February ♦ 2019
In This Issue...
Start Your New Employees Off Right [Bill Kinnard]
Helpful Hints for the Baby Boomer Generation: (Part 1 of 2) Part 1: Social Security and Medicare Tips [Tom Grandy]
The Basics of Trade Show Success [Nancy O'Hare Zika]
Buyer's Remorse Can Cause Bad Debt to Skyrocket [Tom Grandy]
Planning For Profit: Spring/Fall Workshop schedule and locations announced [Grandy & Associates]
Profit University Audio Series: Overcoming Stress in the Customer Service Environment [Steve Coscia]
Managing Your Business
Start Your New Employees Off Right
by Bill Kinnard
Because of the challenge of getting new employees up to speed in your company, we are pleased to announce we are offering HVAC Onboarding through our Grandy Live online instructor lead classroom. The program is 8 hours and specifically designed to help you prepare your new personnel for the job. And better yet, there is no travel. They will attend right from your office. This isn’t a webinar. It’s a real class led by one of the Grandy instructors. Students will be engaged, can ask questions, and will need to pass a quiz to be sure they learned the concepts we are teaching.
We will focus on:
- Understanding major and minor system components: What are the parts and pieces that work together to make a comfort system function.
- The importance of proper system design and installation.
- Efficiency requirements and their role in our industry.
- Why IAQ is such a big part of HVAC?
- Comfort controls: Let’s face it, they do a lot more than just read temperature.
- We will also explore why there are so many system options, and the benefits of offering higher efficient choices to your clients.
Sessions will be conducted over a consecutive two-day period. Session 1 will be on Monday afternoons from 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM Central time, and Session 2 will be the next day, Tuesday morning from 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM Central time. Whether your new team member will be working the service counter, answering the phones, or is an aspiring installer or comfort consultant; this class will be a spring board to a successful career in HVAC.
Hear what past attendees have said:
"Very to the point. I am new to this field, so this is a really solid foundation of the basics of what is going on in the HVAC industry. It gives me the basic understand to build my future career upon. I really enjoyed it."
"I thought the entire seminar/webinar was worth every minute I spent watching it. I was in the HVAC industry 25 years ago and have only been working as a Home Comfort Advisor for 3 months so this was very intuitive. Thank you."
For more information regarding this training, please visit our web site HERE.
Helpful Hints for the Baby Boomer Generation (Part 1 of 2)
Part 1: Social Security and Medicare Tips
Have you ever learned something the hard way and then asked yourself, " I wish someone had told me that!". As the years pass we all learn, or should learn, a few new things. Sometimes the new information comes by way of experience, good or bad. Other times it's learned by observing others and/or paying attention to what they have experienced. The really important thing is to pass on what we learn to others our age, and especially to the next generation.
Billy Graham wrote a book a few years before his death. As part of the introduction Reverend Graham made the following statement. "I have prepared my entire life to die but nothing ever prepared me for old age." Someone should write a short book containing practical tips for people approaching retirement years. Since that book has not been written, this article is going to cover a few practical tips I have learned since turning 65. If you are 55 years old or more pay close attention. If you are significantly younger than that, make a copy of this article and save it to reread when you reach that age. These are some of those "I wish someone had told me" things that are really important in your later years but seldom does anyone mention them. This article will cover tips on Social Security and Medicare. The second article will cover some financial tips on "must have" legal documents everyone should have in place.
Here are some Social Security and Medicare tips:
Spouse Social Security Benefits
My wife and I are part of a dying generation. We were raised in an environment where most men worked to provide for the family and most women stayed home and raised the children. This is not meant to condemn working women it's meant to enlighten non-working women, or women who have earned significantly less than their husbands, and about social security benefits they may not be aware of.
Men and women can begin receiving social security benefits at the age of 62, at least if you were part of the baby boomer generation. Yes, the monthly benefits are reduced if taken early. What I did NOT know was that when I began receiving social security benefits, in my case at age 65, that my wife automatically began receiving 50% of what my monthly benefits were. Now if my wife had earned significant income over the years her personal benefits may be greater than 50% of mine and therefore that is what she would receive. However, in my wife's case, her monthly check at 62 was relatively small, compared to mine because she had been in the workforce for a limited number of years.
Point: If your spouse has not worked a lot over the years, consider having her draw Social Security at age 62. Don't wait for the benefits to increase. She will get a raise as soon as her husband begins receiving benefits. Do the math and check with your local Social Security office to confirm benefits for your specific situation.
Medicare Supplemental Insurance
Medicare Parts A and B (B is optional) covers most of a person’s doctor and hospital costs. In order to cover possible uncovered expenses individuals will need to purchase (but are not required to) Medicare Supplemental Insurance. It's quite confusing. There are multiple options, each of which covers a bit more. My suggestion is to sign up for the maximum coverage. In my case, I have had several heart issues since turning 65. The first hospitalization alone was over $100,000. Over the past years I have been hospitalized several times. The good news is that having purchased the maximum Medicare Supplemental Insurance my doctor and hospitalizations have not cost me even one penny!
Point: The cost of maximum Supplemental Medicare Insurance is not all that different than selecting minimum coverage. Even a small percentage of a $100,000 hospital bill is a lot of money. Medical bills in later years can literally bankrupt an individual without proper coverage. Give serious consideration to purchasing the maximum Supplemental Medicare Insurance available.
Medicare Supplemental Insurance Coverage is the same from all insurance companies but the cost Is not!
When you near the age of 65, your mail box will be stuffed with information on Medicare Supplemental Benefit Insurance. The truth is that coverage offered by any and all insurance companies is exactly the same - by law. What is not the same is the cost. My wife and I initially signed up with our current insurance company since we knew the people and "assumed" the cost of coverage was the same no matter who we purchased it from. Wrong! Years later we found out the coverage options, in terms of that is covered, is identical but the price dramatically differs based on who you buy it from. We literally stumbled across this as we were talking with friends. After a couple of calls we changed providers at roughly 50% of what we were paying for the same coverage.
Point: When it comes to purchasing Medicare Supplemental Insurance - shop around.
Rx Drug Coverage
Prior to age 65 my wife and I had excellent health with neither of us having ever been in the hospital. We had also been using a holistic doctor for years so we were taking several supplements but no drugs. When you reach 65 you are "required by law" to file for Medicare but not required to purchase a Medicare Supplemental Insurance or a supplement drug plan. The cost of the drug plan was low, about $15-$20/month. However, neither of us purchased a prescription drug plan since we saw no need for it. Our thinking was that we would simply sign up when the need arose. MAJOR MISTAKE!!! What we found out five years later was that there is a 10% surcharge when purchasing the drug plan for each year one is not signed up. That meant we each had to pay a 50% surcharge for the plan when we did sign up. Guess what that is a 50% increase remains in affect the rest of your life. No kidding, that is the truth. Is it fair? Absolutely not, but it's fact. I really wish someone had told me that at age 65.
Point: Sign up for a supplemental drug plan at the same time you purchase your Supplemental Medicare Insurance. Footnote - You will be offered the option of paying for the supplement drug plan monthly or paying for the entire plan for the year. Consider paying all 12 months up front to avoid the hassle of monthly billing and possible problems of accidentally missing a payment.
That covers a few basic tips on Medicare and drug plans when one reaches the age of 65. Next month we will cover several legal documents you will definitely want to have in place to facilitate the handling of your finances in your later years and/or when you pass.
Speaking of understanding policies, do your employees know the rules for being late, drug testing, uniforms, etc.? If not, you need a detailed Company Policy Manual. This month’s Website Special features our 96-page Company Policy Manual for only $99.95 (normally $139.95). It’s in Microsoft Word so you can add, change or delete as needed. Order today!
Like all our products, if you are not 100% happy, simply return it for a full refund no questions asked.
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The Basics of Trade Show Success
by Nancy O'Hare Zika
When it comes to trade shows, there really is no silver bullet for success. I’m not necessarily a huge fan of trade shows, but that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize their worth. They are definitely something you must do as a small business owner. The goal is to minimize the stress without breaking the bank while reaching as many new customers as possible. Below are seven tips to help you achieve your desired results.
#1 Set a budget and stick to it!
This can be very difficult as the “Trade Show Hype” takes over and spending becomes a bit out of control. AVOID the companies that work directly with the show organizers. Their sole purpose in life is to sell you a $300 tablecloth. You don’t need a $300 tablecloth. All you really need are the basics: a table, a few chairs, and curtains defining your space. The rest is optional. We are in the PEOPLE business… Spend time and energy training your staff and making sure they are comfortable talking about your product and benefits of working with your company.
#2 Step out of your comfort zone!
Try something totally out of the box. Sometimes attending an unrelated show that’s from outside your target market can be the best exposure opportunity.For example, Nordic Track had huge success not at fitness events, but at dental trade shows. Choose unrelated shows and stand out, but always make sure the demographics are correct.
#3 Make it count!
Not every trade show is created equal. Make sure you do your research and select the show that will be most useful to your business. Ultimately, you should only invest in shows that reach the key decision-makers in your target market. Of course, if you are in a rural area, you may not have many options. If this is the case, you need to decide if the show is really worth your time and effort by checking past show statistics.
#4 And the winner is…..
A few months prior, run a contest where the winner will be announced at the show. We once ran an “Ugly ol’ Furnace” contest for the 6 weeks leading up to a show. We had the pictures of the four finalists along with the story submitted by the home owner. Final voting took place at the show and the winner was announced on the final day of the show. This created some hype and it allowed us to continually mention the trade show without it becoming just about the show itself. This will also give your booth a theme, because let’s face it.. toilets, furnaces and mini splits are not that intriguing.
#5 Become the expert!
If the budget is tight this year, don't spend on trade show exhibits. Capitalize on the trade show by being a speaker, hosting a break-out session or being a panel expert. This will add credibility to your business and attract potential leads. Of course, the best combination is hosting a breakout session AND having a booth at the show. The best success I’ve had at a trade show was when I was able to double dip. The people that came to the breakout session stopped by to chat about the information we discussed at the break-out. It definitely assisted in driving people to our booth.
#6 Follow up!
Companies frequently make the mistake of contacting trade show leads months after the show. Make sure you carve out time in your schedule the week after the show specifically to work on following up on the leads from the show. Make sure your sales staff have extra time and incentives to follow-up within a week of your trade show exhibit. Once you reach the two-week mark, your show lead closure rate will drop off drastically. Strike while the iron is hot!
#7 Have fun!
This seems like a pretty basic suggestion, but it cannot be overstated. People seek out happy people. One way to ensure a “happy booth” is to offer something “fun”. I will tell you that the most interactions I have ever had at a show was when we created a cardboard cutout of a technician standing in front one of our wrapped vans. We cut out the circle where the Tech’s face was and allowed people to “be a Swick Technician” by placing their face in the cut-out hole. I cannot tell you how many people stopped to take pictures. Make sure you have a step stool on hand because a large number of “photo ops” were kids. We were also taking pictures and after receiving permission, we placed the pictures on Facebook. It was a huge hit for a relatively small cost and… it was FUN!
* Nancy O'Hare-Zika is the co-owner of Swick Media Services, a Michigan based media company that focuses on the marketing needs of companies in the PHCE industry. You can find more information from Nancy O'Hare-Zika at: www.SwickMediaServices.com.
Buyer's Remorse Can Cause Bad Debt to Skyrocket
by Tom Grandy
Consider this scenario. You went to the grocery store and purchased $50 worth of snacks and drinks for you and your buddies to have while watching the big game. You did not pay for the groceries at the time with cash. You opted to use your credit card instead. The guys come over, the game is played, and the drinks and snacks are all consumed by nightfall.
Thirty days later your credit card company sends you a statement requesting payment for your $50 grocery purchase. What's the incentive to pay the bill on time, other that avoiding the 24%+ interest charge and/or $15-$30 late fee? The food and drinks are gone. Hopefully you are an honest person, with integrity, and you pay the bill but let's face it the value of the purchase vanished the evening after the game.
Guess what? Failure to collect for service at the completion of the repair is just like paying for snacks 30 days later. When the customer calls for service, they have a real need and would have had no problem paying for the service call when the repair was completed. The bill arrives and guess what? The sense of urgency is gone. That $75 invoice just went to the bottom of the pile labeled "Pay when extra money is available." Payment is delayed and the company’s bad debt pile begins to grow.
Make it a habit to collect at the end of each service call. It will prevent buyer’s remorse and eliminate increased bad debt back at the office.
Web Site Special
Picking up checks after service is completed should be part of the overall collections policy. Speaking of understanding policies, do your employees know the rules for being late, drug testing, uniforms, etc.? If not, you need a detailed Company Policy Manual. Well you are in luck. This month’s Website Special features our 96-page Company Policy Manual for only $99.95 (normally $139.95). It’s in Microsoft Word so you can add, change or delete as needed. Order today!
Like all our products, if you are not 100% happy, simply return it for a full refund no questions asked.
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Planning For Profit: Spring/Fall Workshop Schedule and Locations Announced
Planning For Profit seminars are two-day workshops held around the country and are in-depth training on how to significantly increase profitability.
You will learn exactly what you have to charge per hour to cover costs while generating the profits you want. The program will also create month-by-month, department-by-department cash flow budgets, set proper residential and commercial maintenance agreement pricing, and let you bid jobs for profit (based on your cost of doing business).
Attendence to these events are limited and space is still available. Learn more and register today!
If a workshop isn't scheduled for your area we encourage you to talk to your Distributor to see if they will be sponsoring a workshop in your city!
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Overcoming Stress in the Customer Service Environment
By Steve Coscia
Short Presentation Description:
One of the toughest jobs in any company is being the customer service representative. This presentation features a radio interview with Steve Coscia discussing all kinds of practical tips on how to be a more effective customer service representative.
Listen to a sample of this months' program! The Profit University Audio Series features a new trade focused audio presentation every month. These programs are designed to provide the trades contractor relevant information that can help their business immediately. Get more information on this program or sign up for a monthly subscription today.
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