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Contractors: Questions & Answers

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Are your technicians providing the level of service your customers are expecting?

  1. How can I be a quality contractor both in my customers perception and in reality?
    Strange as it may seem, most customers perceptions of quality have to do with appearances. CheckMe!® customer satisfaction reports repeatedly show that the appearance of the technician AND the use of booties are the numbers one and two positive comments by customers. The average customer is unaware of the nuances associated with air conditioners and many contractors take advantage of that by just making sure cold air blows out the vents. Therefore customers are very concerned that their contractor is trustworthy. Contractors use many methods to provide ethical proof that they are trustworthy. The top level of ethical proof is the contractor’s proud participation with a reputable independent third party verifying the results of their technician’s diagnosis and work on that very customer’s AC. As you know there are many contractors that are good at faking the customer into thinking they are quality contractors. Making it the truth takes time, effort, and commitment. Please read below.

  2. How can I be a true quality contractor?
    First of all, make quality the absolute value in your company. Don’t allow the technicians to do whatever they want on an air conditioner just because that is the way they have always done it. Insist that the diagnosis follows the manufacturers’ procedures.

    That means refrigerant charge is checked using Superheat and Subcooling, not just a rule of thumb look at pressures. (NOT THE TRADITIONAL BEER CAN COLD EITHER!)

    That means checking the airflow through the unit – at least using the temperature split method. (NOT THE TRADITIONAL 20°F TEMPERATURE SPLIT!)

    That means on an installation both the inside coil and the outside unit are replaced (See exception)

    That means on an installation the evaporator and lineset are evacuated to 500 microns using a micron gauge. (NOT THE TRADITIONAL EVACUATION BY TIME – a waste of time – AND NOT WITHOUT A MICRON GAUGE)

    That means you evaluate the duct system beforehand to make sure it will work properly with the new unit (even if it did or did not with the old unit).

    That means you look at sizing the new system – maybe the customer wants it bigger, maybe it should be smaller.

    Quality means having the technician spend the time explaining what they found and what it means to the customer, not just flying out the door to the next job. This means that the technician must understand more about the air conditioner than the traditional technician knows. Good technical and people interaction training is essential for your technicians. If they do not know how to check charge using superheat and subcooling – that is a good place to start.

    Quality means expanding what you are offering to the customer, which could include: Airflow Improvements, Duct Leakage Testing and Sealing, Unbalances in Air Delivery or Removing Zoning Bypasses, Control Upgrades for Climate Differences, High Efficiency Fan Motors, Information on Other Problems with their House such as an obviously under insulated attic, leaky house, etc.

    Quality means continuously checking that your company and technicians are improving and following the new procedures you put in place. Correct any backsliding and move ahead.

    Quality means tracking customer satisfaction and technician performance. Don’t just accept reports that “everything is fine”. Regularly inspect a few of your own company’s jobs.

  3. Can I be a quality contractor and still make money?
    Of course, but you may need to change some of the things you do now.

    It may mean that you have to “walk away” from some jobs because the customer says they want a quality job – but they really don’t want it enough to pay for it. You may have to walk away from a job where the customer insists on having it done wrong.

    It may mean that some of your technicians may leave – they may not want to change for various reasons. Don’t worry about that, they will eventually be replaced by a technician who ends up being a larger asset than the one who leaves.

    It may mean that your technicians may need to upgrade some of their tools.

    You will make more money by reducing callbacks and increasing referrals to the type of customer you want – one interested in a quality job they can have faith in and are willing to pay for.

    You will make more money because you have the trust of your customers and the friends of your customers. When you tell them the potential improvements they can make in their system they will believe you because you're telling the truth.

  4. Why do you require specific tools?

    Since our trainers and inspectors work directly with technicians every day, we see what gets them into trouble and lowers quality. We have tested many tools and find that some work well, while others do not. We continuously upgrade our list with new equipment as we can confirm their performance.

    For years we have been doing trainings with technicians and testing the accuracy of their analog refrigerant gauges. We have found over 75% of all the analog gauges used by these technicians are inaccurate. This led us to conclude that we needed to make a change. Starting in 2009, we began recommending digital gauges, and now insist on them in all our new programs. As a result, the rate of failures on inspection has fallen significantly.

  5. How do we get involved in the CheckMe!® program?
    Each CheckMe!® technician must receive hands on training and be certified in the program. This entails signing a contractor agreement, completing the training course, and submitting 10 successful CheckMe!® diagnostics. You can also sign up for more information.

  6. How can I increase my revenue and upgrade my customer base?
    First of all, let’s remember that we want more customers that will pay for a quality product, not just more customers. A customer that will pay for a quality product will give you fewer headaches and higher revenue per job. One way of increasing your customer base is to change from a standard low price “Spring or Fall Special” to providing a unique upgraded diagnostic using the CheckMe! artificial intelligence diagnostic. Offer it to your existing customers as well as the new customers within your net.

  7. We have a problem making sure our air conditioners installed in the winter are quality installations. Does Proctor Engineering have a solution?
    Of course, we tested the traditional methods (newspaper on the condenser coil, a tent around the outside unit, etc.) and none of them worked well. As a result, we invented the Charging Jacket. It is an elegantly simple system that slows the flow of air through the condenser coil to produce high side pressures normal for the summer. The other possibility is to return when it is warm and commission the system, but that takes a second trip.

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San Rafael, CA 94903

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Our number one goal is saving energy. Proctor Engineering Group takes problems and turns them into solutions through extensive research and creative innovation. We help people develop and achieve conservation and energy efficiency goals.

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