4 Steps for Home Care Contractors to be Prepared for the Busy Summer Season

It’s that time of the year when homeowners are going to be calling home care contractors for maintenance, upgrades, as well as emergency repairs to HVAC, appliances, and other home services due to the heat, summer storms, and other challenges during the summer months.

Whether it’s evaluating and maintaining heating and cooling equipment, repairing an appliance, or checking sewer and water lines after a storm, your company needs to be ready to support all your customers’ service calls in the coming months.

And demand for your home services are likely to remain strong, and possibly grow. While high interest rates and increased prices may put a damper on new home sales, these factors may actually benefit home services providers, as consumers choose to remain in their existing residences. According to Brett Boyum of Uponor, a global water infrastructure supplier:

“We are seeing a slowdown in residential new construction due to … interest rates that have doubled since the beginning of the year,” he says. “However, home improvement and remodels are still going strong in most areas of the country, and we anticipate that will continue into 2024.”

(Plumbing News, “PHVAC industry experts remain cautiously optimistic for 2023,” December 12, 2022)

What can you do to make sure your home care business is ready for the busy Spring and Summer seasons? Here are four tips to help your business flourish.

1) Reach Out to Your Customers Now

If you haven’t done so already, now is the perfect time to remind your customers of the importance of maintenance and tune-up services before a major storm occurs. Consider offering reasonable discounts to fill in the calendar, or a special price to include both spring and fall maintenance. Mark Chaffee, Vice President, Taco Comfort Solutions, notes that early preseason appointments will accomplish two key objectives:

“First, it gets installers in the door before heating or cooling season demands are at their highest. Secondly, it allows installers to get their orders in for materials and equipment — with wait times that are longer than they’ve ever been. This allows the required materials to be received and installed before the heating or cooling season starts. The earlier service appointments will help accomplish that.”

(Plumbing News, “PHVAC industry experts remain cautiously optimistic for 2023,” December 12, 2022)

2) Get Your Inventory Ready

Nothing will frustrate your customers more than a delay in repairs because your company doesn’t have the parts to fix the issue. A post from the Manhattan Construction Company stated that supply chain issues will continue to cause problems for certain trades:

“Although many trades appear to level off related to escalation and supply chain concerns, we still anticipate cost and supply issues with mechanical, electrical, and plumbing trades in 2023.”

(Manhattan Construction Group, “Anticipated Construction Cost and Supply Chain Trends in 2023,” February 24, 2023)

What are some strategies that home service providers can deploy to deal with supply chain issues? A post on First Citizens Bank site suggests that in addition to working with multiple suppliers, HVAC contractors may want to have more parts in inventory than they have had in the past:

“Typically, HVAC businesses only order equipment once they launch a job. However, this just-in-time system may no longer work given the shortages. If you have the extra cash and space to store equipment, you may want to stock up whenever you find a supplier who’s able to sell. This way, you’ll be prepared and won’t have to skip projects due to a lack of equipment.”

(First Citizens Bank, “HVAC Equipment Shortage: How Will Ongoing Supply Chain Issues Affect Techs?” August 11, 2022)

This advice not only applies to HVAC service providers, but to plumbers, electrical contractors, and other home service contractors.

3) Train Your Team on the Latest Technologies

It’s no secret that smart home technologies and IoT (Internet of Things) are gaining wider adoption with homeowners, especially as Millennials and Gen Z are entering the market and expect this type of information about everything in their lives, including their homes.

For example, according to the PCHP Pros, plumbing manufacturers are using devices to detect leaks before they cause significant damage, citing one company that “developed a smart home water security system to protect homes and businesses from water damage and leaks. It includes a smart water detector that senses leaks and moisture outside of piping from events such as appliance failures, overflowing drains, and weather-related issues. The smart water shut-off device will automatically shut off the main water supply when leaks are detected.” (PCHP Pros, “What Will 2022 Yield for the Plumbing and Construction Industries?” January 3, 2022)

Chaffe from Taco Comfort Solutions emphasizes the importance of training technicians on these new technologies:

“Each new entry creates some impact in the learning curve for trade pros. Often enough, new technology comes with an app, and may also have some impact in system control strategy. Those factors should encourage installers to be more active with training, usually available not just at the factory but at wholesalers, through sales reps or on-line.”

(PCHP Pros, “What Will 2022 Yield for the Plumbing and Construction Industries?” January 3, 2022)

4) Perform Maintenance on Your Own Equipment

While this seems obvious, it is important that service providers take the advice they give to homeowners and apply it to themselves. While equipment varies across the trades, a common and often neglected area are company trucks, vans, and other vehicles. Now is the perfect time to get these tuned up so you are ready when you need them the most!

Keep in mind that vehicle dealers are also facing supply chain issues, so getting those appointments now is critical. The last thing any provider needs is a vehicle out of commission when your calendar is full, and you can’t service your customers.

Being prepared to help your customers with emergency and maintenance needs will help your business flourish!

Do you want to service more customers who already have a protection plan that includes seasonal maintenance?