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How to Create Good Better Best HVAC Proposals That Increase Close Rates and Drive Revenue Growth

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Clock IconMarch 15th, 2021
Glasses Icon12 Min Read
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HVAC businesses that propose only one option deprive homeowners of choice, while effectively encouraging their techs to push for the priciest applicable solution. 

In contrast, by offering options about the level of service, equipment, efficiency, and comfort that customers want in their home, HVAC contractors place the power in the hands of homeowners. 

It’s a model based on education and transparency, rather purely on sales.   

Offering homeowners options is no less time-consuming than proposing a single solution, but it takes a pressure off HVAC technicians. All they have to do is perform their job, and leave the decision-making to customers. 

By taking this approach, HVAC contractors can significantly increase their average ticket price and close rate, while simultaneously improving customer satisfaction.

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In this article, we’ll explain how. Specifically, we’ll discuss:

  • How a Good Better Best approach drives revenue growth.

  • Why you should use Good Better Best for services too (not just equipment sales).

  • The challenges of using pen-and-paper proposals.

  • How our HVAC software helps optimize Good Better Best proposals.

Our HVAC software helps businesses streamline and improve their proposal process for increased profits. Want to see ServiceTitan in action? Schedule a call for a free product tour.

How a Good Better Best Approach Drives Revenue Growth 

Depending on their preferences and sales approach, contractors may implement Good Better Best proposals in a variety of ways. 

Some HVAC services simply offer three options. Others give four choices. Still others say six is the way to go.

The key is to give customers low, medium, and higher-priced options, so three is the minimum

That way, homeowners sense a range of flexibility. 

In other words, they don’t feel boxed in, reducing the chances of a no-sale outcome. 

There’s also the fact that most people, presented with low, medium, and high options, tend to land somewhere in the middle. 

By simply presenting a Good Better Best proposal, HVAC contractors can thus increase their average ticket price.

We should note that there are nonbelievers out there — HVAC contractors who say that giving homeowners choices isn’t the best strategy. 

Generally, their argument is that many customers react to Good Better Best presentations with a kind of “paralysis of analysis” — with too many options to choose from, they become confused, frustrated, and decline to proceed. 

We fully understand this view. There’s no doubt that the paralysis of analysis exists — it is a potential complication. But it’s also one that, in most cases, can be easily overcome. 

To account for the fact that some people have trouble choosing among options, we recommend that in each proposal, contractors tag one of their options with a helpful indicator like “Contractor’s Choice” or “Best Seller.” 

A simple, subtle recommendation of this kind can make a huge difference, providing homeowners who might otherwise be frozen in place with a clear, friendly path forward.   

Why You Should Use Good Better Best Proposals for Services Too (Not Just Equipment Sales)

Even among HVAC contractors that already used a Good Better Best proposal model, the vast majority apply it only to the sale of new equipment. When it comes to presenting homeowners with a proposal for service work, they don’t tend to give customers multiple options. 

This is one of the most common — and easily fixed — mistakes we see in the HVAC business. Replicating the Good Better Best approach that they apply to equipment proposals can also have significant positive impacts on overall revenue. 

It can also be a game-changer in the customer satisfaction department.     

For example, let’s say a technician responds to a home where the air conditioner isn’t working. As they often do, the tech determines that the cause is a faulty contactor — a basic part that frequently fails. 

Rather than present the homeowner with a range of options, the tech simply treats the immediate ailment and replaces the bad part. Case closed. 

The trouble with this solution, which is more or less what many HVAC shops would provide, is that if the same air conditioning system goes on the fritz again, they’re likely going to be dealing with an unhappy customer. 

Because the tech didn’t present them with options during the initial call, that customer might well conclude, not unfairly, that the solution they paid for in the first place did not address the big picture or anticipate likely future complications. 

To smooth things over, the contractor might end up having to do another call and fix the AC unit again — this time for free.      

On the other hand, during the first call, an HVAC business with a Good Better Best approach to service might have presented three options that looked something like this:

  • Good: replace broken part (contactor).

  • Better: replace broken part (contactor); complete cleaning of AC unit, which will extend life of new part.

  • Best: replace broken part (contactor) with a superior model; complete cleaning of AC unit, which will extend life of new part; enroll customer in membership plan to ensure regular maintenance of unit.

In this scenario, if after a straightforward replacement, the contactor goes bad again, the homeowner can look back at the proposal from the first call — or be referred back to said proposal — and see that they were given the option to spring for a longer-term solution. 

At the same time, the HVAC contractor has put themselves in a position to increase their ticket price for the service call, and to potentially sign up a new customer to a maintenance agreement plan — a key revenue generator. 

The Challenges of Pen-and-Paper Proposals

Another reason that some HVAC contractors hesitate to implement a Good Better Best proposal model has less to do with the approach itself than it does with the challenges of implementation without technological assistance.

For techs working at shops that still rely on pen and paper, putting together a proposal on-site can often be a stressful challenge. Tallying parts, labor, and equipment costs, factoring in markups and membership rebates — it can all be overwhelming. 

Even the best field service techs tend to make the occasional error under these conditions:

  • Math mistakes

  • Lost paperwork

  • Overlooked costs   

It’s easy to imagine, then, how much more overwhelming the task might become in a paper-dependent HVAC company that’s trying to switch to a Good Better Best system. The tech is expected to generate multiple, accurate options, to go into each proposal.   

HVAC contractors that generate proposals manually also struggle with the presentation part of the process. Simply put, it’s hard to put together a clean, professional-looking proposal when the author is sitting in a truck, trying their very best to write neatly. 

Things are bound to get messier when that same tech has to present not only one, but multiple options.

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How ServiceTitan Helps Optimize Good Better Best Proposals   

For these and a host of other reasons, many HVAC contractors these days are choosing to add a field service management software solution to their toolkit. 

In this section of our post, we’ll take a close look at how ServiceTitan’s proposal software can help HVAC contractors make the absolute most of a Good Better Best proposal model, while avoiding the pitfalls of pen and paper.

In the HVAC industry, the terms “proposal” and “estimate” are often used interchangeably. But with ServiceTitan, it’s helpful to think of each estimate as an individual menu item that customers can select — HVAC installation, heat pump, thermostat replacement, maintenance agreement, etc. — and the proposal as a menu on which those estimates appear. 

In an option-based system, each estimate falls somewhere on the Good Better Best continuum. 

And with ServiceTitan, it’s easy to build fully customizable templates for estimates and proposals alike. This can be done in real-time, while the user is out in the field, or back at the office.

The first step is to create estimate templates for the tasks to be included in your proposals. Contractors select internal and external template names, and, if they wish, provide a summary of the work that each estimate covers. 

One of ServiceTitan’s primary benefits is that it integrates all of the core operational functions that service companies rely on, including their pricebook

By using the software’s search feature, contractors and techs can quickly add pricebook items to their templates, eliminating the possibility of math errors and costly omissions that trouble pen-and-paper shops.

Most of our users select our ‘Dynamic’ template type, as shown above. This ensures that the prices reflected in a template are updated automatically as changes are made to the pricebook

But if they prefer, contractors can choose the ‘Static’ option, which keeps the pricing in a given template constant — regardless of pricebook updates.

Once you’ve created your estimate templates, it’s time to use them to generate HVAC proposal templates — the menus that will be presented to homeowners. 

The screenshot above shows a basic, three-tiered Good Better Best approach. To populate each tier, simply drag and drop the relevant estimate templates into the proper fields.

When you’re done, each tier will reflect a complete, accurate estimate for a work package, which might include just one task, or a whole slew of them. 

Each estimate automatically factors in the cost of hourly rates and labor, and the price of parts, installation materials, and equipment.

In the case of the faulty contactor that we discussed earlier, we described a progressive proposal, in which the ‘Better’ choice built upon the offerings of the ‘Good’ choice, and the ‘Best’ selection improved upon the services suggested in the ‘Better’ option. It’s an effective approach. But you can also opt for an additive proposal. In that scenario, customers can add or subtract tasks, according to their own preferences. 

Using an iPad, iPhone, Android, or other iOS device, techs have access to all of their company’s proposal and estimate templates through our mobile app, so that they can call up any template that might be well-suited to a given job.  

With the click of a button, techs in the field can transition into ServiceTitan’s presentation mode. The software automatically converts the proposal they’ve selected into a polished, customer-friendly interface, complete with all the essential specs of the estimate templates included in the proposal.

As illustrated here, business owners can opt for full transparency, showing customers the prices associated with each option, or choose a presentation that hides those dollar amounts. 

Many contractors like to split the difference. While they hide the line items that go into their prices, they’ll show customers a total cost for each menu item — just like a restaurant. 

With a pen-and-paper model, proposals can become messy and more error-prone with the addition of multiple options. It’s no secret that even at HVAC companies that technically use a Good Better Best approach, this dynamic sometimes results in field service technicians taking the path of least resistance, offering homeowners a single (usually cheap) option.  

In contrast, ServiceTitan’s proposal features allow contractors to be precisely accurate no matter how many choices they offer customers — and without adding to technicians’ workloads. 

They also help ensure that techs follow best practices, prompting them with step-by-step guidance to guarantee they present homeowners with Good Better Best choices — an essential in a sales process that increases average ticket price and growing revenue.    

HVAC jobs — particularly those lucrative HVAC system replacements — can be expensive for homeowners. Making financing options easily and painlessly accessible is an essential part of an effective Good Better Best proposal process. 

From the presentation view in ServiceTitan, all homeowners have to do is select the green ‘Apply For Financing’ button in the upper right corner of their screen. 

Working with our financing partners, HVAC customers can fill out an application in just a few moments, and receive approval almost immediately. 

Real-time financing makes it vastly easier to close sales on site — and to make sure that full, prompt payment is guaranteed.

Documents created in ServiceTitan are printable, but contractors don’t need access to a printer to seal a deal. Using their tech’s phone or tablet, or even their own mobile device, homeowners can e-sign their proposal — and access their records via email or via ServiceTitan’s online customer portal — for an entirely paperless transaction.          

Conclusion

Implementing a Good Better Best proposal model is one of the best ways for HVAC contractors to align their own interests with those of their customers. 

Where single-option proposals tend to encourage high-pressure sales, HVAC proposals that present options at a range of prices serve to educate homeowners, while empowering them to make the choices that feel right for them.

For HVAC contractors, the result is often higher close rates, increased ticket prices, and overall revenue growth. 

Using pen-and-paper alone, an effective and reliable Good Better Best model can be difficult to achieve. But by adding a best-in-class FSM like ServiceTitan to their arsenal, many HVAC contractors find that they can leave the pitfalls of manual proposals in the past, while reaping all the rewards of the Good Better Best approach.   

Our HVAC software helps businesses streamline and improve their proposal process for increased profits. Want to see ServiceTitan in action? Schedule a call for a free product tour.

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