When Jason Rivera and Ben Brookhart of Power Home Technologies LLC, Raleigh, N.C., were thinking of ways to generate additional revenue for their growing home security business, they knew they wanted a reliable, low voltage solution that made homeowners say, “I don’t know how I ever lived without it.” They were willing to invest in training, personnel and marketing support if the solution fit.
After speaking with a few customers and reviewing some of the latest homebuilding trends, Rivera and Brookhart made a connection that has benefitted them ever since.
“Once you establish a trusting relationship with your customers, they are very open-minded about a range of low voltage services, because they trust you to install them properly,” said Ben Brookhart, CEO of Power Home Technologies. “After some competitive research, it became clear that central vacuum solutions were in pretty high demand among homeowners in the 35 to 55 age group and even higher among people living in retirement communities, which are two of the key markets we serve.”
Doing Their Due-Diligence
Before jumping headfirst into the central vacuum installation game, they did additional research on which brands offered appropriate solutions for their customer base and the types of skills installers would need to handle the work.
“We chose central vacuum solutions from H-P Products, Louisville, Ohio, because they set the standard for convenience with the Hide-a-Hose system and because they have a broad range of solutions for cleaning every inch of a house. With Hide-a-Hose, the hose automatically retracts back into the wall after use, making it easy for users to vacuum big spaces or smaller messes by simply pulling the hose out of the wall,” explained Jason Rivera, builder division general manager at Power Home Technologies. “It also makes for a compelling product demo when you show a customer just how convenient it is to use in their own home without all the annoyances of a traditional vacuum cleaner. The H-P Products central vacuum system is truly different.”
Selling points are great, but without the right expertise to back them up, a security dealer may be creating more headaches than revenue. For this reason, Brookhart wanted a central vacuum expert available who knows the ins and outs and can serve as a troubleshooting expert on challenging installations.
“Our rep from H-P Products, Larry Wissinger, trains all our technicians and builder sales reps,” he said. “It’s extremely important for them to understand why central vacuums are better than conventional vacuums and to believe in the product. When equipped with the knowledge and enthusiasm, they are able to educate and sell to customers. This is why Power Home Technologies sells as many central vacuum units as we do, because we have a passionate sales force, and because our central vacuum equipment is seamless and never requires call-backs.”
Central vacuum technicians need to understand low voltage wiring and working with PVC piping so they can be precise when installing, since every installation and every home are different. Many installations occur during the construction of a house, but retrofitting is also an option.
Selling the System
Rivera highlights a slew of selling points when presenting central vacuum options to customers, and not surprisingly, convenience led the way. No more constantly replacing bags, lugging a bulky vacuum around or doing the power cord dance when cleaning are great selling points for many people. Central vacuum systems also increase the resale value of a home, have more power than traditional units, and free up closet space.
Another important selling point is improved air quality. Rivera noted the irritating “vacuum smell” caused by the finest dust and dirt particles recirculating into the air when vacuuming. Central vacuums remove all debris, no matter the size and either exhaust it outside or filter it into a sealed canister. This is especially helpful for households where allergies and asthma are present. Because central vacuums have much larger motor units, they provide roughly five times the suction power of push vacuums.
Power Home Technologies was founded in 2004. Over the past 10 years they have installed more than 80,000 residential security systems. They have been named to Inc. Magazine’s 500/5000 List of the Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies in the USA in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Brookhart concluded, “If other dealers are looking for an opportunity to expand their business, central vacuum should be at the top of their list. Quick, convenient cleaning solutions are a major trend among consumers right now, and that’s exactly what central vacuum delivers. It offers significant revenue and job growth, which, in business, is what we’re all about. The best part is I hear it time and time again from customers, ‘I don’t know how I ever lived without my central vacuum.’”