No job is too big or too small for trade contractor support. Whether you need help with a quick repair or a complex installation, there are plenty of experts out there who can lend a hand. The key is knowing where to look and how to ask for help. You know when you’re in the Read more
No job is too big or too small for trade contractor support. Whether you need help with a quick repair or a complex installation, there are plenty of experts out there who can lend a hand. The key is knowing where to look and how to ask for help.
You know when you’re in the middle of the job and you realize that there’s more to it than you thought. Or an issue comes up and you need another person in the trades to step in and support you to get it done. In this blog post, we’ll give you some tips on getting expert support when you’re on the job.
Before You Start the Job
The first step is to do your research. If you know what type of help you need, start by looking for businesses or individuals who specialize in that area. For example, if you’re a plumber who needs help with an irrigation project, you’ll want to find an expert in that field. Once you’ve compiled a list of potential options, take some time to read reviews and compare pricing. This will help you narrow down your choices and find the best option for your needs.
Another important consideration is your timeline. If you have a tight deadline, make sure to communicate that to the expert you’re working with. If you need to get out mobile welding services then you’ll want to arrange that ahead of time to support your job. This will help them plan their work accordingly and ensure that they’re available when you need them.
Asking for Help
Once you’ve found the right expert for the job, it’s time to reach out and ask for help. The best way to do this is by being specific about what you need assistance with. When possible, include as much information as possible so the expert can give you an accurate quote.
It’s also important to be clear about your budget. This will help the expert determine whether they’re able to take on your project within your specified price range. If not, they may be able to suggest alternative solutions that fit within your budget.
How to Find the Right Person
No matter how experienced you are, there are always going to be times when you need a little help on the job. Whether it’s a tricky installation or a last-minute change order, it’s important to know where to turn for expert support. Here are four places you can go for help when you’re on the job.
1. The Internet
Whether you’re looking for installation tips or troubleshooting advice, chances are good that you’ll find what you’re looking for online. There are plenty of forums and chat rooms where trade professionals can ask questions and get answers from their peers. In addition, many manufacturers and suppliers offer online support services.
2. Trade Associations
If you’re having trouble finding the information you need online, your next best bet is to contact a trade association. These organizations represent professionals in all sorts of trades, and they can often provide members with access to experts who can offer advice and answer questions.
3. Local Suppliers
When all else fails, your local supplier is always a great resource for expert support. These businesses depend on repeat customers, so they’re usually more than happy to help out with installation issues or other problems you might be having. In addition, many suppliers offer training courses on the products they sell.
4. The Manufacturer
If you’re still struggling to find the answers you need, your last resort is to contact the manufacturer directly. Many manufacturers have customer service representatives who are familiar with their products and can offer helpful advice. You may also be able to find helpful information on the manufacturer’s website.
Calling in the Experts
Getting expert support on your next job doesn’t have to be difficult—just follow these tips! With a little research and planning, you can find the perfect individual or business to lend a hand with even the most complex projects. So don’t wait—get started today and rest easy knowing that you have the support you need to get the job done right.
No matter what kind of problem you’re having on the job, there’s an expert out there who can help you solve it. By turning to the internet, trade associations, local suppliers, or the manufacturer, you should be able to get the answers and information you need to get the job done right.
General contractor Turner Construction uses QuickDrain USA’s ShowerLine linear drain with adaptable pre-sloped PET shower pans to convert old cast iron tubs to modern walk-in showers, reducing installation time and labor costs. The 5-star Four Seasons Houston hotel is only steps away from Minute Maid Park, home of Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros, making it Read more
General contractor Turner Construction uses QuickDrain USA’s ShowerLine linear drain with adaptable pre-sloped PET shower pans to convert old cast iron tubs to modern walk-in showers, reducing installation time and labor costs.
The 5-star Four Seasons Houston hotel is only steps away from Minute Maid Park, home of Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros, making it a favorite of out-of-town fans who come to see their favorite team in action. Opened in 1982, the Four Seasons Houston is now in the latter stages of upgrading 404 guest bathrooms to transform the iconic downtown hotel, as part of a multi-year renovation project.
The bathroom renovations involve converting 40-year-old cast iron tubs to modern showers. According to project assistant-superintendent, John Upshaw of Turner Construction, converting 404 bathtubs to step-in showers in a building constructed in the ’80s, is no small feat.
The construction team has encountered numerous job-site irregularities, with some bathrooms having more than one layer of drywall in the shower enclosure, altering the dimensions of the enclosure. Meanwhile, other bathrooms were missing cement boards, resulting in damage behind the walls.
“When we demo out a tub, we’re essentially running into different conditions in 404 different bathrooms,” Upshaw explains. “You just don’t know what you’re going to run into.”
So the team had to find a solution that would allow them to adapt to unexpected plumbing rough-in configurations and various shower-enclosure sizes. A product that would speed installation would be the ultimate find for a large project like this one.
Which is exactly what the hotel’s architecture and design firm expected to accomplish when they specified QuickDrain USA’s tub-to-shower conversion kits for the project.
QuickDrain’s tub-to-shower conversion kits include an integrated PVC drain body, combined with a pre-sloped PET shower pan and waterproofing sheet membrane.
ShowerLine, used for the Four Seasons Houston project, is a high-quality PVC linear drain system and features a fully sloped trough where water exits through either a vertical or a side waste outlet. Installers can select from among six decorative drain-cover designs to accent the overall design scheme of any bathroom. In this case, the drain cover “Lines” was deemed the best fit.
Plumber Larry Adams, from Kilgore Industries in Houston, says he highly recommends the QuickDrain linear drain system because it’s easy to install and provides flexibility for the drain installation. Adams was the foreman apprentice during the original construction of the building in the 1980s.
Core drilling impossible: “These are old cast iron tubs, so the drains were set at different positions and often off-center,” explains Adams. But jack-hammering or core-drilling through the concrete to adjust drain positioning wasn’t an option. Since the hotel is constructed via post-tensioned slabs, core-drilling would compromise the building’s integrity.
To allow enough room for Adams to stub out the existing DWV (drain, waste and vent) lines, which are made of copper, Turner Construction had to chip out the concrete surrounding the existing pipe. “We had a scanning company come out to determine where the rebar was in the slab,” explains Turner’s Upshaw. “Fortunately, we were able to find a location between the rebar to chip a small area around the drain.”
In addition, there was no way to solder the existing copper pipe to a new copper joint because of jagged pieces of metal coming through the concrete and less than half a hand space. Adams had to use a mechanical fastening coupling between the copper and the transition material. Thanks to the PET shower pans’ flexibility, the construction crew was able to cut the drain support panel in half to allow Adams to make the mechanical connection.
Made of extruded rigid PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic foam, QuickDrain’s pre-sloped shower panels can be easily cut and pieced together without costly customization, eliminating the time and labor to float the typical pitched concrete shower base.
“The flexibility of the PET pan is a big advantage,” says Upshaw, “especially given the irregularities we run into after removing the tubs.”
Furthermore, the QuickDrain system eliminates the need to knock down and reframe walls. According to Upshaw, the fact that they can cut the PET pans on-site to adjust to practically any condition, saves much needed time and labor costs for a renovation project of this magnitude.
Model-room training critical: QuickDrain conducted on-site, model-room training before the start of the project, performing a full installation to support Turner and Kilgore, as well as tile subcontractor Gulf Coast Flooring, also based in Houston. The training was essential because it provided the tile-setting crew with a solid grasp of how the QuickDrain system works.
“Gulf Coast Flooring is installing the PET pans and tile in all of the bathrooms,” says Upshaw, “so they had to fully understand the process.”
Upshaw believes Kilgore benefited the most from the training because they were able to determine which tools they would need to perform the job. “We were able to knock out any kinks and learn our lessons on what we can do better,” he says. “After that training, Kilgore hit the ground running.”
Tile contractor Jaime Rosa, of Gulf Coast Flooring, says each crew member completes an average five showers per day at the Four Seasons Houston project. “It takes less time than a conventional mud bed, and that translates into cost-savings for us and the hotel.”
Turner’s Upshaw adds: “The finished installation looks great, and as long as it looks good, the hotel is happy.”
Upshaw says he likes the QuickDrain system. “I’ve actually been thinking of putting it in my own home, and we will use it again for similar commercial projects.”
As the HVAC industry evolves further in response to new market opportunities, sustainability initiatives and changing consumer demands it’s easy to be left at a loss of how to cut through the marketing speak and deliver benefit-driven information to your customers. Putting in the extra work to fully understand how to translate product features into Read more
As the HVAC industry evolves further in response to new market opportunities, sustainability initiatives and changing consumer demands it’s easy to be left at a loss of how to cut through the marketing speak and deliver benefit-driven information to your customers. Putting in the extra work to fully understand how to translate product features into real-world customer benefits will give you an edge in the market. Below is a discussion on how to navigate an industry of new and old considerations across customer demographics. Follow along to understand how you can shift your strategies to build customer relationships through simple communication training of your sales staff.
Define your competitive edge through no-nonsense delivery
Is it just me, or does every HVAC product on the market have the same features?
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: “Our new, highly-efficient product provides homeowners with a simple, flexible, and cost-competitive solution.”
Does this sound like a product line you offer? Truth be told, this description could apply to any number of products. For example, a system that offers “zoning” could be anything from a sophisticated ductless system to a simple air conditioner with manual air dampers.
Here’s the problem: today’s customers are the most educated customer base we’ve ever experienced. With access to information at our literal fingertips in our smartphones, customers can fact-check a sales pitch in an instant. HVAC repair and replacement is an expensive investment for most customers to begin with, so it’s understood that they want to know exactly what they’re paying for.
If you state that a product is efficient, customers want to know: How efficient and what are the benefits? Compared to what? Does it cost more, if so, what’s the price difference? Do I really need it?
If you’re not being clear with your customers, you can trust that they are getting their information elsewhere — perhaps even pulling purchase decision information from your competition.
There are simple improvements to your sales information delivery that can help to move past the jargon and build meaningful conversations with your customers that leave them feeling well-informed and satisfied in their decision. In short, you can build credibility – and become the authority – by being honest and transparent.
As mentioned, using vague terms to describe a product as efficient, variable, or flexible tells the customer very little. The way to fix this is to always speak in terms of comparison. By speaking in comparisons, you will educate the customer on all of the options available to them – not just the one you’d like to sell. This is a critical step in achieving value in customer satisfaction.
If you’re not comfortable speaking in comparison, here are three ways to help get you started:
- Stop talking features & benefits and start talking sell points and personas
If you’re speaking to a customer about a solution they are just one step away in the sales funnel from making a purchase. It’s important at this stage that you carefully consider what you say and how you say it.
Consider this: most brochures you’ll hand a customer have a long list of features & benefits… those features are often phrased in comparison to an older version of that same product or directly to a competitor’s product – “Even quieter!” or “More flexible than ever!”
But the homeowner doesn’t care if it’s “even quieter” than a previous generation of a product that isn’t in the consideration set they are making for their home. Focus on the information your homeowner actually wants and needs: what options do you recommend; what specifically makes you recommend these based on my needs; how much does it cost?
Hone in on information by defining the sell points for all the products in your portfolio. An easy way to do this is to determine the five whys for each of your products:
- Who would most want or need to purchase this product?
- What type of situation is this product most suitable for?
- Why would they need this product?
- When can we promise to deliver this product to the customer?
- Where are most of the customers geographically located who need this product?
Notice the emphasis on the extremes in these questions. The goal is not to answer in general – “who could use or purchase this product” – but rather “who MOST wants or needs this product and why.” This is critical to defining the true selling points of a product.
By taking this approach, your team will be able clearly to describe the important reasons behind a recommendation because they have clear guidance as to why to recommend it in the first place. You might even consider building a questionnaire that will help both you and your customer come to a decision on the right choice for them.
- Group your product offerings using tiers
Instead of confusing customers with an onslaught of product brochures covered in brand names, shiny logos, and pretty pictures, consider packaging your products into tiers. Most homeowners are able to easily pick up the concept of Good, Better, and Best – or Bronze, Silver, and Gold.
By grouping your offering into rungs on a ladder, you’re giving the customer a baseline to compare products against one another. The key to this approach is to ensure your groupings offer key differences. Perhaps package A is best for the cost-conservative homeowner, package B is best for the energy-conscious customer, while package C is most suitable to the customer seeking a quick turnaround.
With this system, customers can easily determine the difference between your products and make informed decisions on which products best fit their needs.
Give three options whenever possible
When ordering drinks at your local coffee shop, why is it so many of us opt for the medium size? A small seems too small, and a large seems, well…too large. When we are given three options, often we are seeking the Goldilocks “just right” feeling.
No one wants to miss out on an upsell, but the goal should not be to dupe your customer into buying the highest-margin product by failing to tell them about a more cost-effective option that likely checks off the needs on their list. Provide customers with three options: something that doesn’t quite meet their needs, something that over-delivers, and a solution that falls in the middle. Because you have tuned in to exactly what the customer needs, selling the middle option in comparison to the other two should be simple.
If you are the service provider for all three options, this strategy gives you an added bonus. If the customer chooses the more elaborate option, you’ve earned more. If they choose the less desirable option, they will know up front what they’re getting and perhaps sacrificing – and you’ve earned their trust in the process.
What does this sound like?
The common – although tired – sales pitch I shared at the beginning turns into a richer conversation once you’ve added comparisons. In this example, I’ve uncovered that the customer is most concerned with the ability to stay comfortable in their home, with affordability being their second concern.
“The package I’d like to offer you today is our Premier package. Your upstairs and downstairs will have individual thermostats, which I know is what you were looking for. I’d like to share with you some other options for your consideration. Our Platinum package would give you even more comfort options: every room could have its own set point. The higher price could be offset with some rebates, but it is more expensive than the Premier package. Another option is our Economy package. This is the most affordable of the three, but it doesn’t come with the zoning you asked for. Given what we have discussed so far, I think the Premier package most meets your needs.”
By defining the sell points for your products, grouping them into tiers, and offering at least three options you can successfully provide the customer with a well-thought-out and easily understandable reasoning for your recommendation.
Resolve to make comparison-speak a habit in your organization and your customers will see you as a more trustworthy source of information for their buying decision process.
Pam Duffy, P.E. is the Owner of Spark One Solutions, LLC based in Dallas, TX – a marketing and business solutions consulting company based serving HVAC businesses.
She serves as a member of the AHR Expo Expert Council – a collaboration of HVACR experts and thought leaders launched by the AHR Expo in 2019 to educate and stimulate discussion concerning the biggest issues impacting the industry.
She has a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Central Florida and is a licensed PE. She has 10 years of experience in the HVAC industry and is most well-known for bringing new HVAC products to life.
Pam will be speaking more in-depth on this topic at AHR Expo 2020, and it will be a free session with attendee registration. Register HERE.
When it comes to jobsite efficiency, contractors know having the right tool for the specific application makes all the difference—and saving time means saving money. Now, a simple new product for the toolbox can help pros do both: T-Rex® Brute Force™, a ferociously strong, high-performance duct tape. Traditionally, ropes or chains have been the only Read more
When it comes to jobsite efficiency, contractors know having the right tool for the specific application makes all the difference—and saving time means saving money. Now, a simple new product for the toolbox can help pros do both: T-Rex® Brute Force™, a ferociously strong, high-performance duct tape.
Traditionally, ropes or chains have been the only option for contractors and installers when they encounter jobsite tasks that require intense strength and durability. Until now as one 36-inch loop of new T-Rex® Brute Force™ can hold more than 700 pounds of weight and offers superior adhesion, so you can quickly secure, fasten and hold loads that you wouldn’t dare attempt with other tapes.
The high-bond, double-thick adhesive allows the tape to stick to rougher, dirtier surfaces and offers a durable, waterproof backing suitable for all-weather performance. Brute Force™ represents the next generation of high-performance duct tapes with patent-pending Forge-Link™ Technology.
“The unmatched holding power and strength of T-Rex® Brute Force™ fundamentally changes what you can do with a duct tape. Where regular duct tape is the go-to for everyday fixes, Brute Force™ is truly an engineering solution,” says Stephen Wagner, product marketer, ShurTech Brands, LLC, the marketers of T-Rex® brand. “The unique technology of Brute Force™ forges the way for the next generation of high-performance tapes.”
T-Rex® Brute Force™ is sold in 25-yard rolls and is available at national mass and hardware retailers. For more information, visit https://www.trextape.com/contractors.
The term “duct tape” is misleading in that it’s not just one kind of tape (and, ironically, the majority aren’t recommended for HVAC systems). The term generally applies to a classification of pressure-sensitive tapes constructed in three layers: polyethylene (plastic), scrim (mesh fabric) and rubberized adhesive. But the quality, thickness (measured in mils — 1 Read more
The term “duct tape” is misleading in that it’s not just one kind of tape (and, ironically, the majority aren’t recommended for HVAC systems). The term generally applies to a classification of pressure-sensitive tapes constructed in three layers: polyethylene (plastic), scrim (mesh fabric) and rubberized adhesive. But the quality, thickness (measured in mils — 1 mil = 1/1,000 in.), adhesion level and tensile strength vary widely, as do the specific recommended uses for each sub-category. Knowing which tapes to grab for which jobs will ensure your fix doesn’t fail and can save you time, money and a lot of space in your toolbox. Here’s a rundown.
General Purpose Duct Tapes
Typical Thickness: 6-9 mils
This category covers a range of duct tapes, from the DIY junk-drawer tool for everyday household repairs to pro grade duct tapes that offer slightly thicker polyethylene, stronger adhesive qualities and, in some cases, waterproof backing. General purpose utility tapes have excellent bang for your buck and offer basic performance levels for jobs around the house (like sealing boxes, patching a grill cover or mending a plastic garden tool) or light duty pro applications in which an abundance of tape will be used and discarded in a short time (like hanging poly-sheeting or moisture barriers and bundling jobsite materials to be scrapped). Manufactured in a wide array of colors, they can also come in handy for labeling and color-coding. Because these tapes generally aren’t designed to stick to rough surfaces or withstand extreme fluctuations in temperatures, they’re best in lower-demand applications when you need a lot of tape at a value price. Bottom line: Handy for DIY home projects or light duty patching and bundling for pros on the job site.
Heavy Duty Duct Tapes
Typical Thickness: 10-17 mils
Unlike general purpose tapes, heavy duty duct tapes are formulated with superior adhesive, extra-thick polyethylene and an interwoven fabric scrim that has high tensile strength—but they’re still easy enough to tear by hand, which makes them ideal for fast repairs on the job. They can adhere to a variety of rough (and in some cases dirty) surfaces like brick, concrete, metal, wood and vinyl siding without the corners peeling up. Many offer UV resistance so that sunlight won’t impact their performance over time, and they can stand up to extreme temperature ranges and weather conditions. These are aggressive, highly versatile tapes for on-the-job tasks like attaching plastic sheeting to exterior surfaces, securing power cables and other tripping hazards on dirty floors or bundling construction materials. As a bonus, they can save the day in unexpected worksite mishaps — mending a broken tool handle, sealing a cracked wet/dry vacuum cleaner hose, or even patching a hole in your work boot or a torn truck seat. Bottom line: Every tradesperson should keep at least one roll of heavy duty duct tape in the toolbox — and multiple widths or colors won’t hurt.
Clear Repair Tapes
Typical Thickness: Approx. 7 mils
Clear repair tapes are not technically duct tapes in construction, but they offer similar performance and application, so it’s natural to compare them. Plus, they’re valuable tools for pros. Designed primarily for non-porous surfaces like glass, fiberglass or plastic, these tapes have long-lasting, airtight holding power, are waterproof and UV-resistant and, most importantly, allow the surface underneath to show through. That makes them ideal for repairing cracked cell phones screens, skylights, windows, mirrors and headlights. Bottom line: Your go-to tape for airtight, waterproof repairs on any surface that needs to be seen.
Structural Grade Duct Tapes
Typical Thickness: Approx. 17 mils
This is a relatively new category in tape technology. Super-aggressive adhesion and extremely high tensile strength make tapes like this less a tool for mending and patching and rather a quick engineering solution. Structural grade duct tapes are for projects that require intense strength, durability and holding power: think hoisting a heavy tool bucket up scaffolding, towing heavy construction materials short distances, or strapping and securing a heavy tool or appliance for transport. Currently, only one product exists in this category—T-Rex® Brute Force™. One loop of it can hold more than 700 pounds (yes, 700), making it the strongest duct tape on the market. It’s so strong you can’t tear it by hand. For some jobs, it’s even strong enough to take the place of rope or chain (and a roll of Brute Force is significantly lighter and more compact). Bottom line: Job requires a rope or chain? Consider a roll of Brute Force instead.
Steven Wagner is an eight-year veteran of ShurTech® Brands, Wagner currently serves as Category Manager for T-REX® and DIY Tapes. He has played an integral role in the development of the T-Rex® tape brand and has spearheaded advancements in new and innovative tape solutions for the contractor and residential markets. Wagner holds a bachelor’s degree from Capital University and a master’s degree from the University of Akron.