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Show Room Experience

Mark Hunt
Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
but I worked for the areas largest HVAC company for many years.

They built a showroom, mostly for the hearth division, and I don't remember seeing too many folks in there.

The location of the company was excellent so that wasn't the issue.

Maybe you need to have a McDonalds and rides for the kids in there too?

Mark H

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Comments

  • Mark Eatherton1
    Mark Eatherton1 Member Posts: 2,542
    How many of ya'll have a showroom?

    We've been contemplating having a showroom/office complex seperate from our field operations complex. How many of you guys have a seperate show room, or combined, and do you feel it was worthwhile? I'm hoping the likes of Andy Stack reads this and replies.

    Anyone?

    TIA

    ME
  • Earthfire
    Earthfire Member Posts: 543
    showroom

    Unless your leasing a older building, a radiant contractors shop and office should be a working sample of the product. You may not be able to put radiant in the shop floor but there is no reason why some panel rads and fan coils can't be incorporated in to the hvac system. If you don't use it how can you expect to sell it.
  • Heatermon
    Heatermon Member Posts: 119
    Showroom/Frankenstein's lab

    dedicated to hydronics, Is what we have. I think you need to show what works well to sell the job, but also what is cheap and inefficient to counter-act the other "geniuses" that claim otherwise. As an example, I have a suspended tube system, without plates, for one 12x12 office on a solid wood floor that needs 160 degree water to get it "comfortable". I then compare it to the other 12x12 office that has a pour-over system with water temperatures of 90 degrees running through it. Most importantly, we have all the piping, controllers and heating units exposed, tagged and explained at the front door. You know what is the biggest attention getter? The wood stove in the warehouse that is outfitted with a heat exchanger that provides most of the hot water for my "lab". Yes, a showroom is absolutely necesary if you want to both learn and sell what are the best products. It's also alot of fun to create and experiment on during the "slow" times. Even better, next time that hot shot service tech shoots his mouth of about how good he is, throw a monkey wrech into the system and see if he can figure out what the problem is. Good luck with your showroom, make it both useful and fun.

    Heatermon

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  • Bill_14
    Bill_14 Member Posts: 345
    It will work good

    as long as it is located at your principal administrative office location. There will always need to be a knowledgeable person in the office available to help people, unless you work the showroom by appointment only.

    The problem with a showroom is that it must be marketed or it will always be a “stepchild” operation and will just sit there. If done properly, you will always have a captive client that is more apt to do business with you because he/she can see and understand what you are trying to sell him.

    It'll work for you Mark because I'm sure it will be completed in a first-class manner with a lot of neat ideas.

  • BillW@honeywell
    BillW@honeywell Member Posts: 1,099
    Many of my distributors...

    have some pretty fancy showrooms, but they are mostly dedicated to high-end plumbing products, and staffed by women who are great interior designers. A few feature more mundane things like water filtration and exhaust fans. If any heating products are on display, it's usually in the trade pro counter area. The fixture manufacturers provide some very generous marketing funds for developing the showroom, since the decision to buy china and faucets is made usually by the homeowner in the showroom.

    I only know of one contractor who has a showroom, and it's "homemade" , basically a display of equipment with some literature from the various manufacturers. A showroom is expensive, and you need someone to be in it who can explain the product to homeowners who likely are clueless about what they are looking at. If I built a showroom and money was no object, I'd have an operating boiler, a radiant floor with one section having a glass or plexiglass surface so the potential customer could see the pex thats normally invisible under the floor covering. I would have tile, wood & carpeting to show that you can use in-floor radiant with any floor covering. I also would have heated towel racks in the restrooms. An operating display of replica or recycled radiators for the renovators and restorers, some panel rads & baseboard for people to see. A combo TV/VCR for watching videotapes of your jobs, or a "brag book" showing your work, with testimonials and a list of references.

    I would also display other accessories for control, IAQ, water conditioning and AC. Many manufacturers offer co-op fund for developing showrooms and other marketing efforts, just ask! Pictures of your work, literature stored neatly in racks, and a professional atmosphere will make the showroom an effective tool for selling more product. Sorry about the long-winded answer!
  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    I think the challange

    would be staffing it with knowledgable people? And I'm not sure if it could produce a positive cash flow.

    I'd love a job like that in another 5 years or so! Put it up in the mountains in a beautiful spot, and I'll be there.

    Hey, maybe your summer cabin could be a "by appointment" showroom! Nice way to get a custom hybrid system installed.

    Throw some wind at it, a dash of solar, a cogen unit.....

    hot rod

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  • John Felciano
    John Felciano Member Posts: 411
    Showrooms

    Our showroom is a dedicated room attached to our office/warehous/shop.It's not something I use everyday and is not open except by appointment.

    It's provided us with an excellent place to meet with clients interested in radiant heat.Plenty of room to display a boiler,which will someday provided the heat to the radiant floor(if I ever get time to hook it up)as well as panel radiators,towel warmers, and various baseboards which will someday all work (again if I ever get time).

    Before we had the showroom our office/shop was located out of my house.It always made it hard selling high end radiant from there or the back of my van.Kinda made me feel like a door to door salesman.

    Haveing the dedicated showroom has,in my opinion,made us more credable to our future customers.There are lots of pictures on the walls as well as liturature and all the stuff that goes along with selling.Someday I hope there will be enough interest to keep it open at regular hours,but for now we just do it by appointment.

    Missed you in Vegas,Mark
  • Joel_3
    Joel_3 Member Posts: 166
    show room

    Ken Winchester of Winchester Mechanical has a showroom with lots of stuff going on it. I've heard it's very nice but haven't seen it myself. He has said it is very helpful and I'm hoping to get there soon to see it. I believe you would need to have someone there all the time to at least show people around. If your beyond more than 2or 3 guys your probably going to have some type of full time office staff anyhow so it's probably doable people wise.

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  • Mark J Strawcutter
    Mark J Strawcutter Member Posts: 625
    local example

    One of the major local hvac contractors (scorched air) does a lot of cable TV advertising. Major emphasis of ads is "come in to our showroom and select the equipment _you_ want installed". They claim you can start up and run anything there. Here's their site with some showroom pix.

    http://www.eagleairservice.com/FURNACE.htm

    Mark
  • Simple Show room Ideas

    I must confess, most of our business is pools and spas, but my real love is radiant. We have found that you can have a very positive shopping experience for potential customers, without lots of equipment. We take lots of pictures of work we have done. Include the homeowner in the picture if you can. It will usually show a very happy customer, who is very proud of their new heating system even if they have no clue as to how it works. And that is the message you are trying to convey, your customers are happy with your work! Letters from customers, framed and all, are also very effective, especially if they are from someone who might be a local radio or tv personality, the mayor, or whoever might have some public exposure. After that have a rack with literature on your products. Be sure each piece of literature has a sticker with your business name and contact numbers, and maybe your logo. This helps bering brand recognition, your brand, and keeps your name in front of them. And by sending them home with some literature, it makes them feel like they got something, even if it is just some pretty pictures of boilers, and helps them visualize it in their home.. Take a hint from new car dealers, if you can't take the car home today, at least take a picture....
  • Steve Eayrs
    Steve Eayrs Member Posts: 424
    We built a show room of sorts...........

    a couple years ago, and finally got it finished this year.
    Have a small retail area, for heating parts, etc. (mostly a oil-fired area, and we are the only ones in about 80 miles who stock/sell oil-fired parts.

    The show room portion is in one corner of the building, similar in size to a big neo-angle shower, w/ 7' on the back two angles. Found a good deal on a double slider full glass door, across the front. Installed a Buderus 115-28 w/Buderus LT-160 horizonal indirect, piped and operational using tekmar contols, radiant floor in retail area and some of shop, unit heater in old part of shop. Its nice and lit up, and we have found it to impress the customers. They usually have no idea how involved a boiler system can be, but once they see it, they better understand the total cost involved. Have also has some owner builders come in and take pictures, drawings, etc.., with the idea they will do the install themselves. I have no problem at all with this, since at least it will be one more owner-built system that I don't have to redo at some later date. Enough of those around here, and whoever the next buyer is, is a victim. I prefer happy customers who have budgeted the new boiler, over the now non-trusting ones, who already spent the budget for something that doesn't work.


    Also helps people decide if they actually have time to
    attempt the job themselves or not, or hire us to do it.
    I'm glad we did it, and plan on adding more (small snowmelt,etc.) to it when we can.


    Steve
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