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advise on getting more radiant jobs

peterpeter Member Posts: 1
Good advice. And keep your overhead low by buying the book used at for $0.95.


  • Bob CBob C Member Posts: 1
    Advise on getting more radiant jobs

    I am looking for new ways to bring in more radiant work. I have done all types of radiant systems and confident in the installs but I would like to do more. I will quote 10 jobs and only get one or none. Most customers say it not "MY" pricing, it that they hade no Idea it would cost so much. I guees I'm asking for some sales hints or other ways of closing the deals. I try asking if they want heat or Comfort, they all say confort but when the get the price they want heat. Then were back to baseboard.

    Any thoughts?
  • Paul PolletsPaul Pollets Member Posts: 3,022
    Pre qualify

    I'd suggest pre-qualifying your prospect by phone, before making a site visit. We always discuss budgets on the initial contact with the customer. If the customer understands what is involved, they'll proceed to the next step. We don't do free estimates. There are too many "tire-kickers" looking to shop price. These are not our customers. If the customer agrees to our fee for a site visit and formal proposal, we do the proposal with the caveat that we'll credit the fee, if we get the job. That makes it very professional and doesn't waste time. Try reading some advanced sales books. I like Harry Friedman's "I'm Just Looking".

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • John BarbaJohn Barba Member Posts: 55

    If you haven't already, you may try offering radiant in the "key" areas -- kitchen, bathrooms, basement slab -- as an option. Doesn't have to be all one way or the other...give 'em a menu and let them choose.

    Paul's suggestion to read up on how to sell is an excellent of my favorites is "How To Sell At Prices Higher Than Your Competitors" by Larry Steinmetz is one of my all-time favorites. You should be able to find it at

    Good luck!
  • RudnaeRudnae Member Posts: 47
    make a wish list...

    Bob, a couple of years back I went to a sales course put on by Kenneth Webster from Viessmann. One of the strategies that he suggested I still regularly. Ask open ended questions, ie: what areas of the house do you find least comfortable?, Do you feel you have enough dhw?, how would you like heated towels in the bathroom etc. From the answers to the questions make a wish list. Prepare the quotation based off of the list. If the customer doesn't like the price of the quote, ask them which of the items (show the list) did they want to exclude from the quote as cost savings. Most (75% in my personal experience)don't want to take anything off of the list. Problem solved. If only it were so easy right? Well try it, with some practice it can really work for you to. Give it a shot. Also try giving them the ability to feel comfortable spending large dollars with you by giving references, showing job site photos, directing them to your website, etc. I think that those are some of the more important aspects to look after. I hope that helps.
  • MitchMitch Member Posts: 955
    These are

    excellent suggestions, but to close more remeber..eliminate unions, drains, and other "extra fittings" Garden hose is as good as pex, smaller copper is cheaper, just use a bigger pump, and the water heater is as good as a boiler...

    You'd be amazed at how much you can cut from a quote...

    (Toungue in cheek reply here..based on actual conversations...)

    In truth I use the pre qualifying method, in the initial telephone call, I ask them up front what they expect to pay, usually they are lucky to hit the 1/2 way mark
  • Brian RBrian R Member Posts: 17
    from a radiant home owner point of view

    I have a 1860's house that's been added onto. All of the new construction utilizes radiant floors. All of the original house has fintube baseboard. I did all the work myself, which saved me a lot. HOWEVER, whenever we have guests, parties, etc. during the heating season, EVERYONE who spends time in the radiant areas comment on the comfort. I always talk of the efficiency, but most don't care about that, they like the warm feeling beneath their feet. The following could be part of your sales method. Partner with some of your radiant customers. Ask if you could bring by prospective clients (by appointment only) to experience the value of radiant heat. Offer our "partners" a free annual tune-up as a way to pay them for this. I think most people with radiant heat love it so much, they would be willing to "show-off" a bit, and both you and your "partners" gain a good benefit. Your prospective radiant customer can experience first hand the wonderful comfort afforded by radiant, and be more willing to pay the extra cost knowing what they will experience in their new radiant home.
  • JohnNYJohnNY Member Posts: 1,824
    It's not you.

    My service area includes several bad-turned-good neighborhoods
    and there are gut renovations going on around me all over the place.
    Let me tell you, EVERYBODY wants a price for radiant heat.
    Nearly nobody gets it.
    Next, EVERYBODY wants a price on "the most efficient boiler possible".
    I installed 60 cast iron Burnham boilers last year and maybe 8 mod/cons.

    A great deal of my service business this year did consist of repiping ridiculously messed up radiant and mod/con installs-by-others though.

    Very few are willing to pay to have it the right way.

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    For private consulting services, find John "JohnNY" Cataneo here at :
    "72°F, LLC"
    Or email John at [email protected]
    Or at Gateway Plumbing & Heating
    John travels regularly to out-of-state clients for consulting work.
  • Chris SChris S Member Posts: 177
    selling radiant

    I sell radiant by having a prospective client come to my own home, or a job we are finishing, or recently finished, and walk around barefoot. Without exception, we upsell to radiant for part, or all of their projects this way.
    I do understand though that not eveyone can afford it so we give some general square foot pricing up front. This eliminates the deer in the headlight look when we quote the actual price.
  • believe in what you sell

    I would say 90% of all new installations are radiant.Most customers have seen our work and have been in a house that has radiant.You need to sell the benifitts not the price.Like if your feet are warm your warm,thus our going to keep your t-stat down lower so you will save money.your baby is going to love being on the floor,your dog won't be able to decide where to lay down,your heating from the floor up instead of from the ceiling down.Don't have to worry about where your going to put you furniture because you have no baseboard,You won't have to dust any more because your not heating the air your heating objects,No noise.Ever walk across your tile floor with no socks on your going to love walking across them now.The best money you spend on your house would be to install radiant.The more jobs you do the easier it is to sell.Once you go threw the list of bennifts the price dosn't seem so bad.If you give them a price for baseboard and a price for radiant and don't explain the bennifits their going with the baseboard.I have a passion for radiant which makes it alot easier to sell.
  • JohnNYJohnNY Member Posts: 1,824
    I think

    You're right.
    I've been through your sales talk quite a few times and the benefits are easy to make clear.

    On the other hand, this is steam country and people here live on top and next to each other in multi-family dwellings.

    The construction is different and city prices tend to make renovation budgets skew toward other things.

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    For private consulting services, find John "JohnNY" Cataneo here at :
    "72°F, LLC"
    Or email John at [email protected]
    Or at Gateway Plumbing & Heating
    John travels regularly to out-of-state clients for consulting work.
  • ChrisChris Member Posts: 3,056
    Oppotunity missed

    I completely understand your frustration as I see the same results on a daily basis. While I work in the wholesale side of the business I started doing radiant in the late 80's and do small jobs here and there. But you've fallen into the trap that most of my die hard radiant guys have but you like them are missing a great opportunity.

    The customer wanted radiant. He or she has already told you that they have a bigger budget then a basic fin-tubed basebaord job. Use this to your advantage. What would be wrong with giving them options in your quotes. Give them the "A" option which is what they want but come up with a "B" and "C" option for the job. Your selling hydronics not radiant. Like some of the previous posts, maybe the entry, kitchen and master bath suite as radiant but how about some type of panel baseboard for the rest of the house. How about a mix or radiant, panel board and fin-tube.

    Most contractors, not all miss the boat on selling hydronics. Boiler piping and control strategy also play a big part. You may not be able to sell 100% radiant but you can up-sell certain parts of the job, still make a nice profit, fit the customers budget area while providing them with a hydronic system that you can be proud of installing.

    The biggest problem that I see within our industry is that alot of contractors lack good communication skills, they quote jobs with blinders and are so afraid to educate their customers. I cannot stress the education part more. Here's a recent example..

    I had a homeowner come into me with a print. They already had a contractor on the job that I do no business with. She wanted radiant in the foyer entry, kitchen and master suite. After speaking with her I found out the following.

    Munchkin Boiler, Hydro Air, Radiant was floor warming. Her concern was that she thought this contractor was banging her on the price of the radiant. He quoted her $7,500.00 for the radiant. I took the print, came up with a design based on the price he quoted her. He was doing joist heating no plates with thermostatics for mixing and just thermostats for zoning. I told her that for what he was giving her it was a fair and correct price. I then explained how this system would work and why it was the most inexpensive and going to be the most uncomfortable system.

    I then did my own design. Quick Trak with programmable floor sensors and a Taco radiant mixing block. Material alone was the same cost as what he quoted her for the entire job. But I educated her. Told her why the sensors, why to use the mixing block. I left the decision in her hands on which system she wanted. So I gave her a sample of the quick trak to bring to her husband, numbers on both systems and questions that she should ask her contactor.

    Then next day she comes back. She asks me if I know a contractor that could do radiant. I told her that I did but that I would not give her his number unless she decided to have it installed the way I designed it as he wouldn't do it any other way and I wouldn't want her to waste his time. She says "While money was somewhat of an issue she would rather spend the money for what she wants then to spend 7,500 for someting she would regret."

    In the end the contractor I gave her is doing the job.


    Best of Luck
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • tim smithtim smith Member Posts: 2,226
    John, totally opposite for me the past year. In prior years we

    pretty much only installed cast iron boilers but for the last 2 years pretty much all modcons except maybe 2 or so. I have found it amazing at the turn around. Tim
  • tim smithtim smith Member Posts: 2,226
    I always prequalify over the phone. I almost scare them at how

    much more radiant is but I also tell them of the extreme differences in quality of heat/comfort you get. If they pass my pop quiz, I set up an estimate with them. Tim
  • Wayco WayneWayco Wayne Member Posts: 2,470
    Sweat Equity

    I have worked with a lot of customers who are willing to do the non technical part of the job themselves. I provide the design, for a price, and they do the time intensive part of the install. I charge for time spent checking their work, and I do the heat source and controls. A lot of folks want it and are willing to participate. WW

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  • Bob BonaBob Bona Member Posts: 2,081

    it is SO regional. I live and work just northeast of John- CT's Gold Coast. Big oil country, traditional, and shall we say, conservative, feelings towards new stuff. Of course, there are exceptions. The belief to grossly oversize a 83% CI oil pinner and throw in oversized hydro air is predominant.

    I could sell so many more mod/cons if gas was more prevalent. Radiant is always an interest and you do have some people that can see the benefit outweighing the cost. Some of the issues here are the high real estate turnovers, 5-7 years and the folks are out.
  • 1974 bobcat1974 bobcat Member Posts: 6
    Hard Sell

    I use to find it hard to sell also. I have educated myself by reading sales books and through training and I now keep them interested once the price is delivered. You need to diversify (if you havent all ready) going after the new construction is great but doing the additions and remodels can prove profitable also.

    Do you have a salesman? It may be a good Idea to find another person to assist you with the selling process.(so you can focus on other thing in your business)

    Ask them directly "Have you ever lived in a house with radiant heat?" Most answer no but most of them know someone who has it. Get them interested in experiencing it. Have them stay over that persons house for a day to see how comfortable it can be.

    Good Luck,
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