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How are HVAC Companies Dealing with the Corona Virus?

April 29, 2020
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Spring is Here, Summer is not far behind, but the Corona Virus is Front and Center

We are actually having a Spring this year in the South.  The weather has been great, considering most of us are stuck at home.  So, outdoor activities (where permitted) have been great, but the sunshine and mild temperatures aren’t the best for the HVAC business. Spring is the time to survive and get ready for the busy season ahead.  Safety checks and A/C tune-ups fill our calendars, but this year is different of course.  We have a whole new set of circumstances to deal with as our nation struggles through this pandemic. So, how are HVAC Companies dealing with the Corona Virus?

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The Impact of the Corona Virus

This pandemic is real!  People are scared of human contact!  This goes against human nature doesn’t it?  We are social beings, so it is tough on everyone.  The HVAC industry has been deemed “Essential”, which has been a blessing for our industry, but what is the impact?  Our employees are on the front lines, going into homes and businesses on a daily basis.  Heating and Air businesses are taking many necessary precautions to protect themselves and their customers.

Will this become the new normal moving forward?

How does the HVAC Industry React?

We are all seeing HVAC companies post their new procedures on their websites, social media, and television commercials.  Everyone in the industry is assuring their customers that safety precautions are being taken very seriously.  Field employees are wearing masks, washing their hands regularly, and sanitizing everything possible.  So, we all must make changes to adapt to our ever-changing world.

Your Local Heating & Air Contractor’s Reaction

We wanted to hear from a local heating and air conditioning company, and here is what the owner had to say. “Our main concern is to the safety of our employees and our customers during this pandemic.  Our company has changed the way we interact with customers, by keeping at least a 6-foot distance and not shaking hands with them.  We are also making sure to wear gloves, face masks, and shoe covers when entering homes.  Andersen uses tool and hand sanitizer, we wash our hands regularly, employees check their temperature often, and we make sure no one in the home we are entering shows signs of the virus or even a common cold.   We are all adapting to our new normal, our customers included.” explains Carrie Ivester, Owner/General Manager of Andersen Heating & Cooling

How is HVAC Distribution Adapting?

We know the coronavirus has been very tough on the HVAC suppliers/distributors.  They’ve had to change so many aspects of their day to day business model.  The distribution/contractor relationship is exactly that, a “relationship.”  That means daily and weekly interaction between the owner and employees of the HVAC business, their local territory manager, the inside sales and counter people at the supplier.  This has been hard to keep it business as usual when the normal interaction has been changed drastically.

Here is what we are hearing from a local distribution employee:

“From a distributor standpoint, COVID-19 has single handedly changed the way we physically interact with our customers on a daily basis.  Whether that is the separation at the counter taking an order, pulling/loading an order, or the limited interaction when delivering an order.  That’s not to mention the sales or training side:  All training classes have been moved to online classes and depending on the area sales calls have been by phone, email, or virtually online. When it comes to our customers, I do feel like this situation has challenged us to be flexible and work harder to get in front of our customers, especially when recruiting new prospects.” James Francisco, Territory Manager

Our goal; as an industry, is to keep our customers confident that we are doing our best to ensure a safe work environment for our employees and customers.  Remember home and business owners will rely on us to keep them comfortable, especially as we move into the summer season. The more we exude confidence, the better off we will be as HVAC service providers.

Changes in Your HVAC Business

So, we all have made major changes in our daily operations.  These changes are making our customers feel safe when doing business with our companies.  The peace of mind knowing your company is taking the proper precautions can strengthen your relationship with your customers. Remember “Trust” is such a key factor to a homeowner or business owner when choosing an HVAC provider.

  • All Field employees wearing protective gear (Gloves, face masks, booties)
  • Washing and sanitizing their hands as often as possible
  • No handshakes or “high fives” with the customer, keeping a safe social distance
  • Paperless Invoices
  • Video Chats with Customers
  • Staying outside when at all possible

As we continue to understand more and more about the virus, our efforts will help diminish the spread.  Many of the procedures will become the norm even after the COVID-19 virus fades away.

“Andersen Heating & Cooling is grateful to be able to still serve our community during this time. Aside from providing comfort, HVAC equipment is vital for health and safety especially in this time of quarantine. It is important for our technicians to be able to get to the homes quickly and make repairs quickly if needed. Air quality in homes is also a vital role HVAC companies play, especially during these times. Andersen is educating our customers on the different solutions available to them to help fight the potential risk of the virus. Such as air filtration, UV lights, Scrubbers, etc.” Carrie Ivester, Owner/General Manager of Andersen Heating & Cooling

 

What are we seeing from a marketing perspective?

As a marketing provider for HVAC contractors, we thought it would be important to give some input from the marketing perspective.

“Coronavirus is changing the behaviors of consumers in many ways. One effect has been a shift in market shares for different forms of media, especially in states with stay at home orders. Billboards and drive-time radio are losing share; while OTT, television, and social media are trafficked more than ever. Having a strong digital presence and effective video assets along with the right marketing team can help you transition quickly so you can stay in front of your customers.”  Jim Gregory, Digital Services Manager

“Unlike many customer-facing businesses like restaurants or gyms, there are still opportunities for home service businesses to thrive. People are spending more time than ever at home and projects they’ve been putting off are having a huge effect on their daily lives. They’re feeling the heat (quite literally in some cases) of those unresolved problems around the house. And, they are as motivated as ever to get things fixed. You might not land as many big, expensive change out jobs as you’d like, but the question isn’t whether or not there’s work for your business. The question is whether or not you’ll be the business they call.” Steve Kottra, Paid Search Manager

Lessons Learned

I think being patient and willing to make changes as needed will be the norm going forward.  Everyone in our great industry is learning to adapt, and I firmly believe we will get through this together and come out stronger as an industry.  So, what can we gain from these stressful and scary times?

  • HVAC is an essential business, home and business owners need us!
  • Maybe we should have been practicing more sanitary work habits and procedures?
  • Learning to adapt in the heating and air business is vital to our longevity!

We would love to hear your comments and feedback on how your HVAC company is dealing with the Corona Virus?

We Speak HVAC! 

Will@myeffectivemedia.com