Guest Column | November 1, 2018

Cracking Open The Home Services Vertical

By Angel R. Rojas, Jr., DataCorps Technology Solutions, Inc. and member of The ASCII Group since 2017

Field Service

Home service companies are all around us, including: heating, ventilation, & air conditioning (HVAC); plumbing; electrical; a combination thereof, and even others. In a sense, these businesses have a very similar model to computer repair companies (I don’t say MSPs because this model is more akin to the break-fix days). This puts many of us in a favorable position to communicate value by demonstrating we understand their business and its challenges.

Essentially, home services companies have dispatchers who take calls and assign them, techs who service the calls, and support personnel who order parts, keep them stocked, and handle financials. Sounds familiar, right?

These companies are also time sensitive and customer loyalty is thin. Think about it, if your normal AC guy can’t get to you in the next few hours you’ll just move on to the next.

So, when selling to these businesses, keep in mind they don’t have the stickiness we do with our clients so there are some things you will need to cover with them and come to mutual understandings. Following are the top four.

  1. Confirm they understand the importance of being able to book an appointment. Set a dollar figure to time lost due to a phone or computer outage. This will set the stage for any business continuity options you’ll be proposing. Also, make sure you address natural disasters. Some companies, like roofing, are going to go gangbusters after a hurricane or other wind-related event. This means phones absolutely cannot be on-site and software needs to be extremely accessible should their facility be inaccessible or destroyed.
  1. Nail the software down hard — these businesses live and die by their software. If your prospect does new construction, those needs are very different from if they don’t. Also, understand their clientele. If it is mainly residential rather than commercial, the needs are also different. If they work with industrial control systems, be sure to talk about the breach at the big box store — this hits close to home for many HVAC companies and address you’ll be there to help them through any vendor required assessments.
  1. Understand they’re not cheap; they will invest money where they see value. It is your job as a trusted advisor to help them discover where the technology value is. Walk them through the process and educate them. Don’t put them in the cloud “just because.” Some performance degradation from improper configurations and slow remote desktop refresh are absolute deal breakers for them (sit at their office and watch how fast their people move while on the phone). Seconds mean dollars for this industry so do not take that for granted.
  1. Be ready to help — early! Most of these businesses are sending techs out between 5:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. If you break them at that time, you will ruin their entire day and upset every one of their client appointments.

Communicating to a prospect that you understand these four key elements will ensure a mutually successful relationship. If you’re not ready to tackle them, then walk away from the deal. The harm that can be done to a business like this from improper IT advice can be in the millions and you don’t want your name on that.

About The AuthorAngel R. Rojas, Jr., DataCorps Technology Solutions, Inc.

Angel R. Rojas, Jr. is president & CEO of DataCorps Technology Solutions, Inc. and has been a member of The ASCII Group since 2017.

About The ASCII Group, Inc.

The ASCII Group is a vibrant reseller community of independent MSPs, VARs, and other solutions providers. Formed in 1984, ASCII has more than 70 programs that provide turnkey cost-cutting strategies, innovative business building programs, and extensive peer interaction. ASCII members enjoy benefits such as marketing support; educational information; group purchasing power; increased leverage in the marketplace; and multiple networking opportunities. These programs enable ASCII members to increase revenue, lower operating costs, and grow service opportunities. ASCII is the oldest and largest group of independent information technology (IT) solutions providers, integrators and value added resellers (VARs) in the world. Learn more at www.ascii.com.