Ask the Experts | Is Duct Cleaning Worth My Time?

Question: Is duct cleaning or duct sealing really worth our time?

Gary Elekes; EGIA faculty member and EPC Training founder:

It is worth your time if you feel like that’s a business model you’re committed to. If you’re asking if it’s worth your time because it’s profitable or it’s not profitable, that’s a different framing of the question.

All businesses need to make a profit to sustain themselves but that’s not really a factor in deciding whether or not to be in a business because of course it could be profitable.

The Aeroseal franchise has been around for many years and there are many other companies that specialize in duct cleaning, sealing, and sanitization that have been very profitable. In fact, some businesses are built solely on that model.

The one thing is there that if that’s your only business model, you’re clearly committed to it. You would be passionate about educating your customers, you’d be passionate about training and developing your team, making sure you invest in the right equipment you need in order to function.

I do believe that duct cleaning and sealing can be a distraction in some businesses. If your core business isn’t performing at a high level and you’re not getting the cash flow you need – if you’re not essentially printing money out of the existing core structure of the business – then I don’t see how adding a segment like that could be in anybody’s best interest. The core business needs to perform at a high level first.

What we would like to say is get your fundamentals down first. It’s a little bit like football, if you don’t block for your quarterback, it doesn’t matter who your quarterback is. Tom Brady is as old as I am these days and he’s still performing at a very high level. If he was on a team who didn’t block for him, that could be a different story.

When you’re looking at duct cleaning, duct sealing, and duct sterilization, you have to ask yourself if you’re functioning at a high level, then ask yourself if this business model fits as a bolt-on, then how to price it, then how to train and educate.

I think it’s an excellent example of even duct modifications. There are companies that do one-day jobs and don’t modify any air flow and there are companies that price the modifications as part of a second day and understand they have to price it higher to recover the costs of the extra day of labor.

Surely you could make money, you just have to convince the customer that it’s in their best interest. The value has to be real and the transaction pricing has to be in the best interest of the company.

I like that business model but it’s on that you have to get into after you’ve built the main structure of your business and you’re ready to put that in as part of your IAQ model. You have to look at your core KPIs and the fundamentals of your business and make sure those are functioning first.

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