Go Beyond Direct Install – Here’s How

Feb 23, 2015

Many Small Business programs are named “Small Business Direct Install” – and direct install is literally where they stop.  Yet there is so much more that a Small Business program can offer!  In one of our Midwest Small Business programs, about 2% of the energy savings come from direct install measures, and the remaining 98% of savings come from low-cost measures that Trade Allies install during a follow-up visit.  It’s practically a Not-Really-Direct-Install program!

So what can you do to take your Small Business program beyond direct install?

First, look at your Trade Allies.  Do you have any?  If not, get some.  If you have Trade Allies, then check the list of measures that they are installing.  Are they are only installing lighting measures, or are you also including HVAC or refrigeration measures?  If they’re only installing lighting, you might want to consider expanding the list and recruiting some non-lighting Trade Allies.

Second, look at your first visit to the customer.  Are you giving them a comprehensive energy assessment during the visit (and by comprehensive, I mean recommending more than direct install measures)?  Are those recommendations being delivered directly to the customer in their own printed-out report during that visit?  If not, you probably need to work on increasing the scope of your energy assessments and adding tools (like auditing software) that will help your energy advisors deliver customized reports in real-time.  

Finally, are you able to “sell” those measures to customers?  Give your energy advisors sales training, bring in Trade Allies with experience in sales, and see if you can offer customers pre-negotiated prices that make it easy for them to sign on the dotted line.  Do as much of the work for the customer as possible, and move the program from direct install to comprehensive.  If you can make the projects turnkey, customers will gladly agree to save energy.