Have you noticed that with almost everything you buy, you’re given the chance to enhance your purchase? You can add on a protection plan, increase the size, quality, or quantity on almost everything. Often the choice is centered around an opportunity to improve customer service, or to offer an upgrade beyond the manufacturer’s minimum requirements. When the oil change shop checks your tail lights, turn signals, or windshield wipers, isn’t it perceived as good customer service? Many HVAC businesses offer annual service contracts as an improved customer service option. Evidently, some pretty enterprising folks have found a new way to profit by giving their customers choices, and maintaining relationships beyond the initial sale.
Ok, I understand financing is tough and money is tight, but let’s consider a few simple things that might lead you to increase your bottom line. Just as important, these ideas can improve the overall performance of the homes you install.
Marriage line gasket options: The conventional gasket is fine, but imagine the savings in heating/cooling costs if you offer your customers an “Energy Upgrade”. Maybe a double gasket? Or maybe you spray foam along the marriage line that would eliminate all those little air leaks that cost the homeowners money and impact their comfort. Think about it as the “Good, Better, Best” approach. Given the choice, many of your customers may opt for an “Energy Upgrade” and be very willing to pay for it!
Foundation options: Would some of your customers be willing to pay for a heavier foundation if giving the choice? Maybe a foundation designed for a 30 lbs. roof load even though you only need 20 lbs. foundation. Or maybe a 40 lbs. foundation for a 30 lbs. area? Several manufacturers overbuild their homes to achieve a more structural substantial home. Why don’t installers/retailers consider offering similar choices?
Anchoring (or stabilizing) options: You could offer the conventional ground anchor and straps, or an upgrade to one of the more modern, high tech, steel bracing systems. Give your customers a choice!
Right now you are probably thinking, these ideas are geared more towards retailers at the initial sale, and that is true. But what about some after market opportunities?
I think a lot of our customers would be willing to pay to have a professional installer visit their home once a year and perform an annual foundation inspection. Inspect the support piers for cracked blocks, or loose shims. Check the tension on the anchor straps. Examine the bottom board for holes, and while you are at it, look over the ground vapor barrier. Are the downspout elbows, leaders and splash blocks still in place? Is the heat duct crossover still air tight? Look over the roof shingles and check the flashing and other penetrations. And while you are there, test the GFCI, smoke alarms and check the dryer vent!
The “Complete Installation Checklist” that you already use to confirm the installation is correct, can be exactly the tool you need to make clear what you would inspect, and how to document your findings. See my post “A Very Valuable Tool” from January 6, 2017.
I am certain many of your customers would love to have piece of mind that their home will continue to deliver the quality, durability, affordability and safety that manufactured housing is all about! And maybe the person to deliver that piece of mind is you!