Dear Valued Customer,
I am motivated to write this email in quick succession to my last communication in a desire to hyper communicate and also due to a trend we've noticed over the last few weeks that I wanted to share. During these frightening, uncertain, and volatile times we've done lots of contingency planning like most companies, however what we didn't expect is that we'd be busy. We still think there is a high likelihood things will get worse before they get better but as always during times of crisis there are opportunities. The recent warmer weather certainly has helped - but I think we all deserve that after such a mild winter season. There is also the theory that due to many people working from home they are tackling overdue and much needed home improvement projects including their HVAC system. No matter what the reason, during this crisis there are still many opportunities to chase!
Thanks to our employees, customers, manufacturers, and industry associations for their bravery and dedication in the face of this crisis. As we've seen in ALL of the state and local lockdowns the HVAC industry has been deemed "essential" - something we've always known.
First and foremost we must stay safe, our goal (and hopefully yours too) is to stay open for business and we can only do so by implementing very strict safety protocols. Make sure your employees are aware of these procedures and follow them diligently. As the old saying goes "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" - I'd argue in this crisis it's worth way more! Many contractors I've spoken with have postponed Spring maintenance visits, deeming it non-essential, to help maximize a smaller workforce due to school closures and those with any symptoms staying home.
During a crisis cash flow is always of critical importance. You should look for any and all sensible ways to collect and improve cash flow including requiring deposits, collecting cash upon completion of all jobs (eliminate "billing"), and be aggressive about past due receivables. As a distributor the same is very true for us as we simply can not serve as a bank due to tightened lending standards and incredibly thin operating margins. There have already been a number of easily accessible Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs put in place to help during this crisis, even if you might not need one it might be helpful to secure one just in case.
Even when we get through the short term paranoia and risks of the virus, our economy will take much longer to fully recover. Consumer confidence will likely be depressed for some time, with the all important cooling season just around the corner retail financing will be more important than ever. Make a plan now to ensure your team is properly trained and ready to offer this on 100% of all retail jobs. VAD is promoting financing resources and is eager to host webinars with Synchrony financial. Please contact your territory or branch manager to learn more.
One very top of mind opportunity currently is Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). And while we have to be careful on the claims we make regarding the efficacy of the products we sell, more than ever people want solutions and choices. IAQ products that offer UV-C air treatment offer promising virus killing properties. Specifically VAD stocks and promotes products from RGF Environmental, Ultravation, Solaris, Honeywell & more. Consider putting them on your trucks with all your technicians.
On the commercial side this crisis will create long term opportunities. Hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and more across the country will demand better solutions for indoor air quality in preparation for future pandemics. This will require new technology and training. VAD has already seen increased interest in HEPA filtration, UV products and other solutions suited to the commercial market.
During a crisis it is easy to find excuses as to why we aren't performing, instead let's use this crisis and the opportunities it creates to focus, execute, and thrive!
Stay Safe and Good Selling,
President & CEO
Value Added Distributors