How can you create a successful energy audit business that brings you more freedom, time and increases your well being? It may be surprising to you that success comes less from becoming an expert energy auditor than it does becoming a master of delegation. By mastering the art of delegation you can have more freedom in your time and escape the rat race of trading time for dollars. However, delegation is not as easy as it sounds. The right way to do it actually takes some planning, strategy and effort to get up and running. Get it right and you will experience more time and happier and more productive employees. Get it wrong and you open yourself up to employees and subcontractors who are lazy, steal and lie and drag your energy audit business down.
Delegation is not assigning a task for someone to do and setting and forgetting it. It involves careful planning and accountability. If good delegation is the engine that drives your energy audit business, metrics and accountability are the oil. Creating good metrics for your staff or sub contractors is not being corporate nor is it not “selling out” and losing touch with your customer base. Metrics and a good training program set everyone up for success.
This is not to say that you need to put in the ground work to learn and master the things you need to master to be a damn good energy auditor. If you are just starting out as an energy auditor it is not a good idea to outsource your energy modeling right off the bat because energy modeling gives you a more complete picture of your services, gives you the knowledge of predicting cost savings by recognizing patterns and enables you to talk more confidently regarding your recommendations and a home-as-a-system approach. Is it tedious work and a pain to try to figure out at times? Yes, but the fact is that if you are not able to run different scenarios and take the time to experiment with the model, no one is going to do it for you and the knowledge and experience you gain from doing the work will never be given. Once you have done 300 audits and energy models, ok, now it’s time to start training someone else to do it. Can you and should be creating an energy modeling training manual while you are doing the work yourself? Of course! That time can be also be used to analyze what you enjoy doing and gives you energy regarding energy modeling, or the task you wish to delegate, and what you do not enjoy doing and drains your energy. The tasks that you enjoy doing and are the best use of your time, should be what you do yourself as you grow your company. Using sub contractors too early in your business is not a durable business model.
Example of tasks energy auditors can delegate are:
- Energy modeling
- Scheduling appointments.
- Sending documents and reports to customers.
- Paperwork and rebate processing.
- Material pick up or refilling on register tape.
Tasks that are best to do yourself as a business owner are:
- Forming business relationships and partnering with other home performance contractors and contractors. This would be your “marketing,” and although you are not creating direct mail pieces or using Google Adwords, you should be treating your relationships and prospecting as marketing and life-giving cash to your business.
- Performing the energy audits to start. If your company grows enough where you cannot handle the number of energy audits each day and your reputation for quality energy audits and good customer service is well known, that is a sign it’s time to hire and train another energy auditor to work under your company and brand.
As a rule of thumb, tasks energy auditors do by themselves should meet this criteria:
- One-to-one relationships that bring in more business for your company.
- You enjoy doing it and you come home feeling energized and recharged.
- It is something only you can do. Regarding the actual energy audit, you will likely want to do your own audits for the first two years or so. Energy audits are so personalized and varied on the customer service side that having you as the business owner performing the audits really builds your brand and a solid foundation you can build a team around in the future.
- It directly affects your income and bottom line. If you were a CAD drafter before you became an energy auditor and need to draw the home in CAD for RESNET HERS Rating or you are doing a Manual D duct design and are an expert in Manual D, I would start to sub that work out or hire someone in-house to do those drawings for you. You may be the best person to do a Manual D calculation but it is likely that your time could be spent doing an additional energy audit adding revenue to your business while your staff created your model to 90% of what you would have done. Yes, you can train someone how to think about and create a good Duct Design. You can train money’s how to culture lung cells, and you can put your thought process out on paper to create a training manual to do virtually any task. Tasks that are repetitive and are more impersonal can be outsourced or given to someone else to do to free up more of your time.