Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Comfort Supply Softball Game/ Cook-out - June 21st  


We are planning an employee and customer softball game and grill out on June 21st. Please join us. details to follow. a request for a small donation may be asked as this event is being organized by one of our dealers.

Buy our Tempstar Parts at Discount  


we still have many, many tempstar parts that we would like to sell. buy one, buy a box, buy a pallot. we are are selling them at deep discounts. Even if you need a warranty a part, check with us. We can sell you a warranty part at cost and you can take it to another distributor to get credit for it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Open House Scheduled  


Our open house has been scheduled for Friday, May 30, 2008 from 10:00am-2:00pm. We will be serving lunch and having a raffle for door prizes. Also, you can visit with our vendors and shop our clearance sale. There will also be a chance to dunk Comfort Supply employees in the dunk tank! All of the proceeds from the dunk tank will go to United Way.

So mark your calendars! We look forward to seeing everyone there!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Why we changed to a new metal vendor  


Why we changed to a new metal vendor

You may have noticed that we changed our metal pipe vendor from Air Flow to Alco (Standex) metals.

We began to see many picking errors in the pipe department and one of the reasons we switched to alco is that they label the size on every piece. Pipe fittings are easily mixed up in the warehouse and a picker can grab the wrong size if it is not labeled. It got to a point where our warehouse crew had to measure some sizes with a tape measure to make sure they were giving you the right one.

We also believe that Alco is a product of very fine quality. We hope you thinks so as well.

Continuing with our efforts to provide you with the finest quality supplies that we can find.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Overcoming Sales Objections  


I heard some really great feedback on our speakers from the dealer meeting, especially Frank Furness. I had some requests for his material on overcoming sales objections:
here are some of his ideas from frank's blog

Here are some tips on overcoming objections (Frank Furness)
Say to them ‘let’s talk about that’ & get them talking about their reason for objecting
If you hear a price resistance, ask ‘Is this a money or value question’
Question the Objections
‘Let’s discuss that’
‘That’s interesting, would you mind expanding’
‘Tell me more’
Lead-ins for answering objections
“You've raised an excellent point there…..”
“I see what you mean….”
“What you say is correct…..”
“I can appreciate your concern…..”
Ask for a trial order
Would you like to try us on a smaller trial basis. This way you can sample our quality and service
The Close or Future Commitment Plan
Shall we commit to 50…………..
Will that be okay with you
Should we proceed on the upgraded order
Moving Forward
Pete, you seem to be in agreement, how do you suggest we move forward
Mary, what can we do to speed up the process
Amy, this sounds just like what you’re looking for, are you ready to proceed

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Stocking Commercial Metal and Grilles in Process  


We are placing orders now to expand our offering of commercial metal, grilles, and registers. If you have any requests, please make a comment on this post.

Comfort Supply has established a new commercial department with an Outside Commercial Salesman (Wayne Dube) and an inside estimator (Micah Sandlin). If you have any commercial jobs that you would like us to bid with Ruud equipment, please call the Nashville store at 615-244-0920

No More Fuel Surcharges for YOU!!!  


We are officially ending our Fuel Surcharges. No we aren't crazy. We know gas prices keep going up and up, but we have decided to reward you the Dealer, by ending our surcharges. Thanks for your business

Getting Paid Means Getting Tough - article in HVAC NEWS  


Getting Paid Means Getting Tough

by Joanna Turpin
April 21, 2008

Contractors Must Get Aggressive About Demanding Payment

Customers can have some of the lamest excuses for not paying their HVAC contractors. Homeowners suddenly realize that their spouse took the checkbook, and there’s no way to pay after a service call. Business owners claim they’ve never received an invoice, so they need another copy before they’ll write a check. And guess what? They just finished their check-writing cycle, so it will be at least another week before the bill can be paid.

Contractors face these — and probably even more outlandish — excuses every day. Collecting money is almost always an awkward situation, particularly when dealing with a customer who doesn’t want to pay. It’s a fine line that contractors walk: Collect the money owed, so the doors to the business can stay open, but don’t be so assertive in demanding payment that customers no longer want to deal with your company.

Someone once said, “Money is the opposite of the weather — nobody talks about it, but everybody does something about it.” In a softening economy, contractors need to not only talk about it often with their technicians and customers, they may need to be even more aggressive about demanding payment.


Russ Borst, vice president of service, Hurst Mechanical, Belmont, Mich., said that most of his customers are still paying on time, but that the tide may be turning.

“We feel very fortunate, but we do live in Michigan, and companies are folding up or moving out of state every month. Just last week a tool and die company that’s been a great customer of ours called up and said they’re closing down, and they wanted to cancel their preventive maintenance contract. It’s difficult out there. This last year, we’ve been stung for more money than ever from companies closing down and moving out of the state.”

Hurst Mechanical provides HVACR and plumbing services to the commercial-industrial market, and they routinely invoice their customers after service has been provided. Borst states that his accounting department is “very stern” with customers and that any account that hasn’t been paid by 30 days will receive phone calls on a weekly or biweekly basis.

Russ Borst
Over 60 days, Borst gets involved with the account, and if payment is still not received, they will most likely take the customer to small claims court. “Lately, we’ve taken more customers to small claims court than we have in years,” he said.
It is almost impossible to collect outstanding bills from those companies that close down or move out of state. “That money just comes right off the bottom line. It’s not collectible,” noted Borst. “We might get 25 cents on the dollar, but even that is wishful thinking.”

No company should ever be happy with its number of accounts receivable, and Hurst Mechanical is no different. The company is constantly looking at ways to reduce “the stack” of outstanding accounts, and the accounting department spends a great deal of time and energy calling customers and asking for payment. The common excuse from companies that don’t pay is they’ve never received the invoice, so someone from Hurst will immediately fax over the bill. If the customer still doesn’t pay, Hurst will refuse to provide further service until a check is received. The company typically demands payment in full and is not keen on accepting partial payment over a period of time.

Borst noted that the softening economy has resulted in an increased number of customers who are disputing their bills as a way to put off paying.

“Every day I’m getting more invoices on my desk that people are contesting. They’ll say our technician wasn’t really there for four hours — but we have GPS to prove otherwise — or they want to know why there’s a trip charge of $46.50 per invoice. It’s a stall tactic because we play phone tag for a little bit, and then the next thing you know, it’s two weeks down the road. It’s all a game.”

To ensure new customers are able to pay their bills, Hurst recently started asking for credit references before service is even provided. As Borst added, “We have to be stern, and we have to get our money. My advice to other contractors is to stay strong and get what you’re owed.”


Scott Getzschman
At Getzschman Heating LLC, Fremont, Neb., the dispatcher asks residential customers who are scheduling an appointment how they intend to pay once the service is provided. The company’s president, Scott Getzschman, said this lets customers know that payment is expected immediately, and it also lets the technician know how the bill will be paid, with a credit card or check.

“Even when customers know they’re supposed to pay, we still don’t always get the money,” said Getzschman. “Spouses usually use each other as excuses — someone else always has the checkbook. Or they just disappear. We actually have customers who say they have to leave while the tech is still in the middle of something. Then we get done, and they’re not there to pay.”

In those cases, an invoice is sent to the customer and payment is expected within 30 days. If payment isn’t received within 45 days, the accounting department starts calling the customer, and after 60 days, the account is turned over to a collections agency. Getzschman doesn’t use small claims court to settle debts because winning a judgment doesn’t mean that money will be collected on the account.”

“And it costs money to go to small claims court, and I want to keep our legal fees down. You have to weigh the costs involved. If we had an outstanding bill for $10,000, then we might consider getting an attorney involved, but typically, we don’t have anything that large,” said Getzschman.

Collecting money is an ongoing topic at Getzschman’s, and it’s discussed every Tuesday morning at the managers’ meeting and every Wednesday morning during the service meetings.

Technicians know they are to collect payment at the end of the service call, but they have expressed frustration with customers who simply refuse to pay. Some technicians even go to the extreme of telling customers that they’ll remove the parts that were installed if they don’t pay up.

One of Getzschman’s main frustrations is that customers don’t seem to have any trouble paying the TV repairman or the washer and dryer repairman. “Why is it always the heating and air conditioning contractors who don’t get paid? Every other in-house service company comes out and gets paid.”

That being said, the softening economy may result in even more customers who don’t want to pay. “We, as contractors, will have to be more aware of our accounts receivable, and we’re going to have to stay more on top of it. We’re going to see more delinquencies as we go forward, and the techs are going to have to know that we are definitely a cash-on-completion business. We have to be paid at the end of the job. That’s the easiest way to handle it.”


One reason why contractors may have more accounts receivable than other types of businesses might simply have to do with the challenging and sometimes chaotic nature of their work.

“Contractors arrive at the office in the morning, and their main objective is to determine if their crews have shown up, their schedules are made, and the equipment that’s required for those services is available,” said Ramon Fouse, senior account executive, Greenflag Profit Recovery Systems — TransWorld Systems, Dallas. “They’re constantly getting calls from technicians or needing to be involved with vendors, and when they’re not doing that, they’re focused on acquiring new customers. They sometimes don’t find time each week or month to look at cash flow.”

Fouse specializes in collecting outstanding debts for HVAC contractors across the country, but he is quick to point out that his company is not a typical collections agency. “We assist our clients in collecting their seriously delinquent and past-due accounts for a fixed fee, which averages about $10 per account. We do not phone our clients’ debtors, nor do we intimidate or harass them. We use a diplomatic demand approach, which on average, has recovered about 56 percent of all balances assigned, which is four times the industry average of 14.1 percent,” he said.

That diplomatic demand approach involves sending a written demand to customers after 45 days, or whatever timeframe is decided on by the contractor. The letter states that the contractor has requested TransWorld to contact the debtor on their behalf regarding the referenced account, and it includes a statement saying what the account is and the amount due.

The letter stresses that lack of payment “may be an oversight, and not a willful disregard of an apparent obligation.” A voucher is included with the letter, as well as a window envelope to return payment, which goes directly to the contractor. For those debtors who fail to positively respond, a second demand letter is sent 14 days later, then a third, then a fourth. Fouse noted that the first letter is the most effective in getting customers to pay their bills, while the fourth letter is second-most effective.

“The reason for this is the fourth letter arrives on Day 56, and the demand letter will simply state that the 30 day dispute period has ended, the debt is considered valid under federal law, and they need to make the payment immediately. If they don’t, we send a fifth demand, and after that, my company recommends that the account be turned over to a traditional hard-core collections agency, because half a loaf is better than no loaf at all. And that’s not a customer with whom you want to do business with again anyhow.”

This entire collections process is executed online, with contractors inputting debtor information (e.g., name, address, date of delinquency, amount due) and updating the accounts as payments are received. Data may be entered online at any time of day or night, and contractors have many different options on how to flag accounts, including paid in full, partial pay, suspend (which stops collection efforts), or resume collection efforts.

“Our company’s responsibility is to help the contractor understand that we’re not there to add work but to create productivity, because our system for collection is 24/7 online,” said Fouse.

“We encourage business owners in the HVAC industry to have a defined and disciplined program, so at the point in time at which a balance due is excessive and is wearing out the staff and negatively impacting the business, we can be engaged to assist in collecting.”

Getting paid is necessary if a company wants to stay in business and be successful. To do that, contractors need to keep on top of their accounts receivable and have a plan in place for dealing with those customers who don’t want to pay. The entire existence of the company depends on it.

Contact Ramon Fouse at 972-337-0262 or for more information about TransWorld systems.

Publication date: 04/21/2008