Though just two clients responded to Prescott Renovations’ recent energy-audit promotion, owner Tom Reilly intends to continue offering the audits to help differentiate his company from competitors in the Prescott, Ariz., market he serves.
Reilly does not have a standard process for the audits — they are based on what the homeowner wants. The remodeler and his architect begin by visiting the client’s home for a visual inspection. They note the age of the HVAC and other systems, and examine the attic, ducts, windows, and doors. They give the client a brief report about their findings and offer recommendations.
For homeowners who want a more detailed audit, Reilly also provides a menu with the costs of additional tests, such as a blower door test. “Now that weather is turning cooler, I suspect we are going to get more calls,” Reilly says.
One audit led to a $10,000 job that includes replacing an HVAC system, adding attic insulation, and replacing some windows. The clients asked Reilly to discuss options for removing an indoor pool. “We will do this [HVAC] work as effectively as we can,” he says, “then it could lead to removing the pool. They are now a future client.”
Reilly has been marketing the audits in radio ads, e-mails to clients, and through networking. He also used the slow time during the recession to become a LEED-accredited professional. He says that many homeowners have heard of LEED, and though they don’t always know precisely what it means, they do know it indicates that Reilly has green building expertise.
Homeowners are interested in green practices but are wary of the additional cost. Reilly tells them that their entire house doesn’t have to be green — they can add just a few affordable green features.
—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.