5 Ways to Prepare for the Busy Season

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Workbench at ACV Triangle Tube Headquarters 

Know what’s in your service truck

If you have been working in this industry for any amount of time, you probably look back and realize that every fall season is similar. Make sure that you have the key tools, meters, test equipment and service parts necessary to properly take care of your customers; complete the job and get paid. Not sure where to start? As you start taking on jobs, begin compiling a list.

Use the early season wisely

The late summer and early fall are great opportunities for you and your team to brush up on new products as well as on merchandise that your already using.  Wholesale distributors and manufacturers are more than willing to go over the features and benefits of the products that they offer and how those features can benefit both you and your clients. Dedicate time to participating in the training opportunities that are offered. Whether they’re factory trips, local training sessions, or product demonstrations; all are of great benefit.

Look back on last Winter

We have all had what I like to call “the last service call”. Towards the end of winter, you applied the final band-aid to an ageing boiler just to nurse it through the season.  Then spring and summer came. With the warm weather, vacation plans and air conditioning calls, those busted boilers’( Also known as potential sales) are pushed way back on the priority list. Now is the time to drag them all forward. Reach out to those customers before the heating season really picks up, and explain the importance and benefits of updating their boiler. An 11:30pm service call in November is not the time to pitch a sale.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

For the most part, it wasn’t that long ago that all boilers were all very similar. They were a cast iron or a steel kettle of water, with a simple burner setup below it.  Gas valves and operating controls, though from different manufacturers, were all alike. However, with all the technological changes such as heat exchanger design, proprietary operating controls, and distinctive piping arrangements; everything is a little more unique. While these are all wonderful advances, it’s much more challenging, even for the best technician to remember all the specifics of any given product line. If you have a question, make a phone call. Manufacturers would much rather talk you through getting it right the first time than having repeat issues later on. Problems reflect poorly on you as the contractor and equally as negative on the name that’s on the product.

Think about efficiency

Not just boiler efficiency, but efficiency towards job performance. As an owner of a company, productivity equals profitability.  As an employee, efficiency can mean the difference between seeing your child’s game or working late (again). Not to mention that if you’re quick, you’re valuable.  Another mode of efficiency that is beginning to emerge is “Pre-building”.  Modern wall hung equipment is small and light enough to mount onto plywood in your shop where  the piping and wiring process can be started in an environment with the proper space, tools and parts necessary. With the correct use of unions, the boiler can then be removed from the assembled panel and transported in its original packaging, then re-hung once the panel itself is securely mounted in the client’s home. This not only saves time on the job, but also maintains a consistent quality build.

Making the best use of your time early in the season can keep you efficient and profitable throughout the year. Get the most out of your time and develop some good habits that will ease your work load and drive business.

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Why Continuing Training for Plumbing/HVAC is Important

 

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The inter-workings of the Prestige ACVMAX at Triangle Tube’s Training Facility in Blackwood, NJ

The Trends in Plumbing & HVAC

Today the market for reduced energy usage, higher efficiency, lower CO2 emissions and smaller footprints has turned the new equipment market place into an overhaul of technology. A change not seen in the U.S. since the early 80’s with the development of the sealed natural gas combustion chamber. In an effort to combat the rising costs of living, homeowners are exploring new ways to cut costs and increase savings. Standing pilot, naturally aspirated, and chimney vented options are all becoming obsolete, and replaced with negative pressure, modulating, and condensing appliances. With the ever changing shifts in technology, Plumbing and HVAC professionals must continually learn how to properly install, maintain, and service this equipment.

The Value of Continuing Training  

Ongoing training is a necessary overhead that helps professionals continue to learn and understand the product. Technicians that have a better understanding of what they’re selling are naturally more productive in servicing and troubleshooting equipment. A contractor who is comfortable with a product can thoroughly educate their customer and answer any questions they may have. This is a confidence builder for clients; it makes it clear that YOU KNOW what you’re talking about—resulting in increased sales, satisfied buyers, and repeat business.

The Traditional Classroom

Outside of trial and error, classroom training is arguably the best foundation for producing knowledgeable service professionals. It arms you with the tools necessary to quickly troubleshoot any issues you may encounter in the field. This is also a great way for Contractors to get to know the manufacturers and distributors behind the product. It’s information, guidelines, tips and tricks directly from the source. While you can get a simple overview from a product brochure, that information is meant to complement the hands on experience you get in a training classroom.

An added benefit is that skilled instructors know that no two classes are alike. This allows the Product Specialists to mold their training courses to fit the needs of audience. That’s something a product pamphlet just can’t do.

The Virtual Training Center

The internet has become a useful tool for training. The fact that most people carry smart phones and tablets with them everywhere they go means that information is readily available 24/7. For Field Technicians, tools like a frequently asked questions section for troubleshooting or product training videos are a must. While these are no substitute for the classroom, certain circumstances may prevent a contractor from attending a traditional training session. In a world where everything is quote “instantaneous”, professionals cannot be limited to training just in classrooms.

Whether your Young or Old, Amateur or Pro; everyone can benefit from a little training.