I just happened to stumble on your web site/blog tonight and I just wanted to say hi. Since you and I are at opposite ends of the country, we can be friends. Ha-Ha
My name is Steve, and I am the owner/operator of Solstice Pellet Stove Solutions in Milford New Hampshire. I started this pellet stove servicing company in Jan 1010, after working for 3 years at a Harman dealership as the Service Manager. The shop owners and I did not see eye to eye on some critical aspects of customer service, so I went out on my own out of frustration. I have been very surprised at the success of the business this first year. Overall, it has exceeded my expectations. The biggest challenge is spreading the word, and getting my company in front of the faces of all the pellet stove owners in the area.
I have made some attempts to buy mailing lists from list brokers for people who have bought pellet stoves, or pellet fuel, and have not been able to find any. Have you any ideas on how to get lists?
I am a Harman / Whitfield guy. I re-build and re-condition both for re-sale, and currently service approx 100 Harman and 40 Whitfield stoves in my area, as well as all other makes and models. You seem to be a quad expert, and since my experience with Quad is limited, I have found some of your info helpful.
There are not a lot of independent certified pellet stove techs out there. I’m sure as pellet heating becomes more and more popular, our numbers will increase. I do not have much competition from other independent techs in my area. I am the one that is filling the void for those who bought stoves that do not have dealer support, and am a pain in the ass to the dealerships that charge so much for service. I anticipate talking to you someday when I have a stubborn Quad to deal with. Nice job on the site.
Thanks for connecting. I believe in business cooperation theory which states that we can get more done and make more money if we cooperate together rather than be in competition with one another.
Regarding getting more customers I have a few ideas.
1. If you have a local newspaper for your area that runs cheap adds for business services like yours, do it. If it cost $100 a month and you get just a single cleaning from it, it will pay for itself.
2. Write a blog for your website. Blogs are a great way to position yourself as an expert. Writing about what you do and providing tips for homeowners is a great way to position yourself even in your local marketplace. If you write a few blogs on the service you provide and include the name of the area you service in the blog several times the search engines will pick it up and you’ll become more visible to your potential clients.
3. Ask your clients for referrals. This is the best way to get new clients. It’s super easy and free. You can start with the people you are servicing everyday. Beyond that go back to the list of customers you have already serviced and do follow-up calls. First ask them how their stove is working. Then ask if they know anyone else who has a pellet stove that you might be able to service and if they would feel comfortable giving you their number. Referrals like that are golden because they almost always lead to new customers very quickly.
4. To obtain a list go to a local stove shop and offer to pay them 15% of any business they turn your way. Then ask them how many customers with pellet stoves they think they have in their database. Let’s say it’s 1,000. Then tell them you have a way for them to make an extra $20,000. If they will let you call their list and offer them cleaning services your pay them 15% of all the business. They could make $10-20k extra this year and not have to do any extra work. Just assure them that their clients will always remain their clients and that you won’t abuse the list.
5. Use the same idea above but with Chimney sweeps. Most chimney sweeps do not clean pellet stoves and would be willing to refer you the business they are turning away if you were offering them a percentage of the profits.
Will that get you started? Ha-ha, I know it’s a lot. Feel free to connect with me about the above ideas or any Quadra fire problems you have. I’m also an expert in Austroflamms if you need assistance with that.