Decision Analyst Articles In Contracting
Based off the American Home Comfort Study
View more articles about HVAC at the Contracting
FAQ April 2013
How should HVAC contractors be ‘talking to’ homeowners about their newly-installed HVAC system?
FAQ February 2013
Are you ready for the pent-up demand that is predicted for 2013?
FAQ January 2013
What are key aspects I need to remember about marketing in 2013?
FAQ November 2012
What opportunities do "Baby Boomers" present to an HVAC business?
FAQ September 2012
How important is it to manage the ego—or the natural feeling of self-importance—of customers?
FAQ July 2012
What do your customers think of you and your services?
FAQ June 2012
How important is "the brand" to homeowners?
FAQ May 2012
How important to your next sale is your last one?
FAQ April 2012
What is the value of public relations to an HVAC contractor?
FAQ March 2012
What kind of opportunities do early spring “emergency” calls bring to the HVAC contractor?
FAQ February 2012
What is happening relative to extended warranty sales, and customers’ perception of quality?
FAQ January 2012
What do contractors need to know about "early system retirement" offers by local utilities?
FAQ September 2011
What's your company's callback policy?
FAQ August 2011
What can you tell us about the true value of service agreements?
FAQ July 2011
Are HVAC field personnel aware of key customer relations/system assessment behavior areas?
FAQ June 2011
Are most homeowners truly satisfied with their new comfort systems?
FAQ April 2011
What have you done to stay in touch with loyal customers?
FAQ March 2011
Is there a website that lists available HVAC-related tax credits?
FAQ February 2011
Do you know what your maintenance calls are worth?
FAQ January 2011
How important is it that I consider a customer to be part of my "team"?
FAQ November 2010
Can I make my business more successful by "listening" to the market?
FAQ October 2010
What are some of the philosophies you see in place at the most successful HVAC companies?
FAQ June 2010
The season is on. Are you ready?
FAQ April 2010
What are some of the steps I should be taking with existing customers that will help to make spring and summer more profitable?
FAQ February 2010
What are some of the dynamics at work in an emergency winter furnace replacement? Do customers act any differently regarding bids?
FAQ January 2010
What are some key elements to a sales presentation that consumers value?
FAQ December 2009
What do homeowners say about the professionalism of their HVAC contractor?
FAQ November 2009
How valuable are service agreements in reaching out to existing customers who
have unmet comfort needs?
FAQ October 2009
Homeowners will have limited access to outdoor air during the colder months.
What can we learn about their need for improved indoor air quality (IAQ)?
FAQ September 2009
Is your research finding more proof of the value of service agreements to an
FAQ August 2009
Is the economic downturn causing more homeowners to stay put?
FAQ May 2009
Does your research reveal any potential opportunities related to home water
FAQ April 2009
What are some inventive ways HVAC contractors are expanding upon service agreements?
FAQ March 2009
Are real estate companies looking for help in selling homes beyond the usual
FAQ February 2009
How important is the role of a “home comfort consultant” today?
FAQ January 2009
What can we learn from the increase in public demand for portable heaters?
FAQ December 2008
Some homeowners are finding some extra money in their budgets now that fuel
prices have dropped. Could these funds be used for home comfort and Indoor Air
FAQ November 2008
How many homeowners do you need to sell your products and services to annually
to be successful?
FAQ October 2008
What are you doing with your website to help bring in business?
FAQ August 2008
What opportunities exist in the HVAC add-on and remodeling market?
FAQ July 2008
Hybrid systems have made their mark. One in every 10 homes with a heat pump includes a furnace.
FAQ June 2008
It’s June, and as the American home Comfort Study has reported, most of
your homeowners are looking for you to be an HVAC consultant while you’re
in their home. This year more than in any other recent years, they’ll
want your advice on energy use and savings as they decide what to buy.
FAQ May 2008
I’m thinking about adding a salesperson, but I’m a little unsure
of this move. Several of my technicians do a pretty good job of selling. Do
you have any national numbers that tell me who is selling to residential customers?
FAQ April 2008
It will soon be April, and it all seems to come down to the cost of energy here
in my city. My local energy utility is helping with rebates again, and I’m
using them along with my version of hybrid products for the home. Are there
other suggestions to help my sales staff?
FAQ March 2008
It’s time for contractors to prepare for early clean-and-checks, and complete
them before the busy season begins. Distributors and manufacturers are closing
in on early selling programs and spiffs.
FAQ February 2008
It’s February: cold, wet, and time for emergency calls in the Northern
U.S. Many furnaces will need immediate replacement, and won’t have been
budgeted by homeowners.
FAQ January 2008
Business is still soft in my area. We’ve spent time looking at our market
to see where the business may be improving, and believe this might be a good
time to look at the remodeling market. Have you ever researched that part of
the residential business?
FAQ December 2007
It’s almost Christmas, and business continues to be soft. What other insights
can I use from research that will help my company this winter?
FAQ November 2007
You’ve reviewed your sales for another season, and decided you were successful.
The holidays are almost upon you, and this year you would like to give your
company a present. What can a group of professionals like yours do next year
to top this year;s business?
FAQ October 2007
It's October and I’m doing okay with the start to the heating season,
but am thinking about business I don’t have. Do you have any information
one new trends in the residential add-on market?
FAQ September 2007
Normally, I use the “American Home Comfort” report — based
on the responses of more than 27,000 homeowners — as a basis for these
FAQ August 2007
This year has been difficult for homeowners, builders, distributors, contractors,
and manufacturers. Sales returning to mid 90s levels may be more real than anyone
realized when the year began.
FAQ July 2007
Only one in three installation customers are signing up for a service agreement.
What can I do to increase our service agreement ratio?
FAQ June 2007
In a previous article, you mentioned that homeowners who purchased a “central
comfort system” were still looking for “more home comfort.”
I’ve tried to get my sales staff and installers to mention indoor comfort
products, without much success. What as I doing wrong, or what’s still
missing in the data?
FAQ May 2007
I sure wish my sales crew knew more about the homeowner going in. I have my
technicians looking around for portable IAQ, and for window air conditioners
as well as portable heaters when they are in the home, and sharing what they
find with the sales crew. What else does my sales person need to know before
meeting the homeowner?
FAQ April 2007
With so few buyers and so much stock, is there any information that I can offer
to help builders succeed? I know if I can help now, in good times we will be
FAQ March 2007
My new construction work has tanked, and the builders I’ve worked with
are all feeling the pain. I can’t install fewer pieces of equipment for
less money in each install, and that is one of the requests they make. What
would you suggest?
FAQ February 2007
Is indoor air quality (IAQ) as difficult to understand as SEER, HSPF or BTU?
What do homeowners thing of and want “fixed” when we talk to them
FAQ January 2007
This Month’s FAQ: American homeowners are aging. They want more comfort
in their home, but the current process of emergency purchasing during your seasonally
long work days keeps the “home comfort” purchase at the time of
the fix a limited option. What’s the best way to add-on, to meet homeowners’
desire for service and comfort?
FAQ December 2006
I’ve weathered my company’s fuel cost crisis, and found ways to
build the new costs into my pricing. Now, how do I handle the downturn in new
housing in my city, and very low pricing by competitors? The year is ending
on a difficult note for many in the building community. All will struggle to
find a place for survival, if not success. Some in the new construction business
will not understand the costs involved in finding and working in the replacement
community, and will begin underselling your personal needs for success.
FAQ November 2006
One of my install techs is twice as fast as any of the rest. My problem is,
his callback average is one in every four. He still gets more accomplished with
his one-in-four than any of the other installers do. How does he stack up against
the industry as a whole?
FAQ October 2006
What does your company do to keep your good customers, and expand the seasonality
of the business? Homeowners have a lot of choices when choosing an HVAC contractor.
The good news for established contractors is that half of all the reasons customers
give regarding their contractor selection has to do with the reputation you
have established with them, their personal friends, and neighbors.
FAQ September 2006
People — your customers — are talking about you and your employees.
What they say depends on how they feel about how well you handled their home
comfort needs. How are you using your past work to support your future? Are
you using your best projects to your advantage? Because, when people talk, other
people listen. Another selling season is just about over, and the end of the
18-hour days is in sight. As you reflect on the past season, have you taken
steps to document your best work, with photographs and customer testimonials?
FAQ August 2006
Our industry has long been hostage to weather as well as to excellent products
with a long life. Why should better comfort product and good installations,
prevent us from seeing homeowners more often? With “Clean & Checks,”
they don’t. But there’s another reason for “comfort sales
and service:” Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).
FAQ July 2006
This Month’s FAQ: It is July again and another year, another selling season
just like the last few. Or is it? It may be, but facts are adding up that tell
us we should prepare for a different type of selling season. In 2005, we had
the best year in recent history and followed seven great years.
FAQ June 2006
In response to the question, “who buys HVAC central equipment for their
home,” Upton shares his observations based on consumer comments from the
American Home Comfort study. I’ve been to many trade shows, conventions
and client meetings over the years, and this is one of the questions most often
on contractors’ minds.
FAQ May 2006
(Part 2): Last month’s question asked what contractors are doing to remain
competitive in this age of government regulation and higher energy costs. Here
are some observations based on consumer comments from the American Home Comfort
study. The study found that homeowners rely on people, information services,
and events to help them decide on an HVAC contractor to use. It also pointed
out that typically, a homeowner’s primary resource is the contractor himself.
FAQ April 2006
(Part 1) I was born to the HVAC business and began running duct when I was six.
I’m 31 now, own my own business, and feel good about last year. With new
government regulations and higher energy costs, I’m a little concerned
about the future. What are other contractors doing to stay competitive?
FAQ March 2006
It’s March again, and even the service calls are drying up. What can I
do to make my business less seasonal? Do you really know your customers? Do
your technicians and installing crews write down what they observe when in their
FAQ February 2006
(Part 2) My boss told me to listen more and be more observant in the home. What
am I supposed to look for? What am I listening for? Why is this important? Last
month (CB, January 2006, p. 16) we began answering this question by highlighting
what service technicians should look for in a home. We covered checking the
air delivery system, observing homeowner living styles, and looking for do-it-yourself
FAQ January 2006
(Part 1) My boss told me to listen more and be more observant in the home. What
am I supposed to look for? What am I listening for? Why is this important? Over
the course of 2006, this space will identify opportunities within customers’
homes that you may not have observed in the past. The opportunities are based
on a recent homeowner survey conducted by Decision Analyst, Inc.
The data in these articles is based off The
American Home Comfort Study conducted in July and August of 2004, 2006 and
2008. It is based on a nationally probability sample of 30,060 homeowners. Within
that group, in the past 24 months:
- 3,695 had purchased central equipment
- 2,363 had replaced central equipment with new equipment
- 864 had purchased a newly build home and purchased the HVAC with it
- 467 had added central equipment to their home that had not replaced any
central equipment already in the home.
Respondents were recruited from Decision Analyst's online American Consumer
Opinion® panel. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level is plus or
minus 3 percent.