficiency as far as different types of equipment are concerned. Heat pumps are the biggest thing in the industry right now. And the kind of heat pumps and the options that we have available are being innovated.

We're going to see a lot of impact on the homeowner. Things are going to affect the homeowner a little bit as far as pricing is concerned. But when the homeowners look at what they're saving as far as the kind of equipment that's being installed in their homes because of the lower amount of power that's being used to keep the home comfortable, then they're going to be seeing the cost benefits, especially, not only in the initial time of installation but really in years to come.

We're very excited about this healthier equipment that's being put in and we're excited about the focus that's been put on, not only in this expo but in the ASHRAE conference as well about the proper ventilation in homes and how that has a benefit for homeowners and commercial customers as well. Everyone is benefiting from having proper ventilation and the industry focusing on increased ventilation standards, which is going to help everyone to have healthier air spaces and it's going to help everyone to have a more efficient setup, including smaller systems, even in both the commercial space and the residential space.

We're excited about the innovations that are happening and we're looking forward to the future of the HVAC industry."

Interview

Embrace the Future: Transitioning to a Paperless HVAC Business

Paperless.png

Recently, I was visiting my parents who are in the middle of a construction project on their house. I was shocked when, in the course of a week, I saw three different contractors stop by with hand-written paper invoices. One of the guys had to drive over half an hour to drop off his bill. Mind Blown!

Our company has been paperless for many years now. I am so used to digitized processes that it never even crossed my mind that people would still be using the paper method. But, when I looked into this subject further I found that the grand majority of companies are still using paper in their daily operations.

Whether you head up a big company or you're a one-man show if your office hasn't taken the paperless plunge yet, why not consider the many benefits?


The Benefits of Going Paperless

Cost Savings: 
A piece of paper may be inexpensive but consider the total cost of paper-based documentation.

Various studies have been done over the years highlighting the time it takes employees each week to print, edit, and manage physical documents. Some estimate that these tasks may take up to 30% of an employee's time. Not to mention the expenses related to paper, ink, printers, storage space, and maintenance.

If you are in the home service industry, there may be even greater costs by hanging onto a paper-based approach. Take the example mentioned at the outset of the gentleman who had to drive out of his way to deliver a bill. With prices at the pump soaring, wear and tear on service vehicles, and precious time wasted... that's a high cost to deliver a bill!

Try this: If the idea of digitalizing all your documents is overwhelming, start small. Free invoice templates are readily available across the internet. You can try Google Docs, Canva, or Adobe, to name a few. When customers contact you, make it a habit to request their email and mention that you will be sending paperless invoices. 

You could even take it a step further and invest in CRM (customer relationship management) software such as HouseCall Pro, Field Edge, or Service Titan which have invoice features included in their software along with many other benefits. 

Enhanced Efficiency:  

While it may take time upfront to digitize documents, managing "electronic filing cabinets", known as cloud storage, takes a fraction of the time. Cloud storages have search features that make locating a document almost instantaneous. There is the added bonus that you will never get a paper cut!

Signing up for electronic billing instead of snail mail will free up your mailbox and make receiving invoices faster and easier to pay for your accounting team. Online accounts can be created so that permits can be pulled without a trip to the permitting office. By switching from computer-based software to cloud-based software, marketing teams can collaborate on designs eliminating the need for physical document distribution.

Have you or an employee ever been in the field and needed access to a document back in the office? An added benefit of going paperless is that you can access any information no matter your location, provided you have an internet connection. 

Try this: Focus not only on digitizing documents that are being sent out from your company but also on the documents being received. Make a list of accounts that send paper correspondence and request paperless billing or communications. You may wish to set up a separate email, accounting@[your domain] or info@[your domain], to keep all correspondence in the same place. These emails can even be set up as a shared inbox so that multiple team members have access.

 

When I was in high school, one of my first jobs was going through a company's endless filing cabinets organizing countless documents, shredding, and refiling. It took up my whole Summer vacation! Could you hire an intern over the summer for the project? In addition to the office experience, it would also be a great introduction to industry-specific terms and processes.

Going paperless can seem overwhelming, especially if you are not "tech-savvy". However, there are great benefits to be received by investing a little time into learning and setting up these new processes. You can start by picking one or two of the above tips and putting them into practice. Once this becomes standard office procedure, try implementing another. By following these strategies and committing to the transition, your organization can unlock the full potential of digital technology and enjoy the many benefits it brings.


Contributed by Karissa Pratt, Assets Manager at JD Air
 

Embrace

Thank you for taking the time to explore the insights and ideas shared in this newsletter. We hope you've gained valuable knowledge that can enhance your HVAC business operations. To ensure you don't miss out on future newsletters packed with even more valuable information, tips, and strategies, we encourage you to subscribe. Stay connected with us to stay ahead in the dynamic world of HVAC. Your success is our priority.

Anchor 1
bottom of page