Series: Learn How To Use Our Website Like A Pro – Tip #1 View Your Pricing Like A Pro  

Logging into your online account allows you to view your own personal pricing. Shop and place orders 24/7 for easy pickup and delivery.

Staying up to date on pricing can be a tedious task, that is why ECMD has made it a breeze for you. Login to your online account at www.ecmdi.com to view your specific pricing on all products. Easily download pricebooks into either a PDF or CSV file so that you can easily manage pricing on your end. No more manual updates for potentially hundreds of products!

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ACHR News: Don’t Let COVID Stop You From Training Your HVAC Technicians

Technology is still progressing, and training is still critical

Training-Center-01.jpg
PHOTONCOURTESY OF SCOTT MERRITT

The health and safety practices of countless different industries changed when the pandemic hit. HVAC is no exception, and most of us have adjusted to life in the “new normal” of COVID-19 restrictions and concerns.

For some, this was also an excuse to put purposeful and necessary practices on hold. That’s not only a shame — it’s potentially damaging to both our businesses and the homes or businesses we serve.

At Fire & Ice, we’ve maintained a strict training regimen throughout the pandemic, and we’ve done so without outbreaks or unnecessary risks. While no plan is foolproof in the current environment, I believe it remains our duty to maintain training practices that enhance our service.

The ways this can be accomplished are a mix of practical and philosophical: committing to systemic training practices that aren’t remote, devoting resources and space to training, adhering to health and safety best practices, and creating training plans with customer end results in mind.

Remote and In-Person Training

Remote training has its place, but I’m here to tell you that it isn’t sufficient for your technicians.

Training Center.
PHOTO COURTESY OF SCOTT MERRITT

The simple truth is that working with your hands in a live environment is the only reliable way to improve many skills that HVAC technicians need to be successful. Rare is the new trainee who knows everything they’ll need to immediately after their hire, or who can diagnose and fix the full range of issues after only school training and prior in-field experience.

Has the industry slowed down during COVID? Have innovations stopped being announced? Of course not. So if we don’t want to fall behind, proactive training remains necessary.

None of this should be news to business owners or installation and service managers. So how do you account for the pandemic?

Training Space and Materials

The first step is having a dedicated space for training and devoting the equipment and resources to building it out with a full array of equipment.

Training Center.
PHOTO COURTESY OF SCOTT MERRITT

The Fire & Ice Training Center allows us to hold larger demonstrations, even in recent months. You may not have that luxury, but creating a dedicated space is still a priority.

The type of training you can perform may be limited by space — maybe only a few people can safely be in the room at the same time — but there is still a benefit.

The same is true of the time of year. When cooling season hits, we frankly don’t do much training unless it’s very specific and necessary. But the center is used quite a bit during slower months. Forming a long-term training plan, then sticking to it, is key.

A single training space can be the difference between relatively smooth operations and dozens of callbacks during the year’s most demanding months. How many thousands of dollars are being lost because there wasn’t a piece of equipment that allowed your technicians to understand the problem beforehand? Only you can answer that, but the idea that training opportunities pay dividends for your business should be obvious.

Safety and Health Precautions

How do you stay safe? Some safety recommendations are universal to all walks of society, but some can benefit from our industry expertise:

Stay distanced. Plan training around the available space, and stay distanced at all times.

Wear PPE. This is something HVAC professionals should be good at. We know the benefits of good filtration for your health, and personal protection equipment (PPE) is your own personal filter.

Filter your air. MERV 13+ filters have been shown to be effective at capturing COVID particles. If you’re not leveraging this knowledge into increased protection for your employees, you’re missing an opportunity.

Keep the air clean. Similarly, we know the benefit of air purifiers. The Reme Halo Air Purifier has been proven to be 99.9% effective at neutralizing COVID. We use these in our shared workspaces to decrease the risk of contracting the virus.

Provide safety resources. Do your employees have ready access to medical-quality masks? Hand sanitizer? If not, you’re leaving them to fend for themselves, which is a recipe for disaster.

Does this mean you’ll be risk-free? No. Nothing in life comes without risk these days. But you’ll be effectively limiting your risk, and thus limiting the risk your business faces from things like virus outbreaks and loss of customer trust around your health and safety practices.

This takes clear direction and leadership to instill the mentality company-wide.

What Customers Deserve

I firmly believe that what is best for our customers and employees is best for our business. Even if it takes time and effort to set up regular training practices, the long-term benefits are myriad.

Fewer callbacks, more empowered technicians, and a tool for recruiting (“Hey, check out our personalized training center!”) are just a few of the benefits. Several of our employees have told me what a boon our training center is, and it’s certainly reduced the number of callbacks we’ve had, which in turn reduces things like annoyed customers and bad reviews.

It’s possible to do on a variety of budgets, even amidst the pandemic. If you commit to training in a way that incorporates these elements, you’ll be able to build a successful plan that uplifts everything your technicians do.

Housecall Pro Blog: Home Service Business Marketing During the COVID-19 Crisis

Marketing during this crisis calls for new and lean strategies. We’ve put together a list of steps you can take right now to foster customer engagement whether you’re currently open for business or not, as well as resources we’ve created for small businesses and examples from other pros.

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Updated Website Coming Soon!

New Website Coming Soon

New Year, New Look! An updated website is coming soon.

We have been busy designing a new website just for you! Expect to find the same familiar tools with an improved shopping experience. Check out some of the key improvements you can expect:

Customer Portal (formally your account dashboard) – Your customer portal is where your can now manage your East Coast Metal Distributors account. View and manage account information, order templates, user roles, invoices, and more!

Cleaner Look – A fresh new, updated look. We’ve redesigned our website for a better experience on the cutting edge of industry standards.

Easier to Navigate – A streamlined toolbar will help you find product easily from the jobsite or office. Improved categories and filters help you and your team find the product you need when and where you need it.

Updated Tools – We’ve improved your shopping experience while keeping the same familiar tools that help in your day to day. NEW features, such as parts lookup, have also been added to continue to serve you.

Stay tuned for more updates on our new and improved website at www.ecmdi.com!

Tech Tips: Diagnosing a Front Cover Switch

On a recent cold afternoon, I received a call from a frantic service technician. He diagnosed a faulty gas valve in a gas furnace, arrived on the job site with a new gas valve, taken time to ensure the new valve was installed properly, and then observed in horror as the exact same failure to ignite happened with the new valve. Now, let us all be honest with ourselves … after all, nobody is watching … we have all been that technician. We have all experienced the horror of realizing our diagnosis is wrong. Not a good feeling … and far worse if the furnace is in a closet and the homeowner is standing over your shoulder.

After the technician took a few deep breaths and regained composure, we began to go back through the furnace together.

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Tech Tips: Surge Protection

Power surges are commonly blamed when controls go bad on high-end units. I am not sure how often this is an accurate diagnosis versus how often this is just an easy scapegoat for unexplained parts failures. Plus … let us all be honest for a minute and acknowledge that as technicians we have all been guilty of condemning a control board because the system was operating abnormally and we did not understand what was happening … so therefore it must be that fancy looking control board.

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The Key to Helping JB Pumps Last for Years is Oil

Black Gold and Vacuum Pump equal Just Better!

The most important take away from this blog is change. your. oil.

The proper oil in a vacuum pump acts as a blotter and absorbs all of the moisture and non-condensables. As the oil becomes saturated with these contaminants, the efficiency of the pump is dramatically reduced.

Maintaining clean oil in the pump ensures that the pump will operate at peak efficiency and prolong its life.

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Take control of your inventory today!

SimpleStock

Whether you are a large or small contractorany business can benefit from  inventory management. SimpleStock can help those who experience a delay in jobs due to stock outs or manual ordering of product. It can also help prevent overstocking of unnecessary items, excess inventory and high write-offs. SimpleStock allows you to take control of your inventory anywhere, anytime from your mobile device or tablet.  

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Tech Tips: What’s in Your Bag?

When I was first starting out in the HVAC Industry as a new technician, it was a common joke at my first company that you could tell the longer a technician had been in the industry by looking at his tool bag. The joke was that while newbie technicians such as me had a tool bag loaded with tools, the veteran technicians had a mostly empty and worn bag that had a few things here and there in it. Granted, I learned a lot from the senior technicians at that company, but I did not carry that habit with me. If you want to do a job correctly, then you must have the correct tools.

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VIP Service with Dockside Pickup

Check in with Dockside Pickup right from the East Coast Metal Distributors mobile app. Your order is then entered in a priority queue where you can monitor the progress of your order while you wait in your vehicle. When your order is ready, you will be notified so that you can just load and go.

Benefits of Using Dockside Pickup

1. Minimize Contact – Limit contact when picking up your orders for a safer, quicker pickup experience.

2. Priority Pickup – Your order will go into a priority queue for our staff to pick and stage. Dockside pickup allows you to skip the line for VIP service.

3. Monitor Progress – Track the progress of your order while you wait in your vehicle.

4. No More Phone Calls – Cut out the time it takes to call the branch to let them know you are on your way. Check in, pickup and go.

How it Works?

Dockside pick up can be easily accessed from the home page of the mobile app. Once you check in, your order will be entered into a priority queue that you can track for quicker, more convenient pick up.

How Dockside Pickup Works

1. Check In – Select check in located on the home screen of the mobile app (make sure that you are logged in).

2. Select Orders – Select the orders you wish to pick up.

3. Your Vehicle – Enter your vehicle description and how you would like to be notified.

Interested in using Dockside Pickup? Download the app and start checking in today!

More information on Dockside Pickup can be found here.