To the Point: Apprenticeship Rule Changes and R22 Fears Are September’s Hot Topics


The Pointman Team
September 26, 2019
minutes to read

The home services industry is heading into trade show season, and the Pointman team is hitting the road. This month’s roundup of articles and podcasts for plumbing, HVAC and electrical contractors tackles a number of topics sure to be on the industry's minds this fall.

Here are some recent items sure to be discussed at trade shows and around the water cooler. 

Business Strategy

“Are You Going to Be Smart in the Residential Market?” (Electrical Trends)
“While the residential new home market is a small segment, it has significant ramifications.” Learn why the impact of the residential market is greater than you might think.

“From Behemoth to Startup: Lessons Learned in Field Service Excellence” (Future of Field Service Podcast)
Bevi’s Hector Pascal discusses the similarities and differences in achieving field service excellence in a large organization versus a startup.

Customer Service

“Customer Reviews: Don’t Heckle Nice Ladies!” (HVAC Pro Blog)
Reviews matter. And as this HVAC Pro Blog entry shows, not knowing what your customers are saying about you can lead to a loss of business — and some real embarrassment. 

“How Do Technicians Sell?” (Contracting Business)
Should you train all your technicians to sell? Learn how to help your techs step out of their comfort zone and begin offering solutions to homeowners.

Extra Points

“5 HVACR Industry Topics to Put on Your Radar" (AHR) 
What are the most important topics on the minds of the HVACR industry in the year to come? The AHR Expo Expert Council recently chose five that stand out.

“2019 Top 40 Under 40 HVACR Professionals” (The NEWS)
The NEWS highlights 40 of the dynamic young talents who are helping transform the HVACR industry.

“HVACR, Skilled Trades Disagree on Apprenticeship Exception” (The NEWS)
The U.S. Department of Labor has revised the rules surrounding apprenticeship programs, but a clause exempting the military and the construction industry is drawing controversy. 

Human Resources

“The 9 Signs of a Great Company Leader” (Pumper)
Are you a good boss or a great boss? Or neither? Some simple leadership traits can keep your team happier and working collectively toward your business goals.

“Recruit, Train, and Keep Professional Technicians” (Contracting Business)
Finding and keeping qualified field technicians is not easy. Here is what’s required to recruit, train and retain these important members of your team. 

Sales and Marketing

“Contractor Group Moves to Allay Fears on R22” (Cooling Post)
ACCA, the nation’s largest air conditioning contractors’ association, is working to allay fears regarding the future availability of R22 refrigerant.

“The Most Bang For Your Bucks” (ACCA Now)
Video is becoming an important marketing tool for some contractors — and one HVAC business owner explains why. 

Software Matters

“How IoT Is Taking Over the HVAC Industry” (Propmodo)
The advent of IoT — the “internet of things” — is helping the HVAC industry be more proactive in identifying problems and finding solutions. 

“Consider Making Office HVAC System Smarter” (The Virginian-Pilot)
Do your customers have questions about SMART — self-monitoring analysis and reporting technology — HVAC systems? This column breaks down some key features. 

Curious about how this industry news will impact your business? Our Success Coaches can help.
Meet Pointman’s Success Coaches

Look at Pricing

The start of the year is a great time to look at pricing. Usually, you have an idea of how your company fared the year prior, and you want to ensure you will continue to grow in the months to come. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions with respect to spending or saving in our personal lives, and it’s no different for business owners. Making sure your pricing is in line with where it should be is one of the strongest ways to start the year the right way.

Part of looking at your price book is finding where the issues are, and that can take time. An HVAC company in January is going to be very busy, so it’s a difficult time for a close look. However, a plumbing company might not be as busy. Whenever you tackle this job, your best bet is to look at what your labor rates are. Start there, and let it trickle down across the board. Ask yourself, “Are my labor rates helping my business stay profitable?”

Remember, there are many different services out there and many different groups or communities that you can engage. Never hesitate to say, “Hey, I’m a business owner in Florida. What should my labor rates be?” You can build your price from there. There are also some great billable hour calculators available.

Set Goals

There is no better time of year for looking inward than January. Set your personal goals and company goals for the following 12 months. If you can break those down into departmental goals, even better! Perhaps that means a CSR booking closing rates a little better, or a truck doing 250,000 a year rather than 200,000.

Many companies have found that using an Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) goal-setting system pays off. Looking for a guidebook when it comes to OKRs? Check out Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr. 

One key question is the best way to handle setting goals: Is it smarter for business owners to handle this solo, together with staff, or to delegate completely? 

The best approach is to set goals at the department level. As an owner, you need to take the time to understand what the goals are in each department, and make sure they are in line with your goals for the company. No one likes to set unattainable goals for themselves, so make sure you push your departments to set goals that are lofty, rather than simple ones to feel good about hitting. Entrust your staff to aim higher, and watch how they respond.

Pass Along these Points

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