Find your community




Southwest HVAC News Guest Column

How to be a Profitable Contractor.
by Dave Gleason. Systematic Selling Inc.
Every contractor wants to have enough profit to afford the things in life that make a difference. There are very little secrets in the world of business, small business or large corporations. The first thing every contractor needs to know is how to establish a profit for their company. You need to understand overhead and how to price a job. 

It is amazing to me how often I see a group of contractors who are given the same scenario and asked to price up a quote, they come up with vastly different prices. Why? Understanding how to run a small business is not simple and requires time and effort. If the HVACR contractor spent as much time learning how to run a business as they do on learning the technical and manual skills there would be bigger profit margins. There is very little planning beyond the current year. Not having a business plan is like planning a trip without knowing where you are going. It is a great time to sit down and think about your business compared to the competition in your market, and the things you need to do to gain a bigger share of the market. “A business owner, who fails to plan, plans to fail.” 

Those contractors who are successful have a presentation book that is designed for your company. It enables everyone selling for your company to be on the same page when they sell. It makes it easy for all sales people to develop their own style of selling while assuring the company its covering all the bases needed to get the customers on board. The presentation folder or book also contains the pricing established by the company. Many companies now are using pricing that suits their company and the profit they need rather than what cuts the ice in a competitive market. In this book are the warranties and guarantees offered by the company and a copy of our selling statement or Responsibility to the Customer statement. 

These statements make a real impression on the buyer and are well worth the effort. If all the above has been done then selling it to the public is the last step. This step is perhaps the most important step of all because unless you can sell it, it’s all academic. Having trained sales people is the difference between profit and loss. Learning how to sell can’t be done solely by on-the job training. There are skills that must be learned just like you had to learn how to size a system.

Story continues below ↓

advertisement | your ad here

Here are some sales ideas that have worked in the past and maybe they can work for you: 

1. Instead of offering jobs you have completed take the prospect to the job. Let them see for themselves. It gives you a chance to get to know the prospect and for you to begin building a relationship. 

2. Always talk about something new on every call. 

3. Have a list of satisfied users available on every call. Cull the list so those whose job is closest to the one you are going on is up front. 

4. Always sell yourself first on the products and services you are selling. Without you being sold how can you convince someone of its value. 

5. On industrial calls, ask the purchasing agent to have the plant engineer and the maintenance person sit in on the presentation, so they can all hear the story at the same time. 

6. Prepare your presentation to fit the person you are trying to sell. Don’t offer a “cookie cutter” presentation for all. 

7. Be the expert and work as the buyer’s agent having them make the decision. 

8. Get testimonial letters from all satisfied customers, and use them. 

9. If you don’t get the order don’t leave anything except your calling card. 

10. Sell the benefits not the price. Reducing your price makes your job look cheaper. 

To sum this all up if you want to be profitable you need to take time to learn the skills needed to make a business work for you. You need to: a. Learn how to determine your overhead costs b. Learn how to price to cover your overhead and make a reasonable profit. c. Learn how to write a business plan, and do it. d. Develop a presentation book for all sales people. e. Write “Our responsibility to the customer” statement. f. Develop a market and advertising program based on your business plan. g. Develop a flat rate pricing system for your service department. h. Develop Service contracts and maintenance agreements and push them. i. Continue to increase your ability to sell and close jobs at a profit. 

If you accomplish all nine of the above items and work on them year after year you will be successful and profitable. Dave Gleason has been in the HVAC/R/P industry for more than 40 years, as a contractor, wholesaler and working for a manufacturer. He has put these experiences into the comprehensive consultation and training company called Systematic Selling Inc. that offers sales seminars and workshops, customer-designed to meet each company’s needs. Dave can be reached at 1165 Antioch Campground Road, Gainesville, GA 30506 or 800-447-7355 or e-mail at:



About | Advertise | Directory | Link to Us | Privacy | Contact UsSite Map

Find your community: | | |