I have to admit that I have never been a fan of the acronym I.A.Q. It stands for “Indoor Air Quality”, but to me, this should be a kind of measurement. We are in the business of indoor air improvement; we educate, sell, supply, and install indoor air improvement (IAI) products. To me, that takes the confusion out of what we do.
When consumers think about HVAC contracting businesses, they immediately relate us to furnaces, air conditioners, service, and installation. It is no surprise that they think that way — that’s what we all talk about, advertise, and sell. What happened to the “V” in HVAC? Ventilation!
My passion has always been in sales, training, and coaching sales professionals. Therefore, I study as much as I can about the art of selling. One of my fellow trainers challenges companies to allow his trained sales professionals to follow behind your salesperson. He claims that his professional will come out of the same home with an additional $3,500 in products, 65 per cent of the time. As a bit of a numbers guy by heart, I follow trends in closing rates, average ticket price, and missed opportunities. I have done this for well over twenty years. Many companies feel that they are on top of the world by selling $4,000 furnaces or air conditioners with a 50 per cent closing rate.
If you want a stretch goal for your salespeople, strive for $10,000 plus the average ticket price and a closing rate of 65 per cent. How? Raise my prices? No! It starts by looking at the house as a system rather than just the basement. Residential or commercial, we need to be looking at the building as our patient, and we are the people that can make it healthy and comfortable.
This month, we will be focusing on looking at the home as a system and what we can provide as a product and service that will add to our average ticket price, be a wise choice for consumers, and be a step to IAI.
We need to start looking up more often when assessing a home while improving the HVAC system. We need to put the “V” back into the system. So, what are you going to see when looking up? You may even hear it before you see it. If you haven’t figured it out yet, it is ceiling exhaust fans!
Next time you are in a building, whether it be your home, your neighbour’s home, a friend’s, a restaurant, or a business washroom, turn on the exhaust fan. Does it run or rattle? Is it rusty or filthy? Probably. Can consumers go out and buy a new fan? Yes. Will they? Not likely.
Personally, I have one sitting on the floor to install. Shameful as it is, it has been there for at least two years! Lavatory exhaust fans were introduced in 1946 as a mandatory ventilation requirement to remove the moisture-laden air and deposit it outside the building envelope. The attic was considered outside the envelope. Lavatory exhaust fans were often overlooked when designing a home’s ventilation system. Their function is not only to eliminate odours but improve indoor air quality, and remove moisture that can lead to structural damage or mildew and mould growth. An improperly ventilated lavatory will allow the moisture from a shower to penetrate drywall, attic insulation, and structural joists. If a mirror is steamed after a shower, or there is a build-up of condensation on bathroom walls, it may be time to service or upgrade the bathroom fan.
Visible signs of bathroom exhaust upgrade would be mould in the ceiling corners, curling wallpaper, vanities delaminating, and strong lingering odours. To meet code, small CFM fans were used, in hopes that they did not create a negative pressure in homes with natural draft gas appliances.
Homes today have been modified with seal combustion appliances allowing for proper ventilation products to be used. CFM fans can be bumped to provide proper ventilation. They work well with homes that have been retrofitted with short circuit HRV units.
Low cost, high value
There are several manufacturers that are producing bathroom fans specifically for retrofits. They are relatively easy to install (under two hours) and can dramatically improve the air within the home. Builder-grade bath fans cost under $50. I remember paying less than $20, but that dates me.
These bathroom fans for retrofits typically require very little alterations and often come with vent adapters to increase or decrease discharge outlets. Wiring is typically 120V and is as simple as changing a light fixture. Speaking of lights, many fans have optional lighting or popular heat lamps for additional comfort when drying off after a shower or bath.
The grilles are far more cosmetically pleasing and come in a variety of finishes. Lavatory ventilation is an easy upsell and a great way to fill out your install to utilize the day better while doing something good for the customer. With an install price ranging from $700 to $4,000, it is a great way to increase your average ticket price without raising your prices!
Additionally, there are air purifiers available in a ceiling mount that look just like a lavatory fan too! Great for spot ventilation issues. So, next time you are invited into a home to present a retrofit upgrade, don’t forget to look up and offer up another solution for indoor air improvement.