Posts Tagged ‘contractors’

MSCA Musings: Following Up After the Conference

October 27th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Guest post by Jim Crowder, BuildingAdvice CEO, as excerpted from last week’s Building Monitor e-newsletter. If you would like to receive the Building Monitor in the future, you can sign up here.

We just returned from the Annual MSCA Educational Conference in beautiful Colorado Springs. It was a well organized event chock full of useful sessions that will help members improve their performance.

It also marked the passing of the Association leadership torch from Thom Brazel, Hill York, to Woody Woodall, W.L. Gary Company.

Thom helped drive association awareness of the opportunity energy services provides the HVAC industry. Under his leadership, and with the support of Barb Dolim’s MSCA staff, Thom helped create a new vision for the MSCA GreenSTAR program that will help members incorporate energy solutions into their core service offerings. Not only is the association planning to provide tools, but they are developing an impressive training program to educate members.

We at BuildingAdvice applaud Thom and the rest of the association for providing the leadership the industry needs to make commercial building owners and operators aware of how valuable HVACs can be in helping to eliminate energy waste in commercial buildings.

No industry is better positioned to provide these types of services to commercial buildings. Energy expenses represent 30% of the controllable operating cost of a building. HVAC and lighting combined typically constitute about 75% of the total energy spend.

BuildingAdvice CEO Jim Crowder

So, who can deliver real, measurable value to building owners? It’s not the janitors or the elevator guys! We look forward to working with Woody, Barb and the rest of the MSCA team as they move into this lucrative field.

Building Advisor’s Note: Have you seen the MSCA’s new YouTube channel? Check out their first video below.

What will change in 2011?

January 11th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

We at BuildingAdvice are all about not accepting the status quo and not standing still while the market around us changes. So, we can’t let a New Year pass by without at least one post posing the question, “What are you going to differently this year?”

Why do we need to do anything different at all? Maybe you don’t. If you’re a contractor, maybe business was great in ’09 and ’10, you have a backlog of projects, customers are coming to you and asking for your help. If this describes you, then you’re in the minority. You should be shoring up, learning what it is that you’re doing right and doing more of it. (And sharing with us via comment below what it is you’re doing!)

Most of the contractors we talk with have been experiencing the opposite of each of these. Business was down or flat the last couple years, backlogs have all but disappeared, new construction is nowhere near ready to return to glory, and customers are not coming to you asking for help. What can you do in 2011 to change this?

One of the biggest changes you can make is to adopt a new mindset – one that is focused on helping your customers to solve their most important problems. Most businesses like to think they do this, but few are truly focused on it. What I mean by that is that few companies begin a customer discussion with the words, “How can I help you?” Usually instead we ask questions that are meant to uncover interest in whatever products or services we sell. The “How can I help you?” question leads to uncovering their problems. One of the biggest problems being experienced right now in the commercial buildings market is decreased income due to a shrinking top line. High occupancy and downward rent pressure will do that. But costs are the other part of the equation, and that’s where you come in. Once your customer answers the “How can I help you” question with an indication of needing to cut costs, that’s your opportunity to tell them what you can do.

Of course, you need a way to cut their costs. The big, controllable cost happens to be right in your wheelhouse, and that is energy. Most buildings waste a lot of energy, and this is a cost just waiting to be cut. Look at the latest article about one of our contractors here in Portland finding at least $19,000 in annual savings potential through energy:

There may be other big ways you can help your customers with problems they say they’re having, but we haven’t heard about too much other than cutting costs. So, as you think about 2011, think help. Think reducing costs. Think energy. And think about how your customers will view you once you’re a cost-reducing partner to them.

Contractor’s Day

May 14th, 2010 by Jim Crowder

Why isn’t there one? Administrative assistants, fathers, and leprechauns get one. Why not mechanical contractors, building engineers, and energy engineers?

The Builidng Advisor is going to pretend it’s so, and tip our hats to the contractors who use BuildingAdvice today.

There’s DEN Management out of Wichita, Kan., which tweets under the name @DENMGMT. Check them out: they ask questions, wish people happy birthday, and post photos.

Rad philanthropy from Evansville, Ind.’s J.E. Shekell Inc. includes a long list of local nonprofs they donate to.

And of course, a shoutout to ourselves: did you see us in Portland Tribune’s Sustainable Life yesterday? Jim Redden’s “Curbing kilowatts in private buildings” quotes yours truly and another BuildingAdvice user, Jonathan Moscatello of First Call Heating and Cooling right here in Portland, Ore.

Are you a BuildingAdvice user who tweets? Let me know! And Happy Contractor’s Day.