Are there Home Performance Contractors in your area working together to promote their industry?

We have a pilot project kicked off here in Portland. Contractors have joined forces to evaluate lead generation resources.

These contractors are going to all pitch in money and try different lead generation services/marketing tools. They will evaluate what works and what doesn't and report back to their peers.

What a fantastic idea. I have a lot of ideas and can't wait to hear what the group has to share.

In Portland we have a unique mix of educated homeowners. Some want a home audit because they would like to save money on their monthly energy expense. Some want a home audit because they want to "do the right thing" and save energy to conserve natural resources/reduce their carbon footprint. Some contact me because they need better indoor air quality due to COPD , so of course I tell them they need an audit to i.d. areas that can be improved (I explain they could need mechanical ventilation or an ERV) to make their home healthy for their good health! 

As this moves forward I bet we find different marketing efforts work. Based on what the homeowners end goal is. What motivates them- Money savings, Energy savings, Good Health. Can't wait to see if I am correct.

Do you know of any Home Performance Contractors in your area working together to promote their industry?

We would be interested in hearing any ideas our contractors can use. Thank-you.

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Comment by Jeffrey Gephart on September 21, 2012 at 10:12am

In Vermont we just formed the Building Performance Professionals Association - VT.

Comment by Curt Kinder on September 19, 2012 at 7:34pm

Sounds good, but have you ever actually diagnosed something along the lines of a loss of charge or coil icing incident based on excessive run time reported by an internet thermostat?

It seems that if a load calculation predicts, say perhaps 8 hours of Y1 operation and 4 hours of Y2 operation during a given condition of weather, you could trigger a flag. If the system behavior persisted beyond two or three days (as might be caused by an anomaly such as a big family gathering), you could alert the client.

Are you doing something like that?

Comment by Rodrigo Sanchez Bredee on September 19, 2012 at 4:44pm

At EcoFactor we can leverage HVAC performance data from an internet-connected thermostat to both evaluate the thermal envelope of a house over time, as well as detect/predict equipment failures. We have been looking for a model for turning these insights into leads or opportunities for homeowners to make improvements and/or take care of their equipment before it fails. We would love to connect with contractors that are looking for ways to these potential leads in a way that preserves or builds customer trust and results in measurable improvements. We would be more than happy to discuss these ideas further with this group.

Comment by Amanda Moss on September 17, 2012 at 12:37pm

Here at Energy Unlimited, our team pulls together to think of ways not only to bring business to us, but pull the community together to create an opportunity for everyone to bounce energy savings ideas off of each other while learning about what we can do to take them to the next level. We hold monthly interactive workshops where we invite members of the portland metro area to come and join us for a few hours to learn more about energy efficiency. This includes helping them understand where energy is lost, how we detect it, how we mediate it and how they can take action themselves without spending a penny. Also, we educate them on rebates/incentives and tax credits so that they get a realistic idea of what they could really do to stretch their dollars and make their homes more comfortable and efficient. We instill confidence and know-how in to the people that come to our workshops, which empowers them to share the benefits of being energy smart. We always get great responses and have fun while doing it. 

Comment by David Byrnes on September 17, 2012 at 10:50am

We have a small group of 8 business owners in Phoenix that meet once every couple months to discuss and share business and marketing strategies. So far our discussions are pretty loose but there is consensus that our work is done right, we are not direct competitors and are willing to open our doors to our peers. Owning a business especially in this industry can be challenging. Lead generation is a must for any company to grow and to multiply ourselves but the processes must be in place to handle that growth. That means employees don't get burned out, the work is done right and internal QA is happening, and systems are in place to handle the influx of new business. 

Comment by Curt Kinder on September 17, 2012 at 10:32am

FWIW, I just joined a local chapter of BNI, a big business networking group. The basic idea seems to be that local businesses meet once per week and provide referrals to each other. So far it seems to be working, but it is to early to tell.

I work well with a couple spray foam contractors - we feed each other business. I QC the foam to ensure an air seal and then the foam is much more likely to deliver forecasted savings. Ideally we retrofit downsized HVAC at the same time as foam, conserving energy and increasing comfort.

I identify candidates for heat pump water heaters and pass those to a good plumber. There is a solar PV guy in my mix as well.

In a nutshell, I'm convinced face-toface networking will work better than lead generation

Comment by tedkidd on September 17, 2012 at 10:22am

A better 2 am infomercial is not the answer.   Are you doing anything to insure homeowners get what they are buying?    

The promise of energy savings has long ago become a promise homeowners nearly totally discount.  Instead of "Great, the free cash from energy savings will pay for (insert significant percentage here) of this project", they typically think "I can afford X dollars, and any savings that happen to show up will be nice but I'm certainly not going to COUNT on a penny."

One of the greatest reasons homeowner delay, defer, and perform "the least possible to get by" work is lack of confidence in contractors ability to deliver on every level - design, communication, customer service, promised results.  Fear of a huge, disappointing time and money vacuum. 

So if you can figure out a way to reverse that, to create true consumer confidence that savings will be realized, I think you'll have more leads than you can handle.  Selling excitement can work short term, but I believe selling truth works long term.  Tracking solar realization is easy and transparent, this is why solar is exploding.      

Comment by Chris Kaiser on September 17, 2012 at 9:52am

How can we find the results of the survey? I'd also be interested to find out what lead generation resources work.  I posted on a similar topic a few weeks ago, and it was recommend that this would be a good forum topic.

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