My Heating Company Is Smarter Than Me

My heating guy is here. He’s looking at my furnace today.

The checkup is part of the annual maintenance plan. It doesn’t cost me anything.

The issues he found (which require repair) are probably going to run me $2,500. My zone heating has been putting out heat — but only to the first floor. And he spotted that the reason is that the control panel is fried.

Honestly, it’s bugged the crap out of me all winter long. Only one zone in my house would get heat. But since heat rises — it really wasn’t a problem – though I knew it would have to be fixed “someday”…


Today he took the control panel off my furnace heat distribution (I’m sure there’s a more technical description) and showed me half a dozen browned area where the controller

And What Does This Have to do With ERP Consulting?

How many of us schedule annual recurring on-site appointments like my furnace repairman does?

How much work would we additionally uncover if we annually (and faithfully) went on-site (as part of our support) regularly?

I know I am guilty of not scheduling this type of work. It will be one of my priorities for 2011.

Oh, and by the way, guess which billion dollar company which would like to sell a support plan to your clients directly —– will never ever be able to match your service of doing this?

Want to differentiate and compete against software publishers so they cannot easily go direct and support your best clients with  premium support plans?

Re-read my message above.

Think that the VAR business is so unique that you can never trust a consultant to quote a job in the field? I beg to differ. The 20-something furnace repair guy just left me with a quote for $2,500 — -and he took a $800 credit card deposit – all without having to call the main office or tell me that he’d get back to me with a price.

Wake up folks – it’s not the year 1980. Even furnace repair guys have caught on to the best way to retain customers — and to price repair jobs.

Image via Toronto Money Pit

4 Replies to “My Heating Company Is Smarter Than Me”

  1. Terrific idea! My suggestion would be to begin to develop a diagnostic checklist just like your heating guy has. Some obvious points on it would be:

    1. Subledgers tie? (AR, AP, Inventory, Bank Rec)
    2. Data maintenance (rebuild, reindex, etc.)
    3. Data backed up? Can it be restored?
    4. Network connectivity OK?
    5. Proper purging or archiving of history?
    6. Latest service packs on OS and app?

    1. I just spoke to the repairman. Young guy — probably late 20’s.

      I asked — so how do you know to price this?

      His answer — well we have a guide. One price for “customers on plan (service contract)” and one for customers off-plan. Then we have add-on’s – we’ll adjust our fixed price up or down based on what we observe for complexity, etc.

      He went on to explain – there’s really no other way we’ve found that we can do this. You can’t be down in someone’s basement with the furnace all apart and come back to them telling them it’s more money. Some we make more on — some less – but on balance it’s fair to us and fair to the customer.

      So my furnace repair costs $2,000. Lesson on fixed pricing – priceless 😉

      If the HVAC company can send a field of service techs out with all the tools that they need to price jobs right on the spot (and take deposits for the work) — why the hell can’t ERP consultants do this regularly and at a better/higher level? There’s ZERO excuse.

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