Ask the Experts

Competing with Big Companies' Budgets

Question: How can we compete with the large contractors that sell every brand of equipment and have huge advertising budgets?

Mike Treas: Well, the thing about the large contractors: A lot of people see them as being more expensive as well. Not that a smaller contractor wouldn’t be charging the same amounts, and I really hope and believe they absolutely should be, but I think sometimes people look at the smaller guy and think they might get a better deal. As far as selling every brand of equipment, I truly believe that you don’t want to sell on brand. I want somebody to come out there because I trust them and I don’t care what they sell. We all know in the industry that every system now has a Copeland scroll compressor and a Honeywell gas valve and a GE motor. They’re really the same thing in a different box. It’s what we do with it.

So what we have to get our customers to understand is that we are, being a smaller company with the training we’ve had and the amount of time we can actually put into a system because we’re not running all over town like the big guys are, we’re actually going to do a better job. So in sharing with our customers, they need to understand that the most important thing is doing the job right, not being the big guy out there. And by doing the job right, it doesn’t even matter what you pay. If you got a great deal on it and it didn’t last as long, or you got a great deal on it and it breaks again in six months or a year or a couple years, was there really any value in that to begin with?

So whether it’s installing a part or tuning something or installing an entire system, if we convince our customers that we do it right and we do things that nobody else will do because we believe those things we include in our system are going to be beneficial to the customer, it’s going to be healthy to the customer, it’s going to help their system last longer, then they’ll start to see us as the heating and air conditioning choice in town.

If I can add one more thing, guys: Social media is huge. If we get – we’re talking about “How can I compete with large contractors?” – I truly believe that when you setup a really great Facebook page, and you get your customers to honestly say “Yeah, I’d love to go to your Facebook page and like you,” and then all of their friends have an opportunity share your company as well with other friends, we start to build a social media following. And people today want a recommendation, and they will follow that recommendation on that social media – whether it’s Twitter or Facebook or whatever it may be. Nextdoor! Nextdoor is a great place to start adding a presence for your community.

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