HVACR Contractors Use Financing in Their COVID-19 Recovery Strategy
By Joel Cannon, SVP of Sales and Marketing at EnerBank USA
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we do business, and the economy took a severe hit from the response to slow the spread. Fortunately, the HVACR industry was declared essential, but that didn’t mean it was business as usual. In some cases, extra time at home has meant customers noticed the deficiencies in their homes like a malfunctioning HVAC unit. Homeowners and businesses are now much more interested in cleaner air in their buildings. In other cases, the uncertainty has frozen (no pun intended) optional upgrades and replacements on homes and businesses until the economy recovers.
HVACR contractors like you are resilient, innovative and open to finding new ways to grow their businesses in these difficult circumstances. Many have offered advice on reopening businesses, while others have provided virtual training. Companies like EnerBank USA® and associations like NAFA and ASHRAE have offered COVID-19 resources. Some have even provided service to their communities.
In your COVID-19 response and recovery plan, have you considered applying best practices to offering payment options? With a decline in consumer confidence driving some to hold onto their cash, you may have seen a shift in the way people spend (cash versus credit). An important part of our economic recovery starts with homeowners hiring HVACR professionals for both urgent and non-emergency projects, and when your business provides those services, the economy can start to see growth again. Here are some ways you can help consumers understand how they can leverage financing under these new circumstances to provide the greatest flexibility in completing their heating, air, and refrigeration projects.
Advertise Payment Options
During these economic conditions, many studies have shown that companies should maintain advertising spend, if not increase that spend. Some of your marketing methods may have to change. Many home shows and trade shows have been canceled because of social distancing protocols. Instead, boost leads by advertising payment options in other marketing materials, and especially on your company website.
Integrate attractive consumer payment options within your advertising strategy to increase quality leads. These tactics have improved lead quality and increased close rate for many contractors, and can help you bounce back from this economic downturn.
Prepare A Script
Provide a basic script or key messaging points for your sales team when speaking to customers about the steps you’re taking to keep them safe. Explaining the adjustments and precautions your business is making to function safely will help customers feel good about moving forward with their projects.
Also, prepare scripts regarding payment options for your appointment schedulers and sales reps. Mentioning financing in multiple steps along the way will help customers think about how they can leverage their money, even if they had saved cash for the install or repair.
Leverage Same-As-Cash Loans
To combat the shutdown’s economic impacts, offer same-as-cash loans to help customers who may be concerned about liquidity issues or those who simply value having options in paying for their projects.
Multiple lenders, like EnerBank USA, offer a true same-as-cash loan with no monthly payments required during the same-as-cash period. These loans give customers more flexibility, especially if they need to have the project completed now, but want to conserve near-term cash and pay later.
Because same-as-cash offers more flexibility, you’ll close more business. In fact, we’ve seen a significant increase in close rates when contractors offer a choice of same-as-cash and a low monthly payment loan.
Many apps are available to quote jobs and offer payment options to use with the customer. To help reduce physical contact with others’ devices, encourage customers to use their own device or computer to apply using an online form or website. Limit the handling of devices so that clients can apply with comfort, confidence and safety.
Better results with payment options
In both good times and bad, offering financing increases leads, helps achieve higher close rates and increases job size. Customers have lots of options to pay for projects—home equity loans, personal loans, even credit cards. Contractor-offered financing has been shown to provide the best benefits to your business, and a solid lending partner can really help you make the most of those benefits. A loan provider that’s experienced in the HVACR industry and understands your needs will be able to provide you the tools necessary to grow your business through payment options. Some providers will offer you a significant amount of the loan upfront, so you can improve cash flow for your business.
For the latest information on EnerBank’s ongoing response to the pandemic during this recovery period, and to see additional tips to provide payment options for your customers, please visit our COVID-19 Update Center.