Duct cleaners stress HVAC market's evolution
MARCO ISLAND, Fla. — Don’t think the National Air Duct Cleaners Association is only involved in removing some dust from HVAC construction equipment.
Its 1,200 members do a lot more today, which is why the association likes to promote its tagline: the HVAC inspection, maintenance and restoration organization. But even that doesn’t encompass all the activities many members are now involved in.
If the air moves through or passes over it, there’s a good chance a NADCA member can provide HVAC market services for it.
“We do a tremendous amount of work on the health of the overall system,” said Michael Vinick of Duct & Vent Cleaning of America Inc., the association’s current president. “A lot of restoration work comes into play. You have interior insulation that (degrades) and it needs maybe to be ripped, stripped and pulled out of the system and in some cases, reinsulated. In other cases, they’ll use an exterior wrap insulation. Oftentimes people are reconditioning drain pans, they’re putting in UV (ultraviolet) lighting and handling deodorizing of systems.
A quick look at the program for its April 27-29 annual conference in Marco Island, Fla., demonstrated the markets beyond HVAC construction that NADCA now covers: dryer exhaust duct performance, mold and customer service training.
Vinick said the industry has changed a lot in the two decades-plus he’s been in it.
“I’m dating myself. I was 24 years old when I joined NADCA,” he said. “I’ve seen so much growth that actually coming to fruition. We’ve really moved the bar, we’ve raised the bar and it’s so exciting.
“We’re a solutions provider,” he added.
In recent years, the group has been become very active in standards writing and working with other standards-writing groups such as the Sheet Metal and Air-Conditioning Contractors’ National Association, and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers. Vinick said he expects that to continue.
During its event, NADCA members had the chance to attend numerous certification classes and educational sessions on subjects such as cooling tower cleaning and liners used in ductwork fabrication and HVAC construction.
One popular presentation was Cliff Budnick’s April 29 presentation on “The Educational Sales Approach.” Budnick, the vice president of new business development at In-O-Vate Technologies, said the traditional hard sell doesn’t work with most people. It only makes them angry.
Instead, use your position as industry experts to educate homeowners on the value of your HVAC market products and services.
“You guys are the pros,” he said. “Consumers want to know how you can help them.”
A good way to do that, Budnick said, is through press releases. Local newspapers, magazines and industry publications are often eager to publish tips and other information beneficial to homeowners and other readers. This kind of free publicity is known as “earned media.”
The downside is that since you don’t pay to have the article placed, you have no control on when — or if — it runs.
“Be ecstatic if you get five (articles published) off a press release,” he said.
To monitor what kind of industry topics get published, set up Google News alerts for words and phrases related to HVAC sales, Budnick suggested.
And if you haven’t yet, embrace social media. Post videos to your website and YouTube channel. Start regularly writing a blog. And learn how to use Twitter.
“Tweeting is a business tool,” he said. “It’s not just happening in high school or college any more, guys.”