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Short on Labor? Maximize the Efficiency of Your HVAC Workforce

SalesBuilder Pro on an iPad

Few would argue that the residential HVAC market has heated up — it’s downright hot! And experts predict steady growth1 in the HVAC services market during the next five years. This growth, coupled with the labor shortage we’re experiencing as the economy restarts, will increase the demand for qualified HVAC technicians, installers, and salespeople.

How is the industry responding to growth and demand? In early 2020, Contracting Business reported that the HVAC technician workforce totaled around 260,000 people2. At that time, the total number of unfilled HVAC technician jobs was around 80,000 or 39% of employed technicians. The publication also revealed a net loss of about 20,000 (or 8%) HVAC technicians per year, meaning that the industry will likely lose another 100,000 technicians over the next five years. This means that many contractors are sending relatively new and less experienced technicians out for installation assignments.

Is your HVAC business short on labor? Are your sales and installation teams struggling to keep up with the demand during the busy season? While it would be great to add some new, highly experienced employees to your staff, that may not be something you can do in an instant. That means you must make the very best use of your current workforce resources right now.

Crews can’t be overscheduled for an eight-hour job that really takes 12 hours. And your on-site surveys or presale inspections need to be even more detailed to help ensure install crews have all the information, such as pictures, data, labor hours, job difficulty (based on the risk of the job rolling over to the next day), and the bill of materials, they need to do the job right the first time. In the process, this will help you avoid rollovers and part runs.

Intelligent Mobile Support has a variety of business tools to help you maximize the efficiency of your current team, including your Comfort Consultants, installers, and office workers.

Prepare Proposals Promptly 

How long does a typical sales call usually last? An hour or more? Without a technology tool that simplifies the routine tasks handled by your Comfort Consultants, they must spend time right after the sales call or in the evening pulling together relevant proposal details. Remember, your prospective customer is never going to be more likely to buy than when you’re at their kitchen table. So, you don’t want to delay the process with a time-consuming second site visit to present your proposal.

Sales Builder Pro makes every sales visit quicker, easier, and more compelling for your customers. Sales Builder Pro automates and simplifies the routine tasks handled by your Comfort Consultants. With Sales Builder Pro, you can generate professional HVAC proposals in five minutes or less, eliminating the complicated steps in the proposal creation process. Once this tool streamlines and simplifies the proposal creation process, your Comfort Consultants will be able to add one or two more sales calls to each workday. Sales Builder Pro is designed to take you to a one-call close in less than an hour.

Collaborate and Communicate Freely  

Deal Manager enables efficient communication and collaboration across your organization, providing all the deal documentation you need at your fingertips. When you automate communications between your Comfort Consultants and office workers, you ensure that everyone has the right information at the right time to do their job efficiently.

This tool includes automated updates when deals are accepted as well as a remote acceptance feature. So, when your Comfort Consultant marks a proposal as accepted (from any location), it synchronizes and notifies an office employee to call the customer and collect a down payment over the phone. This allows you to move work to the next stage of the process quickly and efficiently.

Deal Manager also has a built-in pending deal search. With a single click, Comfort Consultants can immediately view their two-, seven- or 30-day pending deals. This allows each consultant to reach out to the customer to secure the sale before equipment prices change — and before your competition beats you to it. The pending deal search allows residential HVAC owners and managers to see what’s in the sales pipeline. This is a great predictive analytic tool that lets you know what might be coming. If you’re a sales manager, it’s helpful to see what’s still open from the prior week.

Streamline Site Surveys 

During the sales call, the Site Survey feature (included in the Sales Builder Pro Preferred and Premium Package) is used to collect essential on-site information, including the available space to work in, equipment replacement needs, ventilation requirements, and efficiency expectations. A good Site Survey captures everything needed, including pictures, to allow your installation team to complete the job in the expected timeframe.  

Each Comfort Consultant’s level of experience will impact how he or she completes the survey. For example, an experienced consultant may gather minimal information after immediately recognizing the routine nature of a job. Experienced Comfort Consultants know right away if something extra is needed to complete a task. And if your workforce includes less experienced Comfort Consultants, a Site Survey will help new Comfort Consultants gather the right details like a pro. New hires will have the tools they need to become productive quickly and to ensure that the install team has the information they need to do installs efficiently. More importantly, a good Site Survey will help avoid the types of mistakes that impact profits — like missing parts, which come out of your profits.  

With Install Manager Pro, every install includes a forecast of the hours required to complete the job — and also includes the probability that a job might roll over to another day. With this information, install managers can determine how best to staff a job that includes rollover risk. Install Manager Pro also includes a detailed list of materials needed for the install. This helps ensure that all materials are quoted, purchased, and on the truck at the time of the install.  

We include a standard list of questions that are easily modified to include what’s most important to your business. When you use Install Manager, your installation crew will have all the right materials to get the job done quickly and in the estimated amount of time. 

Consider the following key benefits of Install Manager Pro: 

  • No part runs: Install Manager Pro automatically adds or recommends install materials (also known as parts). When not needed, the Comfort Consultant can overrule the recommendation but can add the reason why. In the setup, we default to the highest-priced item with a selling strategy of maximizing ticket price. By choosing an alternative to a “low bid,” the sales rep or owner can start with a low price and then price the deal up, if possible.

    App Settings in Install Manager Pro
  • No rollovers: A rollover is an unscheduled day of labor that not only drives up job costs and decreases job profitability but also disrupts the scheduling of other jobs. We offer the only solution on the market that has a purpose-built database, user interface, and consumer-facing solution that help you with job predictability.HVAC job predictability feature
  • No callbacks: If your team rushes to finish a job in the amount of time scheduled, the install may be incomplete or done incorrectly. When this happens, it requires a callback to fix or finish the job. Install Manager Pro calculates accurate labor hour estimates based on the items selected in your bill of materials. All the guesswork and optimism in quoting are replaced by real-world estimates of how long it really takes to do each task. It assigns labor hours for each item, allowing you to specify the level of detail needed to calculate the correct labor hours. Making these labor predictions early and accurately allows you to plan jobs better, which helps prevent callbacks.
Here’s what customers are saying about the benefits of Install Manager Pro: 
  • Install Manager Pro has taken out one week per month of work, increasing the efficiency of our Comfort Consultants by 25%. We work more efficiently because this tool has reduced the amount of time and effort involved in creating proposals and office processing for our sales and installation teams.”  S and L Prime A/C Heating Systems, Baltimore, MD
  • Before using Install Manager Pro, we had parts missing from many of our proposals. This tool is saving us around $1,000 per job by preventing us from underbidding work. Because of this, our profitability has increased tremendously.”  Peterman Brothers, Indianapolis, IN, 2021 Bryant Dealer of the Year3

Take Advantage of Timeline Tracking 

Sales Builder Pro is the only business tool in the industry that allows you to do timeline tracking. This diagnostic feature lets you analyze how much time your Comfort Consultants are spending on the various aspects of the sales process. For example, you can use this information to determine if your Comfort Consultants are collecting Site Survey data methodically and efficiently. Based on this analysis, you may decide to shorten the list of survey questions to help improve the efficiency of the sales process.  

Schedule a Software Demo

Install Manager Pro is a module of Sales Builder Pro, our HVAC proposal software. If you're already using the Sales Builder Pro Essential Package, upgrading to the Preferred or Premium Package will give you everything you need to ensure that every job is profitable and increase the efficiency of your workforce. Deal Manager is a standard feature of all Sales Builder Pro packages 

Request a demo to learn more about how our business tools can transform your HVAC business and help your teams work more efficiently.

 


References: 

  1. ReportLinker: HVAC Services Market - Growth, Trends, and Forecast (2020 - 2025), March 24, 2020.  
  2. Contracting Business: HVAC Technician Shortage Solutions and Opportunities, February 21, 2020.  
  3. Contracting Business: Bryant HVAC Dealer of the Year Upholds the Family Name, July 13, 2021. 

 

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